Monday, February 28, 2011

March 1-26, 2011 Katie Crown, Shelley Lazarus, Ernie Marjoram

 Reception: Saturday, March 12, 5-8 pm
Artist Panel: Saturday, March 19th, 3-4 pm

 Katie Crown
Beach Scenes, LA 

Katie Crown’s new work puts California figurative painting into California landscapes in her large scale, local beach scenes. Crown, who grew up in Manhattan Beach, admits to finding the parade of characters found along California’s coast an irresistible subject. “I love pattern,” she explains, “bathing suits, postures, and body shapes give me a playground of possibilities for patterns and pigments." In these paintings, diverse characters frolic within starkly geometric sand and waves, either enjoying or simply contemplating life. Yet, people are shown faceless and seemingly isolated from their surrounding activities, which adds an air of eerie ambiguity to the otherwise mirthful scenes. "Hey, it’s California, nobody connects. Alienation lives at the beach, too," says Crown.

 Shelley Lazarus
Just Desserts 

Standing in the tradition of California colorists, Shelley Lazarus explores the sweet coda of any meal: desserts. Like Hockney’s whimsical landscapes, Lazarus’ pieces in Just Desserts use saturated watercolors, acrylic, graphites and crayons to create mouth-watering creations. The dripping chocolate and luscious cakes brought back memories of her mother, “who always checked out the desserts in a restaurant before the entrees.” 

Ernie Marjoram 
Italy, en Plein Air

Marjoram brings his intricate knowledge of light, form and space into a rich exploration of the central Italian landscape. With only natural available light, he situates himself in the environment, capturing the chiaroscuro of the Italian cityscape and the expanse of the countryside, reminiscent of Pisarro and Cezanne. Having worked for Disney, and currently an instructor at the American Film Institute, he interweaves illustration and fine art, re-seeing the monuments and vistas of the Italian Renaissance. Marjoram believes “art and architecture are a part of life”, and he brings them to life in this current exhibit.

Monday, February 14, 2011

TAG Gallery Interviews Shelley Lazarus

Shelley Lazarus
Drug of Choice
mixed media 8 x 8"

“Just Desserts” from Shelley Lazarus is an eclectic exploration of the sweet coda of any meal.

Why do you make art?

Nothing gives me more pleasure than the process of making art. Not the product but the times I spend totally immersed in my project. The outside world disappears and I live in the moment of my creativity.

What is your process, what goes into making work like yours?

I have no one way of starting any piece of art. But usually I start from the subject matter, how I handle each subject varies and it is this variation that keeps my work exciting for me.

Are your life experiences a source for inspiration?

My life experience has altered my work tremendously. When my son passed away I spent a lot of time at the easel not only reliving some of his favorite things but attacking canvases with all my frustrations and sadness.

You have been an artist for much of your life, how have you managed to carve out time for art making? Has it ever interfered with your “normal” life, or vice versa?

I think the biggest interference in my married life was when I rented a house in Martha's Vineyard and a few years later in Cagnes Sur Mer, France to go off and paint for a month. But both times they helped me grow as an artist. These were times when I could concentrate solely on my works.

Shelley Lazarus
Cupcake Row
watercolor and graphite  6 x 15"

How do you decide on your palette?

I love color and with watercolor your palette is usually set up in advance. It is how I mix, blend and layer my colors that I am noted for.

How do you know when a work is finished?

After a days work I usually put my painting up somewhere in the studio or house where I can see it. If after a week I can't think of any more changes I know if I am done. In between this time I put up notes about how I can improve the work.

Shelley Lazarus

Shelley Lazarus's exhibition opens March 1st.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Katie Crown Interview

Katie Crown
Santa Monica Pier No.1
oil on canvas 66 x 62"

Where did you grow up?

I grew up down in Manhattan Beach, California, but moved to the suburbs of Washington D.C. when I was 13. I stayed in the D.C. area through high school. I graduated from college from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in conjunction with Tufts University.

How long have you been an artist and when did you consider yourself an artist?

I feel like I've been an artist most of my life. My father was a recognized abstract watercolor painter, and I grew up going on painting trips with him, in California and all over the Southwest.

Where do you your find inspiration for your works and how do you choose your subject matter?

I get my inspiration from things that set off my sense of humor. I see life as sort of a running cartoon. In my ceramics pieces I like to juxtapose fairly serious looking people with material things which are pleasurable and bring happiness. It's sort of a way of saying that material items can't bring one happiness, but at the same time it's fun to see the divide between whether we have the appearance of happiness and whether, often food, can bring about happiness. I like to use food a lot for some reason. Maybe I'm just hungry.

In my big oil paintings the inspiration is set off by people at the beach. I try to have the people not interact with one another, but just playing out their own drama. I like to use alienation in a situation where one would think people would connect. I see it all as funny in a sad way.

Katie Crown
Tickled Pink
oil on canvas 50 x 62"

Can you name a few of the most important (to you) artists whose work you like?

There are so many artists that have inspired me, starting with my dad, Keith Crown. But I've also been influenced by Saul Steinberg, Alice Neel, Joan Brown, people that play with the figure. I love Nathan Oliveira and Red Grooms too.

Why do you make art?

I do art to keep myself from falling into deep depression. The work is cathartic for me, I need to do it.

What is the hardest thing about being an artist? The best thing?

The hardest thing for me about being an artist is any time that I have to explain my art to people, or speak about what I do. I'm mortified by public speaking and like to let my art speak for me.

The best thing about art for me is it's ability to keep me going and finding new ways to express myself.

Katie Crown

Katie Crown's exhibition opens March 1, 2011.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Exhibition Featuring Joan Horsfall Young, Darlyn Susan Yee, and Fielden Harper

New Exhibition Featuring
Joan Horsfall Young, Darlyn Susan Yee, and Fielden Harper

February 1 - February 26, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 5- 8 PM

Artists' Q & A Panel:
Wednesday, February 9, 7 PM

Joan Horsfall Young: abc...z

In her latest exhibit, abc...z, local artist Joan Horsfall Young explores the beauty in simplicity with her 12" x 12" oil paintings of fruits and vegetables, depicting one for each letter of the alphabet. Her series of twenty-six images celebrates what she calls "the great sustainers of life." Young's inspiration for this series came from her recent visit with her granddaughter in Shanghai. She explains "I needed a way to teach my young granddaughter the American alphabet, and I found the fruits and vegetables in the local farmer's market to be great didactic tools for teaching. In the first days we conquered 'T' for tangerine and 'L' for leek." As a follow up for more practice for the little one, Young started to paint the vegetables and fruits as they went along. "I learned a lot about conscious eating and how these everyday market treats could nourish our bodies and our souls. I hope these paintings will capture that same nostalgia for others too."

Darlyn Susan Yee: Metamorphic Metaphors

In her new exhibition, Metamorphic Metaphors, Darlyn Susan Yee creates a series of body-like cocoons knitted with brightly colored commercial yarns to symbolize our essence, style, and transformation as we proceed through life. Suspended from the ceiling, each piece mimics the cocoon of a not-yet-hatched butterfly swaying with the breeze to evoke thoughts of dance or play. "In each piece, I try to explore how our personalities and physical characteristics are still evident despite our efforts and societal requirements to conceal them," explains Yee. Ms. Yee prefers using hands-on processes to achieve the breadth of texture and form in this series, combining both hand knitting and manually manipulated machine knitting techniques.

Fielden Harper: Parallels

In Parallels Fielden Harper explores thematic similarities between her local landscape and distant scenes from Greece and Turkey. After a recent trip to Greece and Turkey, Harper was inspired to juxtapose scenes from both areas with well known landmarks from her own hometown. "There were many scenes in my travels that reminded me of similar places in and around Santa Monica. As different as these places seemed on the surface, the artist in me started to see the universal patterns emerging in the disparate," explains Harper. Creating unique pairings of two separate paintings, Harper invites her viewers to discover the universal essence emerging from two seemingly different vistas like the Getty and the Parthenon; or the skyline of Istanbul and the towering palms of Santa Monica. "It is amazing to be on the other side of the world, and be continually reminded of home," states Harper.