By Angela Romeo
The High Desert is home to many talented and creative individuals. From acrylic painters to Zen writers, the area is an artist’s haven. The artworks of sixteen Mojave Desert based artists, each represented by Joshua Tree Art Gallery, will be exhibited at Santa Monica Art Studio Hangar Galleries. The Opening Reception for Mojave Made is January 5, 2019 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Santa Monica Art Studio Hangar Galleries, Santa Monica, CA. The show runs until January 26.
The show is the concept of Artist Barbara Spiller. She conceived and organized the show by seeking out artists that represent the diversity of the area. Each artist selected the works they believed captured the concept. Mojave Made includes works by Blake Baxter, Kim Chasen, David A. Clark, Barbara Drucker, Frederick Fulmer, Marcia Geiger, Barbara Gothard, Jason Graves, Brian Leatart, David MacKenzie, James O’Keefe, Drew Reese, Joan Robey, Barbara Spiller, Tobi Taboada, and Judy Wold.
“The Joshua Tree artists are like the many varieties of flora in the desert, just as varied and resilient, “ said Barbara Spiller. “Like the nearly 2,000 species of plants that manage to survive in this extreme environment, artists respect individual space, share resources, dig in, and produce tough and beautiful results.”
Artist James O’Keefe is one of the sixteen artists. “My painting practice parallels my personal need to experience the full meaning of words like emptiness, stillness and silence. I find the more I think about or experience these words the more things become revealed, both to myself, and in my paintings.”
In viewing the two O’Keefe works, both are 16in. x 22in. acrylic on canvas, there is a sense of disquiet angst. Deceptively simple and haunting, O’Keefe’s Mojave Made works capture that mystic of the Mojave.
The photography of Brian Leatart brings another dimension to Mojave Made. His work takes the familiar to a surreal height. “From my first editorial assignment, I knew that photography would be my life’s work as well as my life’s passion, noted Brian.” But it his continuing quest to push the boundaries that makes his work exciting.
“During the last 10 years I have been creating a body of work cross-referencing traditional film images of landscapes with digital composites of found objects, “ continued Brian. “I will have seven images in the show, including Elena.”
Elena is a reflection of the adventure of the Mojave as seen through the lens of a beauty. Striking and inviting, this image captures the rugged thrill of the desert and Brian’s love of the area.
Frederick Fulmer is synonymous with Art and Joshua Tree. He is instrumental in the success of JTAG. His tireless support of the High Desert helped to create the area as an art haven. As one of the sixteen artists, his work takes its rightful place at Mojave Made.
“I am working on a series entitled Ghost Cabins inspired by the abandoned homestead cabins of the Mojave and the memory of the people that inhabited them. I use painting incorporated with photo montage transfers of plants, people and landscapes with abstract elements,” said Frederick.
“Included in the new series are The Kent Cabin prints. This is homage to the homestead cabins built in the 40’s & 50’s in the Mojave Desert. These cabins are slowly disappearing and the prints are of a recently restored cabin I purchased back in 2017. I wanted to create a multiple series with different colored cabins that had the illusion of floating in the desert landscape. The color formation for these prints was inspired by the architectural work of Josh Schweitzer’s buildings called Monument House circa 1989 -90 located in Joshua Tree next to Joshua Tree National Park.”
Mojave Made is a sampling of the richness of the High Desert Art Community. This exhibition, beautifully stewarded by Barabara Spiller, is a primer to the High Desert Art Community.
Santa Monica Art Studio Hangar Galleries are 3026 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, CA. For more information visit Santa Monica Art Studio Hangar Galleries, http://www.santamonicaartstudios.com and Joshua Tree Art Gallery, https://www.joshuatreeartgallery.com