College of the Desert’s Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts presents the paintings and mixed media artworks of five artists whose haunting imagery straddles a thin line between abstract and surreal in Phantasmagoria, November 3 – December 12, 2013.

An artists’ reception will be held Wednesday, November 20, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.; this is free and open to the public, with light refreshments and musical entertainment. The reception will be followed by the monthly Cup of Happy Open Mic, 7:30-9:30 p.m., a SafeHouse of the Desert event that is also free and open to the public.

“Phantasmagoria” as an art form has its roots in late-eighteenth century theater, in which a modified lantern was used to project frightening figures, shadows and reflections onto a surface. The exhibition title, Phantasmagoria, refers to deceptive images and illusions. These surreal and dreamlike images began in the minds of the artists and are completed by the imagination of the viewer.

This compilation of collage, assemblage and paintings by artists Lee Balan, Shaktima Brien, Shahram Farshadfar, Peggy Vermeer, and Brian Wilson wavers between abstract and surreal. Familiar objects and imagery appear from a fog of color, brushwork, light and sometimes chaos. It is up to the viewer to decipher what is really portrayed and what is surfacing from their own subconscious.


The Marks Art Center is always free and open to the public, Monday-Thursday, and the first Sunday of the month (November 3 and December 1), 11:00-4:00 p.m., and by appointment; for more information, please call (760) 776-7278, or check online at or