“Lifelines”, the new group show at GDCA, brings together an exciting mix of painting, mixed media, collage, photography and glass art. There are many new names and fresh voices to be discovered in this well-balanced ensemble. An element of note is that this exhibit introduces artists from out of state, in addition to the wide array of local talent on display. Their works are interpretations about what elements connect us emotionally and physically to our past, present and future, to ourselves, as well as to each other.
Participating Artists - Cody Riess, Charles McCauley, Claudio Luchina, Mike Lanni, Jonas Bienenfeld, Michelle Chapman, Cynthia Ann Swan and Clara Berta.
Cody Riess - Abstract expressionist Cody Riess makes a stunning DTLA debut. Her dynamic and colorful explorations are sublime. The paintings have immediate emotional impact. Her gestures reach out to us in bold abandon, only to ensnare us into a closer view of delicate, restrained accent lines. Riess adeptly traverses both the feminine and masculine aspects within us - while her gestures ground us, her color palette is cool and expansive, setting into motion our imagination. Many of the works are inspired by the artists’ travels through Europe, and greatly formed by her years living in the rich and complex culture of New Orleans.
Charles McCauley - Charles McCauley's photographs bring inexplicable beauty to the painfully private view into the decaying walls and personal objects of an abandoned Virginia farmhouse. Life has been drained from these premises, yet the echoes remain. Now distant cries and whispers still cling to the walls and imbue the essence of these rooms. For this particular showing McCauley selected a series of detail shots, featuring extreme close ups of decaying walls, so visceral that you can almost taste them, while contrasting them with muted monochromatic tones and diffused romantic lighting.
Claudio Luchina - Looking at the work of Claudio Luchina, time stands still. His paintings are layered with narrative, the sweet, the wistful and the humorous. Like many poets, he masters the subtlety of emotion, by distilling both the small and seemingly insignificant exchange and the profound insight with equal measure and affection.
Mike Lanni - Mike Lanni’s canvas surfaces are not subtle. They are sexy, alluring and quite surprising, as the central medium reveals itself to be a substance, near and dear to many of us: Coffee. The pieces leap off the wall, combining minimal composition with high contrast mono-chromatics, refined by a polished surface treatment. Equally surprising are the depths of color the coffee yields, which is determined by the varying degrees of concentration. The designs are gently guided by the artist’s hand, and then left to their natural evaporation process. As the stains settle and coagulate, they reveal occasional grains of sediment, bringing to mind the gypsy traditions of reading our future in coffee grounds or tealeaves. Indeed many of the images could second as Rorschach tests, as our eye and mind wrestle for supremacy.
Jonas Bienenfeld - Jonas Bienenfeld began making his photographic mark in Downtown LA in 2007. Word spread quickly about his knack for gaining access to otherwise closed-off locations, and allowing his viewers rare glimpses into moments reserved for the far and few select VIP. How the photographer manages to overcome the barriers of any given scene becomes the secret back-story to each image. On display at GDCA this month is a dramatic aluminum print of a Western Sunset, aglow in pinks and oranges, as well as his award-winning image of nighttime DTLA ”City Lights”. The city begins to alight, outlining its high-rise structures against the night-blue sky – it is the ultimate image of 21st century urban romance, making any bonafide Downtowner’s heart beat faster.
Michelle Chapman - Michelle Chapman’s undulating organic shapes strive upward through the surrounding space. Much like plant-life plotting it’s way through the earth, or gaseous forms moving through liquid, we feel life force moving. The painting achieves a magnificent tension between density and space. Equally interesting are the juxtaposition of her bright joyous colors against their saturated matte black background. The recipe works, it brings a smile to our face and oxygen to the brain.
Cynthia Ann Swan - A continuation of Cynthia Ann Swan’s Sea Circle Series, the current collection of glass sculptures includes the very first piece created in the artist’s mentorship with Boyce Lundstrom. These pieces have never been exhibited before, and complete the collection of Swan’s Ocean Side Series. The vast creative breadth of Swan’s glass work has created a loyal following at this Downtown Venue, and clients have come to look forward to the next installation of her freestanding or wall-mounted sculptures. Luminous and liquid, the sculptures abstractly reference sea life, while once again bringing astonishing emotional articulation and warmth to an under-exhibited medium, which is finally gaining serious attention.
Clara Berta - Clara Berta’s canvasses are a study in motion. Her collage work is textured with organic and recycled materials, ranging from seaweed to actual fossils, masterfully incorporated into luscious, rich colors, which bring to mind the landscape and oceans of Southern Italy. Though highly abstracted, her paintings suggest the atmospheric feelings of a Turner. Then, displaying a new direction for the otherwise bold colorist, the artist offers us a delicate, almost translucent coffee monochrome. This internal and quiet work accents its surface textures like a graphite etching. It is also testament to artistic individuality. While Berta and Lanni share the medium of coffee, their two interpretations could not be more different…a nice punctuation to the exhibit.
“Lifelines” will be on display at GDCA through February 28th.
Reception 6-8 p.m.
Gloria Delson Contemporary Gallery
Parking at Joe's $5 on Spring Street, gallery is across the street a few doors down.