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Art Review: “Darkness” Art Show Benefits City of Hope:

The huge Santa Monica Art Studio plays host to an ambitious group show entitled “Darkness,” presented by Deliciously Uncivilized, and in keeping with the holiday spirit, sale proceeds will go to the City of Hope Children’s Charity. The primary joy of the show is in the wide variety of styles and media, including sculpture, paint, photography, found materials collage, and interactive computer-generated images. Wandering through the many rooms of the gallery, as well as the artists’ studios which were open to the public for the evening, gave the viewer a de facto overview of the current art scene in Southern California. The large crowd was varied in terms of age, but the core audience of the show was clearly young and urban.

Deliciously Uncivilized centers on working commercial artists and creates an outlet for them to create work unencumbered by the necessities of commerce; the artists are encouraged to play, experiment, and depart from the strictures of their “day jobs.” It’s a notion that could have a profoundly interesting resonance in other disciplines: if filmmakers, writers and other artists formed collectives as supported outlets for their non-commercial work, who know what might result?

Curator Terry Lin hopes to generate a global artistic movement, and her three successful “Uncivilized” shows in Los Angeles have encouraged her to open exhibitions for commercial artists in New York and San Francisco in 2009 and 2010. There is obviously an interest in Ms. Lin’s vision: The opening reception was sponsored by Hpnotiq, Pama, Dry Soda Co., Quantum International, and Sterling International. (One of them made a sneaky concoction of vodka and pomegranate liqueur that made quite an impression on this reporter….)

The common aesthetic element of “Darkness” is “the exploration of the absence of light in both physical and emotional response.” To wit, the first hour of the exhibition during the opening reception took place in darkness, with flashlights available for purchase. The conceit was playful and enjoyable, and many people got the giggles; it made for a unique viewing experience, as each piece could be experienced from a narrow, singular perspective within the larger context of the group show. Fun!

To detail the work of the many talented artists on display would take up literally dozens of pages, so please heed the following disclaimer: the artists singled out for praise herein have been chosen in order to to summarize the incredible variety of work on display.

Sandra Maya Adame’s watercolor, ink, and marker creations were both whimsical and creepy, as if Edward Gory had taken to portraiture. “The Paranoia of Edgar Allen Poe,” is both funny and unsettling, and is a fine example of Ms. Adame’s work. Mike E. Eller’s photography finds the surreal and sinister in everyday life – his urban landscape “Murder from a fixed viewpoint” has a Hitchcockian, Rear Window vib. Ellen Wong’s colorful, clean, cartoon-inflected work, as evidenced in “Tisiphone (“The Furies Series”)” is both sexy and a unique abstraction of the female form.

“Darkness” runs December 10 –13 at Santa Monica Art Studios, 3026 Airport Avenue. For further information call Terry Lin at 323.304.2535, or email deliciouslyuncivilized@yahoo.com

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