In the digital age, our lives are supersaturated with images. You don’t have to be a member of the elite to surround yourself with visual stimuli, whether it’s posters of Picassos or simply the ever-changing canvas of the television screen. Yet for all we’ve gained through this democratization of the image, there’s no replacing original works of art.
At least that’s how Susan Bush sees it. The curator of the second annual 100 Grand show at Sullivan Goss, Bush aims to make art collecting accessible to those who’ve so far considered it out of their league. The group show features 100 works, each priced somewhere between $90 and $1,000. Many are by area artists, from the well established to the just emerging. They range from figurative to abstract paintings, from assemblage to photography, and from conceptual to classical in their approach.
The works are clustered on four walls of the Vollmer Gallery in a dense presentation—the fine-art equivalent of a bargain store bursting with merchandise—and yet each piece in this motley collection is a unique creation.
Some works bear witness. Jon Francis’s oil painting “Ranch Detail #11” pays homage to three light switches, lit from the side as if through an open barn door. Jane Taylor’s fine “Silver Bowl” captures the luster of her subject’s reflective surface in painterly pastels.
Others evoke characters: Colin Fraser Gray’s pencil sketch “Man in Bowler” conjures a wonderfully phlegmatic male bust out of efficient crosshatch marks, while Blakeney Sanford’s “Shark Park Series” gives bikini-clad surfer girls iconic status through flat blocks of color on a gold ground.
Then there are works that have something to say about the phenomenon of art itself. Dan Levin’s wall sculpture “Pray Here” is a red crucifix studded with light bulbs, the pull chain at its base culminating in a plastic doll hand. The bulb at the center is mirrored, so that the approaching viewer/worshipper confronts her own distorted image. In Rafael Perea de la Cabada’s “El Caminante” (“The Wayfarer”), black acrylic paint on paper delineates a man’s form, beneath which appears a palimpsest: an article about Perea de la Cabada taken from a Los Angeles publication.
Among the many other works included in this show are paintings by Hank Pitcher, Susan Savage, and Nicole Strasburg; assemblage by Tony Askew and Susan Tibbles; and mixed media work by Dane Goodman. Every piece is the result of one artist’s act of creation, a priceless process for which there will never be a replacement.