First Fridays – It’s when all the arts all over the Bay Area seem to be on display. The Pacific Art League, for instance had an opening reception for four exhibits in their make-shift facility on Forest (their longtime, historic home next door is undergoing a major retrofit overhaul). There was a solo exhibition of watercolor paintings by Zhao Nan Duan, Fur, Feathers & Fins, a regional group exhibition juried by Michael Azgour, a group exhibition of contemporary abstract work and The Beats – Back Where It All Began, poetry and music presented by Leah Lubin. A lot going on in a very small space!
When I arrived with my family we had just missed the announcements and award ceremony. My painting, End of Spring, was hanging in the corner behind the large watercolor by Zhao Nan Duan which had been placed there to introduce him but remained for most of the evening. The poets and musicians were in full swing and my family left without getting to see my piece on exhibit. Sigh!
The poetry and music was a big hit and there was a great turn out for it, something I may have been in the mood for if I was in a different frame of mind but I was really more interested in speaking with the other visual artists who were attending the reception.
Congratulations to Isaias Sandoval, who I know from the Los Gatos Art Association. He was awarded first place for his oil painting Sad Rose. He had both fur and feathers! The juror loved his use of metaphor.
Denise Howard took second place for her graphite drawing, Golfer’s Error. Here the juror appreciated her light consistent touch and the clear telling of a complete story. And I had asked my kids before the show if they thought I would have the only dead animal in the show! Denise tells me that she’d also drawn a sparrow, called Ascension, who had sadly hit her window.
Maura Carta was awarded third place for her oil painting Rabbit. Here the juror commented on the varied but cohesive brush strokes that beautifully evoked the softness of the plush toy and blanket.
My friend Mei-Ying Dell’Aquila was awarded honorable mention for Liberty Prometheus : Gift, the oil painting on the left. Her Liberty Prometheus : Punishment was also selected for the exhibition. Mei-Ying’s works are rich with symbolism and allegory, my photo caught too much glare and doesn’t do them justice.
Here’s a detail from Liberty Prometheus : Gift – her crow and pomegranate are two subjects I’m always drawn to and she’s rendered them so lushly!
I’m a big fan of my friend Jaya King’s work she has a playful and whimsical side as seen here in her painting, Black, White and Red All Over and a moving lyrical side which is evidenced in her work through Nieto Fine Art.
My daughter and I were quite taken with this oil painting by Ellen Litwiller entitled Quagga (Last One Died August 12, 1883). It’s faded sepia tones are like an old photograph, it has a loose ghostly quality so suitable for a tragically extinct animal, the repetition of vertical lines throughout bring to mind a cage and echo the pattern of it’s coat. The incorporation of text not only lends context but is a great graphic element that helps to anchor the piece.
The soft patterns and richly subdued color palette of Marte Thompson’s acrylic painting, Discussion (Discus) were really lovely.
Finally, my oil painting, End of Spring was revealed near the end of the reception, just in time for a snap – compliments of my photographer friend, Ron Dell’Aquilla (who just won first place in the the Triton Museum of Art’s 2013 Statewide Photography Competition/ Exhibition where he was awarded his own solo show)! I capped off my evening over impossibly viridian green Italian drinks, mint in name only, with my very first Californian friend, artist Ai Aroner, who used to work at the Pacific Art League in the days that I volunteered there back before the dot.com bust. Cin-cin!