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Pomona's 57 Underground unveils new exhibit
Posted Sept. 24, 2008

New art exhibit “Presences,” featuring new paintings by artists Mervyn Seldon and Chong Hahn, is now open at Gallery 57 Underground in Pomona.

The exhibit, which opened Sept. 12, offers a combination of style, culture, technique and mediums of different sizes with wall-to-wall abstract paintings.

“This gallery is all about artists who want to experiment and develop their craft,” gallery staff member Desiree Engel said.

Engel, a ceramic artist, has known the works of Seldon and Hahn for a while and has observed the evolution of the artists’ work through the years, particularly Seldon’s.

Seldon, a resident of West Covina, has generally concentrated on landscapes but now describes her colorful, multi-shaped paintings as metaphors for human relationships, past and present.

“Seldon’s work used to be very realistic,” Engel said. “Now she is gradually moving away from realism and incorporating abstract styles into her pieces, which I love.”

Texture and depth embody Seldon’s new multimedia paintings as she fuses acrylics with natural materials such as eggshells, rice and sand.

Many of her paintings depict home-grown fruits and vines from her garden, which she said contrasts with spirits that she senses flowing in the currents of life.

“Although the subjects of a painting may be fruits or vegetables from the garden, expressed in representational forms, the relationship between shape and color is paramount,” Seldon said.

A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, Seldon holds an MFA in painting and drawing and has been exhibited in more than 20 galleries in Southern California.

If one is able to tear their eyes away from Seldon’s standard-sized captivating paintings, they are lead across the gallery floor to the not-so-standard sized paintings of Chong Hahn.

Hahn, a resident of Los Alamitos, creates landscape oil paintings that are generally in the neighborhood of 60” x 90” in size.

“I think art can be big or small,” Covina resident Jonathan Serrano said as he reflected on the life-sized painting by Hahn in front of him. “But the magnified abstract detail in this picture is extraordinary.”

Hahn, a native of Korea, describes her work as presences that only she can see, hear and touch because they come to life to her. She said it is her artwork that enables her to communicate these ideas to others.

Hahn earned her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Gallery 57 Underground will celebrate its tenth anniversary in November and December by featuring an exhibit of special artwork by its current members and alumni.

The gallery is located in the 2,000 square foot basement of the Pomona Art’s Colony building.

“Presences” will run through Oct. 25 and is open Friday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

On Oct. 11, all visitors are invited to the artist’s receptions from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. free of charge and to visit the many other galleries located within the Pomona Art’s Colony facility.

Gallery 57 Underground is a non-profit organization of artists. All events are free and open to the general public.

Visit thee website, www.57underground.com for more information.

Mark Vidal can be reached at mark.vidal@laverne.edu