I LOVED the recent art exhibition of Michael Muller and Sage Vaughn. I’ve been aware of Sage’s paintings for years, but I’ve never had the opportunity to see his work in person. This recent exhibit featured Vaughn’s painting over the photographic images of Michael Muller. Most images were 48″ x 60″ and some as large as 60″ x 90″, ranging in price from $16,000 – $22,000. I was elated to see so many red sold dots on the pieces.
Over the last decade Sage has had multiple solo shows, from New York to London to Germany and Geneva. There have also been several group exhibitions from Los Angeles to London, San Francisco to Belgium… it’s safe to say, Sage is everywhere. I wish I would have known about his work a decade ago, as it might have been a bit more affordable. But that’s what drives prices up: the international solo shows and a list of top notch collectors.
As an artist, I’ve been very enamored by Sage’s use of the Butterfly, combined with his drip paint technique. Below you can view a YouTube mural making video that I created in 2014 inspired directly by his paintings. I have no idea if he’s ever seen my work, but I do hope that he would be flattered and not offended by my interpretation of his beautiful fine art.
Seven Magic Mountains makes me think of Stonehenge on acid, or psychedelic rocks as interpreted by Pop Artist Peter Max. Alas, it’s internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.
This two year installation which opened in May of this year, can easily be seen from your car while whizzing by on Interstate 15, about 10 miles south of Las Vegas. Initially you might think you’re seeing neon colored balloons, however, as you near the parking lot and exit your car, something exciting starts to happen. The striking colors juxtaposed against the beige of the desert begin to feel cool, as in cold, despite the 100 plus degree temperature. Maybe it’s because they remind us of tubs of ice cream seen behind class at the local CVS or Baskin Robbins… there’s certainly something pavlovian happening here.
In total there are seven towers made up of 33 limestone boulders. The public art installation cost 3.5 million dollars to bring to life, including fees for permits, fabrication costs, road improvements, staff and studio travel over the 5 year timeline it took to bring this project to life, as well as for land restoration once the exhibit closes in May of 2018.
I’ve never been to burning man, however, for the short time I spent moving around this installation, I felt as if I might be getting a sense of what burning man is like: hip, cool, alternative, unexpected. Experiencing temporary art thrust into a dry desert environment is quite exciting and invigorating. I actually visited this site twice in one day, as I wanted to see it while the sun was setting. Both times there were tons of people milling about, and the kids seemed the most excited by the bold colors. That said, it is the desert, so watch where you walk if you choose to visit this site. Rattlesnakes are a real possibility since this is their native habitat. They won’t care if you you’re busy taking your best art selfie to date. (yes, that’s a thing now) My sis yelled at me to stay on ‘the path’, but I had to get that long shot of all seven stones lined up side by side. I’d love to revisit this installation in a year to see what the scorching desert sun has done to these saturated colors, or how they might look against a backdrop of white winter snow. If you’re on instagram, search #7magicmountains to see the latest and greatest of the seasonal shots taken around the spectacularly fun exhibit.
You can learn more about artist Ugo Rondinone HERE
The video below will show you how they stacked these 40,000 pound boulders… the first earth work installation created in over 40 years.
The Palm Springs Fine Art Fair of 2015 lived up to my expectations. It has always been one of my favorites and this year it included 66 Galleries from 7 countries, focusing on post-war and contemporary art. As you can see from the images I’ve posted, there was a huge variety and style of works priced from $4,000 – $120,000. Some of the works were elegant and refined, while others were snarky and irreverent.
Patrons were gathering around the Gusford Gallery enjoying the amusing quotes of artist Adam Mars such as: Retardashians, I Stand By My Uninformed Opinions, Good Lay Bad Texter, True Love Waits and We’re Impatient, and For Eli Broad or some Rich Broad.
The exquisite painting by Mexican born Noe Katz was a show stopper. I love the long sinewy lines wrapping around the male figure, which looks like it could have been painted by Fernand Leger with its Deco inspired shading. His work has been seen at exhibitions in the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, the Tokoro Museum of Modern Art in Japan and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach.
Ryan Magyar’s#22 lept off the gallery wall from across the room, glowing like embers in a fireplace. In my opinion it’s remarkably well executed and very affordable at $4,000. Imagine it hanging on a nearly black wall at the end of long corridor, it would be stunning.
Portrait artist Lui Ferreyra used a sublime muted color palette for his oil painting Delusion (study). It has a vintage cubist vibe and reminds me of the Italian Futurist exhibit I saw at the Guggenheim in New York last spring. At $4,500 I think it’s also a remarkable value.
I’m a huge fan of photorealism. Tom Bett’sArchipelago & Glass looks like it could have been painted by a Dutch master. He used thin layers of paint on a smooth panel, therefore, there are no ridges on the surface like you’d see on canvas. Art consultant Marty Raichle tells me that the painting literally glows once the lights are turned off, and I’m inclined to believe her. At $12,800 it’s a steep price point if you’re a novice art collector. That said, anytime you’re willing to lay out that much for a painting you’ll need to do your homework and look at the artists Curriculum Vitae. Who’s collecting them? Are they in any museum collections? Do they have any resale value in the secondary art market… you get the picture.
Artist Mel Bochner has his own dedicated Wikipedia page, which helps you understand why his works on paper go for $120,000. He’s an American conceptual artist and his works are in nearly 2 dozen Public Collections in Switzerland, Germany, Australia and France.
To quote art critic and museum curator Peter FrankThe fair has variety and surprise, two qualities I look for in a fair. I’m so glad that I made the drive from Los Angeles to see the 2015 fine art fair. Good art is satisfying and inspiring, and I for one left with a big smile on my face.
Mel’s knowledge of Gilot’s work is extensive, especially with their 20 plus years of collaboration which began in 1987. His lecture was rich in detail, and was one of those moments in story telling that you never wanted to end. The exhibit began with her Labyrinth Series and included important works into the 21st Century. Had I of known I’d be writing this blog post, I would have taken greater care to to get clearer images with the proper dates and titles. The images above were my favorites, and I snapped the photos for my own personal reference. However, they do not begin to capture the remarkable depth of this exhibit.
Here’s my most recent series of paintings: Tulips, works on paper. They’re freer and more spontaneous than my oil paintings on canvas.
I started by photographing a large glass vase full of tulips in my art studio, then, a few months later, worked to reinterpret the images with Gouache on paper. Gouache is a water based paint that is thicker than traditional water color paint. Apparently, before graphic design went digital with the rest of the world, gouache was the medium of choice. This medium allows the user to create rich saturated colors that dry very quickly, especially when compared to oil on canvas. Even though I’d used gouache paint in my design classes at UCLA, I’d never really considered using it as a professional medium until I saw the work of Richard Diebenkorn at the Palm Springs Art Museum last fall. (Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953 – 1966) His moody saturated images really spoke to me, so I dug out my old tubes of gouache paint, bought a few new colors and went to work. The above painting, Lavender Tulips, is the third work in my progression of Tulip Paintings and is currently being framed. Below you’ll see Orange Tulips, the first in the series, and Purple Tulips (which has already sold). Additional inspiration came from the vintage print works of Francoise Gilot.
Below is a Flipagram (cool iphone/ipad App) that will let you tell any story in 15 seconds. In my Flipagram, I show you the evolution of Lavender Tulips from start to finish.