The Artwalk in May

Last weekend I decided to journey out from my catacombs in Lincoln Park and down into the glistening streets of downtown Pomona to bask in the glow of expressions of brilliant minds. As I’ve blogged about before, the Art Walk is simply too big to see in one night, and this night was no exception.

One thing I made a point to do this time round about was to visit the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) which I had never been to. Every time I have gone to the Artwalk in the past, it was simply too far out of the way, but this time, it was the first place I chose to visit. I found their current exhibition, Ceramics: Post-Digital Design, quite thought provoking to say the least. For those of you unfamiliar, “post-digital” or even “post-information” are what many folks are calling our present age; it means that we do indeed realize that we’ve actually entered a digital/information age, and the “post” (in “post-digital”) means we’re presently trying to figure out what to do now, or next; “Here we are, now what?”

By Eva Zeisel.

Though the roots are much deeper and complex, to simplify: Ceramic design had its digital beginning in the industrial revolution, when ceramic pieces began to be manufactured en masse in factories. Now it’s gone even further with computers to aid one in the design of ceramic pieces, and to even embed electronic technologies into the pieces themselves. The exhibit had many pieces by one of the first female ceramic dinnerware designers, Eva Zeisel (born in 1906 and still alive and designing today), but accompanied by numerous younger ceramic designers’ work, many of whom used computers to aid them in their designs. The luddite in me cringed in a bit of horror at the level of computer involvement in some of the pieces, especially the works of Albion Stafford and Nicholas Bivins, but that is what “post-digital” is all about – finding one’s preferences about what to do next.

For more about the AMOCA, visit them on Garey and/or their presence on the web. For more information about Post-Digial theory, the exhibit encouraged folks to check out the blog of design theorist Mel Alexenburg.

As I exited the museum, two doors down was a Christian bookstore that I had never visited. I decided to walk in and check it out. As I approached the front desk the clerk there eagerly asked me if I was a Christian. I remember my days both as a Mormon and later as born-again Christian and it was an eagerness that radiated, “Ah, someone new I might help to bring and to the Lord!!!” In response to if I was a Christian, I said, ‘One might say that’; my personal belief in Jesus or God or “Bob” or whoever is certainly a complex thing to explain to some folks, and simply to say, ‘One might say that,’ I thought was a very good short answer to provide.

Ze then proceeded to ask if I was involved in a church, would like to join a bible study group there, or if I could use some prayer. Affirmatively I answered that I am very involved at the Episcopal parish in town, I thoroughly enjoy the weekly bible study group I’m involved in there, and that I couldn’t think of anything I needed prayer for as the new heaven and the new earth are here and it’s just the best, most wonderful ever, but, still, that prayer is always a wonderful thing to engage in — so one of the people in their group there said a prayer for me and my life. It was most thoroughly wonderful. And I gave them all thanks and hugs goodbye as I departed. So please, drop on by there if ever you are in need, as a Christian, for any help in your journey. Their shop is called, “The Upper Room – Christian Bookstore” and it’s on Garey, directly east across the street from the Fox Theater.

The Imaginist, by David Gilbaugh.

My next stop was Gallery SoHo in the basement galleries along Thomas Street. There I got to interview and see the totally amazing ceramic work of David Gilbaugh. Unlike the work at the AMOCA exhibit, hir work is all handmade and not produced with computers or molds. Ze gave me a personal tour of hir most prominant pieces on display there. The first one ze showed me was called “The Imaginist” (shown on the left). The sculpture progresses from earth, to plant, to flesh, to spiritual – “If there is such a sequence” ze says. The other major sculpture ze showed me was called, “Family Tree” in which at the base were sculptures of a man, woman, and several children, with the sculpture moving up into a culminating, flowering top symbolizing ovaries. Over the top beautiful stuff.

Family Tree, by David Gilbaugh.

The way that Glibough creates these is by several methods: For staining, ze paints various colors of metal oxides on the exteriors, some of which may or may not have glass/glaze/silica mixed in to create various effects – chrome oxide turns green to black, iron oxide turns red, manganese turns black, cobalt turns blue, and titanium or rutile oxide turns orange/yellow. And when mixing in a little glaze, it makes some of them look like metal. Ze also told me that ze developed hir own special sculptural technique called the “Tectonic method” consisting of four aspects – stretching, tension (or twisting), compression, and sheering (like scissors). Ze also applies clawing or pre-texturing with forks, handmade wire-tools, and bristle brushes. And ze has a line of sculptural tools available for purchase too, for other sculptors out there! Many of hir sculptures can also be viewed on Flickr, but definitely drop by Gallery SoHo to see these gorgeous pieces in person – and next month, some of hir pieces are going to be on display at the AMOCA, too!

Another exciting artist I met at that gallery was Bob Marshall, who has taken lots of pictures of natural landscapes. Check hir cool photography at the SoHo gallery and at hir website.

My next stop was to go upstairs and wander down the block to the Pederson Projects Gallery, where I got to meet the main artist whose work was on display, Oscar Magallanes. The exhibit title was “Revolutionaries” with pieces consisting of prints on wood, with applications of wood stain wash, and stencil with aerosol. The prints were of various socialist/communist and anarchist revolutionary figures from mostly the past century, along with other icons of such roots. Considering myself to be an anarchist, though not so active politically, it was great to talk with the artist about hir work. I commented how the iconographic nature of hir art – a very real result of industrial society – runs counter to a lot of contemporary anarchist theory which quite popularly leans toward primitivism, but ze responded, and which I agree with, that such iconographic representations have a wonderful effect of helping to spread the word and awaken in others the need for our society to take a different path than industrialism and capitalism. For those readers not versed in anarchist theory, I encourage you to comprehend what you can of what I just wrote in the last sentence, and then simply move on. My own conversion to anarchist political philosophies took a couple of years of exposure to the people around me before I really “got” it, after which I definitely put lots of my own personal time into spreading the pinnacle of wonderfulness that anarchism is; but really, I got tired, which is really the main reason that I personally lost my motivations to try to convert anyone, and with the magic of the world around me, such as through this artist — people will get it when they get it. In the meantime, I do enjoy a good Glee episode with the unconverted.

Also at the Pederson Project Gallery were just a couple pieces by the prolific anarchist iconographer ABCNT. And I found that they have an amazing website/blog, myspace page, and webshop that are all definitely worthy of checking out, too.

My next stop was the wine bar, DBA 256, where they had a super amazing show of pinstriping art. Wow. If you’re downtown, the winebar is open day and night, so be sure to drop on in and check it out. And while I was in the bar, having a beer at the bar was none other than Walter Christensen, a fellow Norwegian, who told me that ze just got an article published in the Journal of Cosmology titled, “Does the Universe have Cosmological Memory? Does This Imply Cosmic Consciousness?” Check it out! We had a super great time catching up, and ze told me ze is going to have a big exhibit at next month’s artwalk at the Main Street Gallery. Sounds like it’s going to be great — I can hardly wait!

Next I walked next door to the DA Gallery where they had a whole exhibit of art from students of five local high schools. It was pretty awesome to see a display of so much young, and local, artistic talent. Also at the DA, but at last month’s artwalk, there was this one ceramics display that I absolutely loved called, “Oil Slick,” by Melanie Donegan. Although this month it was not on as a main display – parts of it were available for purchase. I took a picture last month that I finally got developed (see the image below). When I interviewed the artist, ze told me that the whole piece consists of over 300 individual sculptures and that ze completed it as part of hir final project for a Master’s of Art degree. It’s meant to be abstract sculptures of fishes who have been through an oil spill. Quite ironically and synchronistically, one month after hir first official showing of the piece, the big Gulf Oil spill happened! Anyway, it was an amazing display of work that I totally adored! Absolutely beautiful.

Oil Slick, by Melanie Donegan.

As I stepped out of the DA, I ran into a couple of housemates one of whom had purchased a great coin purse at La Bamba with lettering on it reading: “Pomona: A Sunny Place for Shady People.” Hilarious. At this point, I was getting pretty tired and about to head home, but I dropped briefly into the Main Street Gallery to check out a bunch of Father Bill’s work, and my absolute favorite piece of hirs was on display, titled, “Center of the Earth.” And on my way to where my bicycle was locked up, I also dropped into the Eveg Gallery, home of the Nine-O-Nine store; they’ve got some great T-shirts, bags, and other amazing accoutrements which I think superbly rally pride in living in Pomona and the 909. Lastly, I briefly trounced through Bunny Gunner where the work of John and Karen Neiuber was being shown — a marvelous display of lamps and three dimensional collages.

And then —— off I fluttered home. flutter flutter flutter

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