Thursday, November 17, 2011
“Everything has its beauty,” Andy Warhol famously declared, “but not everyone sees it.”
MPC Art Gallery’s latest exhibit, Quotidian Reconsidered, aims to help more people (if not everyone), see it, by way of the works of Gary Shallcross and Dora Lisa Rosenbaum. Both artists focus on everyday items in fresh ways, recognizing beauty in unconventional places.
Shallcross, a former Monterey resident now living in Santa Fe, brings out that beauty with a unique approach to photography: He shoots images of glassware, often through other glasses, then prints them on aluminum sheets.
As the first glass bends and refracts the contours of the second piece, its shape and color are amplified, and the result is an atypical illumination of a simple subject that isn’t actually the subject at all. Light, not the glass, becomes the star.
One piece simply titled “Glass Work No. 1” reveals a black-and-white photograph of a drinking glass with warped lighting that brings out blurred lines and a smoky effect.
“The banal,” says gallery curator Melissa Pickford, “is made precious.”
Rosenbaum, meanwhile, employs mixed media prints to elevate commonalities like ceramic dish sets and women’s underwear. In one piece called “Prospect,” what looks like a rack of about a dozen pairs of red panties are actually amazingly intricate etchings on mulberry paper.
Pieces like this can push audiences to look more closely at things we take for granted – her art seems to delve into the effects of everyday decisions on a societal level, urging viewers to consider how our often-automated actions have wider implications.
“We forget to notice that the food we eat for breakfast or the clothes we wear are not merely a matter of idiosyncratic taste,” she says. “Rather, through these choices, we project ourselves onto the world, producing appropriate social dispositions. My work foregrounds these seemingly thoughtless and individual – yet deeply meaningful – social practices.”
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Warhol’s unique take on beauty still hangs at the Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada.
His exhibit, a first for the area, juxtaposes sharply with the latest MontereyNOW exhibit, which showcases the nature-based art of Paul Roehl at MMA’s other venue on Pacific Street in downtown Monterey.
Aristotle might have had Roehl in mind when he insisted that, “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” The Santa Cruz-based Roehl appears intent to remind us that nature is inherently marvelous through paintings of landscapes, trees and other natural features. Squarely aimed at the tree climber in us all, they explore nature’s unique claim to mystery and beauty.
One striking oil on canvas, “Antonelli’s Pond, Clearing Storm,” depicts a tranquil pond surrounded by lush trees and brush. The setting sun unleashes pinks that play with blues on the water’s surface, giving it a calming glow.
His works will share the wall at MMA-Pacific with that of scores of local artists who submitted creations for the MMA’s annual Miniatures, featuring no fewer than 371 small-scale artworks. The participating artists donated paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings as unique as each individual artist’s persona. “Vintage Peony 2011,” for example, uses soft lighting and feathery brush strokes to give two closely nestled peonies life. The careful shadowing summons an illusion of light emanating from within the flowers’ petals.
This year marks the first time that kids will be included; the Kids Miniatures collection showcases work from future Picassos as young as 5. All guests are encouraged to enter a raffle that could gift them a piece of their choice. Tickets go for $5 (or seven for $30), and the drawing will take place on Jan. 2.
Quotidian Reconsidered opens with an artists reception 12:30-2:30pm Thursday, Nov. 17 (1pm artists’ talk), at MPC Art Gallery, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. Free admission, $1 parking. 646-3060, www.mpcgallery.com
MontereyNOW: Paul Roehl and Miniatures open with a reception 5-7pm Thursday, Nov. 17, at MMA-Pacific, 559 Pacific St. Monterey. Free. 372-5477. www.montereyart.org