Modern Relics

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Norwegian potter May-Eivor Belsby and California-based printmaker Anne Moore share an uncommon connection to artistic pursuits of the far-off past.

Section by Hannah Ostrow

May-Eivor Belsby
May-Eivor Belsby’s ceramic figurines pay homage to prehistoric cave paintings.

May-Eivor Belsby
(coastal eddy, a gallery)

Home Base: Splits her time between Dana Point and her native country of Norway.

Background: Began her formal artistic training in high school and attended college in Norway before studying stateside through the fine arts program at Saddleback College.

Media of Choice: High-fire clay sculptures in natural tones that incorporate geometric designs and linear patterns
Previously shown: Across Orange County, New York and her native Norway.

Previously Shown: Across Orange County, New York and her native Norway

Work: It’s fitting that May comes from Norway—from the proverbial Old World—because her work reminds us that there still is an Old World. It’s easy to get lost amid the LCD light presentations and high-res multimedia projections and digital image compositions that make up so much of today’s art world. It’s easy to forget that art used to be something that was made by hand and impossible to recreate in exactly the same way.

May’s ceramic work harkens back to a prehistoric Old World—to the cave paintings of Lascaux and Altamira—not necessarily in subject matter but always in the animalistic intensity and instinctual technique of her delivery. Her muted clay ceramics usually depict humans or animals (or some form of interaction between the two) alongside abstract patterns and silhouettes.

In accordance with this Paleolithic mystique, the clay itself is roughly formed, its shapes delicately manipulated so that they never feel overworked. In a subtle nod to modernity, May’s pieces usually feature geometric designs and linear patterns; these contemporary adornments stand in stark contrast to the naturalistic feel of the clay itself. Throughout the process, she infuses touches of Greek antiquity, cubism, and geometric abstraction—reminders of the centuries of artistic development that came between cave art and the present day, which reassure us that we can confidently consider this work a product of the 21st century.

Catch May’s work in her solo show, “Of Pigs and Men,” on display at coastal eddy, a gallery from Nov. 9-30. (949-715-4113)

Anne Moore, Benediction
“Benediction” by Anne Moore.

Anne Moore (Sandstone Gallery)

Home Base: Dana Point.

Background: Stumbled upon visual arts at the end of college; has since continued studying printmaking at Saddleback College.

Media of Choice: Monotype printmaking, often on imported or handmade paper, which combines natural forms, ambiguous scripts and recurring geometric patterns.

Previously shown: Throughout the Southern California area.

Work: There is something about Anne’s richly layered monotype prints that is distinctly Eastern—whether it’s the printmaking technique itself that recalls Japanese woodblock prints or the imprecise overlaid block calligraphy. There also  is something that is undeniably old-fashioned; perhaps it’s the way the faded printing makes an oblong monotype look like an envelope that’s been tossed around the Postal Service’s facilities for 1,000 years.

But perhaps what’s most striking in Anne’s prints is the reoccurrence of large, roughly shaped circles, whose quiet omnipresence makes them seem potentially significant but stubbornly obscured. Viewing them is like trying to uncover the truth about crop circles or the real reason behind Stonehenge’s construction: utterly fascinating yet persistently frustrating.

The repetitive circles, the indistinguishable script, the rambling flora—it all seems to underscore a hazy spirituality, which is perhaps at the root of why these works seem so foreign, so otherworldly, so indistinctly archaic.

Don’t miss “Traces of Yesterday,” featuring Anne’s prints, at Sandstone Gallery beginning Nov. 6. (949-497-6775; sandstonegallery.com)

California Contemporary

This fall, continuing its exploration of Southern California’s most dynamic emerging talent, Laguna Art Museum presents new solo exhibitions from two noted Los Angeles-based artists: ceramicist Adam Silverman and installationist Richard Kraft. Both exhibitions open Oct. 27 and will run through Jan. 19, 2014.

“Adam Silverman: Clay and Space”
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Stefano Massei, courtesy of Adam Silverman.

Through his innovative ceramic work, Adam Silverman explores the relationship between art and nature—a study in contrasts, essentially, that’s centered on the space between man-made creation and the indigenous world out of which it was born.

“Clay and Space,” Adam’s debut museum exhibition, is a sprawling four-gallery show that highlights his pottery pieces through a series of site-specific installations designed to push the limits of what visitors might expect from a typical ceramics display. Essentially, he has created an experiential walk-through presentation, a layout that toys with the standard scale of his chosen medium. Also included in the multimedia experience are two video pieces: one that features footage of a Le Corbusier-designed chapel that has long inspired the artist, and another that is projected onto one of his pots to add an unprecedented dimension to ceramic art.

“ex·pose: richard kraft”

This fifth installment of the museum’s new contemporary art series showcases the work of Richard Kraft, a London-born, Los Angeles-based artist renowned for his use of public space as a backdrop for his complex installations and performance pieces.

For “ex·pose,” the artist has created an immersive long form film—compiled from a year’s worth of footage shot in California, New York and India—that will be projected from multiple devices in the museum’s basement gallery.

As much as the landscapes of Los Angeles and India seem unrelated at first glance, viewers will find both subtle and profound connections between the two through the experience of Richard’s latest work. The film’s length and overlapping sequencing make viewing its entirety an impossibility, but returning for a second look a necessity. (949-494-8971; lagunaartmuseum.org)

Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational’s 15th Anniversary
Jeff Sewel_creditMichelleSchumacher
Michelle Schumacher. The Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational celebrates its 15th year this October.

From Oct. 13-20, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), in partnership with the Laguna Art Museum, hosts its 15th annual invitational, a weeklong competition that celebrates plein-air painting in our coastal community.

With a roster of attendees who include some of the country’s most renowned outdoor landscape artists, and a schedule packed with artist meet-and-greets and educational events, the invitational constitutes an essential pilgrimage for any plein-air enthusiast, as well as for the general public.

The Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course presents on Oct. 19 the culmination of the week’s events, the Collectors’ Soirée gala. For tickets to the event, a complete schedule and more information, visit lagunapleinair.com.

Gallery Events

Maggie Taylor, The Burden of Dreams
“The Burden of Dreams” by Maggie Taylor at JoAnne Artman Gallery.

JoAnne Artman Gallery
Jane Maxwell and Jana Cruder’s joint exhibition continues through the end of October, followed by “No Ordinary Days,” which features dreamlike photographs and digital compositions from Florida-based artist Maggie Taylor. The show will run Nov. 1 – Dec. 31; stop by on Nov. 7 to meet the artist at a limited release book signing in partnership with Laguna Beach Books. (949-510-5481; joanneartmangallery.com)

Pacific Edge Gallery
Beginning Nov. 2, painter Brenda K. Bredvik presents a series of new oil abstracts inspired by nature and the animal kingdom. From Nov. 16 through the end of the year, Pacific Edge Gallery turns its gaze on contemporary impressionist Maria Bertran, who debuts more than 35 new works painted in France’s famed Provence region. (949-494-0491; pacificedgegallery.com)

DeRu’s Fine Arts
October at DeRu’s Fine Arts embraces highlights of the gallery’s formidable collection of early California impressionists, including Edgar Payne and William Wendt, while November widens the scope to incorporate contemporary landscape painters David Chapple and Gerald Rahm. (949-376-3785; derusfinearts.com)

Sandstone Gallery
Sandstone Gallery presents the work of painters Jong H. Ro and Sunny Kim through Nov. 4, followed by Ann Kim’s contemporary collection “Dreamscapes” and one-of-a-kind monotypes from Anne Moore in her exhibition “Traces of Yesterday,” which runs Nov. 6 – Dec. 2. (949-497-6775; sandstonegallery.com)

Townley Gallery
The gallery’s 2013 group show, now in its final months, continues to feature emerging and established contemporary artists across a variety of media, including owner Shane Townley’s distinctive stylized landscapes. (949-715-1860; townleygallery.com)

Coastal Eddy, A Gallery
Sharon Inbar’s solo show “Urban Patterns,” an assortment of graphic cityscapes that adorn skillfully rendered teapots and bottles, runs through Oct. 27.  Then from Nov. 9-30, catch potter May-Eivor Belsby’s “Of Pigs and Men,” a collection of bold, organic ceramic figures in enchanting colors and textures. (949-715-4113)

Kluver Artworks Studio
On view through Nov. 9, “Paradise City” spotlights new mixed media works and photographs from David Kluver. The world’s most idyllic and storied locales—from Tahiti to Honolulu to Los Angeles—are reimagined in both bright colors and heavy sepia tones, which only add to the longing we feel when we stand before them. (949-497-4090; theislandimage.com)

CES Contemporary
Through Nov. 20, stop by for a solo exhibition from California-born collage artist Robert Larson, who creates vividly imagined abstracts from discarded consumer materials—primarily cigarette packaging and matchbooks—and gives scraps from the urban landscape a new life. (949-547-1716; cescontemporary.com)

AR4T
Don’t miss the “Periphery: Print Exchange” from Nov. 1-10. Conceived by Los Angeles-based artist Camilla Taylor, the print exchange proceeds as follows: Twenty-five printmakers each bring 51 editions of a single piece. Of these 51 editions, 25 are offered to the general public for sale at $50 apiece, 25 are traded among the printmakers, and the final edition will remain on view at the gallery. (949-988-0603; ar4t.com) LBM

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