Thanks Gods for Art

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Today, I want to talk about three amusing exhibitions by three artists – one from Oklahoma, another from Italy, and the third, from Denmark. All three have new exhibitions that opened recently here, in Southern California.

Installation shot: The Little Price. DeLoss McGraw. Palos Verdes Art Center. Photo by Edward Goldman.  

Let’s start with DeLoss McGraw, an American artist who lives in Okemah, Oklahoma, but continues to keep in contact with Los Angeles, where he studied and lived for a number of years. In 2002, he received the Illustrator’s Society Book of the Year Award for his illustrations for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. His new exhibition, "The Little Prince," is inspired by the famous French novella by Antoine de-Saint-Exupery.

Installation shot: The Little Price. DeLoss McGraw. Palos Verdes Art Center. Photo by Edward Goldman.  

Several dozen small, whimsical paintings are bursting with DeLoss McGraw’s trademark bright colors and joy. Each of them is an illustration of the story of a pilot who survives a crash landing in the Sahara Desert, where he is greeted by a young boy from another planet, whose nickname is the Little Prince. The exhibition is very dramatically installed at the Palos Verdes Art Center, and it’s dedicated to the artist’s parents, who were Palos Verdes residents in the 1960s and early 70s. Be sure to see it before the exhibition closes on November 25.

nstallation shot: Mimesis. Carla Viparelli. Manhattan Beach Art Center. Photo by Carmine Arnone.

Another exhibition I highly recommend you see is also a short drive south of Los Angeles, at the Manhattan Beach Art Center (through December 30). It’s a solo exhibition by an Italian artist from Naples, Carla Viparelli, curated by Homeira Goldstein. Upon entering the darkened galleries, one is surrounded by a series of paintings and animated videos with mysterious geometric forms slowly converging and interweaving.

Installation shot: Mimesis. Carla Viparelli. Manhattan Beach Art Center. Photo by Eric Swenson. 

Each video plays on a loop for over two minutes, each with its own soundtrack. Viparelli has a degree in Philosophy from the University of Naples, and it has obviously had an impact on her visual imagery. In the galleries, looking at her work, we see and feel that the world is moving, changing, and evolving – and so should we. According to Viparelli, she believes “art is the best way to be a philosopher.” Amen.

Installation shot: Welcome to America. Farshad Farzankia. Richard Heller Gallery. Photo courtesy Richard Heller Gallery.

The third exhibition I want to be sure you will not miss is by Iranian artist Farshad Farzankia at Richard Heller Gallery. His family left Tehran in 1980 as refugees and moved to Denmark, where he currently lives and works. When I saw his show here at Bergamot Station, I was immediately taken by his paintings’ beautiful and crude imagery. And, of course, by his rich color palette.

Edward Goldman’s Fine Art of Art Collecting Class visits Richard Heller Gallery to view Farshad Farzankia’s Welcome to America. Photo by Edward Goldman.

This exhibition, titled "Welcome to America," is Farzankia’s first solo exhibition in the United States. There is an undeniable influence of American art in his work, especially that of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Each painting, with its punch and energy, looks and feels like it came straight from The Bowery in the 1980s. I was delighted to learn that the whole show was sold out in the first few days after it opened. So, it’s good to know there are still adventurous collectors around, who are smart enough to discover good art before the artist becomes a celebrity.



Kathleen Yore