Portals at Angels Gate Cultural Center Offers New Dimensions in Art
Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro
Through March 26, 2022
Written by Genie Davis
Curated by Stephanie Sherwood, PORTALS, at Angels Gate Cultural Center through March 26th, features work by Erin Harmon, Erika Lizée, Elana Mann, Yevgeniya Mikhailik, Alicia Piller, Adam Rabinowitz, Esther Ruiz, Howard Schwartzberg, and Svetlana Shigroff.
Described as a collection of works that examine boundaries and doorways both physical and metaphorical, the exhibition offers visceral images of change and mystical experience. Mediums are varied, from sculpture to tapestry to mixed media, offering a lusciously unconventional look at possibilities for transformation and transport to a different, more dazzling visual realm.
One of the most stunning works in an exhibition full of richness is Erika Lizée’s large-scale, site-specific piece, which is multi-dimensional in form and spirit. Created from acrylic, Dura-lar, and plastic, the 30-foot-long sculptural piece is a doorway into a spiritually psychedelic world. “The Subtle Body Prepares for Emergence,” is so physically present that it emerges from the wall as a wormhole would in space. The colors are jeweled, the swirling physicality almost tactile. The viewer feels compelled to explore the work, as if observing a crystal cave, or a window into another dimension. With purples, blues, and emeralds as her palette, Lizée’s portal is immensely appealing and summoning.
Another large-scale work also summons. While not auditory, the work appears to be waiting for the viewer to decipher the way to play it, and in doing so, enter a different realm. Elana Mann’s “Our work is never done (unfinished business)” is a stand-alone sculptural piece created from fiberglass, resin, enamel, and paint, originally commissioned by Artpace San Antonio. It is both trumpet and tube, alien and ancient; and like Lizée’s work, it speaks of a distant world beyond or within our own. Along with this massive piece, Mann also offers several other “histaphone” pieces, smaller in scale and equally fascinating.
Yevgeniya Mikhailik’s series “Barrow 1 -VIII” are as disturbing as they are beautiful. Graphite on paper, the monochrome series is finely rendered, depicting an opening gap, a mysterious emerging passageway, strange and fascinating. How large will this gap grow? What will it encompass? As with other, more abstract works she exhibits here, Mikhailik reveals a quiet but pressing intensity.
From Alicia Piller, there’s a portal that seems to float captivatingly on water or air, resembling a kind of net in which our conventional beings could be captured, entangled, and transported. “Blue Memories, Flooding Back. Navigating Tongva Waters” is a large-scale and site-specific work in which she utilizes vinyl, foam, latex balloons, resin, gel medium, and other mixed media to ensnare.
Esther Ruiz’ “Well” series of wall sculptures are mesmerizing. Each are roughly cylindrical in shape, mirror-like and entirely alluring. Using an encirclement of neon, these mixed-media works show illusive depth, as liquid and undefinable as any water-well ringed by sunlight. They could also be viewed as planets, or the footprint of cosmic implosions.
Working in reclaimed and new fabrics, Svetlana Shigroff creates vivid and trippy tapestries that evoke magic mushrooms, pop art, tribal art, and at the same time, continue a tradition of elegant and elaborate tapestries from past centuries. Bright colors and floral motifs draw viewers in, but it is her nuanced and layered spirituality that resonates, particularly in works such as “Welcome, Home” and “Refusal of Man.”
Finally, Howard Schwartzberg exhibits a varied series of work. There are limited edition prints in a brown and blue palette that resemble diagrams or blueprints from another world, as well as sculptural work such as his two “Open Space Bandage” wall pieces that add a surreal dimension to the wall on which they hang as well as within the work.
Wonderfully experiential, Portals are waiting for entry Thursdays through Saturdays.
Note that downstairs, a lovely, meditative show from late artist Stuart Hamilton, Earthly Meditations encompasses 50 works depicting the small and fragile elements of the natural world.