In this semi-regular column, we ask some of our favorite local arts folks what new shows or artists are worth checking out.
Jason Gould—VISUAL Urban Contemporary Art: “Nick McPherson (aka Nicholas Danger) is known for his comical yet creepy illustrations where he draws onto discarded, vintage black-and-white family photos that he finds at thrift stores and swap meets. I love how he takes an innocent and thoughtful family photograph and then disturbingly blends into the photo via pen, ink and paint marker. They also work on a conceptual level by using nostalgia and anonymity in a way that can make the viewer reflect on their own past and relate to the people and places in the photographs.”
Patricia B. Dwyer—Communications, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego: “I felt like I was finding secret treasures at the Allied Craftsmen 2016 show at Sparks Gallery. I have an admittedly romantic relationship with craft art, and the show touched on just about every reason why. How pieces can looks like artifacts heavily used by mysterious hands when they can’t be used at all, like Minako Lee’s richly hued oriental fans made of heavy clay. Julie Brooke’s crystalline lavender teapot looks how I wish drinking tea made me feel. Also, there’s a fantastical juxtaposition of textures and materials in Sasha Koozel Reibstein’s half-crystal-half-clay dollops of magic. I could go on and on.”
Nina Garin—Arts Calendar Editor, KPBS: “If you see me out and about, I most likely have two kids in tow and we’re rushing to some kind of dance class or singing lesson. So the art I’m most exposed to isn’t at museums or galleries, it’s at coffee houses. My favorite spot is Pannikin (7467 Girard Ave., La Jolla), where they have Natalie Bessell’s work on permanent display. She finds old photographs and draws things like masks and spiritual symbols over them. The world she creates is mysterious, female-positive and surreal. She also has some gorgeous paintings of girls holding papaya and majestic monkeys. Her work captures a unique SoCal magical realism. Best of all, Bessell is often behind the counter making coffee drinks and happy to chat about her work.”