Curated by Shana Mabari
PHILLIP K SMITH III
From his Palm Desert, CA-based studio, Phillip K Smith III continues to push the boundaries and confront the ideas of modernist design. Drawing inspiration from the cold rigidity of the Bauhaus movement, the reductive geometries of minimalism, and the optic sensation of California’s Light and Space movement, Smith III attempts to resolve the complex challenge of finding a natural state of life and spirit within these ideological aesthetic constrictions. The results are deceptively simple and compelling objects that seem to breathe and move as you observe and interact with them.
Los Angeles based Canadian artist Cosimo Cavallaro is the son of Italian immigrants. He was raised both in Canada and Italy. A moment that marked young Cosimo’s life was the response his mother gave him when he asked for a toy that the other neighborhood children had. She told him to draw the toy until it became real, and only then could he have it. That idea bit him—the idea that a flat surface or amorphous material could become more real than reality—and it became his focus. Since then Cavallaro has become an award-winning TV director and celebrated artist. His sculptures are currently exhibited in Museums, Galleries and art festivals across the continent, including the Open Air Museum in Vancouver, the DeCordova, the Lumiere in St. Louis, Wilhelm – Morgner- Haus in Germany, Real Art Ways, and the Cedarhurst in Mt. Vernon, Ill.
Bertil Petersson’s work is sculptural pantomime reminding one of the way Marcel Marceau would nimbly thread his way through a gale force wind. His pieces large and small seem to defy gravity as they balance on corners and points with seamless grace. Petersson’s work is lyrical and playful, continually in motion as if caught in a moment of accidental repose leaving nothing static. Large-scale, precarious, and durable origami, his work combines the idealism of Russian Constructivist sculpture with the imagery of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca.
Shana Mabari is an American contemporary artist based in Los Angeles who has exhibited in the United States and internationally. Her work explores the intersections of art, science and technology. Through sculptures, installations and environments, Mabari investigates ways in which worldly stimuli and phenomena are absorbed and processed through sensory and visual perception. She orchestrates light, reflection, colour contrast, and geometry with the intent to play with the experience of physical space. Mabari is part of the continuum of the Light and Space movement that originated in California in the 1960s. Her inspirations include James Turrell, Buckminster Fuller, Zaha Hadid and groundbreaking research by experts in the Vision Sciences at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, and the Institute of Neuroinformatics, Zurich, Switzerland, where’s she’s collaborated with world renowned vision scientists.
Lita Albuquerque is an internationally renowned installation, environmental artist, painter and sculptor. She has developed a visual language that brings the realities of time and space to a human scale and is acclaimed for her ephemeral and permanent art works executed in the landscape and public sites. Albuquerque’s work questions our place in the enormity of infinite space and eternal time. Despite a rising flood of new data and interpretive theory, the most elemental concepts of an emerging scientific cosmology are simply not imbedded in everyday culture. Conversely, the meaning of this cosmology does not seem implicit in the science. Lita Albuquerque has not flinched from the scale of such a challenge. She is one of the rare artists and humanists who are responsible for thoughtfully and imaginatively placing the elemental concepts for a living, functional cosmology for 21st century culture within public consciousness.
Samuel Boutruche is a contemporary artist who founded the art group Kolkoz. Having studied photography, as well as having experimented with computer generated imagery and video games, Boutruche, has always been attracted to technical images, their various applications and influences. He has referenced numerous forms of technology, with a nod to Pop. From his first works in the early 1990s, Boutruche has constantly gambled – literally and figuratively – with the effects of simulation. Every one of his works is a duality – of a reality, a person or a shape – created by modelization.
Rami Jaffee is an American musician who is the keyboardist for the Foo Fighters as well as an original band member of The Wallflowers. Throughout the 90’s Jaffee has garnished numerous Grammys with The Wallflowers and continues to do so with the Foo Fighters for the past 15 years. During his time with these bands, Jaffee has also played on countless records as diverse as Johnny Cash, Macy Gray, Neil Diamond and Selena Gomez. He has also performed on stage with dozens more legendary artists.
While not on the road with the Foo Fighters, Jaffee spends most of his time at Fonogenic, his badass recording studio in Van Nuys working on numerous projects with a variety of artists. He was born in Los Angeles and has been a resident of Malibu for the past two decades.
Alex Couwenberg is an imperfectionist in the house of precision, a humanist in the realm of instruments. His handmade hard-edge abstraction privileges the physicality of the artistic process and the scars left by the creativist gesture, within an aesthetic tradition that eschews both. This upsets some people. He’s okay with that. His radial, vectorized color blocking and interpretive mathematics are tethered to Southern California art history in certain salient and well-analyzed ways. But in speaking to the contemporary zeitgeist, Couwenberg expresses himself by combining several kinds of styles and techniques in singular compositions that transcend those Mid-Century foundations to create edifices of today’s visual plurality. Confronting his works, one takes an automatic optical inventory of their variegated, topographical textures; you can feel yourself seeing, noticing that the act of sight is physical not just informational. This is intellectually rigorous work speaking a language of intuition – or perhaps it’s the other way around.
Los Angeles based Jessy Greene has toured and/or recorded as a violinist, cellist and singer with the Foo Fighters, P!nk, Post Malone, Rita Ora, Atmosphere, Wilco, The Jayhawks, The Geraldine Fibbers, RZA, Glen Campbell, Ben Harper, Dhani Harrison, Joseph Arthur and many more amazing nationally-acclaimed bands and artists. Jessy’s solo songs and original compositions have been placed on TV shows such as CW’s The Originals, Fox’s Bones, ABC’s The Fosters and her violin performances and string arrangements have been featured on many movie soundtracks. 2017 has been an amazing year for Jessy as she played on the new Foo Fighters release, Concrete and Gold and has again joined P!nk’s amazing band for her Beautiful Traumatour.
Los Angeles based Venezuelan artist Cristobal Valecillos’ elevates paper back to a high fashion level, but his work’s allure comes with an urgent message. All of his images are made out of recyclable materials from the clothes on his models to their environments, styled after the splendor of Pre-Raphaelite painting and making us look at trash with new eyes. Although these works embrace the beauty of the paper material, they also raise the artist’s concern about the amount of waste that we generate, and how big corporations are improperly producing and managing their trash. “My art form involves an innovative concept of using raw cardboard and paper, born out of a desire to create art without generating waste. This led to my inspiration to use everyday materials that are around us and craft something beautiful with them,” Valecillos says. “My goal is to show people that fashion is not only about consuming and wasting; we can bring forth inspired art into the world by recycling. Rather than creating waste, I am converting it into beauty, and I am reminded that we can express ourselves in extraordinary ways by using the most basic elements”.
Joel Virgel was born in the French West Indies and grew up in Paris. He has travelled extensively throughout the world, and is heir to the vocal traditions of both Europe and Africa. He has worked with notable composers including Paul Cantelon, Peter Doyle, Harald Klauser, Mark Kilian, Deborah Lurie, Heitor Pereira, Frederik Weidmann, Benjamin Walfish, Jack Walls, Austin Wintour and Hans Zimmer, among others. Virgel is a drummer and percussionist and has sung on many record projects, including his own, and acted in several major motion pictures, as well as numerous smaller films and commercials.
Joel can improvise effortlessly – at times creating entire languages in the process – or recreate with the precision of a jazz master or the classical choir singer he has been. He possesses all the quantifiable skills of a professional vocalist – pitch, timing, range, flexibility, speed of execution – but it is the indefinable that truly sets him apart. It’s the sound.
FABIO ZAFFAGNINI / ROCKIN’1000
Rockin’1000 described as the “biggest rock band in the world” is an organization that manages a global community of musicians primarily from Italy but also including Canada, Mexico, England, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Germany. Originally organized in a crowdfunding effort by founder Fabio Zaffagnini, Rockin’1000 produces live concerts where over one thousand musicians perform simultaneously.
Cesena, Italy is home to the organization where Rockin’1000 was conceived and originally assembled in July 2015 as a stunt to get the Foo Fighters to give a concert in the small northern city which finally happened in November 2015. Rockin’1000 is now an established presence and has made subsequent international appearances.
Fabio Zaffagnini is a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards Honoree and in 2015 was entered into the list of European Commission Experts.
Casper Brindle’s paintings reveal themselves slowly, bathed in tones that recall the magic half-light of dawn and dusk, where form and space are veiled in shimmering glimpses and murky pools. Essentially, they are sophisticated studies of atmosphere, vaporous ambiguities that intrigue, and compel us to navigate the hazy borders of perception. Subtle horizon lines aide this navigation. The paintings evolve through a process of repeated layerings of paint. They are airbrushed with colour-shifting car paints, then coated in resin. With their high gloss surfaces and nuanced focus, the work is clearly linked to the Finish Fetish and Light and Space movements – and reflect sensibilities that grew, and continue to thrive, in the coastal atmosphere of LA’s surf and car culture.
Jonny Kaplan is an American singer songwriter based in Los Angeles. He records and tours with his band Jonny Kaplan and the Lazy Stars. They have released 4 albums internationally. Independently released “California Heart” in 1997 was named by England’s esteemed Mojo Magazine, “alternative country album of the month”. Followed by “Ride Free” in 2005 and “Seasons” in 2009. Reckless Grace Music released his next album “Sparkle and Shine” in 2013.
Jonny is also the lead singer/guitarist for the all-star Rolling Stones cover band, Bitch, consisting of a rotating group of well-known LA-based musicians, including Rami Jaffee on keyboards (Foo Fighters and Wallflowers), Christopher Thorn and Brad Smith on guitar and bass (Blind Melon), Jessy Greene on strings (Foo Fighters, Pink), Adam McDougall on keyboards (Black Crowes).
Vick Garaventa is a Brazilian visual artist based in Sao Paulo. Her works are drawings, paintings, engravings, objects, photography and video and they all lay where the concepts of natural and artificial merge. She exposes an intrinsic restlessness in the inside out body. The fragments of her obsessive research become whole by themselves and are used to deconstruct and decontextualize. Things become less rigid, more organic and fluid. Vick received her BA in Visual Arts in 2010 from FAAP, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. While in college, she was granted top prize of maximum scholarship at their annual art juried exhibition. In 2014, Garaventa had two solo shows (Animalia and Cognitive Dissonance) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before moving to Los Angeles. She worked with renowned artists from all over the world such as Shigeru Ban and Adrian Villar Rojas. Garaventa also has been in several group exhibitions since 2008, including the Museum of Brazilian Art (MAB) and the Museum of Art of Ribeirao Preto (MARP) in Brazil, San Diego Art Institute and also art galleries in Los Angeles, New York and Berlin.