Andrea Bersaglieri’s Suburban Nature
through April 21
Curve Line Space, Los Angeles
By Patrick Quinn
On a recent damp and drizzly Saturday night, a large crowd attended the opening of “Suburban Nature”, Andrea Bersaglieri’s solo show at Curve Line Space. The presentation was simple and straightforward. Three white walls displaying thirteen paintings; a few are watercolor on paper, but most are oil on canvas. The subjects she has illustrated are all from the same source, her backyard garden. But rather then flowers or trees, the artist has focused on one of nature’s least-loved creations: the garden weed.
The work is beautiful in surprising ways. The white backgrounds have colors beneath that are subtly visible like mountains behind the clouds. The intricately painted green and brown weeds have hints of red hiding behind the brush strokes. Ironically, these Zen-infused creations were the result of inner creative conflicts. She shared a few thoughts on this while discussing her work at the opening.
Originally, I discovered art through drawing. It was a way to observe and document the world around me. Over time I gravitated towards Life Drawing and eventually got my MFA in Drawing and Painting at Cal State Long Beach. As I worked my way through school it became clear that I had no interest in making narrative art. Grad school forces you to examine why you make art and what you want to say with it. I felt that I needed to spend more effort on the concept as a starting point, rather then on the image. In hindsight I realize that this led me to make a lot of unsuccessful work because I was working against my nature.
During this period, I continued to draw representationally. It was a way to relax, almost like a hobby. Eventually, this overlapped with my other hobby: gardening. Something as simple and conceptually free as a garden weed became my subject. As I documented the things I found in my yard and the climate began to dictate what was there, the work became more interesting to me and I slowly realized that the drawing hobby was the actual work. As James Joyce once said, “In the particular is the universal.”
Curve Line Space is a custom frame shop that doubles as an art gallery. The space is located on the fringe of Highland Park, far from the hipster enclaves of York Boulevard. Over the past few years, the gallery has been quietly carving out its own niche in the North East Los Angeles art scene. Suburban Nature runs through April 21st and is a good example of why the gallery is worth seeking out.