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“Transforming Existence”
San Diego State University, Downtown Gallery, San Diego, California
Recommendation by Cathy Breslaw

Marie Bravo, “The Vows,” 2017, oil on canvas, 36 x 48”.

Continuing through April 8, 2018

“Transforming Existence” is an exhibition of forty-five artists from San Diego State University including both faculty and students from the School of Art and Design.  Focused on the early Surrealists, the show examines the magical, the strange, the uncanny and the unexpected as informed by the unconscious. “The Vows” by Marie Bravo depiction of a guitar wielding frog king and his princess squatting on mushrooms displays perhaps the most direct influence of the original movement. “Blow You Away” by Stewart Parker is an expansive abstract work in which repetitive grid-like charcoal drawings on the wall segue to paint that spills onto a comfortable white chair. In the digital print “Dreaming” by Hina Kimura, a combination of painting and photography depicts a man’s distorted face, with flowers surrounding his neck and head, the entirety floating or falling backward in space.


Julian Adams’ copper sculpture “WWASD Unmoored” flips our understanding of gravity with an anchor attached to a chain turned upside down. An interactive installation piece by Max Lofano, “Revere,” asks us to step on a pedal that emits a drum-like sound from an old-school speaker. The interactive “Soundscape,” by Matthew Higgins and Chris Warren uses an HD video game-playing device. When we manipulate it, the work produces sounds as you plot around the yellow-green decorative checkerboard grid projected on a screen. Carved out into the gallery space is a blackened space where we can experience David Fobes’s “Psycho dos us,” an HD video projected on canvas that is layered with moving psychedelic patterns, sound and a background of people performing various activities. Jewelry created with brass, copper, silver, shells and other accessible materials are displayed along with quirky and mysterious small wall sculptures by Richard Keely composed of cement, glue and resin. Surprising and often hilarious, are a group of “weird tools” based upon (and translated from the term coined by Japanese inventor Kenji Kawakami) Japanese Chindogu objects by Tim Demuth, Liz Koerner, and Aleya Lanteigne: “Bust Cover,” “Emotion Helmet,” and a “Potpourri Bowl” which fits over the nose.

San Diego State University Downtown Gallery

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