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Visual Arts

09 Oct 2013
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Jewelry is often referred to as “wearable art”—and Michael Kneebone creates incredible wearable art via Michael K Jewels. His one-of-a-kind pieces go far beyond the ordinary thanks to Michael’s keen eye, steady hand and vision for style and quality that has served him well for decades, ever since he studied at Northern Illinois University and earned a degree in jewelry design. Early on, an instructor recognized his talent and recommended him for an apprenticeship position, where he honed in his skills in casting and refined fabrication. He even mastered the almost-lost art of enameling. Today, only a handful of jewelry artisans are true specialists in the enameling process. When you meet Michael, you immediately sense his dedication and demand for quality. His jewelry is always one-of-a-kind; his clients know that each piece is unique and personal. Nothing is ever duplicated. Early in his career, his line was represented exclusively at…
07 Oct 2013
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Is it possible for two curators—Laurie Weitz and Eddie Donaldson—to put together a street-art exhibition at an established gallery that lets the participating artists retain their street credibility? The 5th Element: The Golden Era of Street Art, now on display at Gallery 446 in Palm Springs, essentially achieves this goal by spotlighting 10 artists who work on canvas, board, paper and/or metal. Irrespective of their basic style (e.g., abstract, realism), each artist demonstrates the street-art tradition. Mear One’s tall vertical painting “Ascension (Surrender),” greets gallery visitors. This tall, vertical painting reminds of Picasso’s blue period. In shades of blue, blue-black and black, with the spare use of white, his androgynous figure soars upward, reaching for and through a swirl of zodiac signs. A group of black birds, parallel to the subject, fly upward; they enhance the experience of dimensionality and movement. Other Mear One works are also rooted in the…
24 Sep 2013
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I first met Christian Hohmann about 15 years ago. He’d just arrived at the Hart Gallery in Palm Desert to work for his aunt, Eva Hart. His English was not that good—he spoke with a heavy German accent—but he was eager to learn and meet people inside and outside of the art business. It’s a business that is in his blood. Before his arrival, Christian had opened a gallery in his native Hamburg at the age of 21, before joining forces with acclaimed art dealer Thomas Levy one year later. The gallery represented works by Marc Chagall, Francis Bacon and other top artists from around the globe. Christian said it was a wonderful experience—so it was natural for him to join the Hart Gallery as director. When the Harts retired in 2009, Christian chose to continue the family tradition by opening his signature gallery, located at 73660 El Paseo in…
04 Oct 2013
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Ryan “Motel” Campbell is asked how he’d categorize his art. He pauses to contemplate. “I’d say that my work is … contemporary, fluid motion, cubist, urban, contemporary.” He laughs. “That’s the short version,” he adds. The description (aside from the two mentions of “contemporary,” perhaps) actually fits Campbell’s works nicely—as everyone can see at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16, when Campbell will paint a 10-foot-by-5-foot mural live, as part of the Coachella Valley Independent’s Official Launch Party. The Independent is celebrating our one-year anniversary online, as well as the launch of our monthly edition, with free drinks from 6 to 8 p.m.; a DJ set by All Night Shoes; and the live creation of the mural on canvas, which will later be donated to the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, for the organization’s silent auction at the Center Stage event. Campbell, 32, is an accomplished artist whose works and…
10 Sep 2013
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The Coachella Valley has a rich artistic culture spanning thousands of years—long before Palm Springs became known for golf courses, swanky shopping and mid-century architecture. The Agua Caliente Tribe of Cahuilla Indians hailed nature as a source of a spiritual presence. The earth was a most important aspect in their lives, as were the waters and the majestic mountains and skies. Much of the Agua Caliente culture originates from nature, such as the story of the Blue Frog and the traditional “bird songs” that have been passed down though the generations. Intricate basket-weaving is celebrated today in exhibitions throughout the valley—part of a treasure trove secured by the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. To learn about and be enriched by Agua Caliente culture, there is no place better than this museum, currently situated at 219 S. Palm Canyon Drive. I recently met with Michael Hammond, the executive director of the museum…
06 Sep 2013
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The Palm Springs Art Museum’s current show at their Palm Desert Campus looks at the relationship between around 15 artists’ sculptures and their works on paper. Across Dimensions: Graphics and Sculpture From the Permanent Collection includes artists both well-known—Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Ellsworth Kelly and Jim Dine, for example—and lesser-known, including Dan Namingha, John Buck and Robert Hudson. On one level, the show asks the question: Does this artist, by working in two media, create synergies or a sense of continuity that furthers that artist’s vision? The show answers with a resounding yes in some ways—although the exhibit does show some weaknesses. Using only artwork only from the museum’s permanent collection offers both good and bad news. The positive? The curators have a defined body of work from which to choose, and their knowledge of the collection produced some well-thought-out and synergistic pairings. But other pairings seemed contrived and/or forced.…