January Art Report

By the time you read this, Stories Three at the 1078 will be over. Too bad, because the 1078 always has the most interesting, cutting edge shows in Chico. As a handout for the show stated, “Stories One (December 2012) brought together five artists for a group show at the 1078… Stories Two (December 2013) brought together five different artists… For Stories Three, the 1078 reunites the artists from One… [The artists] were given this prompt… Choose three different days in 2014 to document with text and images…” The resulting art varied widely and, sometimes, didn’t seem to closely reflect the prompt given. The artists featured were Ellen Akimoto, Haley Hughes, Trevor Lalaguna, Sienna Orlando Lalaguna and Brad Thiele. The show opened on December 4 and closed on January 3.

The artists talked a bit about their lives and circumstances in a tangential booklet that accompanied the show. For instance, the Lalagunas talked about their adorable baby (and he is). Sienna Orlando Lalaguna presented a group of ceramics which were well-made and whimsical. A selection of some of her work was displayed on a shelf, pieces that were roughly pear-shaped and bore the titles, “The Folkin,” “The Rise,” “The Vested,” “The Traveler,” and “The Miner.” Trevor Lalaguna’s works in the show consisted of a small installation and 18 ink on paper drawings which, on the surface, seemed cartoonish, but were actually quite thought provoking on closer inspection. “Face Off” depicted a man without a face standing in front of a bathroom mirror. He has no face and, therefore, no expression, but he does seem to be holding his head in anguish.

I try to be extremely open-minded and I’m not easily shocked, but I found myself offended at one of Haley Hughes works, an oil titled “Woman, Panther, Pilates Ball.” The colors, the technique, the image—everything in this work, which showed a woman being raped by a large black cat—was unpleasantly raw. “Paradise,” another oil by Hughes, a landscape, featured soft colors and flowing shapes to create an otherworldly scene of hills with a stream flowing thickly through the center, spreading at the bottom like something seminal.

When I knew Brad Thiele he was always slightly irreverent. He now lives in New York City, and he’s kept his puckish sense of humor. His art now concentrates on the printed word which was clearly seen in the seven inkjet prints he presented in the show 344 times, “…where every instance of ‘New York’ and its abbreviation ‘NY’ is cut out from a single Monday edition of the New York Times and taped-down in order of appearance totaling 344.” Ken Morrow told us “girls” once in one of his classes that, “…women like to do things the hard way…” when one of our number was meticulously painting small flowers on a female figure’s skirt. Maybe things have been reversed over the years. Ellen Akimoto’s 14 prints and drawings were gentle, serene and elusive. An acrylic on woodcut print “Table in this Room,” like many of her others, is fraught with stillness and a strange sort of tension. What has happened in this room where the table is, or what may happen soon? Her silent, empty rooms remind me somewhat of Giorgio de Chirico’s deserted, shadowed streets.

A couple of shows that will be open for a few more days are holiday shows at the Chico Art Center and Avenue 9. Fond Farewell and Holiday Show at Avenue 9 will be in place until January 10 and features art by a number of artists who have displayed work at the gallery throughout the years of its existence. The artwork, handmade clothing and jewelry is all on sale. This is their next to last show. The gallery is located at 180 E. 9th Ave. and is open 12pm to 5pm Wednesday through Saturday. Salon d’ Art at the Art Center has original art by a variety of artists plus clothing, jewelry, and small household furnishings. This show will be open until January 9. The Center is open daily 12pm to 4pm and is at 450 Orange St.