WARPAINT at Bread & Salt Gallery, San Diego from April 13 – June 29 2019
Artists Talk with Akiko Surai on June 27
WARPAINT was a solo exhibition of new and selected paintings from four series and projects created over the last seven years. The title Warpaint is a new painting in the Stay Romantic series (2018-19) which was inspired by Eden, a British reality TV series that tried to recreate paradise and went awry; an unfinished J. M. W. Turner painting; and the 18th century Romantic painters, all men, who idealized Nature.
The exhibition also included selections from the Desierto Pintado series (2012 & 2017). This series subverts clichés of American landscape painting. A range of source material was used from 19th Century Western landscape painters like Albert Bierstadt to travel ads, beer signs, and calendars to the artist's photos of the Southern California desert. Though the series started in 2014, a second phase began in November, 2017 and was the antecedent for Stay Romantic.
The One Dozen Roses project was installed in the Bread & Salt Special Projects Gallery. The One Dozen Roses series started in 2014 as a tribute to the antiwar movement and student strikes of the late 60’s, and was created from the artist’s photos of aging roses. Its themes of beauty, aging and death were deepened by the January 2015 terrorist attack and killings of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. The French captions are a reference to the international response of the Je Suis Charlie movement in support of artists’ freedom of expression. This is an ongoing series. Rose #3 Je suis ni vieux ni mort (I am neither old nor dead) is in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Stream, an installation work (2013-14) was a yearlong painting project for the artist’s sixty-fifth year. The title Stream is a reference to natural flows of fluids, bodies, water, blood, streaming live, stream of tears, stream of consciousness. On June 21, 2013 the first sixty-five paintings were shown in the artist’s studio. Over the year as individual pieces were sold, the Stream was replenished and finished on June 20, 2014. Ninety-six paintings were created for the project.
San Diego Surreal at Oceanside Museum of Art from February 23 - June 16 2019
Curated By Susan M. Anderson
San Diego Surreal reveals the ways in which Surrealism’s range of artistic strategies and visual vocabulary have seeped into our culture while probing the impact the movement has had on artists in San Diego County. Featuring over 50 works of art in a variety of media created over several decades, the exhibition focuses on the work of contemporary artists including Hugo Crosthwaite, Marianela de la Hoz, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Charles Glaubitz, Jeff Irwin, Cliff McReynolds, Lynn Schuette, Allison Schulnik, Walter Sutin, Jen Trute, and Perry Vasquez, and also includes earlier 20th-century Modernists who drew upon Surrealism such as Dorr Bothwell, Ethel Greene, Harry Sternberg, and Jean Swiggett. Organized by guest curator Susan M. Anderson, San Diego Surreal goes beyond making overt comparisons between the work of the historical Surrealists and these artists, to explore broader more idiosyncratic connections.
There is a rich legacy of Surrealism in California. Several members of poet Andre Breton’s original Surrealist group resided in the state, mainly as refugees during WWII, including Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Stanley William Hayter, Charles Howard, Gordon Onslow Ford, Wolfgang Paalen, and Man Ray. Therefore, for context, the exhibition will include the work of some of these historical Surrealists and others closely aligned with them, such as Hans Burkhardt, Claire Falkenstein, Frederick Kann, Rufino Tamayo, and Dorothea Tanning.
Surrealism’s ultimate goal was nothing less than human liberation. The Surrealists used automatism, a practice utilizing free association and stream of consciousness, to liberate thought, language, and human experience from the oppressive boundaries of rationalism and social convention. A devoted Marxist, Breton also defined Surrealism as a revolt against the social order. In the decades since the founding of the movement in 1924, the Surrealist spirit has revolutionized the arts and pervaded social theory. Surrealism enjoys resurgence today due to the political and social conditions of the times, with its accompanying climate of disillusionment and rebellion.
OMA photo includes Apparición, Eden, and Finishing Turner