2-3pm: Lecture by Professor Walter Meyer; "Viability for the Figure in Contemporary Art" followed by a Q & A
3-3:30pm: Gallery Walk & Reception with the Artists
In conjunction with the current exhibit, Cultural Abstraction, Contemporary Figurations, Professor Meyer will give a slideshow lecture and discuss figurative painting in the context of currents in contemporary art. The lecture will be followed by a gallery walk and discussion with the artists.
Walter Meyer is head of art history at Santa Monica College and specializes in American art and contemporary art. His current interests center on pedagogy in the digital realm and he has worked with educational publishers to create content and delivery systems to improve student learning. He is an Arts Commissioner and a member of the Public Art Committee for the city of Santa Monica and is on the Board for the Santa Monica Arts Foundation. He completed his graduate work in 2000 at the University of Southern California and has worked at the Getty Center along with being an exhibition curator.
Cultural Abstraction, Contemporary Figurations: the Work of Seven Contemporary Figurative Painters in Santa Monica is an exhibition of work by seven artists from the Santa Monica College Art Mentor Program, running through November 13, 2011 in the Gallery.
Francisco Cabas, Quinne Larson, Abdul Mazid, Kathleen Melian, Jessica Nicol, Elizabeth Weber and Elena Wolek create a narrative thread in their work that joins seemingly incongruent concepts into a visual dialogue about cultural identity, gender empowerment, dislocation, consumption and human regeneration. Though very different in style, these paintings share a sense of constant movement — zooming in and out of complex cultural paradigms that are purged and portrayed in the delicate balance between figurative and abstract representations.
Francisco Cabas’ work delves into a world of beauty, pain, desire, and healing. An exotic flora spring forth from his figures, overpowering the darkness of the human experience and disseminating the fluid essence of regeneration throughout the immensity of the canvas. Through an intricate highway system of roots and veins, Cabas fills in the emptiness created by emotional devastation with intricate tendrils of human tissue and foliage that feed and nourish the soul. Through his elaborate compositions, Cabas’ human-flora recycles devastation to create a new sense of self.
Quinne Larsen’s visual narrative conjures a sense of personal memory, grasping elements of graphic novels and imagination to create an atmosphere that teeters between the familiar and the fantastic. Larsen’s intimate images offer a sense of personal storytelling that allows the viewer to play the role of puppeteer. Within this imagery Larson tells a compelling and meaningful story that is both thoughtful and flexible.
Abdul Mazid’s abstracted portrait paintings are firmly based on his interpretation of identity. Within each painting, representational and abstract elements fuse and resist one another to create multi-dimensional personifications of his subject. Using elements of classic portraiture combined with contemporary subject matter, Mazid’s work delve into the realm of nostalgia, memory, and personal introspection.
Kathleen Melian’s work investigates the female gaze, the visual imagery that incites desire in heterosexual women. By leaving the confines of a patriarchal aesthetic of consumer values, Melian’s work captures the viwer’s attention through the eruption of large visual displays of colors and texture that evoke the experience of seduction itself. Melian’s paintings are large, seductive, provocative, and captivating.
Born in Canada, Jessica Nicol’s work investigates the introspective moments that permeated her childhood. The crux of Nicol’s painting is a form of escapism, a form of therapy that delves into the dynamics and understanding of contemporary patriarchal society. The subjects of her paintings are accomplished women in various creative fields who were able to break free of average expectations and elevate themselves in their respective fields. In essence, Nicol’s work is a celebration of these women and a homage to their incredible journeys.
Elizabeth Weber’s paintings portray the ritual of the dinner party and the myriad of prescribed duties undertaken by the gracious hostess. The nostalgic figurative narratives Weber creates are reminiscent of eras long past, yet harbor a melancholy contemporary presence.
Born and raised in socialist and post-socialist rural Siberia, Elena Wolek’s paintings are an exploration of her personal experiences in two radically different societies. In Wolek’s work, domestic interior and exterior scenes playfully interact with subtle arrangements that comment on globalization, capitalism, and consumption. In these paintings, bold, colorful figurative renderings interact with pale and despondent backgrounds, creating a mysterious aura of fantasy.
Stop by early, docents from the Santa Monica Conservancy will be available at the Guest House to answer questions from 11am-2pm.
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When & Where
Beach=Culture at the Beach House
Please note that there is bike parking available onsite - bring a lock. Car parking is available and rates vary from weekdays to weekends and season to season.
Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the event; reservations are released then and late seating is not guaranteed. Although Eventbrite's automatic email encourages you to print your ticket out, at this time we only require you to give your last name at the door. If an event is at capacity, we will generally open a waitlist online and you can sign up. We will not contact you; just plan to arrive by 15 minutes prior to the event and we will assess unclaimed reservations then.
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