International Artists Exhibit in Santa Monica
in Between Two Seas/LA International
at Arena 1 Gallery
Curated by Luigia Martelloni
and Transmission in the Hangar Galleries, MART Gallery and Studios Dublin
Through November 17th
By Genie Davis
Two very different, internationally focused exhibitions inhabit galleries at Santa Monica Airport — a particularly apt location considering many of the participating artists’ works often require a flight to view. But through November 17th, LA locals can simply drive toward the coast to take in these strong shows.
Between Two Seas/LA International at Arena 1, curated by Italian-born Luigia Martelloni, is a beautifully exhibited group show featuring 30 artists from around the world. The show offers mixed-media works, paintings, and photography as diverse and exciting as their countries of origin. Artists hail from Japan, Turkey, Mexico, China, Holland, France, England, the Dominican Republic, Germany, South Africa, Italy, Canada, and the U.S. among others. What each has in common is neither medium nor nation, but rather an acute visual eye that transcends locale with a universal vision of exciting beauty.
Participating artists include Lynn Aldrich, Krista Augius, Luigi Billi, Janine Brown, Roberto Donatelli, David Eddington, Scherezade Garcia, Jerome Glomaud, Chadefaux, John Goetz, Yossi Govrin, Kio Griffith, Rachel Grynberg, Uemon Ikeda, Deborah Lynn Irmas, Jay Mark Johnson, Veda B.Kaya, Jeremy Kidd, David Koenig, Luigia Martelloni, Andy Moses, Jackie Nach, Miguel Osuna, Claudia Parducci, Claudia Concha Perea, Mei Xian Qiu, Osceola Refetoff, Tanja Rector, Doni Silver Simons, Alberto Vannetti, Alexo Wandael, Tania Welz, and Wim Wenders.
Artists were carefully culled by Martelloni to “create a connection of cultures through artistic projects,” and to address the wonderful but potentially terrifying transitionary moments and days in which we “find ourselves suspended between two spaces.” Addressing prescient issues of international refugee migrations, the creative and humanitarian importance of co-existence, and often heartbreaking stories of displaced immigrants, Between Two Seas resonates with the freedom and connectivity that art itself represents, “independent of ethnicity and religion,” as Martelloni states.
The exhibition posits that the artist is a bridge between two seas – a physical space and a longing for connection and transport.
Andy Moses presents an acrylic on plexiglass work, “Circumnavigation,” an image that is as liquid as a sea bathed in red sunset. Janine Brown creates another form of liquid wonder, delicate, tear-drop-shaped, hand-crocheted wire sculptures, “Tears of a Wallflower.” Suspended from the ceiling, they seem not just tears but also the expanding conduit of feeling, of sorrow, of understanding – ultimately waiting to descend. Lynn Aldrich’s “Sprinkler” is a floor sculpture featuring garden hoses, aluminum, and steel. It is a blossoming plant of a piece, nurtured perhaps by Brown’s “Tears.” Martelloni’s own “Souls of Salt SOS” is a gorgeous centerpiece, a wooden boat with space blanket, fish bowl, and salt as well as a paper list of over 34,000 documented refugee and migrant deaths due to restrictive immigration policies in Europe. The gold of the blanket is a false value: what is precious is what it could ostensibly cover – human life. Another vessel arrives in the form of Kio Griffith’s bleach on diazotype film work “Coral Sea (Heavy Fog).”A photograph on plexiglass, Mei Xian Qiu’s “8075” gives us a soldier with a flower blocking his/her lips. Osceola Refetoff displays a series of five photographs, each infrared exposures shot in the Mojave desert. Desolate and haunting, they exude both the promise and abandonment of open spaces, the American Dream, and the ephemeral quality of even the most “solid” of human endeavors, dwarfed by the vastness of landscape.
Claudia Parducci’s “Burro (Non-Utilitarian)” is an abstract sculpture of sawed apart sawhorses, rope, and paint, both animal and object. Alberto Vannetti’s depiction of a burro, “Enigma dell’asino” is figurative, a profile in mixed media on fabric, a flag waved to survival and hope. Emblematic of the lives of immigrants and diaspora, Jackie Nach’s “Earth Vessels” shaped from South African Soil on zebra dung paper mounted on canvas, and Uemon Ikeda’s ghostly watercolors “Rain the Sea, Star in the Night” give us images that deliver landscape as destiny; so too do works such as Roberto Donatelli’s “Italian Nights” and Jerome Glomaud Chadefaux’s rich oil depiction of the ocean in “Memory.”
Hold these images close: none of us are foreign, all of us are bound to this earth, these seas.
Just down the hall from Arena 1, in the Hangar Galleries, MART Gallery and Studios Dublin present Transmission, an exhibition of Irish artists that looks at light itself as a material, one to be used to reflect, dissect, and reinvent the world. Dublin curators Matthew Nevin and Deirdre Morrissey show the works of Sofie Loscher, Helen Mac Mahon, and Robin Price. These are experimental and experiential images, many abstract, examining that which is visible and illuminated, and that which is not fully understood even in the light. There is an edge of science in each of these works, and an edge of the ephemeral: light itself is a ghost that we see and allows us to be seen.
Loscher presents geometric sculptures and cyanotype prints that have the feeling of a mandala in their construction; Mac Mahon seeks to show the possibility of seeing beyond limitations and existing patterns with her use of everyday materials including concrete and glass; Price’s experimental photographic works are dazzlingly mysterious, recorded using a custom-built digital light painter and wearable sensors. Her works reveal air pollution by enlarging microscopic particulates normally invisible to the eye.
ARENA 1 GALLERY
3026 AIRPORT AVENUE, SANTA MONICA CA 90405