Garden Variety, Growing Great Art
through March 16
Brand Library & Art Center, Glendale
By Genie Davis
“Garden Variety” at the Brand Library & Art Center through March 16th, is a lush group show almost as fecund as a garden itself. While the exhibition’s description says that the works explore “the systems and experiences that encapsulate notions of timekeeping,” that is not the only take-away. One feels also a sense of nature’s chaos and order, tranquility and treasure, of nature’s mystery and man’s desire to unravel it.
Curated by Katie Bode, the exhibition features the work of artists Kristin Cammermeyer, Cameron Crone, Jenalee Harmon, Karen Kimmel, Bessie Kunath, Megan Mueller, Lydia Maria Pfeffer, Sam Scharf, Theresa Sterner, Arden Surdam, Sarah Ann Weber, Zach Trow, and John Zane Zappas.
Lydia Maria Pfeffer’s Water Witch is an almost whimsical acrylic on canvas work with mysterious figures in a variety of shapes and sizes. They appear as if they were creatures growing like flowers, and are reminiscent of the works of Marc Chagall. The watery look of the piece is magical, a fairytale world. Quite a contrast, Samuel Scharf’s 8hr Day is a sculptural piece comprised of lights on wood and cords; this is what man does, what man illuminates. Megan Mueller’s series of silver halide archival prints, Bent 1-18, are displayed in a pattern that could be the wings of a bird in flight against one large wall. Seen individually, these works are reflections, watery, and translucent; they are images viewed in a puddle of water, through wavering glass, in a mirrored fragment, as if in a dream. While it is a more somber, elegant work, Arden Surdam’s Gladiolus for a Funeral, an archival inkjet print draped with silk, evokes a similar feeling, of caught motion, reflection, and growing things captured.
Zach Trow’s marble with blue insulation foam sculpture, Treading with Tamagotchi references the handheld digital pet from the 90s while creating an image that speaks of man’s harsh impression on the surface of nature. Trow, working with Theresa Sterner has also created a compelling five minute HD video in Point Break Dance, shot at Indian Beach, Ore. Ritualistic, the dance plays out across a flat stretch of sand with the iconic coastal rock formations of the region intractable behind them. The silvery look of the piece is as of-the-sea as the backdrop; the human figures are in motion, yet, despite their movements there is something about them as immutable as the rocks themselves. Perhaps the intent here is to show that our rootedness, our attempts at transformation, are nothing like that of the tides.
Karen Kimmel’s elegant, monochrome works serve as a kind of artistic haiku, subtle in shape as well as in palette. Sarah Ann Weber’s While I Fall Further Behind vibrates with light and color, a dance of images that is delicately impressionistic. Kristin Cammermeyer’s multi-media works are haunting and exquisite; layers that take repeated viewings to absorb. Camerone Crone’s black and white photography is awash in evocative shadows.
From hypnotic video installations to porcelain and pine sculptural works, this garden is a variety of art, one that blossoms in thoughtful beauty.
Brand Library & Art Center
1601 W Mountain St
Glendale, California 91201