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Visual Arts

18 Jun 2014
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Meet artist Alex Koleszar, who became a full-time desert resident about two years ago, several years after the death of his partner, Dr. Scott Hitt. Koleszar is a Michigan native who, upon completing his undergraduate work at University of Arizona, moved with Hitt to Los Angeles. There, Koleszar completed his MBA, and founded a highly successful consulting firm. However, he eventually decided that his consulting business was not satisfying enough for him. That revelation, as well as a series of challenges and hardships in his life, led to him becoming an artist. Much of our conversation occurred in the artist’s Palm Springs studio, where he spoke candidly about his art, and the challenges he faces with this second career. When did you first begin to paint? Actually, I began to paint twice. Between ages of 11 and 14, I completed some 30 canvases, several of which were hung in my…
06 Jun 2014
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When I first walked into Peggy Vermeer’s home in Palm Springs, I was immediately impressed: At 89 years old, she’s still sharp as a knife—and the artwork on the walls is simply mesmerizing. Vermeer has quite a history as a local artist. She’s well-known for her assemblage art, although she has also done some abstract painting and papercraft. However, she’s best known for what she has given to others: She was the very first teacher at the Palm Springs Art Museum and was the founder of the children’s art program. In fact, she’s still a docent at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Peggy said she’s often recognized around town due to her time as the children’s art teacher at the museum. “I had a man who came up to me and said, ‘Oh, Peggy. I was in your art class, and I’m 41 now.’ I said, ‘Thank you very much!’”…
19 May 2014
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“California Dreamin’,” the iconic song of the 1960s, conjures up images of the peace and love movement for many. Today, however, the Palm Springs Art Museum is offering its own take on the phrase. The exhibit California Dreamin’: Thirty Years of Collecting shows off the works of artists who worked in or were influenced by California over the last three decades. California Dreamin’ marks the first time these pieces, all museum-owned, have been exhibited at the same time. Movements represented include Bay Area Figurative Art; Funk Art; Assemblage; Light and Space; Hard Edge and Geometric Abstraction; and Latino. Christopher Brown’s painting “800 Hours” (bottom) evokes the same sense of loneliness and isolation created by Edward Hopper a century before. In contrast to Hopper and his recognizable figures, Brown paints forms that are concurrently figurative and abstract; he enhances the sense of anomie by creating humanoid forms devoid of facial features.…
22 Apr 2014
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A new gallery, with a focus contemporary Latin American art and artists, has joined Palm Springs’ growing Uptown Design District. Jorge Mendez Gallery plans to bring “underrepresented (Latin American) artists” to the “underserved U.S. marketplace.” And if its current show, Contemporary Mexican Masters, portends future shows, Jorge Mendez Gallery will offer a great alternative to the often formulaic art found in other desert galleries. Most gallery artists are representational, with a considerable number rooted in the figurative tradition. Contemporary Mexican Masters spotlights five artists, including Alberto Castro Lenero and Amador Montes, who were born in, were trained in and create their work in Mexico. Vladimir Cora’s inspiration comes from his home in Nayarit, in western-central Mexico, and he has a distinctive style. First, he almost exclusively paints the human head and face. Second, he outlines each head to separate it from the background. Lastly, Cora’s works project an early cubist…
08 Apr 2014
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Brian Marki, an established Portland, Ore., art dealer, has opened a second gallery here in Palm Springs. The gallery, which opened its doors on March 22, is open and welcoming. Large and small areas flow together within the gallery, creating opportunities to show multiple artists—or showcase just one particular artist. Marki’s stable includes both representational and non-representational artists, plus a few whose art lives in that world in between. Marki Gallery’s inaugural show, slated to be on display through April 30, presents about 10 artists, most working with either oils or acrylics. Jason Bradbury’s paintings greet visitors as they enter the gallery—and a wonderful greeting it is. The artist works with a restricted palette, and his choice of highly saturated and vibrant colors is made all the more striking because he often paints his backgrounds in highly saturated and vibrant colors, too. The artist’s exacting brushstrokes—produced in all likelihood with…
10 Mar 2014
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Gesso Cocteau’s 20-year retrospective at the Classic Art Gallery in Palm Desert was full of works that were lyrical, intense and introspective—works which demonstrated Cocteau’s ample contributions to contemporary figurative art. Some 100-plus people attended the retrospective that all but filled every room in the gallery. There was an almost equal division between bronzes and drawings, with Cocteau’s works demonstrating respect for the unique qualities of these distinct mediums. Bronzes by Cocteau, a renowned artist who calls the valley home, are found in private and public collections worldwide; her public commission, “Endless Celebration,” located in Bellevue, Wash., is the tallest free-standing cast sculpture in the United States, standing some 51 feet tall. Her sculptures included in the show range in size. Some are small, suitable for a shelf or desktop, while life-sized and even larger pieces are better suited to an outdoor garden. “With my sculpture, I strive to create…