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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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Bergamot Station Immerses Onlookers In Artistic Inspiration

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A rainy Saturday in February, I took a trip down to the Bergamot Station Art Gallery, a unique art complex set up in Santa Monica. Taking advantage of the runoff from the LA Frieze festival, this gallery was showcasing all their best exhibits. They were highlighting contemporary art from all over the world with medium ranging from photography, collages, paintings, and sculptures. 

While every gallery was moving and inspirational in their own way, there were five that immediately caught my eye and that I can’t stop thinking about after. 

  1. John Peralta – Mechanations

Showcased in the Lois Lambert Gallery, Peralta’s sculptures of deconstructed machines are quite incredible. In his work, he takes machines apart and strings them back up, suspending them in mid air, so we as the viewer can see each individual piece. This artistically shows the inner working of old machinery and was truly compelling to look at from all angels. 

  1. Lucia Engstrom – Lover and Dreamers

This gallery was one I didn’t expect to like as much as I did. I am not usually the biggest fan of modern abstract art, especially mixed medium, but Engstrom’s work really grabbed my attention. Her pieces consisted of gorgeous landscape photographs where she then sewed colorful wool on top of them in places where she wanted to leave an accent. 

The addition of the wool was something I had never seen before and gave each piece a unique feel and a cool 3D quality. You were first drawn in by the photos and then kept there by the fact that part of it felt like they were leaping from the page. 

  1. Kei Sugiyama – Portraits of Absence II

Sugiyama’s portraits were some of the few paintings exhibits that were showcased. His work, influenced by his Japanese background, depicts images of empty chairs and rooms, all done with a tight color palette and touches of gold. These paintings were very compelling and the abstractness of them really drew me in. Sugiyama’s paintings, he says, are meant to allude to Buddhist works that represent the journey to Nirvana. These pieces partnered with their fascinating inspiration make for an enticing series of works. 

  1. Von Wolfe – Oracle

This strange and unique collection of paintings was one of my favorite exhibits I’ve seen in a whole. This series portrayed paintings of women and animals adorned with jewels in odd settings. These all had a very unsettling feel to them and reminded me of work from surrealist artist Renee Magritte, whose paintings had the same look and same bizarre vibe. In this gallery, Wolfe himself was present making finishing touches to his work as they hung on the wall, and I was able to talk to him for a minute. He told me that in his work, all the figures represented always seem to be looking at something not featured in the painting and it was up to the viewer to decide who or what it is. 

  1. Paolo Ventura – The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls 

This collage exhibit was the most compelling gallery I think that I have ever seen. I’m a sucker for good collage work, but Ventura’s was absolutely incredible. His use of photographs in his collages gave each piece a very specific city aesthetic where everything felt dream-like and as a viewer you felt like you were almost walking in on something. For works that were made completely of cut-outs, that seemed more like surreal photographs. This gallery made me want to research this artist and his work way more and inspired me for my own art that I could make in the future. 

While these were just my top five, every gallery at Bergamot this weekend was full of impeccable art. It introduced me to so many new artists that deserve recognition and inspired me for so much of my own art. 

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