Sunday, November 13, 2011

Art in Chico: Lalaguna, Heights, and Moore

On Saturday (11/11) I visited the 1078 Gallery to see Shrinkage, an exhibition by Trevor Lalaguna. I had the impression from the exhibition card that the work would be photographic. However, I discovered something else. While the work was diverse (extremely oversized clothing items, ink on paper drawings, small paintings on wood), Lalaguna's artist statement was effective in tying the work together, providing thoughtful and humorous insight into our over-materialistic culture. In the drawings I would have preferred to see more of the figures overlap to add depth to the images, but I still enjoyed the line work and curious happenings contained within them – figures wrestling with their demons and their consumerist obsessions and the like. I was reminded of how helplessly gross and foolish we can be. 

Continuing my stroll in downtown Chico, I remembered that Chelsea Beights, a fellow student, was showing work at Has Beans Café and Galleria. Her series, Porte, consists of about a dozen photographs (about eight by ten inches each) taken from her time in Viterbo, Italy this past summer. Featuring a variety of doors, doorways, and doorknobs, Beights has captured beautiful light, compelling textures, and rich tones and colors, with great clarity. These are probably some of the loveliest images ever to grace the walls of the place.

Earlier on Saturday I met up with some new friends who are part of The Prayer House here in Chico, CA, and had a great time playing music with them.

This past Thursday (11/10) I was delighted to attend my first MFA culminating exhibition since being here at CSU, Chico. The show, Botanically Restructured, featured the work of Megan Moore, who has developed an interesting technique of combining printmaking with collage. She uses photo-lithography to make hundreds of life-size botanical forms on very thin and translucent Chinese paper. Inspired by her father's garden, the prints of individual leaves, stems, and flower petals are pasted onto a large sheet of BFK paper (I am guessing around 4 x 6 feet, although the works do vary in size). Watercolor and pencil work are added to the forms, leaving a significant portion of the surface still white and bare. The result is a two-dimensional image of semi-realistic, yet creatively restructured, plant forms.  Dreamy and calming, the works are evocative of fragile memory fragments floating betwixt the conscious and subconscious. Wonderful.