Gavlak Los Angeles
through May 25th
“Growing up I did not fit in. I never knew the Slang of the day. I was always ‘other’ & ‘outside of’, even in my own community I was strange. This changed for me when I had no other choice but to listen to my soul, to trust it. The parts of myself that only quake from the inside of the inside of the inside.” ~Vanessa German
Vanessa German is a powerful poet. Her potent charged words come forth in her riveting performances. Striking, they produce emotional ripples, provoke reflection, and inspire action. She speaks passionately about many urgent issues of the day – crime, violence, discrimination, identity, community, and hypocrisy of religious and political institutions. And just as fervently she speaks about Love – love for one’s family, neighbors, nature and our planet. When speaking of social ills, German doesn’t just point things out, she actively works within her community in Homewood (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), striving to bring lasting changes, protect, empower and also heal. All that the artist is and does literally and figuratively is imbedded in her artwork, which is magical and powerful in its imagery and the ideas it puts forward.
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When Gwen Samuels created a realistic sculpture of a ram’s head, she was very excited. According to the artist, the result was “an excellent copy.” Proudly, she showed it to a good friend who unenthusiastically said, “Well, if that’s the way you want to go…” Luckily, this friend knew Gwen very well and understood what made her unique. Gwen went back to work. She cut the sculpture, added a few details, now her ram had its own personality. “It had this amazing neck piece. The horns were going in crazy directions. That’s ME! No one can copy that.”
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Artist Jwan Yosef is cool, calm and collected. With serious countenance, he jokes often. Through his work, Yosef has been trying to answer his own questions–identity, politics, religion, sexuality and sense of belonging are the topics he addresses. The concept of duality presents itself frequently in Yosef’s work and the origin of it stems from his personal history, filled with many opposites that produced so much unity. Only a person who questions his feelings about and understanding of his environment and his place in it, can eventually arrive at certainty about feeling uncertain and find confidence in spite of the inner ambivalence.
A walk through the exhibition rooms at Praz-Delavallade in Los Angeles reveals a number of paintings, sculptures and objects that ambiguously fall in either of the two categories. If this is your first time seeing the work of Jwan Yosef, questions, one after another, will certainly pop up in your head. You may or may not think of the answers, but you most likely will not stay emotionally indifferent.
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As you walk into Joseph Gross Gallery in Los Angeles, you come to face a large sculptural tapestry that immediately transports you from Chinatown to the Middle East or the Ancient Greece or Rome. The hanging white cotton rag looks like a facade of a marble mausoleum. It gives a sense of solidity, grandiosity, and at the same time of beauty, delicacy, and serenity. The protruding middle part looks like a mashrabiya, known in English as a “harem window,” a characteristic architectural element of Arab residencies, famous for the latticework decorating its wooden window panels. Evoking this images, the middle part of the artwork has several cut-out vertical rectangles that look like windows. The ‘walls’ surrounding them display intricate patterns of crossing lines and smaller diamond-shaped cutouts that form a grid allowing the light to pass through and create shadows on the gallery wall behind the hanging sculpture. Shadow adds to the visual perception of the work creating the depth and adding another layer of hidden patterns.
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Claremont Graduate University
East and Peggy Phelps Galleries
Until September 28, 2018
Conversation with Dixie Lyn Boswell and H.C. Arnold, curators of The Shape of Sound exhibition, on view at the Claremont Graduate University until September 28. It is the first posthumous solo exhibition of work by sound artist Michael Brewster.
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A digital sculptor and 3D animator, Swedish artist David Aberg spent almost a decade honing his craft: staying up-to-date on the constantly evolving technology and learning the outlines of the human body to be able to digitally render corporal parts with anatomical precision. “I am a sculptor who creates sculptures that don’t exist in real life. Technology allows me to create these artworks in exceptional detail, to make them look entirely believable in virtual media.”
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