‘Invasion’ offers unique ceramics
Posted Dec. 7, 2007
Seanette Garcia
University of La Verne junior Michael Frederick observed the raku ceramic piece “Artichoke” by artist Desiree Engel at 57 Underground gallery on Sunday. Located in the Pomona Arts Colony, 57 Underground Gallery is a nonprofit organization that provides an environment where artists such as Engel, Mildred Kouzel and Jean Fitch Jones can display their works.

Susan Acker
Staff Writer

Invasion usually brings to mind thoughts of military forces, spies or aliens.

Mildred Kouzel’s “Invasion” is a bit more suburban.

Three paintings of suburban streets hang in a row as part of the new “Esoteric Explora­tions” exhibit in the 57 Underground art gallery at the Pomona Arts Colony.

Each painting features a section of street; one of which is strictly residential except for one building: a Starbucks.

Kouzel’s paintings do not tell the tale of an outer space alien invasion, but rather an invasion of commercialized, high-priced and impersonal coffeehouses.

With an attention to detail and a subtle approach, Kouzel’s “Invasion” is thought-provoking and very true to our culture today.

Kouzel’s artwork also provides the viewer with a sense of looking in on the world like peering into a snow globe.

“Globe Series” which is mixed media on wood is a display of six panels, each containing a section of the earth.

One of the sections shows a hole in the earth and things being sucked out from the earth into a black hole in outer space.

The rest of the sections contain things like an aerial view of freeways and other displays.

Jean Fitch Jones and Desiree Engel also have works displayed in the exhibit which will be open through Dec. 30.

Artwork produced by Jones and Engel focus on desert theme paintings as well as ceramics.

“Froggy Basket” by Engel is one of the pieces on display.

It is a blue metallic raku ceramic with a handle and a very small frog attached to the handle. The frog looks as if he is holding on as tight as he can so he does not fall off.

A majority of Engel’s ceramics are very simple with one very specific detail.

“Whispering Desert” is a squat vase with muted browns, beige and green colors. The vase is holding a solitary dead branch.

“Exuberant shapes and colors in nature, whether in the world of plants or animals, earth, water or sky, have formed the basis of my work for several years. I am interested in discovering what is on the surface, above and below it, and delight in using those shapes to express my own ideas. Some of the forms are intended to elicit a sense of recognition in the viewer, although none are accurate representations of anything real, but are my own inventions,” Engel said in an artist statement.

Jones’ paintings mix well with the ceramic vases and urn and also are desert and nature themed.

Three of Jones’ paintings entitled “Desert Prayers” are acrylic on paper with whimsical strokes of black, blue, white, brown and shimmery paint.

One of the most interesting pieces in the gallery is “Storm Eagle” by Jones.

Quick, short strokes and variations emulate feathers. Although the painting is abstract, there is not an eagle painted on the paper, the feeling or sense of the eagle resonates throughout the painting.

Engel’s work is more obvious to the viewer, but also fun.

“Swimming Outside the Bowl” is a playful take on an ordinary fish bowl.

Instead of a clear bowl full of fish on the inside, the fish and other sea creatures are swimming on the outside of the bowl.

On the lip of the bowl, one of the creatures is climbing to the outside.

“Esoteric Explorations” is an exhibit not to be missed. It is overall colorful and unique.

With a mixture of paintings, ceramics and other medias, this exhibit has much to offer.

And whether or not you are a Starbucks fan, be sure to check out “Invasion.”

For more information about the free exhibit and about Underground 57 visit www.57underground.com.

Susan Acker can be reached at sacker@ulv.edu.

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