International Flavor : Laguna Galleries

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Laguna galleries attract talent far beyond the reaches of the canyon road: May alone brings light to the works of Mexico City-based Aníbal Catalan and Belgium-born Anja Van Herle.

Section by Hannah Ostrow

Laguna galleries

Work: Imagine the geometric abstraction that dominated the early part of the 20th century, reconceived for the 21st: color-and-line 2-D is transformed into a chaotic and textured 3-D world. There’s some sort of line to be drawn between Aníbal’s work and Russian art movements that arose in and around the 1917 revolution. Think constructivism: Vladimir Tatlin’s tower, designed but never realized, iron and steel spiraling upward, reaching for the Bolshevik’s utopian vision. Think suprematism, with its ascetic geometry and pure forms that strove for the expression of  “pure artistic feeling” over any sort of real-world representation.

But even if Aníbal is, like the suprematists, striving for pure artistic expression, what, exactly, does he paint? Let’s call them abstracted architectural landscapes. They’re not quite cityscapes because the blueprint structures seem to exist without any earthly context, floating in the stratosphere of his canvas. He also clearly draws inspiration from modernist architects, specifically, according to the artist himself, the experimental artist-architect Lebbeus Woods (large-scale, free-form, heavy-duty metalwork adorns the sides of buildings, like Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall but less lucid). Aníbal’s works sit somewhere between unapologetic austerity and colorful anarchy, artfully rendered by an architect’s rational hand.

View Aníbal’s latest paintings, photographs and installations in his upcoming solo show, “Out of Order,” running at Saltfineart throughout May and June. Stop by for the opening night reception on May 2 from 6 – 9 p.m. (949-715-5554;

Gallery Events


In April, the Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art spotlights contemporary furniture designer Jeremy Grubb, whose woodwork jumps the divide between function and art. In May, catch Shaleeka Ahuja’s abstract acrylics inspired by Rothko and Pollock as well as by the vitality of the artist’s native New Delhi. (949-715-9604;

Townley Gallery

Townley’s new group show, “Journey of Existence,” features 20 of the gallery’s resident artists, including Dale Kobetich, a local ocean photographer who works with a hand-built camera that shoots underwater and above water simultaneously. The show will continue throughout 2013. (949-218-0903;

Exclusive Collections Gallery

April 20 and 21, Exclusive Collections highlights painter Daniel Ryan, whose charming “tree-scapes” tap into on the mystical spell that nature holds over us. (949-715-8747;


Through the end of April, Saltfineart is exhibiting a new series from Victor Hugo Zayas. “Aire” presents a series of paintings as part of the artist’s ongoing project, Grid, which is inspired by Los Angeles International Airport and the phenomenon of flight. (949-715-5554;

JoAnne Artman Gallery

“Seeking Future” will continue through May 15, with new paintings from Rimi Yang, who lives in Santa Monica by way of Ohio and Japan. JoAnne Artman Gallery follows up with “Lost in Translation,” featuring Anja Van Herle alongside Alberto Murillo’s colorful resin abstractions. (949-510-5481;

Pacific Edge Gallery

Beginning May 18, Pacific Edge Gallery presents Jacobus Baas, featuring plein-air canvases from the coasts of California, Hawaii and Maine. Stop by for the opening reception May 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. (949-494-0491;


“Microscopic Hinges,” running throughout April, features five artists including Russ Pope, who brings his lightly macabre visuals back to AR4T. In May, “Cloud Hunters,” brings illustrator Gomez Bueno and surfer-model-photographer Kassia Meador. (949-988-0603;

CES Contemporary

“Device,” an exhibition featuring Southern California product and accessory designers opens April 20 and continues through May 2. Beginning May 4, CES presents “White Space,” from Czech acrylic-on-linen minimalist painter Ira Svobodová. (949-547-1716;

Sandstone Gallery

Throughout April, Sandstone highlights conceptual, contemplative landscapes from Victoria Porcello as well as new abstract acrylics from longtime bronze sculptor Howard Hitchcock. (949-497-6775;

Avran Art + Design

Avran welcomes James C. Leonard, whose dynamic impasto abstracts have earned him distinctions from San Diego’s Museum of Art to Miami’s Art Basel. The show will run through June 5, with wine, hors d’oeuvres and live music from 6 to 9 p.m. June 2. (949-494-0900;

Fingerhut Gallery

“Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!” features Dr. Seuss’ never-before-seen hat collection May 17 to June 2. The exhibition will show Dr. Seuss’ little-known “Secret Art Collection,” estate-authorized works adapted from Ted Geisel’s drawings, paintings and sculpture, also available for acquisition. (949-376-6410;

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