Huntington Beach Art Center
By Sydney Walters
Crossing Boundaries is more than a feminist art initiative on behalf of the Huntington Beach Art Center. Their proclaimed “Year of Women in the Arts” is a production of paintings, sculptures and mixed media that experiments with common methods of art making to create something uniquely ingenious.
Having mastered their respective craft, this assimilation of six female artists create delightfully innovative works about science, time and place. Blossoming out of age-old suppression, these women displace the myth that art stemming from domesticity or craft is not fine or “high” art.
Sandy Abrams weaves asymmetric baskets with clay, felt and various fibers around the edges thereby producing vessels whose value is in their aesthetic rather than function. A departure of her woven series, the piece Communion, inlays palm and felt into a piece of bamboo that mimics porcupine quills. In Unworldy, a tapered wood structure covered in a transparent layer of rice paper is suspended away from the wall like an exotic nest.
Nicola Lamb paints with acrylic on six by six squares of Plexiglas. They recall microscopic images of cells or abstract photos of geographical structures with bold primary colors rippling, folding and washing across the clear surface. Arranged off the wall, the gallery wall becomes an active mirror for these floating pieces.
Born in Hong Kong, Connie DK Lane’s interactive installation re-imagines the city’s bustle and imagination. Two-dimensional latex swimsuits hang on wire from an origin sculpture in the center of the annex. A wooden structure is partially encased with amber film strips that one can pass through to enter the encasement. Once inside the twelve-foot structure, two pictures of skyscrapers taken from a low angles create the illusion of looking up at a towering cityscape. The structure operates as a memory box, transporting the visitor into the cacophonous din of city life.
Nancy Mooslin takes a cue from Wassily Kandinsky’s creative method and paints bold watercolors in response to musical compositions. The repetition of color and line reflect musical symmetry and harmonics. In her pigment print and pastel work, she depicts gently rippling water, where the orange and blue reflections create visual harmony based on a Monk’s chant.
Artist Hiromi Takizawa morphs her glass blowing background with contemporary sculpture and installation. In Ultraviolet, visitors step inside a small enclosure where blown strips of glass glow with different colored neon. Here, she keenly observes how light affects the mood of a space. Nearby, Fauna, a sound installation, emits bird sounds that were recorded in Japan and the United States. A small amount of birdseed vibrates on these upturned speakers depending on the volume and tone of the recording. The pleasant absurdity of having bird sounds in a gallery, calls to mind the superficial realities we create to be close to nature.
Finally, mixed-media artist Carolyn Buck Vosburgh situates branches on the wall like mounted trophies. Their wood base on the wall, these branches arc from the walls and small scientific study paintings of sea creatures are adhered and camouflaged in the same finish as the branches thereby suggesting that these images grew out of the tree. They serve as placeholders of happenings in time, and seen as a collection, appear as an abstracted narrative of science and nature.
Deriving from a strong understanding of their mediums, these artists push forth provocative work that holds true to their craft while giving consideration to a different way to think about place in nature and urban settings.