Friday, July 16, 2010

Farina.Grieger.Haselbacher.Shelton@CACHE Exhibition.Santa Monica!

A well attended group exhibition of artists from 
Otis College of Art and Design 
Opened this Monday July 13th, 2010 at 
CACHE Restaurant & Lounge in Santa Monica, California.
CACHE Featured Mark X. Farina, Scott Grieger, 
Nancy Jo Haselbacher and Richard M. Shelton

"Kill the Bay" mix-media on canvas by Mark Farina

"United We Gripe" Acrylic & Oil stick on paper by Scott Grieger

"Sentinel" inkjet monotype with embossing by Nancy Jo Haselbacher

"Capitol" Gold Plated canvas, currency by Richard M. Shelton

Mark X. Farina. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

It gives me great pleasure in getting an opportunity to review the shows of  great artists I know personally and this exact chance presented itself on Monday July 12th, 2010 at the Cache Restaurant & Lounge in Santa Monica. It is no small detail that all four artists are embedded at Otis College of Art and Design, my alma mater of merely six years ago. (The artists are hereby reviewed in alphabetical order so as to maintain neutrality of  friendships!) 

My husband Luke Van Hook and I met Mark X. Farina in the basement of Otis college sometime between 2002-2003. I like to think this was the ground floor of the foundations for great art to come, but really, it was much more. A profound respect for Mark grew out of the ideal fact that Mark X. Farina was lord over all video making equipment that could, would and should be checked out from the Otis College Video lab for any up and coming art students with ambitions of climbing the proverbial ladder of the art-world. But Mark had even more on him than that. Mark had a "real artist studio", the envy of every emerging artist to be. "Thing Studio" was then and still is located on Lincoln Blvd., in Venice Beach, California from where eventually the original friendship lead to getting a privileged invitation to show Luke's work in said studio, alongside the talented and master video maverick himself. 

And not only was Mark in this unique enviable position whereby he had his own studio, in one of the coolest beach communities of Southern California, that he could slam paint upon the walls and floors yet not incur even so much as a chastising finger from a landlord; Mark knew intricately the elements necessary to throw a good party! For not only was Mark quickly evolving into a Renaissance Man of an artist, he had his headphones tuned in to a wave of sound that touched the lives of artists and musicians alike as he often guest DJ'd for the Loyola University Radio Station, at KXLU. 

Thus there you have it, the artist and the artwork share a special bond that is indistinguishable. Mark's artwork is original, quirky, cartoonish in his own personal style, often ironic and certainly politically charged. The painting on exhibition at CACHE titled "Kill the Bay" serves a timely purpose in satirizing the farcical circumstances faced by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. And yet, Mark X. Farina could be said to be a strange sort of prophet or man of e.s.p. and yes, I do mean something of a fortune teller, extrasensory perception and all that mumbo jumbo people like to label each other with. As far as I can see, it looks to me, that Mark X. Farina was ahead of his time. 

His message was clear. "Kill the Bay" was a warning. He told me he painted this painting about 10 years ago. It took our tragic historical mishaps with American Oil Companies like the Exon Valdez and the rest of the toxic dumping into our oceans, rivers, lakes and earth that are shared with Arco, Shell, Chevron and so many others, that it makes one's head spin to recognize our misdeeds to Mother Earth. But his depiction of the gasoline pump with a personified look of dignity, despite it's evil deeds makes this image seem all the more appropriate for our times just like an image of Homer Simpson accidentally causing a nuclear reactor to leak into Springfield, Mark X. Farina shows us the real implications of underwater oil drilling in today's fragile ecosystem. Mark often uses superhero images and cultural icons to reflect upon our lifestyles and reveal important undercurrents in our social, environmental and political culture.

Mark has three other paintings in the exhibition at CACHE. "I Believe" the images of which are two Lochness monsters roaming in the waters and "Lochness" in which he states in text "I believe in the Lochness Monster" leading me to wonder if humans are the monsters to the fish and wildlife.

Scott Grieger and an interested collector. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

Scott Grieger is a painter's painter. He is the man to whom fine art painters look up to and in particular he is the man to whom my husband Luke and I respect to shine a light of integrity upon the traditional process of the painting medium. Also introduced to us back in 2002, Scott Grieger has just recently achieved the "Distinguished Educator" award, honored by Otis College of Art and Design. He has been and still is our most significant mentor in our art careers. As an artist and educator, Scott Grieger has influenced and directed the careers of hundreds of students, eager to understand the world of the love between canvas and paint and between text and meaning.

His work over the years has been savvy, brilliant and witty-- Which is why the images he is exhibiting at CACHE are so eloquent in text and form. Politically biting, one views a map of the United States with Alaska and Hawaii on the side, and the text scrawled across all 50 states of the continent "United We Gripe". No better words were ever stated to depict the state of our union speech as Americans. Thank you, Scott, for giving us another original work of art, maintaining the integrity of our grumbling culture! Another witty euphemism Scott introduced into the show is an art piece with the text of "AI", a popular term used to describe Artificial Intelligence--A watercolor, ink, gouache, acrylic on paper. Scott's work spans years of conceptual work with text in images, text as images and images reflecting the absurd, yet direct thinking of a man exploring his world and making witty banter with the audience through his unique and refreshing sense of humor. 

As I stated before, not only has Scott Grieger maintained a friendship with Luke and myself, he continues to push us to explore the limits of our artist practice. And as happens between all mentors and students, we mature as artists by reflecting upon the nature in which Scott Grieger makes us see the world and in so doing we also meditate upon our own sense of "Artificial Intelligence". The union of these images together as a whole bring about a cohesive display of energy and bravado. It would be well worth your while to stop in at CACHE for a drink or two and reflect upon these concepts for yourself in order to come to your own original conclusion!

Scott Grieger
Distinguished Professor Fine Arts 
@ Otis College: 
inaugural recipient of 
The Distinguished Educator Award, 
recognized Outstanding Teacher of the Year.


Full Time Professor, 1994 to Present
Painting and Drawing, The Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles
1994 to Present
Chairman of Fine Arts
Chairman of Surface Design
The Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles


Nancy Jo Haselbacher, Photo by Ginger Van Hook

 I officially met Nancy Jo Haselbacher for the first time at her opening, but I have witnessed countless works of hers on the walls at Otis College of Art and Design. Her artwork at CACHE exhibits a dreamy like eloquence that transports your vision into your inner thoughts. Her work in printmaking allows your thoughts to wander, chat with friends, look at her work some more, sip another glass of wine and somehow from that inspiration transport you down a Russian River while wondering if there are secrets embedded in code in her work. Stop in to have a look at her screen prints and inkjet monotypes to enjoy a trip abroad, while never leaving the comfort of the dinner table at CACHE, Restaurant and Lounge in Santa Monica with outside seating in the courtyard, facing all the digitals screens for easy access to dream about different outcomes to each soccer game depending on your preferences.

Assist Prof Faculty, Communication Arts Otis College, MFA RISD, BFA Art Inst. of Boston. Owner of Indelible Press printmaking and digital media studio, L.A. Has exhibited at The Riverside Art Museum, CA, Downtown Art Gallery, L.A.; Temple Univ. Rome; SoHo Gallery, FL; The Museum of Urban Art and Culture, Boston; Fine Arts Center, Taos, NM; and The Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk, CT.


Richard M. Shelton and his wife Kali Nikitas. Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2010

"Capitol" (2 pieces) 24"24" Gold Plated Cavas, Currency

Richard M. Shelton is currently the Director of Integrated Learning, Associate Professor at  Otis College of Art and Design in the Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Digital Media.

Fine Arts

The gold plated canvas and currency displayed at CACHE is uniquely fit to represent our current state of affairs in the world. Richard Shelton's work appears to reflect the value system in our cultural environment as the value in banks, financial institutions and governments around the world continue to show a lack of stability and a monetary system that seems to want to go back to that which is pure gold, like the good old days in California. The gold rush theme just never goes away in this town and Richard's work taps right into that stream! Enjoy a little Capitol of your own and Steak out a claim at the dinner table right here at CACHE, Restaurant & Lounge on the corner of Main and Marine Street in Santa Monica, California!

Rich moved to Los Angeles in 2006 from Boston where he was a full-time artist and visiting professor at Northeastern University, leading Northeastern’s summer exchange program at the Burren College of Art in Ireland for three consecutive years.

Prior to his work in Boston, Rich Shelton served as Assistant and Associate Professor in the Media Arts Department at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).  Rich’s contributions to that institution included launching and establishing the animation program and assisting in the growth and development of “Summer Expression Session,” MCAD’s summer high school program.

For the past twenty years, Rich has been active working with community organizations such as the Minnesota State and Federal Correction Facilities; Film in the Cities (video in the schools, animation with non-verbal students, conducting video workshops on Cass Lake/Leech Lake Ban of Ojibwe Native American Reservation); Open Arms; and Upward Bound.

Since arriving in Los Angeles, Rich has been active in the Otis community through his work and teaching as an Adjunct Associate Professor in Integrated Learning, Digital Media and Liberal Arts & Sciences, as well as serving as an educational advisor for a number of academic programs.

In his professional practice, Rich Shelton is an active artist who has exhibited internationally at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art, NEXIT Gallery (Holland), Carlton College, and Goldstein Gallery at the University of Minnesota. Rich has also worked as a graphic designer in partnership with Kali Nikitas at Graphic Design for Love (+$) whose clients include: University of Minnesota Press, the Design Institute, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the Walker Art Center.

Rich received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and a BFA in Media Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. He has lectured at a number of institutions including Otis, the New Media Consortium, Carlton College, and School of Visual Communication, Oslo, Norway, and the annual conference Profile Intermedia, Burren Germany.


Additional photographs at Cache Restaurant & Lounge during the opening reception for Mark X. Farina, Scott Grieger, 
Nancy Jo Haselbacher and Richard M. Shelton, July 12, 2010. 

Mark Farina and Kristina Campbell. Photo by Ginger Van Hook, July 2010

Mark X. Farina is an artist and DJ whose work has been included in exhibitions recently at Miami Art Basel and the Flint Institute of Arts. He has participated in the Long Beach Sound Walk, California Biennial Mojave Desert and the Ann Arbor Film Festival this past year.

Mr. Farina is currently the Audio Video Lab Manager and Mentor Faculty in the Integrated Learning Program at Otis College of Art and Design.

He previously taught animation and cartooning classes for teens at Brentwood Art Center and holds a BFA in Advertising with a minor in Cinema from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Mark Farina with Kristina Campbell and Paige Tighe. 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook, July 2010

CACHE Restaurant & Lounge. Photos by Ginger Van Hook