Looks like it’ll be a busy summer inside the air-conditioned confines of OC art museums and galleries
There won’t be any rest—or vacation—for the wicked this summer, with everything from Rembrandt to World of Warcraft putting in appearances at Orange County museums and galleries, with women artists or female-centric themes making an especially strong showing. Let’s do this alphabetically by venue, shall we?
From June 4-30, JoAnne Artman Gallery presents “Equilibrium: International Artist Rimi Yang and Armenian Artist Martiros Adalian.” There’s a definite focus on Taoism in Yang’s works, as power, isolation, black and white all seem to stare back at you at the same time. Adalian works in a variety of mediums, and whether its ink on paper or acrylic on canvas, there’s an unsettling darkness to his portraits of women. For the whole month of July, “Collaboration: Summer Collection 2009”showcases the work of Canadian artist Patti Didiomete and local artists Sandy Clark, James Verbicky and Bill Agee. Throughout August, “Still Lives” features artists Laura Ross-Paul and Regina Jacobson. 326 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 510-5481; www.joanneartmangallery.com.
At the Sarah Bain Gallery, an exhibition of painter Pamela Wilson’s work titled ”Awkward Soliloquies” runs through June 27. Based on the website, it’s mostly portraits of young girls and beautiful women, the women all curves and smudged eyeliner, a mixtape of Bonnie Parker and Stevie Nicks holding shotguns or baby dolls in birdcages, a bottle of booze nearby. From July through August, it’s “Summer Stars,” a group showing from seven artists. 184 Center St. Promenade, Anaheim, (714) 758-0545; www.sarahbaingallery.com.
Peter Blake Gallery has new work by Alex Couwenberg and Donnie Molls through June 25 and a summer group show—“Supermarket”—from July 2 to Aug. 27.435 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 376-9994; www.peterblakegallery.com.
On July 11, Bowers Museum of Cultural Art hosts “Sordid and Sacred: The Beggars in Rembrandt’s Etchings: Selections from the John Villarino Collection,” a timely exhibition of almost 40 of Rembrandt’s etchings of the poor. Considering his own financial and familial misfortunes near the end of his life, the etchings almost seem like prophetic self-portraits. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org.
The Box Gallery’s exhibition of Santa Ana-based artist Joseph Hawa’s mixed media, “Inside the White Cube,” runs until July 3. This is his white-on-white series, so if you’ve ever seen the play Art by Yasmina Reza, you can imagine the discussion after you and a couple of friends attend the show. 765 Saint Clair, Ste. B, Costa Mesa, (714) 724-4633; www.boxboxbox.com.
Through Aug. 22, Crussell Fine Arts is filled to bursting with the group show “éclat,” featuring 22 artists and 130 pieces of art. It’s at their private Eichler Gallery in Orange, and there’s a bit of mystery and adventure involved if you want to attend: You have to e-mail and ask for a personal invitation to even find out where it’s located. Curator Jeffrey Crussell has an even-cooler show opening Aug. 1 at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art that promises to be very Lars Von Trier and Jørgen Leth’s The Five Obstructions. Visit their website (www.crussell.com/art_directions01.html) to get the lowdown on “Directions,” and I’ll see you at the show. OCCCA, 117 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana, (714) 667-1517; www.occca.org.
The Diana Ferrone Gallery in Laguna Beach presents “The Scene,” a group show by contemporary artists of landscapes featuring a variety of interpretations of the genre. Through July 31. 1999 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 697-6920; www.DianaFerrone.com.
In July, Santa Ana’s Go Rilla! Gallery is hosting a “huge artistic tribute to Morrissey and the Smiths.” I asked for more information, but the folks at Go were mum. Given Morrissey’s popularity in the Latino community, expect this to be one of the better-attended shows in local memory. 3013 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 547-5457; gorillagozilla.com.
Four U.K. female artists are represented in Hibbleton Gallery’s June 12-July 5 group show “Golden Hands.” July 10 to July 26 brings another group show, featuring fantasy themes and storybook-style illustrations. I’m a fan of photographer Steve Elkins and will be dropping some of my own money on as many of his pictures as I can afford when the gallery gives him a solo exhibition July 31 to Aug. 2 to help raise money for the completion of his debut feature-length documentary, scheduled for release this fall. Last but not least, the gallery teams up with ISM and is soliciting submissions to celebrate the passing of Polaroid photography, “Instant Gratification: A Polaroid Party” from Aug. 7 to 30. 112 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, (714) 441-2857; www.hibbleton.com.
From June 26 to July 19, Huntington Beach Art Center (HBAC) says it’s having the largest non-juried group exhibition in Southern California. To ensure that happening, they’re soliciting artwork for “Centered on the Center” until “the galleries, the store and other public places at HBAC are filled,” so hand-carry in your work on June 12 and pay the tiny fee (going to a good cause). A curated trio of site-responsive installations called “land sea air” is scheduled for Aug. 1 to Sept. 6. 538 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 374-1650.
Geeks will be taken seriously (for four months, at least), as curator Grace Kook-Anderson explores the art and history of World of Warcraft June 14 through Oct. 4 in “WoW: Emergent Media Phenomenon” at Laguna Art Museum. The exhibition will include fan art, guest lecturers and work inspired by the Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment’s MMORPG. 307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971; www.lagunaartmuseum.org.
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The indefatigable Light Gallery burns the candle at both ends with three shows in three months: “Art & Sole 2,” a custom-shoe art show opening on June 13; a record fair and music-themed group show starting on July 25; and “The Garage,” a custom-car, hot rod-themed group show beginning on Aug. 29. 440 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, ?(714) 642-7899; www.thelightgalleries.com; www.myspace.com/thelightgallery.
Orange County Museum of Art runs “Illumination: The Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin and Florence Miller Pierce” through Sept. 6. I haven’t seen any work by the other three artists, but I certainly dig O’Keefe’s paintings of vagina flowers. 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122; www.ocma.net.
Through Aug. 31, Rohrer Fine Art’s group show “Highlights!”features a panoply of acquisitions, from French painters and Taiwanese photographers to American contemporary and Latin American surrealism, culminating in an opening of Latino art later this summer. 346 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8200; www.rohrerfineart.com.
The works of R. Kenton Nelson are usually tightly framed portraits of isolated Americana. No Norman Rockwell here, there’s a stiffness that hints at Edward Hopper and WPA art projects. An exhibition of his mosaic paintings runs July 11 to Aug. 24 at SCAPE (Southern California Art Projects and Exhibitions). The pixellation of the imagery treats the formal rigidity of his characters as if they belong in a church, giving them a touch of the divine. 2859 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 723-3406; www.scapesite.com.