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Rough and Ready

Painter Gerd Koch and sculptor Paul Lindhard explore nature's meaning and metaphors in their new show at Art City gallery.

November 25, 2000|JOSEF WOODARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A show at Art City highlights two of the stalwart artists--and art activists--on the Ventura scene who are always worth a look. And, as it happens, painter Gerd Koch and sculptor Paul Lindhard get along quite famously, gallery-wise.

The rough topic of conceptual discussion between their respective works is the allure and mystique of nature seen as reality and metaphor.

Lindhard's new series of stone sculptures involves polished, heroically placed stones that sit atop elaborate pedestals. The presumably supportive elements, though, are integral to the aesthetic whole. Sometimes, a stone construction can also be read as a figure, a reading encouraged by a title like "The Eye and the Thigh."

"Timekeeper," a departure from the other pieces here, is an almost ritualistic assembly of elements. Atop a roughly pyramidal pedestal sits a stone ring, with the appearance of fur. A saw blade is draped underneath, like a necklace. Whatever it is, the sculpture piques the mind and the eye.

Koch's new paintings are primarily about landscape but edge heavily toward abstraction, in a way that seems to capture essential energy--essential nature, if you will--behind the apparent surface.

So in strong pieces such as "Shadows on the Edge of the Stream-Russian River," the sense of what is seen resonates against submerged qualities of expression.

We get cues from the titles, sensing vernal flowering in "Spring." Verb tense is rendered visual in "Springing."

"Sun Wet Stream" finds bursts of yellow in the mix, while a darkening air descends on "Evening Falls."

The least representational or recognizable painting of this lot is the work Koch calls "My Studio." One senses that imagination runs wild in that space, more than when the artist is faced with the Russian River.

DETAILS

Gerd Koch and Paul Lindhard, "Objects in a Landscape: New Works in Painting and Sculpture," through Dec. 23 at Art City, 34 Peking St., in Ventura. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; 648-1690.

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The spirit of Poli Street is lucky to have enchanted, or possibly obsessed, artist Katherine McGuire, who is now a sort of unofficial visual Poli chronicler. The stylish and subtle watercolorist has turned her preoccupation into an extensive collection of views from--and of--the street that runs on the hill above Main Street.

Of course, it's not just any street, but a rue with a view--of the ocean below--nestled between the city and the barren hillside behind it. Vintage architecture can be found there, including its most famous structure, Ventura City Hall. But it's also dotted with fine old craftsman and Victorian houses.

Poli Street is the subject of McGuire's current show at the Buenaventura Gallery, "Poli Perspectives," and it's almost like a protagonist with multiple personalities. In fact, she titles her pieces with Roman numerals, which reflects her intention to make this a series.

She sometimes adopts a bird's-eye view of the street (as in "XVII") with orderly clumps of houses and the symmetrical civic planning flanked by the rounded expanse of the nearby hills. Elsewhere, she likes to depict the visual rhythms of rows of palm trees.

Theshade of a tree on pavement becomes the focus in "XX," in which she looks down to the sea, over rooftops that cascade down the hillside. The ocean is again a powerful subtext in "XVI," with tilting palm trees and a side view of sloping lots giving the impression of energies leaning seaward. "XIV" is an atypically dense, foreshortened view of an assortment of houses and trees seen from below, like a happy wall of architecture and landscape.

To all of these paintings, McGuire brings a palette both light and cool, as is her compositional eye.

She has used the medium's unique attributes well and found a subject that, so far, seems far from wearing out its welcome.

DETAILS

Katherine McGuire, "Poli Perspectives," through Dec. 9 at the Buenaventura Gallery, 700 E. Santa Clara St., in Ventura. Gallery hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 648-1235.

Josef Woodard, who writes about art and music, can be reached by e-mail at joeinfo@aol.com

FOR PIX SLUGGED SIGHTS.2, any no. of lines

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