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Sat12152018

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Two of the Coachella Valley’s top galleries—one from Palm Desert, and one from Palm Springs—will be showcasing their hottest artists at this year’s Art Palm Springs.

Formerly known as the Palm Springs Art Fair, Art Palm Springs takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center Feb. 16-19.

Downtown Palm Springs’ Jorge Mendez Gallery will bring the paintings of Ariel Vargassal, and figurative abstractions by David Baca.

“The gallery is showing contemporary art in general, but our artists are more modern and a little edgy … (creating) artworks that are designed to influence the current tastes and opinions of a newer generation of art collectors,” Mendez said.

Vargassal is a popular artist with humorous themes, Mendez said. “Vargassal masters the hyperrealism technique with a modern, sharp and sometimes provocative approach of the subject of his paintings. His interpretation of the human body is precise and real in every aspect, from skin tone to hair, facial expressions and even eye expressions. Humans and animals become together in his latest series, Totems.”

David Baca is an artist New Mexico. “His work has a mid-century feel to it,” Mendez said. “Tension, relief and man’s presence in the landscape are of interest in his work.

Jorge Mendez Gallery will also show the works of Christian Gill, Brian Huber, Vladimir Cora, Lori LeBoy, Rafael Lopez-Ramos and Barbara Gothard. (For more on Gothard, see the accompanying story.)

Mendez said he’s delighted to take part in the growing fair. “It’s exciting to be part of such an important and sophisticated event, and it’s equally exciting to be among so many renowned galleries coming from so many different countries.”

Meanwhile, Palm Desert’s Hohmann Fine Art will present flourishing painter Kimber Berry, awarded ceramicist Laurent Craste and renowned painter Robert Dunahay. Hohmann Fine Art will also host a book-signing by talented chiaroscuro photographer Greg Gorman.

Hohmann rarely represents new artists, but the gallery made an exception for Kimber Berry, whose work was a hit at Hohmann’s booth at Art Miami.

“It was a big success, so we will feature a couple of Kimber Berry works in Palm Springs as well,” said Christian Hohmann. “She did a big installation with paint flowing off the canvas onto the floor and creeping up the ceiling. It was very impressive.”

Hohmann said ceramicist Craste recently received a big honor. “He is a Canadian artist of French descent, and his work was just selected to be on the cover of a new compendium of all the relevant international contemporary ceramic artists, The New Age of Ceramics, and he will do a book-signing at the fair during the VIP opening night.

“We will show at least one of Robert Dunahay’s new works from a brand-new series of black-and-white minimalistic abstract compositions, painted with crystalline sand. Although Robert became famous for his Palm Tree paintings and is mostly known for that, he has ventured out and had many successful, albeit lesser-known series. We will try to break that perception and show some of his more experimental work instead of the tried-and-true.

“Last but not least, Greg Gorman, the iconic Los Angeles based photographer, will be at our booth on Saturday to sign his latest book, Private Works. Gorman was one of the first openly gay photographers of his generation, and the book allows a peek behind closed doors.”

Hohmann Fine Art’s booth should be hard to miss: It will be one of the largest at Art Palm Springs.

“We feel strongly that the fair has become a highlight of our season, because it gives us an opportunity to show our local clients that we can compete and even outshine some of the important galleries from metropolitan areas around the world,” Hohmann said.

Hohmann said his goal is to get the attention of fair-goers. Given the high price points of art, clients often want to think about a piece rather than buying it on the spot.

“The fair in Palm Springs is not about selling; that, we do out of the gallery,” Hohmann said. “At the fair, we want to make a dynamic impression and evoke responses. There’s a lot of competition. We show what we feel will resonate—something to remember.”

Hohmann Fine Art is currently celebrating its 40-year anniversary; Christian Hohmann’s parents opened the gallery in Germany in 1976.

“My father’s philosophy, which we adopted for the gallery, is, simply and humbly: originality, quality, consistency and longevity. When you select art like that, there are much fewer artists to choose from, but they usually stand the test of time—and trends don’t affect them much.”

Art Palm Springs takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, from Thursday, Feb. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 19. One-day passes start at $20; weekend passes start at $75. For tickets or more information, visit www.art-palmsprings.com. Above right: "David Michelak, Los Angeles, 1987" by Greg Gorman. Below: "Not All Who Wander Are Lost" by Kimber Berry.

Published in Visual Arts

Tim Shockley’s sculptures almost seem alive—as if they have a mind.

The works in his Taming the Wild West series—they look like wire tumbleweeds, but are so much more—represent the conflict between the West’s nature and man’s development.

Then there’s his Loose Ties series. Is it just me … or do those ties have a serpent-like vibe?

“The tie relates to corruption—symbolic of a Bernie Madoff-type guy in a suit and tie, who then rips you off!” Shockley said.

Shockley is just one of the artists whose works can be viewed at Art Palm Springs, the ever-growing annual art exhibition formerly known as the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. This year’s fair, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, takes place Feb. 16-19.

Shockley is just one of a handful of local artists whose works will be shown at the fair. He’s represented by Myers-Kovich Gallery.

“It’s a contemporary gallery based in Laguna Beach, and they are showing some of the most innovative and inspiring artists working today, and I am very excited to be showing with them,” he said.

His new Taming the Wild West series will be featured at the fair.

“It consists of large tumbleweeds fabricated from barbed wire and coated in 24-karat gold,” he said. “This work is not a departure, but a step forward in my endeavor to create art that withstands the test of time. It is a statement series having to do with our species and our constant attempt to control the environment around us.”

Another newer series by Shockley, Loose Ends, takes everyday objects—neckties—and transforms them into works that are beyond unique.

Loose Ties has the quality of tweaking the general perspective of an ordinary object into interesting subject matter,” Shockley said. “With this work, I’ve taken a stagnant necktie and cast it in metal in the very fluid shape of a serpent. I use vibrant patinas on some to create striking patterns, while others are dipped in 24-karat gold or silver.”

Shockley said he thinks the works in the Loose Ties series give off a strong feeling of corruption or scandal.

“It all makes sense when you realize I started this series during this country’s financial meltdown,” he said.


Barbara Gothard is another local artist whose works will be shown at Art Palm Springs. The gallery representing Gothard is also local—Palm Springs’ Jorge Mendez Gallery.

Gothard’s paintings often show a dreamy vision—interrupted by linear lines or window frames. Gothard considers her work more abstract than realistic, and in fact, the paintings in her recent Hurdles series may be even more abstract than her previous works.

“My new hurdles or obstacles dissipate or break up,” Gothard said. “… The hurdle is to represent symbolic obstacles, as opposed to a realistic window. In recent years, rather than a window frame, the shape (in my art) has a free form, not a rigid rectangle.”

In these Hurdles series works, shapes are broken apart. A viewer may very well see pain and disruption.

“The Hurdles are symbolic and represent the obstacles we face in life—and in my case, may be autobiographical in terms of recent traumatic experiences,” Gothard said. “When the Hurdles first appeared in my work, they appeared as dark, very rigid, industrial forms that tended to dominate the picture plane but contrasted with architectural elements and … landscape elements. More recently, the Hurdles are breaking apart, exposing life behind them. The use of windows or other openings between the Hurdles represents options that everyone possesses.”

Each series done by Gothard has a strong theme, and Hurdles is no exception.

“The focus of my artwork is the concept of expansion: Expansion of the visual space within the canvas, and expansion of the principles that guide my creative process—moving from a more surrealism-influenced approach, and expanding my color palette from a minimalist color scheme to colors that are more reflective of my current environment—the desert,” Gothard said. “(I am) placing the organic with the abstract to result in a contrasting effect.”

Art Palm Springs takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, from Thursday, Feb. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 19. One-day passes start at $20; weekend passes start at $75. For tickets or more information, visit www.art-palmsprings.com. Above right: “Exposed,” from the Loose Ties series by Tim Shockley; cast bronze with patina (2015). Below: A work from the Hurdles series by Barbara Gothard.

Published in Visual Arts