The Porch Gallery Ojai & VICA Present “Water Works II” May 9th!

 “Water Works II” opens at the Porch Gallery Ojai on Saturday, May 9th. "Water Works II" is co-presented by VICA (Venice Institute of Contemporary Art) and will further spotlight the issues of water - from its beauty, to its scarcity, to its importance to human life, the politics of water, to environmental issues and beyond.

“Water Works II” was jured by Juri Koll (VICA – Venice Institute of Art), Peter Frank (Huffington Post/Fabrik Magazine) as well as co-directors of Porch Gallery Ojai, Heather Stobo and Lisa Casoni. 

Co-directors Stobo and Casoni worked with Koll on his first Water Works I exhibition. “It was great, said Stobo. “That’s why we decided to work with him again for Water Works II.” Stobo explained that although their curating styles had similarities, they also work differently. “Without speaking for Juri, it seems that his style is to curate the show without a specific space in mind.  Where I like to gather the work and then do a final edit as I’m installing the show based on  how the pieces look and fit in our gallery. For me, moving the work outside of the artists’ studio, and away from other bodies of work not included in the show, sometimes changes the viewing experience and I like to adapt to that as I’m installing.”
When asked about working with Stobo and Casoni, Koll replied, “They are the best in the business.” 

The group show will feature an eclectic mix of artists including established Los Angeles artist J.J. L’Heureux.

L’Heureux’s work has been exhibited all over the world. She said she was proud to be a part of the important group show entitled “Water Works II.” The concept of the first “Waterworks'” artist’s incorporating water-based medium in their work, to “Waterworks II” feels like a logical progression, explained L’Heureux. “Water is a current topic of conversation and addressing all sides of water with the public I feel is positive.”

Known best for her photography, the accomplished artist has taken over thirteen trips to Antarctica. L’Heureux is an exquisite and talented painter in her own right. Pretty soon after her very first trip to the Southern Sea, the artist was inspired to create her Bergy Bit series. L’Heureux explains, “By definition ‘Bergy Bits’ are large chunks of glacier ice or a very small iceberg floating in the sea. They are generally spawned from disintegrating icebergs and glaciers.”

In addition to her photography and her paintings, the artist also works in collage/mixed media. To find out more about J.J. L’Heureux and her many mediums of art, visit both her websites at http://www.jjlheureux.com/   http://www.penguinspirit.com

Another artist to be featured is MB Boissonnault. “I did their first official show ("Future Perfect" - solo exhibition) when  Heather & Lisa opened,” explained Boissonnault. "I love them and whole vibe up there--my heart truly beats a little faster for Ojai. It's like Vermont (where I grew up) meets California with a dash of Sedona. It's hard to leave sometimes.”

MB Boissonnault BOMBIGENESIS 60" x 36"  oil on synthetic canvas

When asked what inspired her to to create, she replied…”That's a question I never know how to answer. I am not inspired to create--it is as normal to me as breathing or walking. There is no other way of life.” http://www.mbboissonnault.com/ 

The jurors have selected several sculptural pieces (indoor and outdoor), 2D pieces and video. At 4pm, prior to the opening reception, (next door to the gallery), there will be an art panel moderated by Koll. A local student from the Thacher School will read a poem that he wrote about water.

 Artists to be featured: Richard Amend, Susan Amorde, Nurit Avesar, Vince Baworouski, Bobbi Bennett, MB Boissonnault, Bill Leigh Brewer, Gary Brewer, Patricia Chidlaw, Diane Cockerill, Duane Dammeyer, Bibi Davidson, Lynne Deutch, Bill Dewey, L. Aviva Diamond, Elizabeth Garat, Jack Halbert, Sharon Hardy, Mark Indig, Cynthia James, Amy Kaczur, Colleen M Kelly, J. J. L’heureux, Terri Laine, Campbell Laird, Feng Ling, Daniel Leighton, Daniel Lyons, Aline Mare, Bruce Mcallister, Jim Mcaninch, Mary Mcgill, Wendy Osher, Ann Phong, Osceola Refetoff, Kate Register, Gay Summer Rick, Shawn K. Riley, Lisa Rosel, Karrie Ross, Catherine Ruane, Seda Saar, Jill Shanbrom, Yin Sheng, Joan Scheibel, Wendy Smith, Shyun Song, Caryl St. Ama, Jill Sykes, Mark Tovar, Katie Van Horne, Christine Weir, Tracey Weiss, Gina Yu.
Be sure to pop by the Porch Gallery Ojai on May 9th for the art panel at 4pm and the opening reception from 5-7pm. The exhibition runs May 9 through June 8, 2015.

Porch Gallery Ojai is located at 310 E. Matilija Avenue, Ojai, CA. For more information please go to http://www.porchgalleryojai.com or call 805.620.7589.


HARK Celebrates Kids on Cinco De Mayo at Upper West Restaurant!

Join HARK (Healing Arts Reaching Kids) and Upper West for a Cinco de Mayo benefit (Tuesday May 5th) open to the public. The charity event will allow diners to enjoy a fabulous dinner while giving 30% back to an incredible nonprofit. 

Yes...Upper West Restaurant in Santa Monica has graciously agreed to donate 30% to HARK during this event from 5-10pm.  Upper West is a popular Santa Monica restaurant serving internationally inspired dishes like ahi tuna tacos and chimi churri sweet potato fries. The public can order as little or as much as fits their appetites and budgets…all the while helping a great cause. Prizes such as gift certificates to local stores/restaurants will be raffled, etc. Danny Hutton founder and lead singer of Three Dog Night will be in attendance. 

Upper West’s chef Nick Shipp said he was looking forward to celebrating Cinco de Mayo at the restaurant. “Growing up in Texas, I was immersed in a rich tradition of Mexican food. It's an important date in history and helping the efforts of the children's hospital of Los Angeles is an important cause.”

HARK is an affiliate support group of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Laurie Hutton President of HARK is a volunteer.  She teaches workshops and has witnessed healing moment first hand. "Patients loose track of time while painting and listening to music. I was told by a patient that it was very therapeutic, and relaxing," said Hutton. 

HARK also participates in the famed Beverly Hills artSHOW each year. Event manager, Karen McLean has been coordinating the event for the past 12 years. Just about eight years ago, HARK joined up with the event. “We were looking to include a meaningful charity, and had really never done so, but wanted to work with one that was truly into art,” said McLean. She added that the challenge of creating art helps to build discipline. “I believe that art helps kids and adults deal with the emotional stuff they are going through, but also, it offers a mental challenge.” The Beverly Hills artSHOW takes place May 16th and 17th from 10-6pm. You can find HARK at booth # 4 (East of the Beverly Hills sign). For general information about the May 2015 Beverly Hills artSHOW, call (310) 285-6830 or visit www.beverlyhills.org/artshow

Come celebrate Cinco de Mayo with HARK and Upper West at 3321 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica. Make a difference in a child's life, while enjoying exquisite cuisine. Reservations can be made by calling 310-586-1111. http://www.theupperwest.com/ To find out more about HARK, see http://www.healingartsreachingkids.org/


“Minor Identity Crisis" Featuring Gus Harper Set to Open at Essentia Saturday, April 18th!

Saturday, April 18th enjoy an opening reception for “Minor Identity Crisis,” at Essentia in Santa Monica. The solo exhibition featuring the work of Gus Harper will feature some twenty works along with an installation. 

Gus Harper - Minor identity Crisis VII, 66" x 55"

Essentia may be just a “Mattress store” but it’s also an active hub for local community artists. “Essentia is a great place to have an art show.  Great wall space and perfect for the installation piece I have planned,” said Harper. “This is a large piece that hangs from the ceiling. It will be highly visible from the street as well. It will hang from the rafters of the mattress store.”

Harper explained that the exhibit is made up of very colorful paintings (and an installation) that are heavy on symbolism. “A lot of the pieces are about overcoming fear, said Harper. “There are usually components that symbolize the viewer of the piece, fear, and tools to overcome fear. It's pretty open to interpretation. I'm interested in the way that humanity creates and meets fear. 

Harper believes that everyone relates differently according to the circumstance. He continued, “So the result is that there are various reactions, which lead to various manifestations of self.  And as people become more aware, we challenge our own perceptions of reality and of what kind of person we want to be.”

This is how he came up with the title "Minor Identity Crisis." He added. “Some people get a kick out of the title and that is okay because there is definitely a sense of play in the new work.”

Gus Harper - Illunition I, 24" x 36". Oil, spray paint, acrylic on canvas
Harper enjoys collaborating with other artists. “I started collaborating with Gronk about 2 years ago. I usually have a few collaborative pieces in every show. In the last show I had two pieces I made with my mom Fielden Harper (a professional artist as well).

The artist has more shows coming up in the Fall. The first is an exhibition of his suspended pillars at LocziDesign in San Francisco in September and the 2nd will feature his recent paintings in Mexico City.

The art reception and opening takes place this Saturday, April 18 from 6:30pm-10pm at Essentia, 2430 Main Street, in Santa Monica 310-450-7819