At 82, Helen Rae is as prolific as ever, interpreting fashion advertisements into her singular vision. Toilet paper holders convey political messages. A line drawn in a meditative state conveys a buzzing energy.
Helen Rae at the Tierra Del Sol Gallery
Tierra del Sol is a non-profit organization that empowers people with developmental disabilities through workforce, career and arts development. Their Chinatown gallery post specifically features artists working in the central art studio.
Being seen is a new exhibition of colored pencil drawings by artist Helen Rae. The images, which take fashion advertising as their source material, are expertly crafted. As Rae pressed colored pencil to paper, she reinterpreted the haute couture woman she was depicting, adding intricate striated patterns. She spreads her face, spreads her shoulders, stretches her neck, and beautifies her clothes. Through her bold colors, cabbage compositions and intricate lines, Rae infuses each subject with deep, pensive emotions that seem to connect directly with viewers – an intensity not often found when flipping through the latest issue of Vogue.
Helen Rae didn’t start making art until she was in her 50s, and now she can’t stop. Gallerist Paige Wery explains in a video guide that “he hadn’t actually done any fine art before his mother enrolled him in the Tierra del Sol art program. He came and started to learn from scratch how to draw, and actually became an amazing artist. ”
Rae has been nonverbal and deaf from birth, but since discovering art, he’s been drawing Monday through Friday in Tierra del Sol. Since COVID-19, the center has stopped offering face-to-face classes, and most students have connected with each other and their art mentors at the center via Zoom. When it became clear that Zoom was a challenge for Rae, Tierra del Sol began bringing tables, chairs, and drawing materials to the group home where Rae was staying. He is now able to continue working every day in his front yard. “He responded well and was happy to be back at work, ”explained Wery.
Now viewed: September 4 – October 23, 2020
“Under / Over” at Marta
At Marta’s gallery, a simple but familiar subject is featured in their new exhibition “Under / Over”: toilet paper. Dubbed ‘The TP Holder Show’ for this exhibition, the gallery invited 53 artists and designers to create bespoke toilet paper holders. Each design explores a sense of play around often overlooked bathroom fixtures. The toilet paper rolls dangled from chains and springs, swirled over the top, and were filled by wooden cages and intricately designed geometry. One BNAG piece looked like an oversized tongue on which the scroll had been placed unwittingly.
“The bathroom is a neighborhood social + political site,” reads the press release. Great impetus for exhibitions, jointly organized by Paper Plants, a non-toxic bamboo toilet paper brand, aims to raise awareness about the toxicity of soft plastic-wrapped toilet paper. “27,000 trees are flushed down the toilet every day,” the gallery explains. This along with a range of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and bleach.
Further, the gallery details that the Koch brand controls 29% of the market in North America, and the company has “funneled millions of dollars into voter suppression, aiding and growth of the Prison Industrial Complex, and the reversal of environmental common sense protection.” ahead of the November elections that our daily actions, however superficial, could become agents of political change.
Aired: 10 September – 1 November 2020
Brian Randolph at Odd Ark LA
Brian Randolph image, showcased at Odd Ark in his solo show “Septum,” contains tangible energy. The artist begins by drawing a grid on white paper which is then filled with convoluted openwork that is wrapped around and overlapping in methodical columns. The very hued colors that background her work are applied corner to corner with colored pencils, which the artist rubs to create a subtle sheen. Curved lines have the density and precision of op art, but there is a subtle intimacy that can be felt through slight inconsistencies and subtle color gradations. It was as if the meditative energy and focus of the artist himself while creating these works were transferred to the viewer through alchemical magic.
The artist explained in the press release that he chose a split composition for the show to represent “the the relationship between two people, and our sense of the always divided paths, our choices are presented at all times. … Our experience is binary from a hemisphere, always bonding and facing each other in a critical feedback relationship with one another, as much as what most of us experience as a whole. “
Aired: 12 September – 17 October 2020
Performing arts are open to appointments, while some are more inclined towards the digital space
As art exhibitions started opening up for viewing by agreement, some of them committed themselves to the digital space for the long term. Last week I spoke with Steve Chiotakis about two new exhibits – one physically and in person, the other virtual and experiential. We discuss Maija Peeples-Bright at Parker Gallery, a “crazy and funk” artist known for her bright colors and bizarre creatures which she calls “beasts”.
Actually, there is MASA, started by artist Peter Wu + during the pandemic in response to the onslaught of the digital art experience that was originally emerging. Wu + has done several shows and each one is set in a different VR setting for the artwork. It makes for an experience feels more like a video game than looking at the gallery.
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