Back in town for a few days from wrangling wild horses outside Pioche, Nevada, I decided to traipse around downtown Fullerton last night to check out the new Fullerton “Art Walk.” I dragged along my husband Joe who has never gone to an art gallery without the kicking and the screaming.
The idea seems like a good one: walk around and see what local artists are doing, and by doing so help inspire and cultivate art. I didn’t take any notes so my comments are just impressions – and you can feel free to take them for what they’re worth.
While we didn’t get to all the places on the map, I think we stopped at enough places to get a sense of what was happening. The Fullerton “art scene,” if such a term can be used, (and I devoutly hope it can’t) seems to be dominated by the usual avant-garde collage/mixed-media, assemblage creep art that is supposed to be either thought provoking, or unsettling, but that almost always seems to be humorless, self-important and always makes me wonder if the perpetrators can even draw. The target for such stuff is invariably younger people, which is good, but there remains the now-hackneyed Tim Burton-esque mindset behind this stuff that really makes me wonder if 20-somethings even appreciate traditional artitistic expression. The Hibbleton Gallery on Wilshire seems to have staked out this territory, especially.
The Violet Hour on Santa Fe is a pretty interesting place – an old industrial space converted into a performance art studio/gallery – and while going for a hard-core non-traditional ambiance included some interesting photography of a place called Zyzzx.
I have to note one exception to this avant-garde trend is evident at the Village Art Center (we didn’t make it that far north last night) where the gallery is full of simply stunning pastels by Brad Faerge and oils by John Hunzicker; plus paintings and even sculpture from some other really exquisitely talented artists. Philistines like me know it’s good when we couldn’t possibly conceive of doing it ourselves.
We also stopped by a place called the Graves Gallery on Amerige, of which I had some hope; alas, much of it was dedicated to some truly awful acrylic paintings. This is really too bad since this place was by far the best space for exhibiting art.
And I have to mention another stop: the Fullerton Museum Center where a woman named Lora Lingl had a couple of “kinetic” sculpture pieces made out of wood on display. One was an interactive hammer/metal plate device operated by a crank and gears; the other was a motor driven contraption that manipulated leaves on tree branches via monofilament fishing line. This piece had a strange, mesmerizing effect as it juxtaposed the mechanical and the natural. Watching this piece was really engaging.
The highlight of the evening may have been a stop at an office suite over on Malden where they had put up a bunch of paintings some guy had collected over the years from garage sales. It actually made a pretty ironic and persuasive statement about the world of local art galleries.
Next time I hope to stop in at some of the other venues to see what direction they are going in. Overall, the idea is good one and I congratulate and encourage the organizers.
My two-cents worth is that a lot more attention needs to be dedicated to finding and presenting the work of first-rate artists. They are out there, all over the place, in fact – professionals and amateurs alike.