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An Intuitive Exhibition : * Gallery owner Joni Gordon has chosen works by 37 artists for a SITE juried show in Woodland Hills.

September 24, 1993|NANCY KAPITANOFF | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Nancy Kapitanoff writes regularly about art for The Times.

Gallery owner Joni Gordon has been introducing emerging artists at her Newspace Gallery in Hollywood for almost 20 years. When an exhibit committee from the artist organization SITE (Seeking It Through Exhibitions) asked her to jury a members show, she readily agreed.

"I would never say no , because that's my job, as I see it. My task is to keep inventing possibilities and potential in art," she said.

SITE is celebrating its fifth anniversary by giving members the chance to participate in five juried shows this year at community galleries throughout Los Angeles.

"We on the committee decided that we would choose jurors who came from different aspects of the art community," said Dean Andrews, a SITE board member. An art writer, a curator, a college gallery director and an artist juried the four other shows, she said.

"I had occasion to meet Joni Gordon many times," Andrews said. "She is passionate about her artists and her gallery. I admire her visions and the choices she makes in her gallery. She has an open mind."

From more than 600 slides, Gordon selected artwork of various mediums by 37 artists for SITE's show "Depayser" (French for to take out of one's element ), on view at Artspace Gallery in Woodland Hills. The exhibit name was not intended to reflect the work, but the fact that SITE members "were out in another community gallery, away from home," Andrews said.

Gordon gave no consideration to the show's name in her selection process. She paid no attention to artists' names, either, choosing to focus strictly on the artwork. With one day to review all the slides, she went through them three times.

"The first time was to flash up these images and get a sense of the variety and the buzz of it, and if there were underlying issues," she said. "The second viewing was putting myself into it, meeting up with the objectivity of it, the impersonal-ness of it. The only thing that mattered was getting the truthful spirit of the artists and doing the best I could."

The third pass through was "the bargain" with herself, Gordon said. "The deal was, I'm going to make mistakes. Some people are going to be left out. If I felt something was charmed or if it fascinated me, I chose two or three works (by the same artist). That builds depth and gives the exhibition both its excitement and its dignity.

"The deal was, the exhibit must be uncompromising, intuitive with reason, and I hope nobody gets hurt from a work of art. I'm deeply intuitive in my approach to everything, and I'll think about it later. But the overall supporting issue of everything is the concept, so that's very rational."

Several works pertain to ritual, ceremony and broken hearts.

Claudia Parducci has painted a most unorthodox "Wedding Cake." Having already been cut, it oozes with a red substance that suggests blood. Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee's mixed-media piece, "My Ex Sent Me Flowers," depicts dried red roses dripping in blood.

The six-foot statue in Laurie Hines' "Liberty Enlightens the World" comes with televisions that emit noise and visual static. Liberty wears glasses made of silver dollars and carries a pair of jeans covered in gold. The flame of her torch, which is gold, is surrounded by soldiers. In contrast, next to Hines' assemblage hangs Laraine Mestman's "Wisdom," which depicts a girl, dressed simply in kerchief and coat, holding a book.

On a more playful note, Rick Ankrom's large steel, glass and neon "Tannenbaum" stands inanimate until unsuspecting viewers step on an unmarked spot, activating it to flashy, colorful life.

"The rhythm of the exhibition is very fast to very slow, big, huge, bright statements to really intimate, minimal quietude," Gordon said. "This exhibition reveals the sensibilities that concern me deeply--personal sensibilities. What really strikes me about the individual works is that they address external issues secondarily. First comes an inwardness of who the artists are, what they're going to say and how they're going to say it. It's not about changing the world, but about changing ourselves.

"The art is connected to feelings, to compassion for the human and beyond the human condition. There really is an authenticity in each of these artists' work that is very courageous at a time when there are so many trends and hit parades."

WHERE AND WHEN

What: "Depayser," a SITE juried/members show.

Location: Artspace Gallery, 21800 Oxnard St., first floor, Woodland Hills.

Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Ends Oct. 23.

Also: Conversations with the artists, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Family Fun Day, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23. Call the gallery for reservations for these events.

Call: (818) 716-2786.

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