costa's hummer

Monday, March 25, 2013


Phil Dyke Smudging - San Bernardino Museum 
Leslie and I woke up and fresh from a matzoh brie breakfast, left for Pasadena yesterday. We headed for Descanso Gardens near La Cañada for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

The line to get in was a half mile long and we quickly made a gyroscopic change of plans, a few lefts and a right dropping us off at La Cabanita in Montose where we had lunch, my favorite Mexican restaurant in the world. We mentioned to the people who were sitting next to us at the bar that we drove from San Diego county and they apparently have friends that drive from Arizona.

I started with a special taco picadillo, the fat corn tortilla hand made, the rich barbacoa filling mixed with walnuts and raisins. Leslie had a single chuleta con pasilla, I countered with a chicken sope. We washed it down with their coffee, which is my favorite anywhere, maybe it is the delicious sweet roll?

Afterwards we drove to the Pasadena Museum of California Art to hear curator Gordon McLelland's lecture on the current California scene painting show. The Phil Dike painting above, of his ancestral victorian home that sat in a Redlands orange grove, hit me the hardest. I smudged groves myself until about 20 years ago. A large, beautiful canvas. The picture is from the S.B. museum and not well taken so you will have to excuse me. Reminded me of a John Sloan.

There is a great Phil Paradise painting of Los Angeles Night Court that evoked Bellows. Gordon says that the California scene painters were concurrent if not earlier than their ash can and regionalist counterparts. Many worked for Disney and the studios. These were simply the best painters around. They had a fascination with movement and distilled and twisted the prevailing classical trends.

There was a particular painting by Lee Blair of his wife on a Palos Verdes bluff top that was striking. Again I apologize for the poor image which I lifted from the web. McLelland explained how the artists would use the sophisticated trick of raising the horizon line in order to flatten the image. The chroma is simplified in a cubist manner as well as is excessive definition. Lights and darks are oft exaggerated for dramatic tension.

Gordon actually made a lot of very interesting and thought provoking points in the lecture, which I am very happy that I attended. I believe that it runs through July.

If you get a chance, check out the modernist exhibition of the sculptures that look like distended ventricles, specifically the curator speak on the wall describing the work. Priceless in its intellectual palaver, they wouldn't let me take a picture.

After the show, which was very well attended, we hit Zankou chicken for dinner. Armenian chicken with garlic paste, huumus, picked turnips and pita. So damn good.

Josef Albers

Denis Wheary sent this great video interview with Victor Moscoso and cohorts. He makes a short homage to color genius Josef Albers.

"You learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes."
Victor Moscoso

     In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is- as it physically is.  This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.

    In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually.  To this end the beginning is not a study of color systems.

    First, it should be learned that one and the same color evokes innumerable readings.  Instead of mechanically applying or merely implying laws and rules of color harmony, distinct color effects are produced- through recognition of the interaction of color- by making for instance 2 very different colors look alike, or nearly alike.  
Josef Albers

After we drove home, we had a little time to waste before the vigil and we popped by the nearest indian casino. Full House, then a straight. Leslie and I made about a grand together in less than 40 minutes and headed on down the road.

1 comment:

grumpy said...

i admire, and am jealous of, your ability to do so much, and have so much fun doing it, in one day.