It’s a Wonderful World at Groundspace
By Genie Davis
Through July 22nd
At Groundspace Projects through July 22nd, It’s a Wonderful World, curated by Betty Ann Brown is a dazzling tour de force of a group show. Coupling the wonders of nature with the marvels of the art that depicts them, the show is as strong and resilient as nature itself.
The exhibition also beautifully juxtaposes images together, pairing artworks so that they define, contrast, and complement each other. Artists Aline Mare, Andrea Bersaglieri, Ann Mitchell, Catherine Ruane, Cheri Gaulke, Courtney Hayes-Sturgeon, Dwora Fried, Erika Lizée, Jill Sykes, Kate Carvellas, Kireilyn Barber, L. Aviva Diamond, Lillian Abel, Linda Sue Price, Maria Larsson, Melissa Reischman, Michelle Rozic, Nancy Mooslin, Roger Gordon, Samuelle Richardson, Sandra Mueller and Susan Sironi have created stunning pieces that together and separately weave images that remind the viewer of just how fortunate we are to be a part of this planet. The viewer is also reminded of how important it is to preserve it.
Last Saturday’s opening was broiling hot, breaking records in DTLA and sweltering gallery visitors – the weather provided its own commentary on climate change, and the fragility of our natural world, preserved here in paintings, photographs, and mixed media works.
Catherine Ruane’s “Broken Hallelujah” and “Everybody Knows” are both gorgeous graphite and charcoal works that depict the exquisite, almost alien beauty of desert plants; their black and white perfection makes these images almost more real and alive than if they were technicolor. Erica Lizée’s delicate and ethereal triptych, “Flow, Prime Effusion, Materialization” creates images that evoke otherworldly birth and resurrection. Samuelle Richardson’s fabric over armature sculptures, “Ghost Dogs,” look ready to run off; wild and longing to be free, they embody lives paused, eternity waiting.
Aline Mare’s “Queen Creosote” mixes photography and painting in a hand-painted photograph that is an abstract microcosm. This could be the birth of the universe or the gestation of a plant, opalescent and compelling. L. Aviva Diamond provides liquid magic, photographic juice for the parched eye in “Light Stream Series 2 #13,” a black and white archival pigment print photo. Here water itself is folded and textured like fabric. Working with a digital image, Kate Carvellas also exhibits a photograph, the pastel shades of faded garage doors in “Beauty in a Back Alley.”
Paired side by side in a lovely complimentary palette, Dwora Fried’s mixed media assemblage and Linda Sue Price’s neon and mixed media are both dimensional, rich works. Price’s “Weeds” features a lush tangle of green, orange, and vivid blue neon positioned over a distorted, lace-like photographic image of the actual weeds in her backyard. Fried’s “Greta” was the artist’s first assemblage about Los Angeles, a paean to the city’s orange groves, palm trees, movie stars, and serial killers; a work that’s both witty and elegiac.
Equally Los Angeles-centric is Roger Gordon’s oil on canvas “Skyways,” with gold-tinged clouds, palms, and freeway overpasses, it’s at once ever so familiar and mysterious with the promise of a ripe sunset. Michelle Rozic’s ink on Rives BFK is also an LA story, specifically one that is “Southbound on N. Beverly Blvd., Panels 1 & 5.” Less specific is the layered oil on wood of Lillian Abel’s “Season of Rain.”
The exhibition overall is simply a treat – a cool collection of art that beats the heat even in a record-breaking heatwave. Don’t miss the closing reception and curator’s talk Saturday, July 22, 4:00-6:00 p.m.