A Celebration of Surrealism

Posted May 25, 2016 by The Argonaut in This Week

Take a trip through the “Looking Glass” with gallerist Om Bleicher

By Kathy Leonardo

Nathan Cartwright’s wall-hanging sculpture “Air and the Cloud Dragon” takes inspiration from change driven by the elements

Nathan Cartwright’s wall-hanging sculpture “Air and the Cloud Dragon” takes inspiration from change driven by the elements

Inspiration finds its way into our ordinary thoughts on a daily basis.

Santa Monica gallerist Om Bleicher believes he was subliminally inspired by the upcoming release of the new Tim Burton film “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” a riff on Lewis Carroll’s timeless tale in which adult Alice travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

The result is “Looking Glass,” a celebration of contemporary surrealism opening Saturday at bG Gallery.

“I’m a big fan of the book and am looking forward to seeing the movie,” says Bleicher. “I was focusing on the concept of fantasy and surrealism as a way of exploring reflective societal and psychological principles, the way that Carroll did.”

Artist Nathan Cartwright, owner of HIVE Gallery and a frequent collaborator with Bleicher, got on board to contribute the wall-hanging sculpture “Air and the Cloud Dragon.”

“This piece was inspired by the element of air and its ability to pick up and change things in a blink, much like Alice’s transformation in her fall down the rabbit hole,” Cartwright says.

Artist Ty Cummings contributes four pieces to the show.

Cummings paints on wood and canvas, incorporating a variety of unusual items such as glitter spray, safety pins, puzzle pieces and other found objects.

“I draw from my past, future and present and am inspired by all kinds of experiences, thoughts, memories, concepts, desires and visual information,” says Cummings of his inspiration. “For instance, it might be a rare way that a wave hits the beach or the colors and patterns of a vandalized street sign. And the concepts evolve and get taken further into different directions and mixed with narrative, but it can start with something very simple that’s interesting.”

Bleicher says Cummings’ works “are a great mix of expression and surrealism with very contemporary coloration and paint play.”

Cummings’ painting “The Place?!” is “about the beauty and horror of desire and dream,” he says. “In the reflections, there is refraction — a gateway to somewhere, much like the Looking Glass.”

Also in keeping with the theme, only by looking through a mirror can viewers discover the text painted on the frame of Gregory W. Horndeski’s contributions to the show.

“I have essentially held a mirror up to the universe so that I can reflect upon how the universe works on the very smallest scales imaginable,” he says. “I think a lot about physics.”

“Looking Glass,” featuring works by more than a dozen artists, opens from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at bG Gallery in Bergamot Station Arts Center G8A, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Call (310) 906-4211 or visit bGArtGalleries.com


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