Dialectic of Being and Becoming at 18th Street Arts Center

Dialectic of Being and Becoming: Realization at of Fullness, curated by Khang Bao Nguyen. At the 18th Street Art Center. Photo credit: Kristine Schomaker.

A Full Sense of Artistic and Spiritual Realization

Dialectic of Being and Becoming: Realization of Fullness

Curated by Khang Bao Nguyen

18th Street Art Center

On view through October 21st

by Genie Davis

Poetry in motion. Performance tied to stationary art, and a world of meaning that springs to life. A group show that is both witty and profound.

All of these descriptive phrases offer a glimpse of the multi-layered experience at Dialectic of Being and Becoming: Realization at of Fullness, curated by Khang Bao Nguyen. At the 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica through October, the exhibition’s opening allowed viewers to participate in a strongly spiritual sense of flow, both within the highly dimensional wall art and sculptural pieces, and through the performances that marked the opening night.

Participating visual artists include Brian Randolph, Chenhung Chen, China Adams, Colin Roberts, Debby and Larry Kline, Doug Harvey, Hagop Najarian, Khang Nguyen, Kristine Schomaker, Michael Carter, Pranay Reddy, Samuelle Richardson, and Tyler Waxman. Performances included Brad Hironaga, Christy Roberts Berkowitz, Mannlicher Carcano, Mark D. McConnell, Molly Jo Shea, Mei Hotta, Snezana Petrovic, Takeshi Kanemura, and an especially evocative performance by Thinh Nguyen which essentially expressed ideas of identity, illusion, and the masks we hide behind or cocoon ourselves in.

The thematic idea of fullness – self-order for becoming consummate in the future, and deconstruction of the perceived self, as the show’s printed concept explains – includes art works that are a whirl of color, shape, and meaning. Many of the pieces seemed to viscerally express ideas that slip past ordinary understanding, passing into the contemplative realm. Should a viewer be interested in becoming more aware or self-realized? These works serve as a form of guidance into an inner spiritual understanding.

Many of the artists’ works have an incisive, intimate quality. Chenhung Chen’s delicate, even ephemeral copper wire sculptures seem to embody a sense of movement and wonder. Kristine Schomaker’s sculptural work is a fascinating shape, ribbons of interwoven color that actually represent the re-utilization or refinement of past works created by the artist. The shape invites viewers to peer through slotted space, to circle the circumference of the piece, which resembles both the construct of a multi-colored skyscraper and a double helix in molecular biology – a building block of life and consciousness. Likewise, curator Khang Bao Nguyen offers an immersive, mandala-like painting in rich layers of green and grey and silver. The pattern is mesmerizing; the form that of something both holy and entirely alien, as if it had alighted from a different planet in a more spiritual realm.

Hagop Najarian’s work has the feeling of abstract stained-glass; an inward glow suffusing especially the oranges and pinks in a multi-colored palette of primarily geometric lines and shapes. Debby and Larry Kline’s lush black and white works, the phrase “3 EYES” running vertically between two images, one of which features the eyes of a potato, while drones circle a rather apocalyptic landscape; the other a man with a singularly long lensed telescope or perhaps a periscope, pointed down, with an eye at its lens. The frame above the work features eye-like shapes. We are encouraged to look within, and to truly “see” our way of life. Beautifully, realistically detailed, the humor and absurdist quality of the subjects create a rich dichotomy.

This is a lovely show with a deep nature. It can be enjoyed purely on the surface as interesting, beautifully-created and constructed art; or it can be viewed as an opportunity to look within and see what visions we may personally manifest in a quest for self-realization.

18th Street Arts Center
https://18thstreet.org
1639 18th Street
Santa Monica, CA
90404
Gallery hours: 11am – 5pm, M-F
Office hours: 9am – 5pm, M-F

 

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