A Review of West Coast Drawings VIII at the Koplin Del Rio Gallery

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Saturday night’s opening at the Koplin Del Rio Gallery, was a multi-artist show to showcase figurative works on paper.

The show was guest curated by Normal Lundin, himself an exhibiting artist and Professor of Art, Emeritus at the University of Washington.

Evelyn Woods, "Lost and Found", charcoal on paper, 48" x 75"

Evelyn Woods, "Lost and Found", charcoal on paper, 48" x 75"

During my brief yet impressionable conversation with the curator, his comments provide context for further insight into the thinking behind the showing:

Before anything else, drawing is number one. Content is secondary to drawing. Realism can have an abstract component, and modernism is based on the here and now. Norman Lundin

The show accomplished its stated goals. The Koplin Del Rio gallery displayed venerable and impressive West Coast artists–and artists on the West Coast–which are fighting fit in more than basic aesthetics.

Elena Del Rio allows the viewer to copiously examine and purchase “state of the states” figurative and realistic based works on paper for any residential, commercial, or industrial space.

Fred Birchman, "Study for Puget Monument - Winter Solstice", 2006, charcoal on paper, 22 1/2” x 30”

Fred Birchman, "Study for Puget Monument - Winter Solstice", 2006, charcoal on paper, 22 1/2” x 30”

The drawings covered a wide range–from nudes, to industrial motifs, to portraits, abstract realism, and frequently whimsical content; in a show like this one “there is creative process we call drawing and another we call painting, then there is that combination where those process overlap.” It was a successful dalliance.

I’m neither puerile nor militant in being an art critic; I expect a marked degree of quality and sparkle before I’m going to give it a thumb’s up.

Saturday night I came away with more than a couple of up-and-coming artists that I would highly recommend to collect and to appreciate.

To achieve good drawing, that’s the focus, and to achieve it—don’t push it. Norman Lundin, Curator

Eric Elliot, "Studio #15", 2008, ink on paper, 22” x 30”

Eric Elliot, "Studio #15", 2008, ink on paper, 22” x 30”

Although some pictures used far too much charcoal on portions of their paper; –the shades and hues afforded by that enormous medium were never questioned, and was raised to a Raison d’Être—by the sketch drawn by Mark Kang-O’Higgins, entitled “Head of Nagle.” (top row, far right)

The figure reminisced of a Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, or a David Hockney portrait.

The picture draws the viewer in to a marked degree, to conjecture what the person whose portrait was taken was thinking, who they are, and so on—-while the medium of charcoal, is accepted in both its heaviest tonality of all black and with its textures leave you wanting for more.

That’s the mystery and beauty of this show—it’s for us to find what we’re uniquely lured to in a drawing.

West Coast Drawings for both the Seattle Davidson Galleries and in Los Angeles at Koplin Del Rio Gallery

Drawings VIII

Exhibition Dates: July 11 – August 29, 2009

All artists are represented by several works, and a full list will be available at the exhibition or may be obtained by contacting the galleries.

The Participating artists include:

Koplin Del Rio

Juliette Aristides, Fred Birchman, David Brody, Sally Cleveland, Eric Elliott, Gary Faigin, Ann Gale, Philip Govedare, Michael Howard, Katina Huston, Etsuko Ichikawa, Mark Kang-O’Higgins, Philip Levine, Zhi Lin, Margie Livingston, Norman Lundin, Brian Murphy, Ed Musante, Linda Thomas, Kimberly Trowbridge, Evelyn Woods.

Davidson Galleries

David Bailin, Sandow Birk, Hilary Brace, Shay Bredimus, Wes Christensen, Melissa Cooke, Fred Dalkey, David Fertig, Kim Frohsin, Moira Hahn, D.J. Hall, Grant Hottle, Ira Korman, David Ligare, Tim Lowly, Robert Schultz, Fred Stonehouse, Bill Vuksanovich, Michelle Wiener

The Koplin Del Rio Gallery is located at 6031 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232 (310)836-9055

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