Remix: The Art of Music at Gabba Gallery
Closes today August 25th
by Genie Davis
Gabba Gallery’s annual music-themed exhibition pulses with the energy this year in Remix: The Art of Music. This year’s iteration, running through August 25th, donates a portion of all sales to benefit Adopt the Arts, which helps fund arts programs in elementary schools. Even more the reason, then, to take in over 70 varied, exciting works created by both local and international artists.
Curators and gallerists Jason Ostro and Elena Jacobson have culled a vibrant mix of music-fueled images. In one section of the show, art follows the size requirements of Gabba’s past music-themed shows, Cratedigger and Cratedigger vol. 2 which ran in 2016 and 2017. In that section, works are 12 inches square, riffing on the size of a classic LP. Here, artists created covers for bands, some real, some imaginary. This requirement was lifted in other areas of the show, creating a plethora of mixed media works, paintings, and wall sculptures of all shapes and sizes.
Exhibiting artists include a veritable who’s who of art: 8333, Alex Achaval, Kii Arens, Mickey Avalon, Mikael B, Cody Bayne, Donna Bates, Terri Berman, Bioworkz, Bohemia Incorporated, Clinton Bopp, Brandon Boyd, CANTSTOPGOODBOY, Kate Carvellas, Scottie Chapman, Keith Dugas, Dytch66, Shepard Fairey, Joey Feldman, Adam Greener, Mike Habs, Patrick Haemmerlein, Cloe Hakakian, Mary Hanson, Brooke Harker, KC Woolf Haxton, Hero, Cyrus Howlett, Iskar, Warren Jacobson, Christopher James, Jspot jr, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Korsen, Hope Kroll, Anita Kunz, Sean Kush, Andrea LaHue, Stephen Levey, Liqud Brain, Corban Lundborg, AJ Masthay, Bobbie Moline-Kramer, Moncho1929, Morley, Jules Muck, Max Neutra, Henry Niller, Jeremy Novy, Olive47, Jason Ostro, Antonio Pelayo, Isaac Pelayo, Phobik, Chris Pienta, Christina Ramos, Roaming Elephant, Joan Scheibel, Ricky Sencion, Septerhed, Jeffrey Sklan, Amy Smith, Bisco Smith, Skye Amber Sweet, Teachr, Ten Hundred, Tatiana Tensen, TrustyScribe, Vakseen, Jennifer Verge, Jimi Vieira, Christine Webb, Marion Wesson, Pastey Whyte, Mimi Yoon, Torie Zalben, and Tania Zatikian, among others.
The result is a rather magical orchestra of art styles, which play well together. There’s the vivid palette of Vakseen, with his purple infused acrylic on canvas “The Purple One” and the juicy orange, lime, and pink of “Freshhh.” These tributes to Prince and Will Smith, respectively, are alive with color. Donna Bates “Remix 02,” sleek oil on dibond, gives us a darker, more introspective look at rock celebrity.
Terri Berman’s “Hello Submarine,” acrylic on panel, riffs jauntily on The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” with the word ‘hello’ printed in yellow above the periscope, while Kate Carvellas creates a dreamy, pictographic interpretation of the lyrics for another Beatles classic, “Blackbird.” The mixed media collage on canvas is contemplative viewing.
Henry Niller’s mixed media “Rockers” offers viewers a wall of Day of the Dead-like skeletal rock stars, each on his own colored plexi-glass rectangle. El Mick Jagger, El Led Zeppelin, and El Black Sabbath – with a few black bats behind him – are among the collection of stars who appear to be enjoying their time in the after-life. More Grateful Dead than Day of the Dead, Jennifer Korsen’s skull image sends rainbows vibrating from its eyes while stars shimmer in its mouth.
Nearby, Keith Dugas’ terrifically dimensional image of a cassette mix tape “Dystopian Madrigals for a Social Recluse,” seems to soar off its background of handwritten “liner notes” belonging to other mix tapes.
Skye Amber Sweet gives us an endearing, sweet baby elephant along with several other less defined works, including an olive and pale green abstract that embodies the idea of color as sound and light. Morley’s Frightened Rabbit print – with giveaway CDs of the band, serves as an elegiac remembrance of the act. It’s not the only mention of the Scottish band. Septerhed gives us a cemetery skyline silhouette, with the band’s late frontman Scott Hutchison painted in eerie greens and golds.
Photographic artist Steven Levey showcases a number of textured, haunting LA-iconic black and white works in the show; one image, “The Stage,” features a larger than life tricycle as a noir artifact. Jeffrey Sklan, collaborating with Teachr, morphs a photographic floral image with the face of Jimi Hendrix, a deeply spiritual pairing.
Max Neutra’s psychedelic rainbow colored trio of boomboxes – “Boombox,” “Boombox Turntable,” and “Reel to Reel Boombox,” each mixed media on wood panel – thrum with indigo and hot pink. Shepard Fairey’s delightfully detailed silk screen and mixed media collage “Strummerville” evokes the days of Sun Records and Memphis rock. Andrea LaHue’s richly floral tribute “Steely Dan Die like a Genius” is a layer of magical visual elements that include a black crow, a map, blossoms, and beams of light.
In completely different ways, curator Ostro’s mosaic-like work and the vividly colored creatures that populate Joey Feldman’s mixed media on canvas work, “The 80s,” each evoke the idea of works on stained glass.
Throbbing with color, creativity, and high concept, Remix is both a lot of fun and fine art – for a cause. In supporting Adopt the Arts, the beat, as they say, goes on.