Dec. 26 2012 12:32 PM

11 art makers, gallerists and curators share favorite works of the year

Paul Drohan working on “Memory Serves”
Photo by Paul Drohan

To conclude CityBeat's arts coverage in 2012, we wanted to hear from the gallery owners, museum curators and visual artists whose names popped up next to the most-buzzed-about events and accomplishments from the past 12 months. We asked these local tastemakers to tell us about their favorite piece of art from 2012.

—Amy T. Granite


"The Early Bird Gets the Worm" by Matt Land

 Jimmy Ovadia

The surrealist showed his paintings at nearly 50 events in 2012 and graced the Nov. 28 cover of CityBeat.

"If I had to choose one, it would be Matt Land. I feel his work is constantly evolving. It speaks of taboo subjects and everyday situations that are taken for granted; the images are bold and put right in your face. ‘The Early Bird Gets the Worm' strips down the walls—literally— and invites the viewer into the crumbling walls around Matt's imagination."

"John Joel Glanton" by Matt Mahoney

Dane Cardiel

The 23-year-old founder of the literary- and visual-arts publication Manor House Quarterly has continued producing content—and events—that delve deep into artmaking. 

"My vote goes to a series titled John Joel Glanton—a collection of 100 works, India ink on paper—by conceptual artist Matt Mahoney. I appreciate the work for its simple aesthetic and the exhaustive length the artist chose to fittingly depict this culturally redundant scene. The significance of the work, for me, ultimately occurs in the body language the artist depicts/omits in each subject. Frozen in a pathetic attempt to flee, we conclude all things meaningless for the fate of many in the failing American West."

Other Ideas zine for Art Boxed San Diego
exhibit by Think Tank

 Jill Dawsey

Dawsey curated the works of more than 100 regional artists spanning five decades for The Very Large Array: San Diego/Tijuana Artists in the MCA Collection (on view through June 1, 2014).

"I am naming a ‘phenomenon' as my favorite art thing in 2012—the phenomenon of artist-run spaces and artist collectives in San Diego. The flourishing of such organizations is among the most exciting recent developments for art in San Diego, and although this didn't start in 2012, it reached a kind of critical mass, as evidenced in the inclusion of several local collectives (Agitprop, Cog•nate Collective, The Periscope Project, There Goes the Neighborhood and Torolab) in the exhibition Living As Form (The Nomadic Version) at the UCSD University Art Gallery, and in MCASD's Think Tank—a loose coalition of organizations concerned with critical and socially engaged art practices. The Think Tank produced a collaborative zine called Other Ideas for the occasion of Art Boxed San Diego, which took place in conjunction with ‘Fall for the Arts' at Liberty Station in September 2012."

"Null" and "Void" by Waist Knot Want Not

Spenser Little

The wire-sculpting street artist dazzled attendees at September's Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair with his play on shadows.

"Waist Knot Want Not (the moniker of Kevin Lindholm) painted this diptych for his solo show at The Spot that was in July 2012. They stand out in my memory the most vividly of all the art made in San Diego that I saw in  2012. To me, this diptych analyzes the battle of darkness verses light, or substance verses void, or whichever words you use to describe the internal battle of ethics we all fight. We all indulge in ethical relativism on a daily basis, but when I stare at these paintings, I feel a balance of beauty and ugly, meaning and chaos, a brief flash of life encapsulated in paint with the curtains parted wide open for you to get a clean view."

Wes Bruce

The San Diego Foundation's Creative Catalyst Fund recipient partnered with Lux Art Institute for the exhibit Structures, Poetry, Humans.

"I don't know if this is too out there, but the first thing that struck me as the finest piece of art that I have seen all year is the overgrown, thickety part of San Elijo Lagoon. This time of year, it's bare and there are a few sycamores closer to the water that have dropped their leaves on a hidden room of wild grasses. It is my favorite place right now, and made better and more beautifully than anything I can imagine anyone creating with their own hands. It's all subtlety."

San Elijo Lagoon
Wes Bruce

Romali Licudan live painting at FilAmFest
Paul Ednacot

 Paul Ednacot Ecdao

His Thumbprint Gallery continues pushing the urban art movement in San Diego; in 2012, it coordinated more than 40 shows at venues all over town.

"I've had many favorites over the year, buying a small amount of 'em, but I guess if I had to pick one, it'd have to be a piece that was painted live at FilAmFest, a Filipino-American Arts & Culture Festival here in San Diego. The artist is Romali Licudan, and the piece was done 100 percent in spray paint on a 4-by-8-foot wood panel. The piece not only embodies his skills as a talented aerosol artist but also the sense of community that surrounded the piece as it was created. As he painted, he received many compliments and positive feedback, and I'm sure he inspired the youth who paid very close attention to his process. The piece is now displayed in my garage and I'm very happy about that."

Eric Orr's "Zero Mass"

Scott B. Davis

The director of exhibitions and design at the Museum of Photographic Arts founded the Medium Festival of Photography, which happened for the first time in 2012.

"Eric Orr's ‘Zero Mass' at MCASD's Phenomenal exhibition. Why a black room? And how can it inspire photographers in particular? because photographers have a job, which is to see. Seeing is an outgrowth of perception, observation and sensitized eyes, and Orr's incredible experience (this being the operative word) did more to encourage looking, feeling and thinking about art than anything I saw in San Diego all year. It's left me thinking deeply since that time and profoundly grateful for the opportunity to witness it. I'm certain it will continue to have effects on my work as an artist well into the future."

Original wire sculpture line contour
by Spenser Little

 Ann Berchtold

The founder of Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair brought the show to our city's cultural hub, Balboa Park, in 2012, where it will also be held next year.

"I would share this piece by Spenser Little— represented by Alexander Salazar. Spenser used a similar piece to create a light projection on the side of the Balboa Park Activity Center. I love the story behind Spenser's work."

"Mariposa" by Sonia Lopez-Chavez

Chris Zertuche

The gallery manager and curator at The Spot in Barrio Logan has seen hundreds of pieces of art pass through the gallery in 2012.

"The artist I'm choosing is Sonia Lopez-Chavez. She had a very successful solo art show at The Spot back in April. She had a duo show at Thumbprint Gallery with Miguel Angel Godoy that was also successful. She has been in many group art shows in San Diego. She has also curated many art shows throughout San Diego and The Spot."

Melissa Inez Walker

The owner of North County gallery and artist studios ArtHatch remodeled to include more space for at-risk kids to participate in ArtHatch's teen program.

"This is one of many of my favorite pieces created in 2012 by Cathrine Edlinger-Kunze. To watch Cathrine work is truly a treat. She has an amazing way of transcending herself into the act of creating and allowing her materials to speak to her. I had pursued Cathrine for over a year before convincing her to reside in one of our studios. She quickly became a favorite among visitors and is now a gallery-represented artist."

video still of "Autochrome Tapestry" by
Joshua Tonies
courtesy of San Diego Museum of Art.

Amy Galpin

Galpin is the curator of Behold! America, an exhibition of American art across three centuries at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Timken Museum of Art and the San Diego Museum of Art.

"It is so hard to pick one work for 2012. I really enjoyed Sadie Barnette's show at Double Break. I thought the work that Jessica McCambly showed at the art fair was exciting. If I have to pick one work, I would call out Josh Tonies' work for the Summer Salon Series at the San Diego Museum of Art. In preparation for the work, Josh spent time researching in the museum's library, and the resulting video work was a distinctive and original tribute to local artists Florence Kemmler and Roland Schneider."


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