Laguna Beach Art Walk: Our Favorite Galleries
For November’s Art Walk we feature three galleries that are elevating the Laguna Beach gallery scene (and one honorable mention) by exhibiting art and artists that stand out amongst the typical Orange County fare. Since the galleries are spread out along the coast we chose one to represent North, Central, and South Laguna (maps and gallery descriptions below).
The current theme in Laguna Beach is Art & Nature though the artists we saw fused nature with industry or technology by using found objects, digital manipulation or mixing natural and fabricated materials. What made this such and enjoyable evening was our ability to have in-depth conversations with the artists and owners who made themselves available to us.
NORTH LAGUNA: Joanne Artman Gallery
The Gallery: The Joanne Artman Gallery features contemporary art that is approachable, lively and aesthetically pleasing. The gallery exhibits a range of eclectic art including sculpture, painting, photography and mixed media.
What is on view: No Ordinary Days featuring ten works by photographer and digital image artist Maggie Taylor. America Martin, James Verbicky, Robert Mars and Anja Van Herle are also on view.
We had a great conversation with: Maggie Taylor who took the time to explain the origins of the numerous objects she combines in Photoshop to create her dream-like collages, including her husbands aviator goggles, an old tape measure, photos of clouds from an airplane window, or real butterfly wings.
CENTRAL LAGUNA: Peter Blake Gallery
About the Gallery: The Peter Blake Gallery is a well-designed contemporary space exhibiting high quality, abstract, minimalist sculpture and painting. We also enjoyed the black-dress Gallerinas carrying champagne and chocolate.
What is on View: The Nature of Abstraction: Sculpture and painting from Peter Alexander, Pontius Willfors, Jan Maarten Voskuil, Laddie John Dill, Stephanie Bachiero and several others. The work currently on view is engaging, aesthetically balanced and evokes the work of Ellsworth Kelley, James Turrell and Larry Bell.
We had a great conversation with: Venice-based artist Laddie John Dill responsible for sculptures that combine illuminated geometrically arranged glass, embedded in natural elements such as sand or basalt. We enjoyed his animated stories of being a New York City artist during the late sixties, crashing at Jasper Johns’ and Robert “Bob”Rauschenberg’s studios.
SOUTH LAGUNA: SALT Fine Art
About the Gallery: SALT focuses on contemporary Latin American artists.
We had a great conversation with: Lively and energetic owner Carla Tesak Arzente who spent time discussing the forests of Denmark that are the setting of Paredes multiple exposure photography. The large-scale collages of hundreds of individual photos aptly convey the haunting, mysterious energy of a historical forest.
HONORABLE MENTION CENTRAL LAGUNA: CES Contemporary
About the Gallery: Across from the Peter Blake gallery CES Contemporary focuses on contemporary emerging artists, A relatively new kid on the block the gallery recently had it’s one-year anniversary. It is our first visit here and we look forward to seeing more.
What is on View: Natural Selection: A solo show by Robert Larson comprised of found objects collected in the streets and collaged into repetitive, geometric arrangements on canvas. Larson raw materials consists of discarded elements mostly related to smoking such as Marlboro and Camel cigarette packages and 7-Eleven matchbooks which are then meticulously arranged to create abstract geometric pieces. His work creates an interesting narrative of man-made, nature worn and subsequently repurposed materials.
We had great conversation with: Santa Cruz-based artist Robert Larson who described his 20 years of collecting discarded cigarette packaging, frequenting manufacturing areas and his recent attempts to pick up smoking.
(Note: Since this article was posted CES has moved to 709 &711 Mateo St. in Los Angeles)
OUR HANDY MAPS TO THE GALLERIES:
Joanne Artman Gallery: 326 N Pacific Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, (949) 510-5481
Peter Blake Gallery: 435 Ocean Avenue, Laguna Beach, (949) 376-9994
SALT Fine Art: 1492 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, (949) 715-5554
Images courtesy of Joanne Artman Gallery and SALT Fine Art, Graphics by Jared Millar, Photos by Jared Millar and Natasha Shah