DIVINE MESSAGES HARMONY GALLERY • HOLLYWOOD • CALIFORNIA
SATURDAY MARCH 5-APRIL 15, 2005 8-10 PM LAUREN ATKINSON DONNA BALMA CANADA CHARLES BENEFIEL RAMIRO CLEMENTE BARCELONA- SPAIN EVE COHEN TOM V. DAVIS NOAH ERENBERG PAUL GASOI DONALD GREEN ANNE GRGICH ROBIN HOFFMEISTER TIM JACKSON DAMIAN LEBAS-U.K. DELAINE LEBAS-UK. MARCUS MÅRTENSON SWEDEN ROBIN OLIVER/COVER DOUGLAS PADILLA REYNOLDS JAE RUBERTO ODY SABAN- PARIS GALLERY LOCATED NEXT DOOR TO COUNTERPOINT RECORDS AND BOOKS: 5911- 1/2 FRANKLIN AVE. HOLLYWOOD, CA 90028
JAY SCHUETTE GABRIEL SHAFFER GIN STEVENS
Art Director David Jones 323-957-7965
Info on Gallery: email@example.com http://www.counterpointrecordsandbooks.com
CATHY WARD-U.K. DELLA WELLS .
JR WILLIAMS .
INTRODUCTION: In this postmodern age the artist has often become someone whom must necessarily discuss the problems of our day but not give any concrete answers. Rationalism and modern science have given us the means to better understand our world but often at the cost of faith and deeper meaning. In an increasingly secular society modern man thinks that she has done away with mythology when in fact this need is even deeper rooted than he may know. Our myths of old have been replaced by new ones. Instead of believing in the afterlife we now live with the myth of eternal youth through plastic surgery. The experience of the inner life can no longer solely be dictated to us through religious dogma as it has been to past generations. We want and need to have our own experiences of this inner reality to become that which carries meaning for us. Without this connection we are like twigs that have been broken from a tree. The time that we live in is a dangerous one as always. Through fear, dogma and nationalism we are more than ever breeding a tribal mentality that is effectively splitting the world into groups of good and bad. This is possibly the nature of man but it is also in her nature to see the manifold expressions as being rooted in the same source. The divine now more than ever is something that rests on each and everyone of us to express. We are no longer called to imitate Christ or to walk in the BuddahÂ´s footsteps. We have to live our own lives to the fullest, just like they did. Giving expression to our own symbols and inner truths that we have accumulated and constructed during the course of our lives. The divine message is something that can be heard if you listen very carefully. It is easily drowned out in the barrage of information that is hurled at us on a daily basis. So, like a hermit, the artist will seek refuge in the innermost part of himself to transcribe these divine messages. When shared with the rest of us they become enigmatic imprints from another place. Somewhere that seems to be far off but all the while right here in our midst. Introduction by Marcus Martenson / Image by Lauren Atkinson/Donald Green 2005
ODY SABAN PARIS, FRANCE
Nowhere is this tendency clearer than in work of Ody Saban ( b. 1953 ), an artist of Turkish origin who lives and works in Paris. She says of herself, “For nearly six years I have taken myself to be a reincarnation of Lilith, who in the Old Testament is the woman cursed by the misogynist God, and I wanted to avenge Lilith (as I still do today, for that matter), and accomplish her work which, for me, is a beautiful work. Today, after seven years of psychoanalysis I still believe the same thing, but I know that is not what one would normally call reality. Perhaps it is stronger than reality.” Like Monsiel, Saban’s hermetic pictorial worlds are anchored by large central figures – often couples embracing or copulating – whose forms and space around them is filled with moving, living objects that enact the fulfilment of their own desires. In common with the work of Surrealists, such as André Masson ( 1896 – 1987 ) and Salvador Dali ( 1904 – 89 ), the forms in Saban’s drawings seem in a constant state of metamorphosis and Flux; eyes are flowers, cheeks are lakes, bodies are landscapes, and so on. However, where Surrealism utilized such visual metaphors as a means of revealing unconscious operations of thought, rather Saban presents the viewer with what she has seen to be true: “My art is magic art. I am a shaman, a seer. I am in continual metamorphosis. ... I transform myself. For example, I feel a flower. I enter into its skin and regard the world through it, just like I enter into the skin of someone else.” Saban actually sees animate objects occupying the surfaces of the larger objects around her which brings a sensual deluge to scenes whose content is already manifestly erotic. Excerpted from: Outsider Art/Spontaneous Alternatives by Colin Rhodes World of Art, Thames & Hudson, 2000 – U.S.A
My imagery is pulled from a Boschian dream where alchemy and crossbreeding occurs. These beasts are crafted from material found in the field, purchased at yard sales and retrieved from my home recycling bin. My desire is to bring new life to something spent, discarded or fallen. A pod, a toilet paper core and the eyes from and old portrait photograph lay together sharing stories of their origin. The nature of these materials directs my experiment in gender and character development. These creatures belong to an unconformed kingdom of human, animal and other.
With their densely gridded columns of numbers, his works demonstrate a particular sensitivity to the ways in which contemporary society quantifies, categorizes, and classifies human beings into endless sets of numbers on bills, credit cards, I.D. cards, and bank statements. His is also a world where human beings voluntarily become distorted toys at the expense of self-dignity, and end-up broken and twisted in an observable state of isolation. After a nervous breakdown in 1997, Benefiel was urged by friends to go to a mental health center, where he was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His work has since been featured in various psychiatry and art magazines, and he is currently represented by the American Primitive Gallery and the Henry Boxer Gallery in London. (cropped images)
CATHY WARD U.K. Wards impossibly detailed scratchboard drawings of mounds, waves, and curlicues of human hair conflate a historically informed twenty first century art practice with a nineteenth century eccentricity, fusing it into a seamlessly unified field of locks and tresses. Hair’s capacity to act as signifier as an accumulation of linear expressions from the inner body to the outside world, dead records marking time in direct proportion to lived experience, chronicling entire periods of our lives in a few subtle and ephemeral twists. Ward’s work is partially rooted in the obsessive eulogization seen in Victorian hair wreaths - where the grief of the bereaved is methodically, laboriously recoded into a narrative artifact, a mandala woven from the linear detritus of the loved ones life, making contained, cynical sense out of a suddenly truncated storyline. In Ward’s methodically delineated vistas, no such tidy resolution is sought, at least not in a final form. Instead, elaborate ornamental knots emerge from a chaos of uncensored follicle transmissions - allowing the rational, apollonian impulse its place, but refusing to identify it as The Source. Ward’s work also transcends the metaphorical in two directions - towards the literal, in the drawings that impose or extract no imagery beyond the all over horror vacuii of hair as hair; and towards the transpersonal, where improbable, symbol-laden dream vistas emerge from the tangles skeins. These landscape and architectural fantasies reunite hair as a textual medium with the proverbal psychic roots of a story. Like an eidetic memory of a twilight vision glimpsed through the cascades of a mother’s or lover’s tresses, the vista opens upon mystery, miraculously transcending the awkwardness that should come with such a transition, yet inextricably entrenched in mammalian physiology. By Doug Harvey 2005 The Skippers Daughter, ink on Victorian oyster shell. 2005
TOM V. DAVIS
Charlies Minty Pastry Twisters
Ride the Fish
Tom is an emerging prolific artist who creates on whatever he can get his hands on. These sublime mythological imaginatiions are steeped with a comic book-like feel. He is a visual being with a witty eye and poetic touch that promises intrigue and eye candy. Anne Marie Grgich, 2005
DOUGLAS PADILLA “The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.” - Jackson Pollock
Dr. Swami Dougie “Boom Boom” Padilla is a self-taught, visionary artist of Norwegian and Mexican ancestry grown and prospering deep in the wilds of Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. Mr. Padilla is a survivor of Haight Ashbury, the back to the land movement, the Chicano movement, the men’s movement, the anti-war marches of the 60’s, and the art world expansions and contractions of the 80’s and 90’s.
MARCUS MARTENSON SWEDEN â€œMy art is about change. The way things can seem one way and then become something different. Some things you take for granted. Some truths are holy but life has a way of making you question those things. Perspectives shift and the truth becomes mobile. This is art, this process. Art has always been a way to breakout of isolation. In todays world people are often striving towards individuality, the ideal is to break free from the herd. Theres a front and back side to this. Many of us become lonely and unconnected. Therefore I think it is arts job to try to bridge those gaps. Bring together instead of breaking apart. Religion used to have this function. But the western religion has more and more fallen out of synch with the needs of men and women. People need their dreams and visions. These are the things that keep the darkness away. Let the artists lead the way in that case. Let the individuals vision be fed back to the collective. Bombared by messages from a corporate culture the new gospel has become growth, expansion and increased sales. The human being is nowadays often spoken of in terms similar to those used by the car industry. New images and ideas are needed to counterbalance this flow of information.â€?
DONNA BALMA CANADA
THE BRIDE SERIES While drawing an abstract I suddenly viewed the piece from a different perspective and saw a face and wondered what the body of this face would look like. I drew that person and a friend looked at the drawing and said, “ She’s a bride”. From there I drew multiples of this human clone. Each has a slightly different look but essentially all are the same, though their titles reflect the personalities of each. The bride as a social icon binds all the multiples together.
TINUVIEL “I was born in Los Angeles in 1963. Growing up, I lived in many places: California, Japan, Minnesota, etc. As an adult, I kept moving: Alaska, Mexico, Boston, Seattle etc. I have been making art since at least 4 years old. I don’t remember much earlier. I currently live in Southern Maine, in the village of Berwick, population 6353. I live with a dozen chickens, three cats and my mom.”
These collages, from La Flecha Amarilla series, were created on return from my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. I walked 1000 kilometres across Northern Spain with yellow arrows guiding me to Santiago. Crucifixes and yellow arrows were the markers I followed for 6 weeks. In Portomarín, a town on a steep hill overlooking the Río Miño, I was unable to sleep all night. I was told by the Río Miño to make art using the waters from the Salmon Falls river near my house in Maine. The next day I walked a frenzied 40 kilometres, driven by the river’s force. When I got home, I obeyed the visions I had in Portomarín.
Gabriel discovered art early on, he lives on a farm in North Carolina, he’s a self-taught artist whose mother, Cher Shaffer is an established Appalation folk artist. She’s known for her ceramics, dolls, and paintings. I met the “Shaffer” family at The Kentuck Festival, in Alabama, we traded some work and I picked these 4 and I have a larger one that is more detailed on used ledger paper that I love. Berenberg Gallery had sucess with Gabriel at the Outsider Art Fair. (cropped tags) AMG 05
PAUL GASOI Manifestations of swimming poetry in an underworld chockfull of obsessive ancient illuminated clues. Gasoi deliberately (mal)deciphers-or intuits a message, morphs intricate jots of warped shaped detail, incising creatures inked on velveteen, old smelling musty cutouts and collage embedded like a tattoo-lined time machine. Gasoi creates worlds within hallways leading the visionary hand to a moutain of stacked up souls relaying otherworldy messages. Anne Marie Grgich 2005
RAMIRO CLEMENTE BARCELONA, SPAIN
Without being reduced to the actual vicissitudes of life, the works of Ramiro Clemente give brilliant—and at times, frightening—expression to a vision of the feeble human body, falling apart under the weight of its mortality, which not only moves the observer by its energy and depth, but also (paradoxically) gives great delight in its bitter black humour. The aggressive line of the ink is counterpoised by the subtle scattering of the colours over the image, which always seems to reflect a mysterious, objective physical reality, which is exterior to both the artist and the observer, but which cannot be reduced to the gossip of autobiography. As time goes on, his work becomes more and more expressive—almost expressionistic—at the same time that it delves deeper and deeper, resulting in an artistic vision of unusual originality amid our world drowning in commercial and degraded imagery. I await with great expectations the future development of this young—and accomplished— artist’s genius. By Robert F. Ball 2004
LAUREN ATKINSON / DONALD GREEN
The collaborative work of Lauren Atkinson and Donald Green involves the use of photography, sculpture and mixed media techniques to delve into the collective unconscious while exploring themes of fear, disconnection, crisis and renewal. Their visual dialogue expresses an observed vulnerability witnessed in the tentative nature that exists at the stasis point between the earthly and spiritual planes.
I allow myself to play and let my pieces reveal themselves to me... I have been facinated by old books, history, and odd bits of memorabilia. I find the things that interest me the most are slightly absurd... My hope is to create something real and somehow poetic but not commonplace. My goal is to keep communicating in my language.
The puki monsters were birthed under the Hercules statue in Kassel, Germany, as a critique of phallic monumentality. Puki means vagina in Filipino. As small watercolors that can travel as carry on luggage, they have romped through the history of Western painting, subverting masterpieces, while stopping to admire non-hegemonic references. Beginning life as playful feminist avengers, they evolved from Monsters into MOMsters. In contrast to the naked Puki demons, the MOMdonna is arrayed in rich garments, while the landscape reflects and magnifies her glory. More recently, the Pukis have come off the wall, moving from painting to performance. Pukis, dressed in vestments, love peace parades. Carried in banners, they march around imperial monuments, and honor private places. They memorialize the ancient ritual objects destroyed by the invasion of Iraq, and interweave arts and activism for pop propaganda. Reynolds studied painting with Richard Pousette–Dart at Sarah Lawrence College, and graduated with a concentration in Women’s History. She also holds a B.F.A and M.F.A. from School of Visual Arts, and is presently a Teaching Artist for the Guggenheim Museum. She is the recipient of the 2004 Hilla Rebay Teaching Artist Award. Recent shows include “AC (Anatomically Correct)”, curated by Dr. Ko’an Baysa in New York and “They Came from Da Hood”, in Brooklyn, curated by Danny Simmons.
Life pulsating, troubled, exalting – work by Anne Marie Grgich Crown Yourself is a truly enigmatic picture. It is Victorian rather than oriental in feel; a vision of a goddess out of some fin-de-siècle drawing room stuffed with an eclectic mix of furniture and décor from Europe, India and the East nestled among aspidistra plants in rare china pots. Yet, this visage is a breathing, living presence. Two large eyes stare steadily out at the viewer, their twin green mandala irises inviting us to plunge through and experience the cosmic plenitude they seem to promise – perhaps to discover something about our own soul in the process. The great mouth might be open wide in the act of utterance. Or is it closed, in a more profound silence, with great, dark green lips edged only by a thin, pink penumbra? If you move up close to those lips two lines of fractured words appear. Partly illegible, like a visual stutter, they reveal enough to intrigue us, but explain nothing: ‘the heart and stomach … Parma, or Spain, or any prince of Europe’. At the same time much is apparently revealed of the interior life of the figure – the vast atrium of a domed, Romanesque church, a simple drawn portrait face of a man, a head of the Buddha in the centre of her forehead. Though what, exactly, we are left to intuit for ourselves. ‘The book format also introduces an invited, physical element of interactivity in the encounter with Anne’s work. They are made out of the individual experience of their creator, but are pregnant with the possibility of endless narrative journeys in the hands of each person who picks them up. In these ‘narratives’ anything is possible: cigar labels jostle with warnings about locks and fragments of ancient wallpaper patterns of a rural idyll; beads, string, and sticks of gum are embedded in resin laid over collaged images; a woman’s face is painted over various elements, from candy wrappers to a vaguely pornographic moving image of a woman posing with a car, which then rejoin the game of representation and memory. A fragment of admonitory text on this last page might serve as a guide for approaching all of Anne’s work: ‘Don’t ask why’. However, do ask any other question of these enigmatic images, and do explore with opened eyes and mind.’ Colin Rhodes 2005 Excerpted from The Museum Creation Franche Magazine
Divine Messages, offspring from the fertile hands of Robin Oliver, here presented are a collection of portraits born from discarded dolls, toys and unwanted gems, combining to form a new creature. Portraits of a wounded angel healing herself with sweet music, self portraits, as in Hollywood Doll the metamorphic star of Babylon.
In Night of the Everlasting Peace, a divine message to help a family has resulted in thier hideous downfall. The message was sent to a country minister and it unfortunately ignited a previously dormant and murderous rage. In The Initiation of David, a young man received a divine message to join a congregation of a higher faith, but the message ricocheted and sent the fellow into the treacherous and loving arms of Satan.
Missing Link “J.R. Williams is interested in the modernization of the traditional, ‘shamanistic’ functions of art. He believes that artists have always been symbol- and myth-makers; today, the artist should be aware of the systems of thought which are seriously altering the contemporary cosmology, including psychology and quantum physics.”
Much of my work is woman and self centered. It revolves around my experiences of self-actualization as an African American woman. We live in society which tries to shape who we are. Often race, gender, age, weight, class and other qualifiers are use to determine who each of us are. These qualifliers often hinder one’s spiritual growth and selfactualization. The spiritual connectedness between self-awareness and the total human experience leads me to explore who is really “self”. One of the human experience includes dealing with those who want to either determine who others are or to use people. Without self-actualization one cannot not combat those who want to destroy your inner being.
ROBIN HOFFMEISTER What mystery is held within these water castles? Built high into the air piled form beautiful and terrible water friend moved by the anti-gravity of wind on the soft trade breeze you can hear the message of the hurricane. Robin Hoffmeister 2004
DAMIAN LEBAS U.K. My work is an expression of my inner energy. I was and still am part of the English Punk, Reggae and Northern Soul Underground Music Scenes which have always been encouraging. Iâ€™d like to think the Divine messages are in the music which through the middle man, me, lâ€™ll pass to you. Long Live Energy.
DELAINE LEBAS U.K. Embroidering a modern day equivilent of the Bayeaux Tapestry, containing all the images and madness that express it. But not being produced by the happy housewife in her country cottage. Things are never quite what they seem in the world we live in now. I am using a traditional method of embroidery to portray a modern way of seeing what lies under the skin of society. ‘The Garden Of England’ with all its cottage gardens and nosey neighbours(what is going on behind those net curtains) with a pulsating anger and undercurrent always there lurking beneath the surface. ‘The Big Bad Wolf’ and ‘The Wolves in Sheeps Clothing’ pacing the streets in ‘The Suburbs of Hell’. Where ever you look, if you scratch beneath the glittering surface all the festering worst aspects of human nature are there to be found. So look carefully, don’t be fooled by appearences but just maybe there might be a glimmer of light in amongst the tangled web of what you think you are looking at.
Tim Jackson’s work explores relationships between organic systems, figuration, and landscape. Concerned with organizational disfunctions related to nature and living bodies, form and pattern are accumulated and then disrupted in chaotic invasions. In certain passages it becomes difficult to determine whether his “creatures” are coming together as a force, rest in stasis, or are about to explode. Color and line optics create subtle vibrational movements within a fractal space, encouraging the eye to roam the surface like a map. Jackson has returned to painting after spending much of the last decade dedicating himself to music. As a guitarist and collector and seller of records, he developed the deep musicological history which informs the visual work.
NOAH ERENBERG /SEA MEN SING “The artist’s function is the mythologization of the environment and the world.” (-Joseph Campbell)
“I am inspired by words and symbols. I make abstract paintings and drawings because I like bright colors and crazy shapes. Abstract paintings remind me of hip hop music. The abstract shapes come out of my head. Abstract means from my head.” Noah Erenberg is a 34 year old man challenged with developmental differences and has been a professional artist for the last ten years. (Elena Siff Erenberg)
GIN STEVENS Abandoned on the steps of a Baptist Church in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, Gin Stevens Art career was born. Gin has been influenced by the deep southern culture that had surrounded him at an early age. Upon turning seventeen he took the Greyhound north for Chicago carrying with him dreams of enrolling at The Art Institute of Chicago. Where he soon found out that school was not for him and opted for the punk rock theory of doing it yourself. His work has echoes of certain literary and musical archetypes: the visionaries and hucksters that populate Flannery O’ Connor’s Gothic southern landscape or the fevered imaginations that drive Faulkner’s characters, along with the songs of early Delta Blues musicians such as Charley Patton or Son House. The work is done all on scratchboard a primitive style of etching. Here he captures the mood of the dark and mysterious history of the south with haunting beauty. Gin now resides in Los Angeles where he has been creating work for private commission, album covers, and rock posters on top of also showing his art over the past several years at galleries such as the world famous La Luz De Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, California
My interest in Photography began at the tender age of nine when my great aunt gave me a polaroid 600 for my birthday, specifically for visual confirmation of Santa. Armed with instant gratification, I began to spend a significant amount of playtime setting up and photographing dioramas of Mr. T and Michael Jackson living in biracial harmony with my sister’s Barbies. In the years to follow Film and Animation would take precedence until the purchase of my first medium format camera. It calms my nerves to envision future shots, elaborate lighting set ups and various camera designs. I love everything about it. I can’t stop thinking about recording images. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to let me photograph them . As the late Dr. Bruce Hastings often said, “We’re on fire. We’re electric.”
Portrait of Charles Benefiel
Lauren Atkinson/Donald Green 2005
Remaining open to the possibility of worlds that co-exist and can only be seen through our peripheral sight is a phenomenon that we find intriguing. The active process of slowing down, allowing our other senses to surface from the darkness creates the opportunity to communicate from our collective subconscious.
CATALOGUE / CURATOR ANNE MARIE GRGICH, 2005, SPECIAL THANKS TO THE ARTISTS & WRITERS, COLIN RHODES, DOUG HARVEY, ROBERT BALL, MARCUS MARTENSON, FOR ASSISTANCE, TOM DAVIS AND CARL JUAREZ, COVER ART BY ROBIN OLIVER, THE HOLLYWOOD DOLL, 04
PRODUCTION BY DAVID JONES, CATALOGUE COPYRIGHT RESERVED BY ANNE GRGICH 2005