Our minds and eyes are editing and practicing selective neglect on a daily basis, so what each of us sees creates our customized version of reality. One of the most stimulating aspects of traveling to a new venue is watching that process happen with fresh material.

My visit to California was full of that selective viewing, of letting the serendipitous take the lead. It is a kind of surrender that produces amazing and unexpected results.

This last week ended up feeling like a beautifully matched double narrative, of two tracks that intertwine and become a reinforcing loop. The visual art that moved me most was reflected in the nature that moved me most, mirroring my aesthetic proclivities and selective viewing. And it was lush.

A few examples:

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A close up of Tony Orrico’s large scale drawing

Tony Orrico’s show at Shoshana Wayne Gallery at Bergamot Station found consonance with the wind-molded, moss covered tangle of trees at Point Lobos near Monterey.

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A section of a piece from the Drill series by Markus Linnenbrink

Markus Linnenbrink’s 2D/3D piece hanging at the San Jose Museum of Art was reminiscent of the underwater fauna that fills the Monterey Aquarium.

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Petals floating on water from a show of large scale photographs by Ori Gersht

Subtle but moving show of evocative photographs by Ori Gersht at Angles Gallery in Culver City was in keeping with a Los Angeles full of flowering jacaranda trees. Exquisite lavender colored blossoms can be seen everywhere you turn.

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Virginia Katz’s pieces feel like a blending of the polished surface of marble combined with topographic mapping.


The view from Pacheco State Park looking toward Los Banos


Rocks along the coast at Big Sur

Virginia Katz’s meditative pieces at Ruth Bachofner speak to the California landscape viewed in the vertical.

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But the best experience of the week was not just visual but serendipitous on so many levels. While walking along La Cienaga to visit the galleries in Culver City, a stranger asked me if my name was Deborah Barlow. The man on the street was Tim Rice, a painter from Berkeley who is also a reader of this blog. He recognized me from my photo on the About page. We quickly launched into a conversation that quickly established a shared set of interests and points of view. It was like finding a member of your very personal tribe in the least expected place. Meeting him like that was just too good and so unexpected.

But the magic of it all only intensified when I visited his website when I returned home today. It was filled with exquisite, evocative, lyrical paintings, paintings that spoke directly to the spell that was cast for me from viewing the underwater landscapes at the Monterey Aquarium. While not meaning to draw direct analogies, there is something so deeply resonant in the way light plays in Tim’s work and the sense of wonder that most of us have in viewing life under water.

I’m still reveling in all of it.


Inference (8) by Tim Rice (photo: Tim Rice)


Flow, by Tim Rice (photo: Tim Rice)


Written Somewhere, by Tim Rice (photo: Tim Rice)

A suite of images from the Monterey Aquarium:

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