Archive for September, 2011

Anya Gallaccio’s “Surf’s up” mural in La Jolla

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Anya Gallaccio's Surf's up

There are empty walls in La Jolla and the La Jolla Community Foundation is putting art on some of them. I did a post on the first two murals a while back, Kim MacConnel’s and Roy McMakin’s. This third one in the series is by Anya Gallaccio who currently is on the Visual Arts faculty at UCSD. She has international status in the art world, was short listed for the Turner Prize 2003, and was part of the 1980’s British art scene. Some of her early works self-destructed: a chocolate room, a melting ice block, rotting fruit. Fortunately, this mural is on the wall for a least a year.

detail, "Surf's up"

This mural is called “Surf’s up” and if that is all you know, you can see a tiny boat gliding down some white water. It is, after all, a couple of stone throws away from the Pacific and next to a Rubio’s on Fay Street.

But this is actually an image of a sand grain as seen by an electron microscope which is why it is not obviously anything when you first look at it. I’ve looked at medical scanning electron microscope images of hair cells in the cochlea–actually my brother made a collage of some. And other artists see art in such scans, David Scharf, for example. The weird patterns are jumping off places for all sorts of imagination excursions.

Which is why that little crystal or whatever it is looks like a boat if someone calls the scanning electron microscope image Surf’s up. Other parts of the mural will take you into other places, depending on your brain and its ability to associate.

detail, Surf's up

I like this mural. It gives the viewer possibilities.

detail, Surf's up

Art Outdoors in Loveland, Colorado

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Amos Supuni's The End of Hope

For years you could send your valentines to Loveland, Colorado for remailing and they would be sent to your intended with the Loveland postmark.  Still can.

Or, you can walk around the town and see some 300 art works in public nooks, street corners, and small green parks.  We headed north from Denver to do just that, although the valentine deal had a certain appeal if it had been the right time of year.

Loveland is a town of about 66,000 living in 25.5 square miles of flat, open space in the Great Plains which stretch from Canada to the southern border of the US east of the Mississippi and west of the Rockies. Always amazing flat land to those of us from hilly San Diego County.  Loveland came into being like a lot of early towns because of the railroad and was in fact named for William Loveland, president of the Colorado Central Railroad.  But not much rail traffic now, unlike Gallup, New Mexico, which has trains whistling constantly within earshot.

There are two bronze sculptures in Westcliffe, Colorado, by the artist Mark Lundeen and we see them daily when we are there.  So we headed to Loveland to find his studio. What we found was a lot of art in the streets, joyful and distressing.  The saddest piece was The End of Hope by Amos Supuni.  He was a Zimbabwe artist who carved in silverstone, a very hard serpentine with a high iron content.  This piece was also displayed in the Denver Botanical Gardens a few years ago.  The figure looks sad, but the caption is sadder:  “My money buys only a fraction of what it use to.  My sons and daughters cannot find employment.  Everywhere there is corruption and crime.  My life is falling  apart.”   Wow.  That is not what you expect on a sunny day in the Great Plains. Spiders have spun webs in the nose and dead leaves are trapped there. A good comment.  Even sadder, when I look up Amos Supuni on the Internet, I discovered that he was born in 1970 and died in 2008 from food poisoning.  He was very young.

Jack Kreutzer & Doug Erion's Shout

Mark Lundeen's Monkey Business

Kim Kori's Dreaming of the Kiss

A far happier piece is Shout, a bronze by Jack Kreutzer and Doug Erion, which reminded me of dancers, and a very hopeful piece, a bronze by Kim Kori,  Dreaming of the Kiss. Mark Lundeen has Monkey Business in front of his studio.

But the Amos Supuni is the one which haunts.