Cathy Breslaw's Installation

Cathy Breslaw's Installation
Cathy Breslaw's Installation:Dreamscape

Friday, May 23, 2014

"Secrets and Lies", Exhibition Explores Disguise, Ruse and Revelation at Museum of Contemporary Art, Downtown, San Diego

Ellen De Meutter    Secrets and Lies   oil on canvas  

Museum of  Contemporary Art, San Diego
“Secrets and Lies” : exhibition drawn from the museum’s collection
Review by Cathy Breslaw

Secrets and Lies  is an exhibition drawn from the museum’s collection, including several new acquisitions. Centered around concepts of disguise, ruse and revelations, the show includes painting, photography, sculpture and installation. The show’s title is taken from Belgian painter Ellen De Meutter’s painting of the same name.  Her painting of two gossiping figures, hints at the questions of what is public or private, and what is fact or fiction.  Yasumasa Morimura’s “An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo”(2001), is one of a series that took the artist ten years to create.  A self portrait that is digitally manipulated, the photo appears like a painting. Morimura reconstructs Kahlo’s image with costumes and props, and questions gender, cultural and racial conventions. Al Wei Wei’s “Marble Chair”(2010), is a sculptural installation carved from a single piece of striated white marble. It is sculpted into the design of two traditional yoke-backed Ming and Qing Dynasty chairs. Wei Wei examines China’s loss of culture as it attempts to modernize itself.  Cindy Sherman’s photograph, “Untitled”(2000), transforms her own image into a southern California typecast young woman who is tanned, blond, in sporty clothing,  wearing a jeweled tiara referencing the “impossible ideal” found in airbrushed figures in magazines. Kim Dingle’s painting “Untitled(Prisspaper with Blue Hair”(1998), is an oil on wallpaper on wood, depicting toddlers running amok in the nursery, examining stereotypes of childhood and innocence. Tina Barney’s “Jill and Polly in the Bathroom”(1987), an Ektacolor Plus print, recalls Dutch genre painting while it is depicting the domestic habits of upper middle class women, questioning whether they are posing or acting. Larry Sultan’s Chronogenic print “Tasha’s Third Film”(2002), is part of a series Sultan did related to the culture surrounding the porn industry in the San Fernando Valley revealing a ‘porn’ star in an ordinary pose sitting around in curlers, hanging out in the living room waiting to perform.  The ‘white cube’ in the center of the gallery features works by Allan Sekula, photographer, filmmaker and critic whose work focused on social and political realities of labor, protest movements, and global trade. Sekula’s “Untitled Slide Sequence”(1972) reveal 25  photographs of workers leaving the General Dynamics Convair Division Aerospace Factory in San Diego at the end of a day. His photographs incorporate  a sense of the culture and historical moment of the military-industrial complex.   These and many other artists’ works comprise this thought provoking and complex exhibition.

Abstracted Jewel-Toned Landscapes Become Metaphors for California's Immigration Issues: Works by Eva Struble

Lemon Drop   acrylic,paper,screen print on wood panel  2013
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
Produce: Paintings by Eva Struble
Article written by Cathy Breslaw

Eva Struble’s paintings are chock full of jewel-toned colors, shapes and patterns, all sitting within and upon the familiar structure of the landscape.  The title of the exhibition “Produce” hints at Struble’s focus - the abundance of food yielded from the farming areas of southern California highlighting the folks who work to sustain its’ agricultural industry.  Each painting presents a stylized version of both urban and natural environments held together with a broad range of vibrant acrylic paint, paper collage, silkscreen printing, and a host of painting techniques.  These abstracted landscapes often contain traditional artisan textile patterns within the shapes of hills, rocks and other organic material. There is an accompanying short video of an interview with Struble which further explains the socio-political and environmental issues she is grappling with alongside the creation of her paintings.  In preparation for this series of works, Struble delved into historical photo archives, visited farms in San Diego County and interviewed migrant workers who came from Oaxaca, Mexico to obtain temporary labor.  She wishes to address the intersection between labor, immigration and the burgeoning agricultural industry in California. Struble’s acrylic, paper and screen prints on wood panels present some disquieting, clashing and discordant imagery and color that belie our notions of the bucolic California landscape.  Perhaps  that is Struble’s point – to re-imagine and bring awareness to the contradictions of the beauty that surrounds us.

Minimalist Steel Sculptures and Ink Drawings Spanning Four Decades - Works by San Diego artist Kenneth Capps

Kenneth Capps
Oceanside Museum of Art
Oceanside, CA - Exhibition runs through July 6th

Review by Cathy Breslaw
Crosswalk Two     free-standing steel sculpture     2012
Standing among the free-standing sculptures, ink on paper and steel drawings, and wall sculpture works by Kenneth Capps, we are reminded of artists Brancusi, Donald Judd and Robert Morris whose works fed the engine of minimalism during the mid to later twentieth century. Capps continues that line in his homage to this movement in his highly focused art practice of the past four decades.  Known for his wood and steel public art, in this exhibition Capps highlights steel and chrome, and ink on paper as his primary materials while the sphere, triangle, and square become his primary shapes.  Therein he explores the opposites of forms: rectilinear/curvilinear, convex/concave, positive/negative, and open/closed spaces. “Line” is the common denominator in all the works shown, whether they are painted, drawn or cut into steel or chrome. His lines travel in many directions, often bursts of short lines of varying thicknesses cut into steel that move in and out of three dimensional space within surfaces. While the works are limited in their color palette to mostly black, and dark steel, there is an array of surface variations of polished and shiny chrome, dull, and subtle modeled areas.  There is also an investigation of space in both the works on paper and sculpture.  Capps’s works on paper appear to be more of a way of exploring line and symbols in preparation for creating sculpture than stand alone pieces.  There are three drawings on paper that stand apart from the others which are “Cast”, “Study for D Side” and “Study for the Distortion of the Square”, all created in 1975.  These ink drawings reveal the ‘hand of the artist’ as they are roughly drawn, possess variations in color tones and exhibit mark-making
rather than the straightforward filled in lines of his other drawings.  Simplicity and economy of design best describe Kenneth Capp’s work in this exhibition.
Oceanside Museum of Art - Installation Shot   wall ink drawings and free-standing steel sculpture