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Art Review: Gebert Gallery Opens in Venice

There’s another new gallery on the cultural byway known as Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. The Gebert Gallery occupies a new, glass-fronted building, with much of its art visible from the street. Gebert is devoted to contemporary art with a strong focus on sculpture. A lively crowd turned out on opening night, April 25, to see the gallery’s initial group show.

Gallery director Sandro Gebert is a Los Angeles native who has lived in Venice for six years. “My whole family was in the art gallery business,” he told the Mirror. Gebert wanted to “give back” to the community he loves, and having “fallen in love” with Abbot Kinney Boulevard, he decided to use the resources he had, including his art world connections, to bring new art to Venice.

Gebert noted that many galleries “steer away” from sculpture, which is why he has made sculpture a focal point at his gallery. The opening show has more than its share of sculpture, including the pieces that are placed close to the front window. Created by Munson Hunt, the three upstanding ovoids of dark wood are called “Hive Installations.” They evoke an organic Stonehenge – maybe they could be called “Wood-henge.”

Also near the front of the gallery is “Curly,” by Brandon Reese, a large wheel wrought from stoneware, resembling a stone Ferris wheel (among other interpretations).

The team of Kubach and Kropp do amazing work with granite. “Island on Pillars” is a dish-like shape of glistening gray granite mounted on tiny pillars; the amusing “Stone in Stone, Pink,” is a pink marble ovoid with a black granite “eye.” But their best work is “Sail,” a ship’s sail carved from shiny black granite, perforated with numerous holes, simultaneously a solid and mutilated piece of nautical gear.

And no one can possibly miss Grisha Bruskin’s “Numbers Man.” Set in a back area of the gallery, this is a large, flat, painted steel figure of a man, adorned by numbers, standing 90 inches high.

The paintings may be less eye-catching at first glance, but there are some rewarding works here. A few of them are painting-sculpture hybrids, like Lee Silton’s two “Untitled“ pieces, black wood squares from which curled shapes emerge.

There are some nice mixed-media works like John Randall Nelson’s “Blue Fairy Dilemma,” featuring a cartoon-like person with a beaky nose and blue hands. Nelson’s other displayed paintings are also mostly mixed-media renderings of people and animals with the same sense of the absurd. Gay Patterson’s “Nightfall” is an exquisite blue-green haze done in encaustic (hot wax with colored pigment added) with an insert of a flying swan – if you look closely. Similarly, Judith Kindler’s “Dream 128” features the surprise of a bird nestled in a flower, painted in warm shades of yellow and brown.

Gebert Gallery is, rare for Venice, a large space, very roomy downstairs. There is a balcony with room for more art, which may be opened for future shows. The style is modern and minimal, with gray the predominant color. One visitor was heard to say, “This place will be great for events!” Certainly, Gebert will have plenty of room for art events, and judging by the turnout for the opening, it looks like Venice has a happening new gallery for cutting-edge artists.

Gebert is located at 1345 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and can be contacted at 310.450.9897 or gebertgallery.com. The opening group show runs through May 28.

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