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VALLEY LIFE | Sights

Watercolors in Every Hue

An annual juried exhibition showcases the medium's great diversity and appeal.

January 01, 1999|JOSEF WOODARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Although it tends to exist just off to the side of the general art scene, the watercolor medium thrives in a scene of its own, undaunted by misunderstanding and marginality.

That's one of the clear messages ringing through the potpourri of watercolors at the Brand Library, packed into the 28th annual juried exhibition. The duration of the exhibition speaks of the medium's power, considering the fickle sways of art organizations and events.

As with last year's show, the selection illustrates the variety of approaches in the watercolor world.

Traditional floral and landscape paintings are in the house, but so are offbeat and otherwise inventive diversions, including hybrid concoctions such as Susan B. Rosman's "Poppy Square," its floral subject laid atop an abstract grid. Charles Winebrenner's "King Gagik" is a more purely abstract patchwork of forms and colors.

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Julieta Higgins' farm detail takes bucolic pleasure in a piece of a vintage tractor, the image serving as much as a study of mechanical folklore as of form and function.

Americana is the thing in Betty Shuss' "Cactus Joe's," with its image of kitschy signage further stylized by the artist's quasi-pointillistic technique of dabs and splotches.

Posts, vines and twine interlock in Lawrence T. Yun's "Treatment," a realist roadside image, and Ronald Miller finds visual intrigue in the entanglements of wooden pilings under a pier.

On the human-interest front, Susan Day's "Nepali Girl" is an engaging, empathetic portrait, a study in light and innocence, and Faith Fellman's "Childhood Memories" is a humble, touching backyard vignette.

One of the most striking pieces in this sprawling show is Emil Kazaz's "Hang Horse," an enigmatic convergence of loose, gangly lines and forms.

Fragmented equestrian imagery struggles to take shape in an image that appears unfinished and vaguely surreal. Here, we think less about the medium than about the curious sum effect, as we should.

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BE THERE

Watercolors: Twenty-eighth annual juried exhibition, through Jan. 15 at the Brand Library, 1601 W. Mountain St. in Glendale. Gallery hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 1-9 p.m.; Wednesday, 1-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 1-5 p.m. (818) 548-2051.

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