Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday in the Arts

Art.  One word says it all.  What better way could there be to spend a Saturday?  This past Saturday my day was filled with art shows and lectures.  The two that made the biggest impression on me were at polar ends of the spectrum in terms of content and style.

Royale Projects in Indian Wells hosted a lecture by guest curator Charlotte Eyerman who spoke about their current exhibit/project "So Much Depends".  Upon entering the gallery you are transported to a space that is filled with paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures and installations that use text or absence of text representing commentary upon the world or creation of a world.  What do these words or absence of conjure in your mind?

A week later I'm still thinking about the exhibit and its meaning in life, or more specifically my life.  I will not profess to understand what I see, or interpret the paintings and their meaning.

I was left with a few questions that I am contemplating.  If Timothy Ernst's piece "Hobo Rant (1)" was something uplifting or a beautiful phrase, would it have the same impact on you?  Would you even be interested in the piece and interacting with it?  Tom Friedman's piece "Untitled (Critique)" which consists of 20 framed drawings, is it genius because to fully appreciate this work you have to interact with it?  This is definitely not a piece that you can gaze upon from 20 feet across the room and appreciate it.  Is that the purpose of contemporary art of this style - to challenge the viewer to intellectually understand the message the artist is conveying?

This exhibit is definitely worth a visit to before it closes.

Pondering those questions, we moved on to J. Willott Gallery in Palm Desert where award winning watercolorist Dean Mitchell was having his first artist reception in our valley.  Dean Mitchell is a master watercolorist who conveys so much in his brushstroke, and tells stories that I want to know more about with his portrayal of people, time and space.   Not only is he possibly the best watercolorist out there, he is also a master with oil and acrylic.  His ability to move between mediums and still capture the essence of his stories amazes me.

Dean Mitchell is currently on exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art in Canton Ohio, and The Autry Museum in Burbank, California where he just received the award for best watercolorist at the Masters of the American West show.  Josh O. and  Josh P. certainly knew what they were doing when they brought this talented individual to their gallery.

If you think watercolors are just for your grandma's painting group - think again.  These are powerful paintings that pack an emotional punch.   Stop by J. Willott to experience it.  I challenge you to view the beautiful winter scene in the window and not feel the bitter cold, the haunting romance of the forest, the depth of the painting that draws you in.  Get lost in the faces of the musicians, the old man sitting on the porch - the stories they could tell.

Both exhibits were intellectually stimulating, sensually pleasing, and worth the visit.  I left both galleries with the desire to bring these artists home.

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