Emotional Art: Pleasure Principle Group Show


The VillaBerta Gallery is pleased to announce a group show of eight Los Angeles painters in a beautiful residential space, curated by Charity Burnett. Featured artists are Alex COUWENBERG, Clara BERTA, Summer JANELLE, Sharon WEINER, Sharon SUHOVY, Charity BURNETT, Chris TRUEMAN, and Grant VETTER. Works will be on view Friday, May 18th to Sunday, July 15th 2012. 

Friday May 18, 2012
7 – 10 p.m.
wine and cheese reception

Between sensual indulgence and tranquility, these process painters explore associative play and the limits of desire. They express thirst-quenching colors, fantasized gratification, soothing ambient moods, and healing or therapeutic transcendence. Works on view in “The Pleasure Principle” have aesthetics of tactility that simulate a physical quality. As westernized culture puts increasing importance on leisure and recreation, over-stimulation, even addiction – it arouses the primitive brain’s pleasure circuitry meant for survival. Freudian psychology say’s, “The Pleasure Principle is the instinctive drive to seek pleasure and avoid pain, expressed by the id as a basic motivating force that reduces psychic tension.”

The resurgence of an intuitive process in painting is a result of artists reacting to their data driven and analytic culture, becoming a phenomenon coinciding with the Digital Age. These artists have come to abstract painting as innovative collaborators to the mid century moderns. Painting has never been more vital in the last fifty years. Conceptualism is increasing reliant on the “shock of the new” and distrustful of the subconscious, that part of our minds that drives desire and motivation -the very things that make us human. The LA art world is ready for a hedonic shift. Art history is an evolutionary cycle of “thesis, antithesis, synthesis.” Contemporary process painters, like the ones in this show, are in the synthesis stage. Several of these painters create a hybrid of cultural aesthetics from polarized genres while also being true to their times.

-Curatorial statement by Charity Burnett

Show: “The Pleasure Principle” exhibition runs Friday, May 18th to Sunday, July 15th 2012.

Opening Party: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 7:00pm to 10:00pm | Closing Party: Sunday, July 15, 2012 | 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Hours are by appointment only and during opening/closing receptions.

Press contact: Charity Burnett 818.398.2992

ALEX COUWENBERG combines matte finishes and high gloss in ‘Zen’ like execution. Mark making with intuitive rhythms, speed, and precision have been created with tape that is traditionally used in coating exteriors of hot rods. His paintings have pulsating colors reminiscent of hot rod colors, metallic pearls, firemist oranges, daytona yellow, marine blues, and swift reds. Built up and torn down – layers of paint and abstract shapes become a multiple play field of pinball, surf riding, skate boarding emerges. Gestural maneuvering bends the orbit of metaphorical surf-like almond-shaped tubes, gaming gadgetry like flippers, kickers, bumpers, targets, hexagonal saucers. In a recent video by EMS, Couwenberg refers painting to a “therapeutic experience.” He attended Art Center College of Design and has an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. Alex Couwenberg is showing “courtesy of William Turner Gallery” at Bergamot Station.

CLARA BERTA paints with mixed media, creating atmospheric sweeps of dense textural colors. The award winning abstract expressionist imbues the process with the belief that art is healing. The Hungarian artist born in Romania explores themes like “the ebb and flow of memory, the significance of personal heritage, renewal, the passing of physical time, desire, passion, and love.” Presently, Clara Berta produces commissioned work, shows at Artspace Warehouse, and teaches mixed media and collage. Berta has a BA in Psychology from Antioch University. She is also the gallerist at VillaBerta Gallery.

SUMMER JANELLE irrigates or sprays delicate acrylic paint on digital prints of wind blown ornamental grass or sparkling fresh water. Colors and lacy textures induce the viewer into a pensive relaxed state. The Claremont Grad says, “My work derives from the inner sensations we encounter with human interaction on a daily basis. I am fascinated with the invisible everyday occurrences and I bring them to life. I am making the invisible, visible.” The artist will be showing at Sangria Fine Arts in the fall. Summer Janelle studied Healing & Creativity at Chapman University, earned a BA from UC Riverside, and has a MFA from Claremont Graduate University.

SHARON SUHOVY sculpts sumptuous edible roses with cake-frosting utensils. The sculpted paintings are metaphoric for the female body. The artist says, “Seduction manifests in to lure to guide someone into the depths of their desires. The painting becomes the stage for this mid-summer nights dream as the excreted line work meanders across the surface. The s-curved calligraphy of the acrylic gel frosting, juxtaposed with the pastel Rococo palette, conjures the sweet scent of arousal. Suhovy will be showing concurrently at The Loft at Liz’s. She attended California State University, San Bernardino and has an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. Suhovy is a college art professor at Norco College and Victor Valley College.

CHARITY BURNETT makes whimsical foodstuffs with oil paint and sweet fragrant beeswax. She slow-pours molten paint into oddities that are stacked high with tottery equilibrium. Burnett pipes soft paste, which resembles frosting with a cake decorator device. Amorphous forms are a result of adaptation, and are into ice cream mounds, domes, and bells. Burnett say’s “I mix color to arouse the senses. Full-bodied consistencies simulate euphoric/addictive flavors from caramel, raspberry, blueberry, to exotic blends. Flavor as realism gives immediacy and believability to ferry us into the realm of fantasy. My work expresses unfulfilled plans of celebration in a dystopian times.” Burnett is the Curator for “The Pleasure Principle” at Villa Berta Gallery, and also for Sangria Fine Arts, a blogger for ARTZILLA and ArtMinute Press. chose the painter’s solo show as the “pick of the week.” Burnett is a graduate of Art Center College of Design, and has shown at Bergamot Station, in San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C.

SHARON WEINER’s luxuriant mark making and soothing acrylic pours explore the conscious and unconscious. The LA painter builds and sands layers into smooth surfaces. Glossy sheens coat organic spills and reflect the room, making them ambient. Seductive colors against oceanic or cosmic blacks entice the viewer into meditation and imaginative play. Sharon Weiner earned an MFA at Claremont Graduate University, having shown at several museums, nationally and internationally in New York, South Korea, and France. She has been reviewed by art critic Peter Frank, and will be showing at Sangria Fine Arts in the fall. Sharon Weiner shows “courtesy of Ruth Bachofner Gallery” at Bergamot Station.

CHRIS TRUEMAN’s shimmery paintings of graphite-like tonalities are merged with atmospheric geo-abstractions. They resemble reflective micro-prismatic sheeting or the icy flat surfaces. Like patterns of a healing crystal, the surfaces become a dazzling energy field yet somehow seem apocalyptic. The artist say’s ”These paintings are constructed from various styles and strategies sourced from the language of modernist abstract painting. Rapid shifts in the type of space, illusionistic or through screen-like layers meet flattened abstract planes and the materiality of raw canvas. Moiré and optical patterns keep parts of the underlying gestural painting from being fully grasped, while flesh-like yet unrecognizable swaths lay clearly in plain view.” Trueman attended the San Francisco Art Institute, and earned an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. He teaches painting at Fullerton College. Trueman had works curated by art critic David Pagel for an exhibit at LACE this spring. He has shown at Torrance Art Museum, Bergamot Station, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, San Diego, and Milan.

GRANT VETTER’s process of making extrusion paintings is a metaphor of the body. The artist’s work challenges traditional genre distinctions of painting and sculpture. Paint is pulverized or milled through the back of woven substrates. Effects resemble tapestry. Vetter’s paint becomes a bold play of textural ornamentation and topography, with the contrasting binaries conveying tension. The extravagant and elaborate mass build up of texture is both grotesque and beautiful. The paint assumes the wall, like a tapestry to a throne, becoming nothing more than a spectacle of decadence. In other bodies of work Vetter compares process painting to the processes of science and war, in a time when the sciences and militarism have let our society down. Yet moments of serendipity occur, even beauty. Vetter is a PhD Candidate, Doctor of Philosophy. The artist has earned an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, a Masters of Art in Communication, B.F.A. Art Center College of Design, Fine Art Media. Vetter is at present a Board member of F.A.R. (Foundation for Art Resources,) Founder and Director of Autonomie – a non-profit arts organization.

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