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Yoshimoto reads the faces of colleagues

October 31, 2002|Josef Woodard

Yoshimoto reads colleagues' faces

This is a significant season for local artist Hiroko Yoshimoto, gearing up for a retrospective at the Ventura County Museum of Art and History starting early in December. But for the moment, the big news in Yoshimoto's world is a new show of art very much about artists, in the main gallery of the Buenaventura Art Gallery.

Her series of largish, abidingly sensitive portraits goes by the title "Face to Face: Artists' Gaze," which says much about the work. With this series, Yoshimoto has paid patient visits to area artists, who peer back at us in the painter's mode of stylized realism. It seems that she's trying to capture something concrete -- the gaze of the artist -- and something less tangible, a probing spirit essential to art that counts.

Many of these works put a face on names that have paraded through area galleries, some of them for many years. That list would include Yoshimoto herself, who appears in a self-portrait, in the most neutral, curious gaze in the gallery, brush in hand. She seems to have gauged appropriate settings for each artist, often against backdrops of their own work. That same tack has been pursued in the ongoing series of photographic portraits in the "Focus on the Masters" series by Donna Granata, a former student of Yoshimoto, here presented against a flat red background.

On one wall is a fittingly tall, generous portrait of Gerd Koch, an engaging post-abstract expressionist painter and Yoshimoto's former colleague in the Ventura College art department.

Another colleague, Connie Jenkins, is paid tribute, and Shirley Ransom is seen as a beaming presence against a spare background. That effect contrasts with the earthy abstract setting behind rugged blond-maned sculptor/Art City founder Paul Lindhard, or the intensity of Maribel Hernandez's gaze.

In short, Yoshimoto's impressive portraits of the artists celebrate their diversity. They also let us glimpse the personae behind some of the art we see in the region.


A chorale's silvery season

Los Robles Master Chorale, boldly led by James Stemen, has been a fixture on Ventura County's musical scene for many a moon. In its history so far, it has included guest appearances by Roger Wagner, Sir David Wilcocks and current Los Angeles Master Chorale director Paul Salamunovich.

Still, it may come as a surprise to some in denial about time's passing that this weekend kicks off the 25th anniversary season for a choral group that began its life as the Moorpark Master Chorale and has been, along with the Ventura County Master Chorale, a brave champion of choral tradition in these parts. The exclamation-pointed "Pure Sterling!" season begins Saturday and Sunday with Mendelssohn's oratorio "Elijah."

Coming up later in the season are Handel's "Messiah" and other Christmas seasonal sounds (Dec. 7 and 8); Orff's lusty war horse "Carmina Burana," in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Chorale Society (March 8); Beethoven's Ninth, in cahoots with the New West Symphony (May 16 and 17); and a reprise of "Carmina Burana" at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

-- Josef Woodard


Event details

"Face to Face: Artists' Gaze," new paintings by Hiroko Yoshimoto, Buenaventura Art Gallery, 700 E. Santa Clara St., Ventura. Ends Nov. 16. Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (805) 648-1235.

Los Robles Master Chorale, Saturday, 8 p.m., at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, 1125 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village; Sunday, 7 p.m., at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 1020 Brand Blvd., Glendale. $18, general; $12, senior citizens and students; $6, children 12 and younger. (805) 497-0386.

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