CVIndependent

Wed05242017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Nicole Borgenicht

Deanna Izen Miller is opening her brand-new gallery in Palm Desert on Saturday, Feb. 18.

She’s bringing decades of experience and art knowledge to the new Izen Miller Gallery on El Paseo. Miller has been an art dealer for 37 years; she opened her first gallery in Venice, Calif., and had a stint at The River in Rancho Mirage. The new Palm Desert gallery will feature artists from all over the United States—some of whom she has represented for three decades—as well as six local contemporary artists she recently added to her list.

The new Izen Miller Gallery’s first exhibition is called Multiplicity: The Eye of the Artists, and will include works by the artists Miller represents. It will be on display through Sunday, March 26.

Miller expressed excitement about both her new El Paseo location and the local artist community.

“After moving here four years ago … I met several artists from the Coachella Valley, who I am beginning to develop a relationship with,” she said. “When I opened my gallery, I had met so many artists—and I know how important it is to show local artists. I selected the artists whose art I felt works with the direction my gallery is going in.”

Two Coachella Valley artists will be highlighted in Multiplicity: Ruth Gonzales and Barry Orleans.

With explosive color, Barry Orleans expresses cheerful tones through abstract imagery, while Ruth Gonzales paints shapes beneath and throughout compositional fields that seem to awaken emotion.

“Barry is an emerging artist, and Ruth is mid-career,” Miller said. “Their color, light, form and sensibility work with my gallery and the image I want to portray.”

Barry Orleans’ bold and luminous colors can brighten anyone’s day, and bring out a smile. The self-taught artist notes that his paintings are about “movement, color and space.”

Miller said Orleans focuses on the paint itself as his subject. “His brushless application of paint creates the sensation of color, texture and motion. His canvases become about the action in the art.”

Ruth Gonzales’ paintings have influences from Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt’s light, and Rufino Tamayo’s color and form.

Gonzales was born in Mexico and began as a figurative painter; her knowledge of structure and technique is easily spotted in her current abstract work. She has lived in the desert since 1990, and her art has been in many galleries and sold internationally. One of Gonzales’ themes is how human temperament interacts with and is influenced by nature. While making her mixed-media paintings, she at times incorporates marble dust and sand with raw pigment oils. In this way, her art brings the viewer closer to nature, and also to the universal spirit of humankind.

Miller said viewers can be “transformed” by Gonzales’ work.

“The work is not about expressionism, impressionism or minimalism, but an abstract thought, somewhere in between,” Miller said. “But it is very tangible.”

Izen Miller Gallery will celebrate its grand opening from 6 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18, at 73740 El Paseo, in Palm Desert. Multiplicity: The Eye of the Artists will be on display through Sunday, March 26. For more information, call 760-898-0223, or visit izenmillergallery.com. Below: “Flight of the Mumble Bees” by Ruth Gonzales.

Marconi Calindas shows the works of many different artists in his gallery, but for now, he’s shining the spotlight on some of his own colorful work.

Calindas is excited to share Welga (Huelga): A Tribute to the Great Grape Strike with the desert art scene. The works, featuring beautiful, vibrant colors typical of Calindas’ original home in the Philippines, were originally shown in Northern California.

“It was showcased at the EastSide Cultural Center in Oakland during the 50th anniversary of the strike,” Calindas said. ”The exhibition ran for at least a month in the center, and then the organizers brought it with them to other venues in Northern California.”

Calindas—whose list of art exhibitions and awards is beyond impressive—said he was honored to be chosen to create works representing the historic 1965 strike of Filipino grape-pickers. He explained how he came to create the Welga series. (“Welga” is the Tagalog word for strike, while “huelga” is the Spanish word.)

“An organization led by a Filipino professor for Asian American studies from UC Davis (Robyn Rodriguez) knew about my success as a Filipino artist in San Francisco and invited me to participate in their commemoration of the Delano Grape Strike,” Calindas said.

As a Filipino immigrant himself, Calindas said he felt a personal connection to the history of the strike.

Marconi’s expressive and colorful pieces are made from acrylic and ink on canvas, as well as mixed media such as papier-mâché masks. One of the most striking works in the show is “Faces of Difference,” which features nine brightly colored masks—seemingly the same in every way but their vibrant colors.

“This is generally a depiction of my take on people of different colors trying to make a stand and a mark in this country and the world,” he said. “We are different but still the same.”

“A Plant at a Time” (below) depicts a hand placing a plant in the green ground.

“To harvest a better future, we need to plant good deeds and visions one day at a time,” he said about the work.

Galleria Marconi is an upbeat place with positive vibes and spirited art. Calindas considers his gallery a place of social relevance and commentary.

“I grew up in the Philippines and was part of this progressive visual and theater group, Teatro Umalohokan, back in my university years, and being part of the group has molded me to be the artist that I am right now,” he said. “(I want) to convey messages about what’s going on around our community. For me, as an art ambassador, we should also be ambassadors for peace, equality and the change we need for a better life.”

On March 1—during the Backstreet Art District’s First Wednesday Art Walk from 6 to 9 p.m.—Calindas will present a special one-night showing of the works of students participating in local nonprofit arts organization Tools for Tomorrow.

“Kids’ artworks will be mounted on our walls for a night of showcase and celebration for these kids’ talents,” he said.

Welga (Huelga): A Tribute to the Great Grape Strike is on display through Friday, March 31, at Galleria Marconi Palm Springs, 2668 S. Cherokee Way, in Palm Springs. For more information, call 415-418-9546, or visit www.galleriamarconips.com.

Two of the Coachella Valley’s top galleries—one from Palm Desert, and one from Palm Springs—will be showcasing their hottest artists at this year’s Art Palm Springs.

Formerly known as the Palm Springs Art Fair, Art Palm Springs takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center Feb. 16-19.

Downtown Palm Springs’ Jorge Mendez Gallery will bring the paintings of Ariel Vargassal, and figurative abstractions by David Baca.

“The gallery is showing contemporary art in general, but our artists are more modern and a little edgy … (creating) artworks that are designed to influence the current tastes and opinions of a newer generation of art collectors,” Mendez said.

Vargassal is a popular artist with humorous themes, Mendez said. “Vargassal masters the hyperrealism technique with a modern, sharp and sometimes provocative approach of the subject of his paintings. His interpretation of the human body is precise and real in every aspect, from skin tone to hair, facial expressions and even eye expressions. Humans and animals become together in his latest series, Totems.”

David Baca is an artist New Mexico. “His work has a mid-century feel to it,” Mendez said. “Tension, relief and man’s presence in the landscape are of interest in his work.

Jorge Mendez Gallery will also show the works of Christian Gill, Brian Huber, Vladimir Cora, Lori LeBoy, Rafael Lopez-Ramos and Barbara Gothard. (For more on Gothard, see the accompanying story.)

Mendez said he’s delighted to take part in the growing fair. “It’s exciting to be part of such an important and sophisticated event, and it’s equally exciting to be among so many renowned galleries coming from so many different countries.”

Meanwhile, Palm Desert’s Hohmann Fine Art will present flourishing painter Kimber Berry, awarded ceramicist Laurent Craste and renowned painter Robert Dunahay. Hohmann Fine Art will also host a book-signing by talented chiaroscuro photographer Greg Gorman.

Hohmann rarely represents new artists, but the gallery made an exception for Kimber Berry, whose work was a hit at Hohmann’s booth at Art Miami.

“It was a big success, so we will feature a couple of Kimber Berry works in Palm Springs as well,” said Christian Hohmann. “She did a big installation with paint flowing off the canvas onto the floor and creeping up the ceiling. It was very impressive.”

Hohmann said ceramicist Craste recently received a big honor. “He is a Canadian artist of French descent, and his work was just selected to be on the cover of a new compendium of all the relevant international contemporary ceramic artists, The New Age of Ceramics, and he will do a book-signing at the fair during the VIP opening night.

“We will show at least one of Robert Dunahay’s new works from a brand-new series of black-and-white minimalistic abstract compositions, painted with crystalline sand. Although Robert became famous for his Palm Tree paintings and is mostly known for that, he has ventured out and had many successful, albeit lesser-known series. We will try to break that perception and show some of his more experimental work instead of the tried-and-true.

“Last but not least, Greg Gorman, the iconic Los Angeles based photographer, will be at our booth on Saturday to sign his latest book, Private Works. Gorman was one of the first openly gay photographers of his generation, and the book allows a peek behind closed doors.”

Hohmann Fine Art’s booth should be hard to miss: It will be one of the largest at Art Palm Springs.

“We feel strongly that the fair has become a highlight of our season, because it gives us an opportunity to show our local clients that we can compete and even outshine some of the important galleries from metropolitan areas around the world,” Hohmann said.

Hohmann said his goal is to get the attention of fair-goers. Given the high price points of art, clients often want to think about a piece rather than buying it on the spot.

“The fair in Palm Springs is not about selling; that, we do out of the gallery,” Hohmann said. “At the fair, we want to make a dynamic impression and evoke responses. There’s a lot of competition. We show what we feel will resonate—something to remember.”

Hohmann Fine Art is currently celebrating its 40-year anniversary; Christian Hohmann’s parents opened the gallery in Germany in 1976.

“My father’s philosophy, which we adopted for the gallery, is, simply and humbly: originality, quality, consistency and longevity. When you select art like that, there are much fewer artists to choose from, but they usually stand the test of time—and trends don’t affect them much.”

Art Palm Springs takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, from Thursday, Feb. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 19. One-day passes start at $20; weekend passes start at $75. For tickets or more information, visit www.art-palmsprings.com. Above right: "David Michelak, Los Angeles, 1987" by Greg Gorman. Below: "Not All Who Wander Are Lost" by Kimber Berry.

Tim Shockley’s sculptures almost seem alive—as if they have a mind.

The works in his Taming the Wild West series—they look like wire tumbleweeds, but are so much more—represent the conflict between the West’s nature and man’s development.

Then there’s his Loose Ties series. Is it just me … or do those ties have a serpent-like vibe?

“The tie relates to corruption—symbolic of a Bernie Madoff-type guy in a suit and tie, who then rips you off!” Shockley said.

Shockley is just one of the artists whose works can be viewed at Art Palm Springs, the ever-growing annual art exhibition formerly known as the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. This year’s fair, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, takes place Feb. 16-19.

Shockley is just one of a handful of local artists whose works will be shown at the fair. He’s represented by Myers-Kovich Gallery.

“It’s a contemporary gallery based in Laguna Beach, and they are showing some of the most innovative and inspiring artists working today, and I am very excited to be showing with them,” he said.

His new Taming the Wild West series will be featured at the fair.

“It consists of large tumbleweeds fabricated from barbed wire and coated in 24-karat gold,” he said. “This work is not a departure, but a step forward in my endeavor to create art that withstands the test of time. It is a statement series having to do with our species and our constant attempt to control the environment around us.”

Another newer series by Shockley, Loose Ends, takes everyday objects—neckties—and transforms them into works that are beyond unique.

Loose Ties has the quality of tweaking the general perspective of an ordinary object into interesting subject matter,” Shockley said. “With this work, I’ve taken a stagnant necktie and cast it in metal in the very fluid shape of a serpent. I use vibrant patinas on some to create striking patterns, while others are dipped in 24-karat gold or silver.”

Shockley said he thinks the works in the Loose Ties series give off a strong feeling of corruption or scandal.

“It all makes sense when you realize I started this series during this country’s financial meltdown,” he said.


Barbara Gothard is another local artist whose works will be shown at Art Palm Springs. The gallery representing Gothard is also local—Palm Springs’ Jorge Mendez Gallery.

Gothard’s paintings often show a dreamy vision—interrupted by linear lines or window frames. Gothard considers her work more abstract than realistic, and in fact, the paintings in her recent Hurdles series may be even more abstract than her previous works.

“My new hurdles or obstacles dissipate or break up,” Gothard said. “… The hurdle is to represent symbolic obstacles, as opposed to a realistic window. In recent years, rather than a window frame, the shape (in my art) has a free form, not a rigid rectangle.”

In these Hurdles series works, shapes are broken apart. A viewer may very well see pain and disruption.

“The Hurdles are symbolic and represent the obstacles we face in life—and in my case, may be autobiographical in terms of recent traumatic experiences,” Gothard said. “When the Hurdles first appeared in my work, they appeared as dark, very rigid, industrial forms that tended to dominate the picture plane but contrasted with architectural elements and … landscape elements. More recently, the Hurdles are breaking apart, exposing life behind them. The use of windows or other openings between the Hurdles represents options that everyone possesses.”

Each series done by Gothard has a strong theme, and Hurdles is no exception.

“The focus of my artwork is the concept of expansion: Expansion of the visual space within the canvas, and expansion of the principles that guide my creative process—moving from a more surrealism-influenced approach, and expanding my color palette from a minimalist color scheme to colors that are more reflective of my current environment—the desert,” Gothard said. “(I am) placing the organic with the abstract to result in a contrasting effect.”

Art Palm Springs takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, from Thursday, Feb. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 19. One-day passes start at $20; weekend passes start at $75. For tickets or more information, visit www.art-palmsprings.com. Above right: “Exposed,” from the Loose Ties series by Tim Shockley; cast bronze with patina (2015). Below: A work from the Hurdles series by Barbara Gothard.

On one hand, Mark Harm Niemeyer creates fantastic creatures. On the other hand, he is a skillful landscape painter who specializes in desert scenes and Joshua Tree ambiance.

“There are two sides to my work,” says Niemeyer. “There is the landscape side and the dream-bird side. Whichever way the pendulum swings and the hand points, like an inner voice, is how I paint. Now the pendulum is in the middle. I am painting at a frantic pace—big, new pieces at 4 1/2 by 4 1/2 feet in less than two weeks.”

Artize Gallery owner Kelly Truscott has been representing Niemeyer’s work for almost a decade—and will be spotlighting it during a January show. Truscott has a strict policy to only exhibit artists she herself collects.

“I have represented Mark for approximately seven years now,” Truscott said. “I grabbed his card in an art store and was going to call him, but before that could happen, he came into my (previous) gallery in Sacramento.”

In Niemeyer’s dreamscapes, his human-like creatures have striped heads; some appear so real and natural that it almost looks like he had live models.

“I think the main inspiration was from Aboriginal and Maori warriors who tattoo their faces,” Niemeyer said. “… I also liked how a stripe on a figure could help define a contour, with highlights on one side and deep shadow on the other; that really helped with the 3-D modeling. I also like the added color the stripes bring. One of the things I try to do is to make each new figure or face uniquely different, and the stripes help with that.”

His other magical creatures are dream birds.

“The dream birds are mainly from my imagination—a small blend of bird and human, with their human feet and human eyes,” Niemeyer said. “I try to make them unique, but it is hard to outdo Mother Nature when it comes to coloring birds. The stripes help give them that dream quality.”

His other skillset involves painting the beautiful landscapes of Joshua Tree.

“I like to paint landscapes that I have experienced, and that I have walked around in and that I have photographed,” Niemeyer said. “I went to Joshua Tree expecting to paint the trees there; nobody told me about the wonderful rock formations!”

Now his magical creatures are entering these landscapes—opening up a new world of artistic adventure.

“I have always felt like my art swung like a pendulum between landscapes and dreamscapes,” he said. “It is only recently that the pendulum has stopped in the middle, and the dream creatures are starting to walk into the landscapes. You can see this in my latest series, Creatures on the Path.”

Niemeyer’s work has been at galleries since the 1980s, starting at a co-op in Omaha, Neb. Friends advised him that his work had more of a California style; later, in Sacramento he showed at two galleries, one of which was owned by Truscott. Niemeyer was one of her best-selling artists, so Truscott kept him when she relocated to Palm Springs.

“When she opened a new gallery in Palm Springs, I was happy that she wanted to show my work there,” he said. “I currently live in Omaha. … All my work gets shipped out to the Artize Gallery in Palm Springs!”

A printmaker in college, Niemeyer utilizes “swirling strokes and the building up of overlapping color.” In all of his work, the “swirling stroke” is prominent.

“I think I have found a way of laying down color that is uniquely my own,” Niemeyer said.

The show at Artize Gallery will encompass decades of Niemeyer’s work.

“I came up with the name Circular Polarity because of Mark’s distinctive circle/swirl style and the interesting (love/hate) way people react to his subject matter,” Truscott said.

Circularity Polarity, featuring works by Mark Harm Niemeyer, will open at Artize Gallery, 2600 S. Cherokee Way, Palm Springs, with an artist’s reception during the Backstreet Art District Art Walk, from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 4. The exhibit will be on display through Sunday, Jan. 29. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, call 760-459-5344, or visit www.artizegallery.com.

Heather James Fine Art is surprising and delighting gallery-goers with Norman Rockwell’s humorous depictions of American life, along with portraits and studies by the renowned artist that uncover another level of his perception and skill.

“In putting together this Norman Rockwell show, we wanted to highlight examples of his artwork that illustrated the artist's working process,” said the gallery’s Hayden Hunt. “This can be seen through paintings like ‘Boy on a Weathervane,’ which is a study for a magazine cover; through ‘Study for “Boy With Melting Ice Cream Cones”’ that was a preliminary figure study for a painting; and even through the early painting ‘Gramercy Park,’ which was painted before Rockwell developed his strong narrative style of painting.”

The show includes several beautiful examples of storytelling, while others works depict a character in a unique way. For instance, “Weighing In (The Jockey)” reveals exaggerated figures—a seeming giant weighs a tiny jockey.

“We included images like ‘Weighing In’ because it reveals the artist’s skills at telling stories through a single image,” Hunt said. “This particular piece has a connection to the larger theme of the show, illustrating the artist's working process, because the painting of ‘Head Studies of a Girl (Peggy Best Sketch Class)’ actually has an under-drawing of ‘Weighing In’ visible underneath the painting. It shows how Rockwell reused his canvases and was continually adapting his ideas, or even abandoning them altogether.”

The small show includes some pieces on loan to Heather James.

“We chose to include artwork on loan that highlights interesting aspects of Rockwell's artistic output, which you don't see as often in paintings displayed in museums,” Hunt said. “‘Portrait of George A. Musselman’ is not a characteristic Rockwell painting, since it was not used as a magazine cover or for illustration purposes. Instead, it was actually commissioned by one of Rockwell's collectors; he owned about five major paintings by the artist.”

The show includes works in several different mediums—from full-color offset prints to paintings in oil—at various price points.

“Rockwell is best-known for his oil paintings, but he also did sketches in pencil,” Hunt said. “While he was alive, the artist began printing and selling lithographs of his artwork to sell out of his home in Stockbridge, Mass. He was well-known and loved by people around the country for his magazine covers, and he wanted to create signed works in media that were accessible to almost anyone who wanted one.”

One of the finest in the show is “Study for ‘Boy With Melting Ice Cream Cones.’” Not only does the young boy have stunning looks; Rockwell unveils the boy’s depth of personality and strength of character through beautiful paint strokes and color. It is a gem of a painting.

“I really love ‘Study for “Boy With Melting Ice Cream Cones,’” Hunt said. “He painted it in 1940. The model had done other jobs with various illustrators, but Rockwell used a different model to finish (the resulting work), because this model is too handsome. He chose a characteristic Rockwell look, with upturned nose, not this model, who has a Rat Pack look.”

This uncommon study of a very charismatic boy makes one wonder if perhaps there is even more to the story of the model change for the Saturday Evening Post cover.

A favorite artist of Americans everywhere, Rockwell had the gift of being able to tell through art.

“The paintings in the show and his other works show an entire narrative story from a single Rockwell image,” Hunt said. “He carefully planned everything out and used political overtures a lot. His Saturday Evening Post covers were complex.”

Norman Rockwell is on display through Monday, Jan. 30, at Heather James Fine Art, 45188 Portola Ave., in Palm Desert. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 760-346-8926, or visit www.heatherjames.com

John Neumann’s sculptures have been featured in solo exhibitions and group shows throughout the country for decades. His abstractions are thematically tied to movement, in series focusing on mythology, dance/music—and even the universe.

Neumann is prolific; for his current Sol series, Neumann has produced 14 pieces since February—and will complete another three before the end of this year. In fact, one of those sculptures was just given a rather prominent temporary home: “Sol III” is an 8-foot, 9-inch sculpture selected by the city of Palm Desert for a two-year display in the El Paseo median between San Luis Rey Avenue and Larkspur Lane.

“Sol III” includes bright, cheerful red and blue linear bars holding a yellow sphere, offering a lyrical feeling through its Constructivist style. Considering some Constructivists seek to create works that have active viewers, the placement of “Sol III” on El Paseo is perfect.

“Constructivism is about negative space or the orchestration of positive to negative space,” Neumann says. “The Sol series is about the relationship of linear elements to a sphere. It is the movement of how one color works off another, with a sphere as the catalyst that sets them in motion.”

Other influences on Neumann’s sculpture include Surrealism, with its “auto-sense of thought/dream and creation,” he says, and “Abstract Expressionism, because it has a look of spontaneity, as if it just happened—even if it took a long time to create!”

Beginning with a thumbnail sketch, Neumann develops a design from which he creates a maquette—about 10 inches tall, maybe a little higher.

“Changes always occur from the sketch, since the space is different when it is realized three-dimensionally,” Neumann says.

An intermediate-scale sculpture is next—generally 3 to 4 feet tall, a standard gallery size.

The sculpture is made of steel and then painted with automotive paint or acrylic enamel paint. “Acrylic enamel paint is quicker-drying and tougher—I think more durable, and better for the environment!” Neumann says. Prices of works in the Sol series range from $1,500 up to about $25,000.

“My work has always been inspired by movement,” Neumann says. “Visual movement is the same; sometimes, the thought process and inspiration to capture something in motion is different.”

Earlier series were mainly inspired by dance and music, with sculpture titles like “Waltz,” “Flamingo,” “Slow Dancing,” “Swing” and “Jitterbug.” He also made one sculpture titled “Take the A Train.”

“Whether about mythology, dance or the universe,” says Neumann, “my biggest concern is capturing something in motion. The newer pieces (in the Sol series) are like drawing in space—very linear and not as massive as with others. With the cosmic story between negative and positive space, the work is open.”

In some of Newmann’s older pieces, the edges were closed, encompassing space; in the Sol series, the axis points seem to unleash playful bolts of energy with airy negative space.

John Neumann’s sculpture is on display at a La MOD in Palm Springs; Rondevoo Art + Design in Palm Desert; and Heath Gallery in Palm Springs. Neumann lives and works in Desert Hot Springs. He is available by appointment at 661-428-1125.

After three years of visits from Georgia to the California desert, Atlanta gallery owner Thomas Deans decided he wanted to set up shop here.

He opened Thomas Deans Fine Art on El Paseo in September 2016.

“My partner and I fell in love with the desert,” he said. “My belief is more galleries create more buzz and interest. We met a lot of people here who are art-lovers; (with more galleries), there’s more to look at for every window-shopper.”

He added a quip: “Atlanta is a place to make money, and people come here to spend money!”

Speaking of money, Thomas Deans offers works at every price point, from miniature oils for as little as $95, to larger pieces starting at just below $1,000, to a variety of beautiful paintings and sculpture selling for up to $20,000.

Thomas Deans began his career as a music historian, and supervised educational publications at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Nonetheless, his love for the visual arts remained ever-present, ever since the age of 14, when he purchased his first piece as an art collector. While Deans grew up primarily in the Orlando area, his grandparents were from Canada, and because his father was a naval officer, the family traveled a lot and at one point lived in England. He discovered he enjoyed the art there.

“British art is underappreciated,” he said.

Deans joined with a business partner to open The Gallery Downstairs in 1985 in London; that gallery, which he had for a couple of years, specialized in 18th- and 19th-century British drawings. Thomas Deans would also co-establish a gallery in Tallahassee, Fla., called Thomas Deans and Co.

In 1999, Dean opened Thomas Deans Fine Art in Atlanta. He included historical works and then turned toward modern, internationally known British masters such as Lucian Freud and Henry Moore. Deans later began showing works by contemporary American and European artists, as well as select photographers.

He decided to close the Tallahassee gallery in 2006 to focus on his efforts in Atlanta. “Atlanta was booming, and I couldn’t keep up with two different focuses at both galleries,” he said.

After falling in love with the Coachella Valley, Deans again has two galleries. At his El Paseo gallery, he shows works by a variety of artists including Stewart Nelson, a leading photographer. Nelson has an offbeat sensibility and uses camera angles that coalesce seamlessly with the technical side.

Two of the more intriguing contemporary artists at Thomas Deans Fine Art are Paul Tamanian and Scott Upton. 

“Paul Tamanian is our most popular artist here,” Deans said. “He makes two- and three-dimensional abstract art and mid-century paintings with automotive paint. He preserves his mixed-media works with ultraviolet-filtering clear coat.”

The Tallahassee-based artist is an innovative ceramic sculptor working in aluminum. Tamanian’s expressive sculpture is light, although thanks to his finesse and glazing skills, many works appear quite heavy.

Upton is an Atlanta-based color-field abstraction painter.

“Some of his paintings are more architectural,” Deans said, “and others are Turner-like landscapes with a horizon line.”

Upton’s paintings are created with inks and acrylics with gold- or silver-leaf underpaintings. He wipes away and layers multiple surfaces with iridescent color, depicting nature’s adherence to time or timelessness. Upton’s laborious process-driven paintings display a gentle serenity seeping through layers of paint and canvas.

The selection at Thomas Deans Fine Art is an exciting addition to the prominent Palm Desert art scene.

Thomas Deans Fine Art, located at 73655 El Paseo, Suite E, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily. For more information, call 760-797-7424, or visit www.thomasdeansfineart.com.

Below: "Mirage," by Scott Upton, mixed media on canvas, 60 by 72 inches.

Just in time for Greater Palm Springs Pride, downtown Palm Springs’ Ted Casablanca Gallery is presenting a show of never-before-displayed photographs by Michael Childers—taken in 1974 at a drag ball in a Los Angeles, and at a White Party in Palm Springs in 2002.

Childers is best known for his photographs capturing the personalities of celebrities, including Greta Garbo, Dustin Hoffman, Andy Warhol, Natalie Wood, Paul Newman, Dennis Hopper, Joan Crawford and Grace Jones, to name just a few. His work has been featured in numerous galleries and museums throughout the world. However, this upcoming show reveals a different side of Childers’ personality.

Mentioning two of his favorite photographers, Nan Goldin and Diane Arbus, Childers said he thinks this Flaming Creatures series resonates with their work. Childers described working with famous people as more like a dream, while in the Flaming Creatures photographs, “the flavor of people—they’re not acting,” Childers said.

“These photographs are edgy and different. They’re of people who are gay, straight, lesbian, uni-gender; it’s the fun, outrageous things I like about it,” Childers said.

The 1974 drag ball photos were initially taken for a four-page spread in the Italian Vogue magazine, L’Uomo Vogue. However, the pictures have never been presented in a gallery or museum until now; the same goes for the photos from the 2002 White Party. It’s unlikely that this display at Ted Casablanca will be the photos’ last, however: The Palm Springs Art Museum’s The Galen in Palm Desert plans on including some of these pictures within the next couple of years in a show titled Gay Life in America.

Childers compared the two time periods. “1974 was sweet and charming,” he said, noting the poses and expressions in the photographs. “I love the originality of costumes in both periods, but the ’70s (costumes) were more unique.”

Many of the 1974 subjects were Hollywood people, including costume designers, models, makeup artists, photographers and art directors—in other words, people with a lot of fabulous theatrical flair. “Some were very stylish, and had great makeup, and they would parade out!” Childers said

At the 2002 White Party in the park, Childers had spotters bring people over to the background he’d set up. Some smiled and laughed, even though he asked them not to; perhaps the whole scene was too much fun. Still, Childers seized many natural poses within the context of the event. Childers describes the scene as being about “street art, and how people from the street express themselves. Where there’s more individuality and uniqueness, I feel like I’m a voyeur. As all photographers are, I’m a voyeur with a long lens.”

Childers said he’s been a friend of Ted Casablanca for 20 years, and Childers is thrilled about the show.

“Ted has enthusiasm as a Palm Springs booster,” Childers said. “He has a bold and refreshing choice of artists. It’s a terrific gallery.”

Casablanca—aka Bruce Bibby—said he’s had a desire to show Childers’ work for years.

“I’ve wanted to show his Warhol pieces for a while,” he says. “I actually have one. The drag ball pieces are also a favorite of mine. It was a Halloween drag ball, and he did what he usually doesn’t do: He let people have free rein—rebel photographer meets rebel guests with their moment to shine.

“It was Michael’s idea to show it for Gay Pride with the 2002 White Party (photos). I loved the idea!”

The Flaming Creatures exhibit will open with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, at Ted Casablanca Gallery, located at 388 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. For more information, call 760-883-1625, or visit tedcasablanca.com.

“Pixels to bricks” is the tag line for Fusion Art, a gallery that opened in May in Palm Springs’ Backstreet Art District, at 2658 S. Cherokee Way.

At that point, Fusion Art had already developed a presence online; today, the gallery seamlessly melds both its online and physical forms. For example, the winners of an online juried competition will be featured in an upcoming group show at the Palm Springs gallery.

Chris and Valerie Hoffman, owners of Fusion Art, chose Backstreet for its brick-and-mortar home for good reason: Chris Hoffman, an artist himself, had previously shown in other galleries in the hidden-away arts district.

Fusion Art currently represents five artists: Evie Zimmer, a neo-op artist with energetic psychedelic patterns; Michael Goldzweig, a surreal/galactic abstractionist; Jeanie Gebhart, a palette-knife painter who specializes in coalescing abstract, still-life and landscape genres; Alicia Savio, an Argentinian classical and ballet dancer who paints and sculpts dancers who express a lot of movement; and Chris Hoffman himself, who paints texture abstractions as well as a watercolor celebrity series.

“There are so many different styles that are similar in energy and movement,” Chris Hoffman says about the represented artists. “They complement each other.”

The abstract paintings by Hoffman have a thick texture—the surface appears rocky, like our desert mountains.

“I use medium with acrylic layers to texture different colors. There could be 25 different layers before 25 coats of paint,” Hoffman says.

His Legends and Landmarks watercolor series features humorous satires of Golden Age stars taking iPhone “selfies” in front of a modern Palm Springs monument—like Marilyn Monroe in front of the Marilyn sculpture. More of these watercolors will be up for Modernism Week celebrations in October and February. Also in February, Michael Goldzweig’s art will be shown in the prominent front area; the “energy and mood” in Goldzweig’s art appeals to Chris Hoffman, while Valerie Hoffman notes that Goldzweig’s paintings remind her of the expressive works by Mexican artist Leonardo Nierman.

Valerie Hoffman works as a producer in Hollywood, for major films including Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Even while running the gallery, she is currently one of the producers of a documentary film on the making of the song “We Shall Overcome.” That means she’s doing some commuting: Chris and Valerie moved to the desert six years ago, and they say the transition to running a brick-and-mortar gallery has made for an exciting time.

“The most fun is being able to see all the talent out there,” Valerie says. “This is our first season, and we are well prepared with all the artists. We have an Art for Animals charity event in December with five animal organizations.”

The charity show also has an online component. Submission fees will be donated to the animal organizations, as will proceeds from the gallery’s portion of the sales.

The Hoffmans say they like to mix and match things, like art and charity, at the appropriately named gallery.

“We’re fusing different styles—like classical realistic and different abstract styles … (so they) complement each other,” says Valerie Hoffman.

As an example, witness the movement-infused works of Alicia Savio and Michael Goldzweig. The realistic sculptures of dancers by Savio have elongated limbs, making them appear to move and dance off the base, while the galactic abstractions of Goldzweig—like stars meeting in a black hole—send us off into his surreal space.

Fusion Art is located at 2658 S. Cherokee Way, in Palm Springs. For more information, call 760-832-7568, or visit fusionartps.com.

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