Archive for April, 2009

BEFORE AFTER

Posted by erin on April 25th, 2009

Lewis deSoto’s Journey
By Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

Entering the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art’s Project Room at the beginning of the Lewis deSoto retrospective exhibition Before After, a video documents the creation and adventures of the artist’s car, the DeSoto Conquest (parked outside the Gallery). The car is a fictitious example of a restored “sexy” Detroit prototype car, and references the artist’s conflicted relationship to the Conquistador of the same name. In discussing the personal obsession that drove him to realize this complex work of art, deSoto does not mince words in naming the brutal legacy of rape and murder his ancestor Hernando deSoto left in the new world, from Peru through the southern United States. Built on the body of a 1965 Chrysler, the Conquest includes such added and meaningful decorative motifs as a symbolic gold sword. One of several ironies in this project is that deSoto’s recreation of this concept car is so convincing it wins awards at vintage car shows.

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Lewis deSoto: the Restoration…his deSoto Conquest

The video interview also includes a description of deSoto’s second conceptual vehicle, a 1981 (the year that Indian tribes received the right to build and run gaming casinos) GMC pickup called Cahuilla after the Southern California tribe to which he is also related. Embellished with gambling and money-related motifs and a sound loop of casino sounds, the pickup again points to a questionable American consumer value system and recalls the troubling history of “the Hispanic” and the Native American on our continent. The Cahuilla, like the Conquest, never appears contrived. Oh-so-believable and innocent, funny and sad!

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When Times Converge

Posted by erin on April 21st, 2009

New Works by Sarah Edwards and Gregory Ito
Empire Seven Studios
By Ann Sherman

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Installing the show at Empire Seven Studios

The word “temple, “ when referring to a place of worship or sanctuary, comes from the Latin templum—itself derived from the Indo-European root tem, to cut or divide. The ancient Roman priests or augers circumscribed and set apart sacred ground, from which they took their readings of the heavens. If the word is used in relation to the area on each side of head behind the eyes, the source is the street Latin tempula, a riff on tempora, the plural of tempus, a word that meant both time and that part of the head where the pulse could be measured. When Times Converge, the collaborative installation by Bay Area artists Sarah Edwards and Gregory Ito, coalesces these etymological tributaries by crafting a space in which their own readings of the natural world find expression in a measured, timebending blend of ancient and contemporary imagery.

The focus of each artist complements that of the other: Edwards’ work concentrates upon elements of the earthly landscape—air, water, land, trees and mountains. Ito turns his gaze to the night skies and lunar phases. Together, they have converted the warehouse gallery into a kind of cosmographic contemplation zone.

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The combined elements of Ito’s and Edward’s work create a sanctuary.

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Quintessential California

Posted by erin on April 20th, 2009

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Greg Miller’s Taste Better (54″ x 72″, 2008) oil, paper, resin on panel

Greg Miller Shows at William Turner

by Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

Faculty and graduate students at San Jose State’s School of Art and Design in the early 80’s remember Greg Miller as a big darling, a good looking talented artist with a great, patient personality. He was in the SJSU Graduate MFA Program and one of the principles in the establishment of Word Works. Founded by Jessica Jacobs around the use of actual words and text in painting, Word Works was San Jose’s second gallery to address Postmodern issues at time when there was no Museum of Art and the only other alternative was landscape watercolor. Word Works began to show cutting edge art and embraced performance and installation, bringing in big name artists from outside the nascent art scene in San Jose. Works Gallery and the Institute of Contemporary Art were later offshoots of Word Works.

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A Countywide Exhibition -14 Venues

Posted by erin on April 4th, 2009

Assemblage Rules in Santa Cruz
By Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

In February and March of ’09, the considerable art scene of Santa Cruz put together a coordinated effort to bring out many the manifestations of construction, assemblage and collage in art. Solo exhibitions, and groups shows presented the work of dozens of artists – mostly from the South Bay area – in an exhaustive array. The great celebration of collections, found objects, and art making from a combination of un-arty sources and artistic impulse was led by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History where all three floors were dedicated to this show. Such important artistic contributors as veteran assemblage masters Bev Rayner, Robert Larson, Stan Welsh and Philo Northrup were shown alongside some stunning work by newcomers such as Genevieve Hastings.

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Philo Northrup’s Basic Religous Piece

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