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Visual Arts

03 Feb 2017
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Modernism and tiki design go hand in hand—and since Palm Springs is a haven for midcentury modern architecture, it’s no surprise that tiki/tropical design found a home here, too. Welcome to the Royal Hawaiian Estates. As part of Modernism Week, the complex will be throwing its big annual bash, Tiki-A-Go-Go, on Saturday, Feb. 18. Expect a fun night of music from DJ Baz, as well as a performance by The Hula Girls—and, of course, tours of the legendary grounds that were once a playground to many famous residents. Bill Lewallen, a representative of the complex’s homeowners, talked about the history of the Royal Hawaiian Estates, located in south Palm Springs near the intersection of South Palm Canyon and Twin Palms drives. “In the late ’50s, World War II was glamorized by the movie industry and the magazines,” Lewallen said. “It was all about the islands and the South Pacific. The…
03 Feb 2017
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…
03 Feb 2017
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…
29 Dec 2016
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,…
19 Dec 2016
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…
06 Dec 2016
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…