Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Visual Arts

12 Sep 2016
Western Stories is a simple yet perfect title for the newest exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum. The show, which will be on display through Sept. 4 of next year, references historical relationships between people and the land. The works move us away a bit from our preconceived notions of the West—heroic and filled with scenic grandeur, for example—to reveal sublime and multifaceted character tales. “In juxtaposing how people connect to the landscape, through spirituality and the making of the Western icon, in showing cowboy and Indian themes, we encourage people to look and compare,” says curator Mara Gladstone. “Roping a Prairie Wolf,” Charles Marion Russell’s watercolor and gouache on board, captures the moment when two cowboys are about to capture a wolf. The comradery and excitement between the cowboys, atop their horses on the blue-tinted prairie, reveals a little about the cowboy aura and life. It’s no surprise…
18 Aug 2016
El Paseo’s CODA Gallery has always presented works with a colorful, positive energy—making visits to the gallery continuously exciting. Today, CODA is on the move: It will be reopening in September in a new space two blocks east of its former home. Sam Heaton has been the gallery director since January, although his experience dates back 20 years—as a gallery owner and director, and as an artist representative, with further experience in art sales, marketing, publishing and private-collection management. Heaton plans to highlight many styles of art in the new environment. CODA is known for blending mediums and styles while always retaining a vivid eloquence, humor and/or deftness that will be on display at the new location, opening Sept. 15. Two hot 2016 works are the Ben Steele pop retro-impressionism oil on canvas “Developing Dots,” and a Giuseppe Palumbo new surreal-minimalistic bronze entitled “The Edge.” Nicole Borgenicht recently chatted with…
26 Jul 2016
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The area surrounding the city of Coachella is dominated by farms, ranches, orchards and the laborers who work on them. As I drove to meet Armando Lerma at his Date Farmers art studio, I passed fields where migrant farmworkers were doing their jobs under the brutal summer sun. This is one of the places where Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers union fought for the labor rights of these migrant farmers. Today, Coachella is becoming known for more than agriculture; it’s also getting more and more attention for its rising arts scene—and much of that attention is directly due to Armando Lerma and the Date Farmers studio. When I arrived at the studio, which Lerma started with Carlos Ramirez (who was not present; he apparently avoids interviews), Lerma greeted me. Lerma’s two large dogs jumped around in excitement as he opened the door to show me the garden area…
20 Jul 2016
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Hard rain has driven the small crew down from their camp at an alpine lake to a roadside national forest picnic area. The spot’s pleasant, even under a late-May storm: Oregon’s Clackamas and Collawash rivers meet here, and conifers and the fluorescent whorls of horsetails overhang the clear green water. Amy Harwood—all in black with an Army-drab beanie and a long braid over one shoulder—crouches by a metal fire pit, knifing kindling from a wedge of wood. Four others, all artists, stand around her. Despite sweaters and jackets, everyone looks chilled. “Are there rippling muscles in there yet?” asks Harwood’s partner, Ryan Pierce, pointing at my notebook. The flames falter in the wet ash. Harwood blows them back to life as Pierce narrates my hypothetical story: “‘It seemed like fire sprouted from their fingers … or from their rippling muscles,’” he says gravely. “‘Julie made a bird call and we…
10 Jun 2016
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Highbrows beware: Another nail is being hammered into the coffin that contains what was once deemed “fine art.” The hammer in question: a pneumatic hammer wielded by Pascal Pierme, a mixed-media artist whose show at Hohmann Gallery on El Paseo in Palm Desert has been extended until June 20. The exhibit includes some well-executed freestanding wood sculptures. However, these works remain secondary to the visual and creative vision offered by the artist’s wall sculptures. While each piece is unique, each sculpture shares at least one or two stylistic elements (like texture or finish), an emotional draw or a color palette with at least one other piece on display. Like collage, Pierme’s wall sculptures are best viewed in two different ways: From a distance, the viewer can take in the entire composition; close up, the viewer can better understand the artist’s creative process, including his choice of materials, his technical expertise…
24 Apr 2016
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Every year at Coachella, the art installations cause a variety of reactions. “Wow.” “Interesting.” “WTF?” “Tower of Twelve Stories” by Jimenez Lai of Taiwan/Canada really lights up the Coachella night sky this year. It sort of resembles a piece of modern furniture, with compartments put together to form one structure. It may be a statement as to how we’ll be living in tiny spaces in very strange buildings in the future. One installation that is on the “WTF” part of the scale is “The Armpit.” It led to the first time I’ve ever been able to say, “Let’s get in line to see ‘The Armpit!’” It’s meant to be interactive. The minute you walk up the ramp and inside the armpit (that just sounds funny, doesn’t it) … it, thankfully, is not very armpit-like. The first room of the work, designed by Katrina Neiburga and Andris Eglitis of Latvia, features…