Ellen Dieter Returns to the Swift

Ellen Dieter Returns to the Swift
The Bay Park Paintings give a beautiful taste of home

Monday, December 20, 2010

Larry Caveney's "Party Whites" series to open January 7th at the Swift

Artist Larry Caveney is returning his talents to the Martha Pace Swift Gallery with a show that is all about process , transformation and deconstruction. These muscular canvases are really more hanging sculpture than painting, built-up out of sculpted fabric, and the surfaces reworked in depth. An interesting detail about these canvases is that they have shown in the space before. In mid 2008, before the Gallery Space was dedicated or lit, the canvases were already displayed in the hallways of the building, but anyone seeing that show would be hard pressed to recognize the pieces. That is because Caveney has continued to work the surfaces, in a practice of moving forward through the arc of a longer set of processes, applied across a body of work.
The works original pallette of yellows, blues and reds and  became completely obscured through the addition of white paint. Then into these newly pristine topographical landscapes, Caveney began a new series of operations on the canvases adding in process color through collage. 
As the process continues to progress, His latest process involves sanding away image ,
weathering in the traces, in the way that mimics the forces of weathering and erosion
which shapes the world around us. 

Are the Party Whites finished?  Remembering the series original title, "Can't Say" it now seems oddly precient. Already within the show, there are some pieces moving towards new transformations, with the weathering and stripping away technique. However, thanks to careful documentation, we do know where they came from.

See you at the opening-

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Swift Hosts The 7th Annual Expressive Arts Week Show

The Expressive Arts Institute has a 12 year history of providing graduate level training in expressive arts therapy. For seven of those years, the institute has also been taking an annual opportunity to make public the work of students through the display of their client art.

Silhouette, 72" x36"

The shows are full of surprise, moving and powerful meet playful and lively in an intense immersion in the world of artistic expression for the purpose of change, growth and healing. In the past 7 years, students working in shelters, and half-way houses, YWCA's and veterans recovery centers, in schools, senior centers, and hospice, have all brought forth art from these intensly private settings for public display. The artists often come to the shows, bringing friends and family members to share the works which they see as marks of progress, signs of change, and badges of honor.

An untitled painting by Lt. L. Ferguson, a participant in Camp Pendleton’s Wounded Warrior Program. Acrylic on paper 36".x 48"

In every show there are pieces worth taking in. I'll be posting more about the event as the month passes, but get there quick. It all comes down Devember 17th to make way for the next one man show, works on canvas constructions by Larry Caveney.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

James Watts Show moves out....mostly....

from this...

With a little fanfare and a lot of sweat, we reloaded the many works of James Watts onto a U-Haul today, marking the end of an extraordinary show. James was in good spirits, and brought helpers for the task of wrapping and packing for storage. He leaves behind many good memories, including his artistic demonstrations at First Fridays in sculpture and still life, complete with audience participation...
....to this...

...to this.

The space has an anticipatory emptiness now, which we hope to fill with the next, very special show, our annual client artist show, featuring the works of persons served by students and Graduates of the Expressive Arts Institute of San Diego, a school that teaches expressive arts therapy fopr use with all ages and populations. Full Disclosure for those of you who don't know, I am a director of the Expressive Arts Institute, as well as the curator of the Swift. So expect the next show to be full of art, both naive and beautiful and full of moving meaning and hear-felt expression. That show will open on November 5th 2010 at 5 pm, and I hope to see you there.

James show will be missed, but the good news comes in the form of an agreement between James and Alan Zieter of the NTC Foundation to allow one of the central pieces of the show, the Kokeshi Dollsto remain on site. Weighing in at 450 pounds each, the two did not  re-board the truck, but were instead moved to a location flanking the entrance to the Historic Command Center, building 200.

The new site is a one minute stroll from the Martha Pace Swift Gallery, so when you drop in on us, please take time to visit James' magnificent couple. We'd like to think they miss us as much as we miss them. I am sure of one thing:  they will continue to please, engage and fascinate visitors to the NTC Promenade. See you in November!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Swift Artist James Watts will be present for show closing October 1st

Viewers at the Martha Pace Swift Gallery were treated to a demonstration of James Watts working in sculpture. James loves working with young artists, and helped several youngsters (and a few parents) learn to make sculptures out of non toxic materials. In addition he answered questions about his own work and history in the arts.

James is an amazingly down to earth and humble about his talents, and he loves to be challenged by new and different adventures in art making, learning from each process. Whether he is painting, sculpting carving or applying metal to carved forms, Watts  handles his materials with a light touch, bringing the attention of a craftsman, the insight of an engineer, and the playfulness of child to his works.

If you haven't yet visited the Swift Gallery at NTC Promenade, I highly encourage you to take in this innovative tour-de-force before it dissappears.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

James Watts Show Approaching at the Swift

Master folk-artist , and local legend James Watts is bringing a career spanning show to the Swift this August, full of color, life, and legends. Watt's work is playful, even zany and exhilarating, but with a serious bent to craftsmanship, and artistry.

Watts sculptures are powerful and vital presences, that engage the viewer in a direct aesthetic conversation, palpable presences in the space.  His paintings are lively assemblages of hard edged forms and bright colors, carrying narrative and allegory into the room with force and wit.

Come see James Show, Opening Friday August 6th

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Early Fireworks: Ellen Dieter's "Brushes with Life" Show Closes with a Bang

Friday July 2nd marked the close of Dieter's three Month run at the Swift, and she closed with a public painting event, where she worked with regular colaborator Richard Messenger to do a large acrylic on canvas landscape over the course of the evening.

The two, along with the third partner Shahla Dorafshan (absent for this event) have been working in their simultaneous painting style (all three painting at the same time on the same canvas or paper) for long enough to develop a strong improvisational flow that is a delight to watch.
It was exhilirating to see the free running dialog between Ellen and Richard, speaking through gesture and action, two highly acomplished painters supporting and responding to each other's lines, colors, shapes and mood.
A special highlight of the mid evening was the two painters stepping back and inviting members of the gallery visiting public come into the Expressive Arts Institute Studio to join in the painting. In this way it became a collaboration of more than ten artists (even I contributed a few small gestures). Then as the evening drew close to an end, a masterful translation of the now widely varied canvas began under the skilled brushes of Richard and Ellen. As they stood back, one more artist, only 18 months old entered in his fathers arms and added some amazing yellow highlights to the center of the canvas.
With those completing strokes in place, we cleared away the paints and dropcloths and rehung the fresh piece on the studio wall. It was an amazing record of the evening that had passed and a testament to the strength of the collaborative process between Ellen and Richard that the canvas ended up coherent and impactful. As we look towards future shows, this show sets the gold standard for public engagement in the patrons of the Swift. Thanks to all who attended, painted and witnessed the unfolding images.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ellen dieter video interview: Canyon Girl

Tonight I proudly present a new video from Ellen Dieter's "Brushes with Life" show, which has its final weekend this Friday, July 2nd, from 5- 8 pm. This one addresses the show's most recent canvas, "Canyon Girl"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ellen Dieter show closes at the Swift Gallery San Diego

Welcome to the curatorial blog for the Martha Pace Swift Gallery at NTC Promenade in San Diego. This is the place where I can keep you updated on the latest news from the gallery, including openings, special events and news of our visual and performing arts community.

This Friday, July 2nd marks the official closing of a gorgeous show by local artist Ellen Dieter. For the past three months, our Gallery space has been on fire with her powerful canvases, and if you haven't yet made it out to the show, I fully encourage you to do so.
This has been our first fully interactive show,
meaning there is multimedia content posted on line for many of the pieces, consisting of edited artist interviews. You can get more information on the show, and links to the video at : http://www.arts4change.com/special_event.htm
The Ellen Dieter show, 'Brushes with Life' is the kind of work we specialize in showing at the Swift. Work which is made as part of an artists necessary practice, without consideration for either audience or critic. Ellen paints out of necessity, as a visual journal of her own experience. As such, the work is compelling and personal, playful and joyful, full of discovery.
So before we close this fine show I hope you will join us, Friday 5-8 pm.