By Angela Valente Romeo
The Joshua Tree Art Gallery (JTAG) is a Co-operative Fine Art Gallery located at 61607 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree CA (www.josuhatreeartgallery.com). It is unique space showcasing the work of artists living in the High Desert as well as though inspired by the beauty of the desert. Additionally, when you purchase art at JTAG you are buying directly from the Artist, as JTAG does not take any commission from the sale of Artist’s work.
JTAG hosts regular exhibitions. The current show, MayBE, features the work of 7 unique artists. The show opened May 14 with the work of Adam Azeris, Drew Reese, Jason Graves, Steve Rieman, Hiroko Momii, Fredrick Fulmer, Barbara Gothard and Tobi Taboada. I had the opportunity to speak to several of the artists regarding their work.
A figure of elegance and grace, Barbara Gothard’s work reflects a deep sophistication. Her work focuses on contradictions and expansion of space within the canvas. One work in the show, Hurdles in Conflict, is an example of her exploration. The work deftly combines elements of realism with the surreal.
“Expansion,” noted Barbara, “results from life-altering situations played against blank canvases that challenge me with a combination of urgency, courage and excitement. Dream-like metaphors of hurdles, which convey the painting’s’ ‘story’ of introspection, reflection and hope, are shared on the part of artist and viewer. Nothing is what is seems but all is familiar.”
Drew Reese is a photographer. “I love to wander the desert. The landscape and skies are constantly changing. My work is how this world impacts me. I typically shoot in the early mornings. I move deliberately within the landscape. My eye needs to be aware of the shifting shapes, colors and texture, as my camera will capture a moment. And a moment is fleeting.”
Drew typically shoots in series. For this show his work focuses on clouds. “Clouds don’t stand still to allow me to get that ‘just right’ shot. The formations are fleeting. There is no posing. No changing the light. But despite the immediacy I try to give each image its own unique story.” The MayBe is evident in each photo – the promise of what is and what may be is poignantly preserved.
Arriving in the US in 1979 Japanese born Hiroko Momii found her artistic calling. “I am influenced by Wassily Kandinsky’s words that ‘Spirituality is the purpose of art.’ For me the process of creating art is a life process.”
Hiroko’s work is a “weaving of the concept of interconnected oneness.” Her abstractions beg the viewer to walk in and surrender to the details of the work. “Weaving is an accurate way to describe what I do. Art, space, time, nature are woven into my work. Weaving also ties me to womanhood. In many cultures weaving is the work of women. The act of weaving is a connective thread that holds the work together – and it is connective threads that make my work.”
“Compelling is the spell of tacit knowledge.” These are the words of artist Adam Azeris. Adam work is exciting and pushes boundaries. “I am pushing limits but I am very aware of the world around me.”
Adam studied painting and drawing as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky, where he received the Oxemann Award in 2005 for best graduating artist. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions across the US. Education is no substitute for creativity and raw talent. Adam has both covered.
Using treated sheets of plastic Adam turns the notion of canvas into another realm. “By using plastic I can address my subject from a different perspective, in reverse. The finished work is glued to wood. The plastic creates a skin that allows me to illustrate organisms in various stages of expiration.”
The theme is evident in the Antimatter and Matter works which are included in the exhibition. The organic starkness of the work seems to capture the essence of nature- the ever-changing cycle of life and death. Powerfully executed, Adam’s works capture the concept of MayBE in perfect synergy with the work of the other artists.
MayBE is currently at JTAG. The gallery is accepting submissions for the upcoming exhibition, Inspired By Our New Monuments. More information is available at www.joshuatreeartgallery.com.
JTAG is accepting new artists for the Fall 2016 -2017 season. If interested in showing work in group shows or renting gallery to exhibit, contact JTAG.