Carolyn Vosburgh, Baby Smith, Paul Guillemette, June Diamond, Steve Schmidt
Sandra Vista (curator)
ARENA I is pleased to announce the opening of FOUND, an exhibition by six Los Angeles based mixed-media/collage artists, curated by Sandra Vista. The exhibition, which opens in conjunction with the 4th annual Airport Art Walk, celebrates the creativity that can occur in the act of recycling. As part of the concept for this exhibition, participating artists were invited to make field trips to salvage yards throughout Los Angeles county as a way of expanding on the possibilities for finding material to integrate with their own respective styles.
The effort provided a bonus to all the artists, who, learning about each other’s techniques and practices, were able to identify materials for each other as they searched these vast acres of salvage yards.
June Diamond works in fused glass. For the exhibition she has created a sculpture divided into two sections: a “rug-like” metal grate into which she “hooked” strands of 16 gauge copper wire, and a suspended hammock-like form interwoven with copper wire and dollops of melted wine bottles. Reminiscent of Eva Hesse, the tendrils of the copper wire take on the appearance of fibers frozen in time. A “post-modern” lawn chair has individually silk-screened 4”x4” squares of glass connected by jump rings meticulously linked to each glass square.
Sandra Vista’s labor intensive methods involve wrapping strings of beads on dried gourds and beaded pins on canvas. She has created a series of panels which read like abstract paintings. They were created by adhering over 2000 zipper tabs – one at a time – onto each panel using gel medium and acrylic paint. A 20 foot tower of PVC pipe holds outdoor heater lampshades welded together in 14 pairs to represent mutated bead forms in an architectural element reminiscent of an Indian stupa reaching the heavens.
Carolyn Vosburgh presents a monumental installation combining roots and branches from her family garden with mutilated aluminum automobile filters and historical maps on panels. The collaged maps are obscured with layers of rice paper. Vosburgh’s combines the linear quality of the maps with organic-multi-generational characteristics of plant matter.
Paul Guillemette has created a 16 foot staircase of found wood from shipping crates which he has sealed in resin. The site-specific staircase will be installed against one of the Arena I Gallery walls and will continue up into the free unclaimed space above.It’s a seemingly useful architectural element promising yet denying access to a commanding view of the gallery which was a former airplane hangar.The staircase is a metaphor for “a life” under way.
Steve Schmidt has taken the concept of using seashells of varied sizes with acrylic paint and gel medium on canvas to transform the ubiquitous sea shells from a craft seen in beachfront curio shops into the fine art arena. Schmidt also worked methodically on the placement of each shell to create a field of subtle tones. Previously, Schmidt’s abstract pieces were derived by cutting, flattening and collaging colored plastic from detergent bottles and other household products. Whether he works with organic or man-made materials, Schmidt considers his paintings to be examples of landscapes.
Baby Smith produced a series of 4’x4’ panels that consist of found paper such as old playing cards and cardboard that she has hand cut into small squares creating mosaic-like patterns overtop collaged vintage magazine clippings on each panel. Additionally, Smith, who is fascinated with minutia, incorporated salvage bits of metal and paper that she found on the floor of the salvage yards.