5 works of art to see in San Diego this December


Jennifer Vargas: “Shadow Work 01”

Outside the Mesa College Art Gallery

Twisted and layered in soft patterns, I love local sculptor Jennifer Vargas’ use of fine wire mesh in her works, whether large-scale sculptures or smaller pieces. The density of the mesh plays with light and shadow, and layers and intersections create gradual gradients and patterns. It’s almost bewildering how a material of such hardness – metal – can seem airy and soft. His work is fascinating and transforms as you approach or move around.

Julia dixon evans

“Shadow Work 01” by Jennifer Vargas, visible until December 15, 2021.

At present, Vargas has installed a sculpture outside the Mesa College Art Gallery, which is part of the Sowing the seeds of universal language exhibition organized by the museum studies class. The room almost waves cement, with touches of blues and oranges. Remember to crouch down if you can and watch the sky through the mesh.


Julia dixon evans

Detail of “Shadow Work 01” by Jennifer Vargas, visible until December 15, 2021.

Although the gallery’s opening hours are limited Tuesday through Thursday, you can visit the Vargas sculpture whenever you can visit campus. Parking is mandatory Monday through Saturday, 24 hours a day, but permits are only $ 1 an hour and there’s ample parking right in front of the gallery – or hit it on a Sunday like I did. have done.

Details: On view until December 15, 24/7. Mesa College Art Gallery, 7250 Mesa College Dr., Linda Vista. To free.

Maggie Shen: ‘_____SCAPE’

To see at the Athenaeum Art Center during two performances

In a complex interdisciplinary installation, the artist Maggie Shen combines food with his study of landscapes and the environment, home and societies. Using performances, interactive edible sculptures, permanent sculptures, AR, and animation, Shen wants visitors to think about the large-scale systems involved in the production, harvesting, and consumption of food – and their impacts. – considerably reducing the range. In a gallery, for example.


Maggie Shen / Athenaeum Art Center

Some of the edible sculptures from the work “____SCAPE” by Maggie Shen, which will be on display on December 10, 2021 and January 8, 2022 at the Athenaeum Art Center.

“Because I have reduced the size of the landscape, it makes the relationship between people and the land more evident. Like what we do to the land, it can sometimes be very abstract if nature is so large,” said Shen.

To create this smaller litter, she turned the food into intricate, edible sculptures. Shen said she just worked with food like she would with traditional carving materials, but keeping consistency in mind. She also wanted to challenge the taste buds – the public can taste the food – with surprising flavors. Imagine edible lemon-flavored sand or an avocado-based sea sponge.

While the exhibition is presented at the Athenaeum Art Center in Logan Heights (part of the Bread and Salt complex), the work is conceived as a performance. Shen and another actor harvest the food as an animation and an original soundscape accompany the work.

“The performance is motivated by the music,” said Shen. The soundscape is divided into three parts: the sounds of Bread and Salt, the sounds of the forest and a whimsical rhythm.


Courtesy of the Athenaeum Art Center

Artist Maggie Shen will activate her performance art installation on December 10, 2021 and January 8, 2022 at the Athenaeum Art Center.

At the end of the performance, everyone can go to the landscaped area to enjoy the food. “It means we are consuming our land,” Shen said. “By realizing that we are part of the whole, we may have a chance to make different decisions.”

Details: Performances Friday December 10, 2021 and Saturday January 8, 2022, both 6 to 8 p.m. Athenaeum Art Center, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. To free.

Paul Strand: ‘Wall Street, New York (1915)’

To see at the San Diego Museum of Art

Part of SDMA’s current major exhibition, Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection, this work by Paul Strand (American, 1890–1976) somehow stands out among the giants. The photography is split into three sections, but somehow Strand’s work seems to transcend them all.

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Paul Strand

Paul Strand’s “Wall Street, New York (1915)” is on view at the San Diego Museum of Art until February 21, 2022.

The seemingly straightforward subject is a dozen characters, scurrying to work in front of JP Morgan’s separate building on Wall Street, but Strand’s compositional abstraction leans on what you’d expect to focus on a photograph like this: The Historical Curiosity of Capitalism from 1915. In perspective, people appear tiny, and by the nature of light, they are silhouetted to almost resemble ghosts. The windows of the building also look menacing, thick black rectangles dominating the street.

The entire exhibit is worth seeing, but this photograph of Strand stopped me dead.

Details: On view until February 21, 2021. Open every day except Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. SDMA, 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. 8-20 $

Reiko Sudo: ‘Patched Paper (ç ´ ã‚Œ ç´™)’

To see at the Japanese Friendship Garden

“Nuno, the Language of Textiles” is an exhibit tucked away on the lower level of the Japanese Friendship Garden, inside a relatively modest gallery room, the Inamori Pavilion. Inside, thirty supports of metal rods – partly in the form of a dress, partly glorified with a hanger – are arranged in equal rows, each draped in a delicate fabric.


Julia dixon evans

View of the gallery of “Nuno, the language of textiles”, exhibited at the Japanese Friendship Garden until February 27, 2022.

These works come from the Nuno studio, the influential Japanese textile design company founded in 1984 by Jun’ichi Arai, although Reiko Sudo has been at the helm since 1987. Each textile is a harmony of form, function and material, and one of my favorite is the 1997 float weave job, “Patched Paper,” where pieces of fine white paper are tucked into the fibers of the otherwise transparent white fabric, protruding like voluminous hair or feathers and wavy. It seems both fragile and everyday, almost a toy at the same time as it is really refined.

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Sue McNab / NUNO

Detail from “Patched Paper (1997)” by Reiko Sudo.

Details: On view until February 27, 2022. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily. Japanese Friendship Garden, 2215 Pan American Rd. E., Balboa Park. $ 10-12.

Wendy Maruyama: ” The Tag Project ”

To see at the PHES gallery

This sculpture is part of Wendy Maruyama’s larger work, “Executive Order 9066”, named after President Franklin Roosevelt’s order to authorize the creation of “military zones” and to “evacuate” all those considered. as a threat to national security during WWII. – which would become what we now call the Japanese-American prison camps.

For “The beacon project“Maruyama has created thousands upon thousands of paper labels, replicas of the labels prescribed for every Japanese American sent to internment camps – an estimated total of 120,000 people. The facility divides the 120 000 labels in a series of hanging packages, divided by camp, and the clusters hang from the ceiling in a disturbing fashion. The sheer quantity of tags and the inhumanity of what they represent seem monumental and overwhelming.


Kevin J. Miyazaki

The complete installation of “The Tag Project” by Wendy Maruyama is shown in a photograph from 2012. Part of the work is on display at the PHES gallery until February 13, 2022.

The work is installed as part of “Impermanence”, a new exhibition at the PHES gallery which focuses on the transient aspects of life, objects and art, and will also include ceremonies for the construction and dissolution of Sand mandalas by Tibetan monks from Gaden Shartse monastery. The creation of the mandala begins on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and continues each day until dissolution on Saturday, December 11 at 2 p.m.

Details: On view until February 13, 2022. The opening hours of the gallery are Thursday to Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. or by appointment. PHES Gallery, 2633 State St., Carlsbad. To free.


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