By: Cynthia Underwood
ALAC, Feb 19, 2019, Santa Monica, CA (The Hollywood Times) Some people complain about art fairs and I’m guessing they haven’t been to Art Los Angeles Contemporary. The show is held in Santa Monica’s famed Barker Hanger and was laid out very nicely with wide walkways and easy access to each of the stalls. ALAC is smaller than Frieze LA and less frenetic which makes it so much easier to take ample time looking at the work and absorb what is seen.
I had an opportunity to talk with Genevieve Williams of Peter Blake Gallery about the epic Lita Albuquerque piece, The Lights Inside It, 2018. She says, “These paintings are labor-intensive works – Lita applies thirty or forty layers of gesso to wood panel before she applies the final layers of hand-mixed color made from natural pigments. The density of the background reflects light, instead of absorbing light, which creates auras around the center discs.
We are very pleased to have placed this in the collection of a local client, who plans to ultimately donate the work to the MCA Collection in San Diego.
As a side note, Lita devastatingly lost her home and studio in the recent Malibu Woolsey fire, so it was especially poignant for us to have shown her work this week.”
From all of us here at The Hollywood Times, we mourn your loss with you, Lita, and hope the very best for you.
As my astute art buddy, Jane, and I looked, mingled and unraveled meanings of different pieces, we at times were in awe, other times surprised and then also noticed the sameness of some of the trendy, collage-like, patterned paintings. While the highly patterned paintings that are in demand today are pretty to look at, it’s pieces like John Margaritis’ Untitled -Plexiglass printed photograph mounted on aluminum LED lightbox, that got us talking. Why did he light a basketball hoop on fire? Is there a deep meaning? Where is this located? How many times did he have a go at this before he got just the right shot?
My astute art buddy Jane in front of an engaging painting.
I noticed quite a few skulls in ALAC this year. The painting by Aussie painter Michael Zavros at Starkwhite was particularly interesting to me. Generally, I appreciate photo-realism for the talent but am not drawn to it otherwise. Zavros’s piece definitely draws me in. This modern piece replete with symbols of death, or maybe life, causes me to put aside thoughts like skulls are gruesome and replace it with the wonder of th
e birth-life-death circle that may be suggested in this painting with the vibrant red living plants, the skull and the other objects. Bravo, Zavros.
When I got home and was emptying out my bag of all the ephemera I collected at this years successful ALAC, I came across a handmade Megan Whitmarsh newspaper that was given out freely. Over a glass of wine I perused the paper at first just lightly glancing about like a person does at the end of any long day. As I read on I became more and more enchanted by her imagination and cool creation. Artists are idea people and they also bring a freshness to ideas that have been around for ages. Whitmarsh’s paper includes Haiku’s that imaginary readers sent in like:
Please don’t get arrested
While I eat breakfast.
My favorite part of her newspaper is in her Free Ideas where she tells us “make our own money.” I think she’s onto something there. Maybe artists can make enough of their own money so that they could afford to live in the awesome, yet increasingly expensive City of Angels.
On any given day, you can find me, Cynthia Underwood, writing for The Hollywood Times or painting in my studio with my big orange cat, Stewie, who is a celebrated art expert. I’ve worked on over 6,000 Design Patents in my career as a Design Patent Examiner with the US Patent and Trademark Office.