A butterfly folds into its gossamer casing and emerges as a brilliant new being. Likewise, humans pull their thoughts and strength into their core and may reinvent and transform themselves to meet new challenges, needs and desires. Unlike butterflies, humans can perform transformation throughout life. Using a sensuous palette of earth tones, artist Yobana Graciano captures female forms slipping from silken threads and shedding translucent scales.
“Over the past several months, while at a low point in my life, butterflies became a symbol of transformation and hope,” she says. “’Metamorphosis’ is the latest work in what has become a series of autobiographical paintings of a transitioning period of three years. While painting ‘Metamorphosis’ I was inspired by an encounter with a woman who described herself as a ‘medium.’ I am usually a skeptic when it comes to the supernatural, but she asked for nothing in return and what she told me fit perfectly with what I was experiencing. Her message was to embrace the transformation that had been a long time coming.”
RedRoom, in the Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., www.janasredroom.com
THREE BAAAD SHEEP
Cold Hard Steel
Local art collective Three BAAAD Sheep is taking its work off the grid, giving its collages shapely new figures. Moving away from traditional square and rectangular supports, artists Alex Huerta, Eddie Canumay and Alexander Sky have moved their eclectic collages onto steel silhouettes in a variety of shapes, from call girls to barnyard animals.
Canumay: “In our largest piece, titled ‘Double Dippin,’ we used the shape of a dominatrix and her muse, knowing that this image alone has power all by itself. This, combined with our vibrant colors and iconic collage images, push the viewer though two different thought-provoking avenues; one with shape and one with imagery. On one side we use an image of Mary holding a Bible, crying for humanity, out of one eye. Next to Mary is a diagram of teeth … symbolizing religion’s bite. Mary’s gaze is set upon a cowboy, praising his son for his worldly acts. The words ‘Double Dippin, acknowledging two struggles; living in a world of our own self-indulgence, as well as having concerns of what other people perceive as good.”
PeaceNArt Studio, in the Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., www.facebook.com/alexander.p.huerta
SUSANNE FORRESTIERI AND BETH MCCALL
The Life Frenetic
Though visually disparate, the works of artists Susanne Forrestieri and Beth McCall have been inspired by chaos and exercising control over it.
Forrestieri: “Feb. 1 will mark the day I took off for New Mexico in my Hyundai hatchback, back seats removed and loaded with paintings and painting equipment. I had to change my life. I had been quietly painting small figurative work for over 20 years, using photos for reference, but now I found it tedious. Advice from an art professor that went unheeded over 20 years ago popped into my head — to change your work you have to change your method. I began covering panels with thick layers of white oil paint, abandoning the traditional method I had been taught. For the first time in my life I painted without models or photographs because I had no idea what I wanted it to look like. Figuration disappeared and, strangely, semi-abstract seascapes began to appear. The process began … building and destroying layers. When the yellow shape that reminded me of a flower [in “Flower of the Sea”] on the palette began to spin out of control, using my finger, I scraped a rectangular shape into its surface, almost boxing it in; control/chaos.”
Tastyspace, in Emergency Arts, 520 Fremont St., www.facebook.com/tastyspace
The bright flapping pennants of a summer festival can be found decorating a going-out-of-business sale. The same plywood used to board up a foreclosed home could be used to build a stage set. A series of paintings by John Bissonette explore the collision between economic prosperity and collapse.
“I started making this work in late 2010,” Bissonette says, “right after moving away from Las Vegas. At the time, I was thinking of things like plywood, fluorescent sign painting and pennant flags as some sort of sad signifier of the times. These vestiges of consumer culture seemed like the last gasp of a dying middle class. After all, a close-out sale rarely means that things are looking up.”
Kleven Contemporary, in Emergency Arts, 520 E. Fremont St., www.klevencontemporary.tumblr.com