Two of a Kind: Artists with different backgrounds but similar concerns featured together in Pomona Arts Colony exhibit
by Susan McCormack , Staff Writer
Inland Empire Calendar, Feb. 2001.
One artist is from Dublin, the other from Boyle Heights. One focuses on abstract paintings of nature, such as water or tree bark. The other is inspired by Native American ceremony.
Though Anne Stahl and Linda Vallejo seem to come from two different worlds, their work will be on display side-by-side. The two one-woman shows start today at the SCA Gallery in Pomona’s Arts Colony. Gallery director Cheryl Bookout said the two artists are more alike than they appear.
“I felt that even though their styles are very, very different and their backgrounds – cultural and artistic – are very diverse, their undertones show the same concerns…how to take care of ourselves and the planet we live on,” Bookout said. “I decided it would be fun to put the two women together.”
Stahl has shown work at a number of galleries in Dublin, as well as in Australia during the Melbourne Fringe Festival in 1999 and last year in Alexandria, VA. The SCA show, called “The Marina Project – Submarina,” is her first on the West Coast.
Bookout said she found Stahl’s work on the Internet about two years ago and invited her to come to the U.S. to show. Luckily, Stahl already was planning to move to the area.
“I find the landscape here very inspiring. There are so many different areas within the country. It’s very nice,” said Stahl, who moved to Venice one and a half years ago after several trips to the U.S.
Stahl believes people should use their talents and resources to help preserve nature. Her tools are paint and canvas. “Those who cannot be reached by depressing news about the dire state of our world may be reached by images of its beauty – Ansel Adams successfully showed this – and the threat imposed on it,” she said. “Art has the power to make one see things in a new light.”
Vallejo also focuses on her love for nature. She is inspired by Native American traditions in California, South Dakota, Arizona and the connection between nature and personal healing and expression.
Vallejo’s work has been seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Armand Hammer Museum, the Laguna Art Museum and more.
Vallejo said for the first time in years her show at SCA, called “Mother Earth/Father Sky,” combines both her paintings and sculptures. Much of her work incorporates natural objects, such as tree branches.
“I went around Los Angeles in the ‘80s and collected tree fragments from the streets…The whole idea in essence was to rescue them and give them rightful places,” she said. “To bring nature within, not only within a (gallery) space but within the mind and psyche.”
Vallejo said many of her paintings take at least one year to create because they have more than 100 layers of paint. She said similar to the themes of her work, her approach to working is very much intuitive. She waited two months to complete one piece as she debated what to do with it.
“I’m not working from photos, I’m using intuitive memory. The paintings are done when I feel like it. That’s all I go by. In the context of working with ceremony and working with nature, one can sit and stare at the sky for hours,” she said.
Second Sunday Art Walk
What: Two one-woman shows featuring Irish artist Anne Stahl, who looks at water from different distances, and Los Angeles-based artist Linda Vallejo, who is guided by her indigenous training.
When: Today through March 25.
Where: SCA Gallery, 281 S. Thomas, No. 104, Pomona.
Hours: Noon to 4p.m., Thursday through Sunday; Tonight the gallery is open from 6 to 9 p.m.
Related event: From noon to 2 p.m. on March 3, artist Gilbert “Magu” Lujan will facilitate a “Mental Menudo” discussion with the artists at Cal Poly Downtown Art Center, on the corner of Second and Main streets. Members of Santa Monica Bay Keepers also will participate.
Info: (909)620-5481 or www.geocities.com/scagallery
CAPTIONS Top, “Wood with Gold” by Linda Vallejo. Above, a piece from “The Marina Project – Sub Marina” by artist Anne Stahl. Right, “Mother Earth/Father Sky” by Vallejo.
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