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A Unison High Note In Art

Defining Ourselves: A Matriarchy of Artists on view at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center at Fullerton through October 16, 2016

By Jimmy Centeno
Published on LatinoLA: September 6, 2016


A Unison High Note In Art


Defining Ourselves A Matriarchy of Artists curated by artist Margaret Garcia was quite an experience. 16 female artists and 65 artworks of all mediums ranging from sculptures, mosaic, paintings and assemblages conjured for a spectacular debut. The inter-cultural selection of artists is the curator's emphasis for a unifying support base for women artists.

Leigh Adams, Sandra Cornejo, Lynne Dwyer, Kikki Eder, June Edmonds, Cathy Garcia, Margaret Garcia, Zara Gomez, Amy Inouye, Bonnie Lambert, Heather McLarty, Sybil McMiller, Marylucille Nunez, Ester Petschar, Marcella Swett and Suzanne Delacruz Uruiza all rattled individually a unison high note at the Southern California's richter scale art scene.

Themes from landscapes to social concerns mazed across the historical Muckenthaler Cultural Center Gallery. The exhibition's curation amplifies diverse backgrounds as a means of empowerment. Color is the welcoming experience of the exhibition. Artist Kikki Eder's painting Oak Tree ( 2016) as well as Last Embrace (2011) project graceful curving strokes of warmth. The powerful oak tree and its symbolic gesture of strength tied magnificently to that of the Last Embrace.

Artist Marcella Swett "I Ain't Your Puppet No More" ( 2005) acrylic on wood utilizes social political humor to speaks of power/race relations. A towering extended Caucasian hand controls the movement of strings of an African American puppet dressed in a white blouse, red skirt and red oversized clown shoes.The artist magnifies one of the puppet's stretched out hands bigger then the other. It reaches out towards the viewer with a pair of scissors ready to cut the strings inviting us all to join in. Swett's utilizes her skills and technique to bring environmental and social concerns to the forefront.

The exhibition explores Bonnie Lambert's artistic maturity. Her L.A Autumn (2016) and Tower series speak with radiant colorful highlights. Lambert crowns the blue silent skies with penetrating glows of sunlight edging on spumous cumulus clouds. It is through colored shades and shadows that Lambert achieves her most dramatic paintings.

Broken glass, a 7 inch circular saw blade, an expired rusted crescent wrench with railroad ties is an orchestrated wall assemblage by Leigh Adams titled In Case Of An Emergency Break Glass (2015). Whether the need to break glass in case of an emergency happens or not Adam's wall piece is a humorous oxidized reminder of readiness. The piece carries sprinkles of forewarning for the recently United Nations selected Global Citizen Award to Leigh Adams on ecological and environmental issues.

As the evening carried on while exploring and conversing with artists two selected paintings one from Sandra Cornejo an untitled portrait of Salvadoran activist Maria Guardado with a clenched fist up in air (2015) and Sybil McMiller's 14x14 inch octagon acrylic painting 'Branded' (2016) made there way across the exhibition with silences that thundered with subtle yet potent political statements. Cornejo's oil portrait of Maria Guardado is a painted testimony of a peasant woman who becomes a social activist during El Salvador's Civil War conflict of the 1980s. Imprisoned and tortured Maria Guardado manages to survive and continued her struggle for political just causes. Cornejo traps history, solidarity and resistance with brushstrokes that refuse to fall silent by acknowledging a grass root Latin American heroine.

While unaccustomed to adding titles to her work McMiller does so for her exhibiting art piece 'Branded.' She manages to captivate her audience with a portrait of a joyous smile of an African American cowgirl at a rodeo scene. Her use of subtleties between concealing and revealing addresses perceptions that "have branded African Americans like cattle" says McMiller. Upon the first encounter the painting is inviting.The smile, calls for another smile. Its is not until the titled is read that one is startled.

Lastly, Ester Petschar oil pastels and acrylics on canvas merge like a newlywed rainbow right after a rainy day. Her color scheme are striking combinations of reds, yellows, oranges, blues and pinks. Blue Frida, Butterfly Frida, I Mourn Another Day and Jewel Leeda are meticulous painted expressions of women she admires.

Artist and curator Margaret Garcia successfully assembles a talented sisterhood group of artists. Defining Ourselves A Matriarchy of Artists is an exhibition that brings forth a multicultural experience to the walls of the Muckenthaler Gallery.

This exhibition can be viewed until October the 16th at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center at Fullerton.

www.themuck.org

Jimmy Centeno
Writer and Curator
latoecuador@yahoo.com
September 5, 2016

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