Thursday, October 21, 2010

Huffington Post, Haiku Review

Finding your voice while
still in your twenties never
happens except here
- Mat Gleason

Haiku Reviews: From 'Broad Daylight' To 'Dark Matters' (PHOTOS)
First Posted: 10-21-10 08:53 PM   |   Updated: 10-22-10 01:00 PM

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HuffPost Arts' Haiku Reviews is a new weekly feature where invited critics review exhibitions and performances in short form. Some will be in the traditional Haiku form of 5x7x5 syllables, others might be a sonnet or a string of words together. This week, Marina Cashdan, James Scarborough, George Heymont, Dorothy Spears, and Mat Gleason give quick takes on performing and visual art from LA to London. Is there a show or performance that you think people should know about? Write a Haiku with a link and shine a light on something you think is noteworthy too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

All This, and Heaven Too covered in The Examiner

written by Meagan Boyd

Rococo Triangle: Stephanie Mercado, Eye for the Sensual, and Fashioning Fashion

  • October 15th, 2010 11:11 pm PT

Since the very beginning of time, the universe has continuously presented an infinite saga of strange coincidences. At the moment, Los Angeles is graced with a triangle of art exhibitions that communicate to each other through the centuries, both revealing aspects of aristocratic societies. One of the two exhibitions taking place at LACMA in the Resnick Pavilion is entitled Eye for the Sensual, a collection of about 85 European paintings and sculptures from the Stewart and Lynda Resnick collection which will be on view until January 2, 2011. These works include the infamous Portrait of Marie Antoinette, Our Queen of France by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun, along with the vibrant pastel colors of the paintings from the whimsical Rococo period. These paintings were made primarily for the wealthy aristocratic families and royalty of the era. The Yin to this yang, if you will, is Stephanie Mercado’s exhibition, All This and Heaven Too, that is taking place in a part of town with a lot less schmooze, Echo Park California, at the Underground Gallery. The opening night is Saturday, October 16th at 7pm, and will run until November 20th. Her work explores the ideas of the American Dream, which gives everyone the impression that we can all be wealthy, or at least appear that way. Mimicking the paintings of the Rococo period, specifically the Marie Antoinette paintings by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun, she strategically places modern day status symbols in her work such as in Mine is Forever, oil on canvas, 2010, in which she places a Louis Vuitton purse in one hand, and a tiny suburban track home in her other hand. She paints with the same skill of the Neoclassical painters of the 1700’s, with vibrant colors and well rendered subject matter. Many of her paintings include imagery of houses, which she attributes to her and her families feelings upon getting wrongfully evicted from their home a few years ago. Stephanie is quite grounded and speaks about her work with ease. She understands hard work, and puts that into everything she does. She works full time at an art gallery in Santa Monica, and as soon as she leaves work, she is off to her studio where she paints until the crack of dawn, comes home for a few hours of sleep and wakes up in the morning to do the whole thing over again. Her austere approach to the artwork is very obvious in her technical skill, but there is still this feathery softness to her feminine images and manages to produce strong conceptual undertones. Her use of the Marie Antoinette figure is very relatable to women of today. She represents a material girl, a diva who is willing to be fabulous at all costs. Her work is a surrealistic, symbolic commentary on the lusty desires American society has for material possession. The interesting thing about the original paintings of the Rococo period, such as the work that can be seen at the LACMA, is it was made without the intent of commentary. There is no message in them that is mocking or provoking the way we see ourselves. They in fact, depict the way the rich wanted the rest of the world to view them, fantastic and dazzling in beautiful evening attire. The paintings themselves say something that is somewhat pretentious. It gives the illusion that the life of the rich should be regarded as iconic. Stephanie’s work challenges the European paintings that have inspired her, and she does so with strength and elegance.
Stephanie not only paints, but also designs dresses that resemble the extravagant evening attire worn by European women of the mid-eighteenth century, which provides another parallel for the current fashion exhibition, Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915, at the Resnick Pavillion at the LACMA, right across from the Eye for the Sensual show. The collection of antique clothing on view is one of those shows that is simply breath-taking. Each piece is spectacularly preserved, and modeled on mannequins with the most exquisite accessories of the era from which they are dressed. One section of this exhibition even explores the undergarments worn ages ago, including the often fetishised corsets and boots that constrained women so severely, that removing these contraptions became an experience of orgasmic release. The intricate beauty of this collection of clothing is absolutely delicious for anyone with a sweet tooth for fashion and history.
After taking a look at Stephanie’s multi-faceted gradient of work, it is such a delightful treat to stop by the LACMA, which is free from 5pm to 8pm on weeknights, and $15 during the daytime to check out Eye for the Sensual and Fashioning Fashion. These three shows together form a trine harmony of visual stimulation.