Friday, April 20, 2012

Three Faces Along El Paseo

There are several small cities that punch above their weight where the presence of art galleries is concerned. I'm less familiar with the eastern and central parts of the USA than I used to be, but here in the west places that come to mind are Taos and Santa Fe in New Mexico, Scottsdale in Arizona and Carmel-by-the-Sea in California.

Also in California is Palm Desert in the state's ritzy winter vacationland with its scores of golf courses, tennis clubs, time-share condominiums and nice restaurants. The heart of the Palm Desert gallery scene is El Paseo, a fancy shopping street where the galleries compete for the shopper's dollar with the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue, St. John, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Escada and Gucci.

I was checking out the galleries recently, taking notes on artists whose work interested me in terms of blog subject material. Mulling things over, I thought it might be interesting to compare how three different artists dealt with the human face. Let's take a look:


By Adrian Gottlieb
Gottlieb is a traditionalist who focuses on the human face and figure in near (but not quite) photorealistic style.

By John Erickson
When I "studied" art at the University of Washington, one of my instructors was John Erickson. But not the John Erickson whose painting is shown above. That John Erickson instructs drawing and probably other subjects at the University of Utah. Clearly Erickson knows how to construct a human face. But since he considers himself a modernist of some ilk and perhaps needs to feature a signature style to market his paintings, he adds bits to the basics. Such features include odd, unexpected colors, small geometrical patches such as you see here, and even small collage additions. Thanks to the generally correct underlying drawing, these add-ons can be tolerable in cases where Erickson restrains himself (which he doesn't always do). He also does abstract art.

By Vladimir Cora
Cora, a Mexican, does crude-looking expressionist near-abstractions, this one based on a face. I regard it as ho-hum modernism that offers me, at least, little of interest.

It should be noted that paintings by these artists are in major Palm Desert galleries and presumably have audiences of potential buyers. The range of styles is typical of the gallery scene along the Paseo.

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