For more than two years, Upper West in Santa Monica has put its restaurant walls to the best possible use, displaying paintings of different local artists for about four months at a time through a partnership with local company The Beach Vault.
West Los Angeles-based mixed media artist Stephanie Trachtenberg will display 39 of her paintings of varying sizes, but all on the same theme of portraits of men.
The show called “L’Homme” will also include a selection of her bronze sculptures.
The pieces will be installed this Sunday, July 20 with an opening reception later in the day from 4-7 pm, which is free and open to the public.
Trachtenberg said she was intrigued by the idea of trying to portray and interpret different shades of character and mood in the male psyche.
“It was informative and challenging and a lesson in compassion which always makes one a better person,” Trachtenberg said. “These paintings were created over quite a span of years, so the overall mosaic is quite a full and diverse rendering of the subject. Of course there is always more to discover and different ways and means of showing it, which really makes it a life-long project and an endless learning experience for me and the viewer.”
She said she didn’t have one process to create the paintings.
“Sometimes I begin with the brush and paint, sometimes charcoal drawing and sometimes light grey value study, according to the subject matter,” she said. “I try to find the space around the image to see how it exists on the canvas. I believe the most important aspect of painting is to use light and color to show the form. I think of myself as a light traveler. And what I am really seeking is to illuminate the soul.”
Trachtenberg has previously exhibited in Santa Monica at the Novel Cafe, the George Small Art Studio, and a coffee house on Main Street called Panini.
She said her philosophy of art was to share her view of the human experience and to make it available to see for as many people as possible.
“I endeavor to put life energy and movement into my paintings and sculptures so they reflect the modern genres of film and digital imagery,” she said. “Even though I use some abstraction, I try to make my work realistic enough to be recognizable. I feel I am creatively successful and fulfilled when the experience has been communicated. Shades of color and shades of meaning.”
Gino Paino, of The Beach Vault, said the Upper West partnership had seen amazing results of increased interest in art.
“The mission of my business on art is simply to promote contemporary artists within their own communities, show the hidden talent for the benefit of all, and show the work the production of the people that is transforming this great Southern California region,” Paino said.
Upper West is located at 3321 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica. It is open for lunch from 11:30 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday and open for dinner seven days a week from 5 pm.
For more information, call 310.899.4422 or visit upperwestsantamonica.com.