Ellen Dieter Returns to the Swift

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Shahla Dorafshan Show delivers the artist's powerful, intimate viewpoint without compromise

Every once in a great while I have the pleasure as a curator of seeing a body of work assembled in my space which is almost entirely fresh to my experience. Shahla Dorafshan's (door-ahf-shan) body of work is this type of experience. It is not simply the fact that the work is new to me, or that it becomes greater than the sum of its parts. This is not an infrequent phenomenon. What is unusual about the current body of work is the particular combination of technical prowess and expressive acumen. The precision of her draftsmanship, from sturdily realistic, to the further boundaries of ledgible abstraction demonstrate her  ability to make a painting come to life, whether it be a quick study or a minutely detailed rendering. Yet common to all these levels of technique, the paintings carry the artist's unmistakable voice.

Whether its a tightly rendered portrait or an implied
presence,the figure and gesture in Shahla's paintings
always present a sense of authenticity

Many of the portraits in the show are done from life, working with professional models. Yet the expressions on the faces; anguish, betrayal, resignation, grief, weariness, all ring true, not to the momentary experience of the  model, but to the experience of the artist.  It is as if the artist is painting a peculiar kind of self portrait, using other faces to express her own experience.

And that is where Dorafshan's acutely observant eye positively shines through. She can transmit the full range of emotions in a dozen subtle ways, from the set of the jaw or tilt of the head, the slightly widened, unfocused eye, the lips tight, or open.  The look of resignation, curiosity or hopelessness that illuminates the face is both authentic to the mode of expression the model might take and to the inner state of the artist as she works. These are paintings you fully expect to have a conversation with. And it's clear, that the conversation might not be pleasant. But it will be honest. 

Shahla Dorafshan's show, Painting the Persian Heart opens June 3rd, and will run through mid August.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Shahla Dorafshan: Painting the Persian Heart" show begins installation today !

The Persian mystic poet Rumi said, "Let the beauty we love be what we do. "  In Shahla's work, the viewer will find beauty born of pain, and a resilient joy in the play of light and shadow, hue and coutour.  Inspiring, emotional, yet bold and stripped of sentimentality, heart-felt and stunningly executed, these works light up the walls on which they hang. Being in the presence of Shahla's work, is to feel the direct connection of painter to painting, material, and model.

Enjoy Shahla's work, in the company of fine Santoor player Azimi on opening night June 3rd.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jeans for Justice closes with a Silent Auction Thursday May 26th

One last chance to support a good cause, and walk away looking good.  Jeans for Justice jeans are one of a kind unique art pieces on denim, that straddle the line of fashion and artwork. Attend the closing evening Jeans for Justice Exhibition and show and bid on an existing pair of jeans, or order a coteur pair by one of the Jeans for Justice artists at this fun evening event.

Beautiful enough to hang, to cool not to wear.
Where does the "Justice" part come in? The work they do at Jeans for Justice centers upon education of young people about exploitation, date-rape, rape by intoxication and molestation. Through workshops, outreach and public events, Jeans for Justice makes women leaders in their own protection from sexual predators.Check the previous blog post, or their website  for more info on the history of this organization.
Styles from mild...
In spite of their serious cause, this J4J event will focus on fashion, fun and expression. Contact Jess Johnson for details!

...to wild.
The Jeans for Justice exhibition at the Martha Pace Swift Gallery is co-sponsored by the Expressive Arts Institute of San Diego. See the exhibit through the 26th...

Come see them all in person.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jeans for Justice comes to the Swift May 6th

Jeans for justice is on a mission to save young women. Through educational experiences, and art shows they inform women and girls on the growing prevalence in our country of rape by intoxication, a crime which can cause a lifetime of suffering for the victim, while being often going unreported, and unpunished. Founder Jess Johnson believes knowledge is the best defense.   
Why Jeans? In 1999, an Itallian apellate court overturned a rape conviction, solely because in the courts opinion, a woman who was "...struggling with all her might..." could not be raped because her jeans could not be removed. Jeans for justice has taken the symbol of blue jeans decorated by artists and paired them with the stories of victims, and with the artists reaction to make a potent statement about empowerment, education and the need for young women to lead in their own protection. Please join us this Friday for the opening of this important show.