“Religion, Politics and Society”
Mark Vallen, Paul Batou, John Paul Thornton, Dolores Guerrero, David Ross, and Victoria LaVers
May 19 - July 8, 2007
Artists’ reception:  Saturday, May 19, 6-9pm

Lake Arrowhead Gallery and Museum of Art
28561 Highway 18, Sky Forest 92385
(near Lake Arrowhead)
(909) 337-8606
Web site,

Painting remains one of the last art forms where a single individual’s opinion can connect with, and make an impact upon others.  At a time in history when break-neck conclusions about religion and politics are spoon fed to us by electronic media outlets and agenda waving activist groups, a visit to an art gallery makes for a refreshing alternative:  it provides viewers with the old-fashioned opportunity to form their own opinions about ultimately sacred, private topics.
Lake Arrowhead Gallery and Museum of Art (LAGMA), in Skyforest, California presents “Religion, Politics and Society,” from May 19 – July 8, 2007, with an Artists’ reception on May 19, 6 – 9:00 PM.  This is an exhibition of paintings, showcasing the personal reflections of Artists on issues that defy neutrality.

Director Martha Mitchell has curated a show drawing well known talent from Los Angeles, along with local emerging artists who approach the themes with a broad range of dramatic and poetic interpretations.  The presenting artists are: Mark Vallen, John Paul Thornton, Paul Batou, Dolores Guerrero, David Ross, and Victoria LaVers.

MARK VALLEN is internationally known for his art-activism, and has participated in countless exhibitions addressing social and political issues.  He presents a series of his remarkable elegant portraits depicting the Latin persona in Southern California.  Vallen's subjects appear, at once, to embrace the customs of Mexican tradition, while manifesting their powers as silent warriors in the political debate of feminist transformation and growing status of non-Anglo culture in America.

JOHN PAUL THORNTON presents an altar-sized canvas depicting funeral rites before the cremation of a corpse.  Although based upon a common Hindu funeral in India, the painting suggests scenes of trauma such as we are used to viewing on television – like the aftermaths of marketplace bombings and air strikes.  Death and honoring the dead becomes a ritualized choreography, full of theatre and sincere beauty.

PAUL BATOU honors his home country through his painting of traditional Iraqi neighborhoods and building facades.  In contrast to the images of war-torn civic centers and breeched check-points, Batou functions as a proud tour-guide of sorts, illustrating the historic and picturesque sectors of a now shattered country.  Batou’s artwork illustrates a vivid picture of the destruction and rebirth of Iraq throughout time and addresses it’s political and social climate.

DOLORES GUERRERO became involved in public art, working with students to create several murals in the Los Angeles area, and was influential in establishing the annual Day of the Dead celebrations at Self Help Graphics. She has recently come out of hiatus, and has an exciting new body of work reflecting her social and political views.

DAVID ROSS is a nationally recognized artist who has been represented by galleries all across the country.  Ross began doing art at a very early age, and for many years used his talent in the field of architecture.  However, in 1989, he became a full-time artist and opened his first art gallery in Santa Barbara. Now Ross resides in Lake Arrowhead and has a Gallery in Cedar Glen. In this show he portrays humorous art about the everyday angst inherent in this thing we call modern life and playful bashing of the labels of “Conservative and Liberal”.

VICTORIA LA VERS, a native Californian, currently lives in Lake Arrowhead.  She has been painting her whole life and was fortunate to study under such well known artists as Laddie Dill and Edward Moses.  For her presentation in this show, LaVers has researched many aspects of the war with Iraq. Her art shows some of the tragedies that the media is not fully disclosing to the American people.

Local emerging artists participating in this show include Nancy Van Buskirk, Lisa Cook, Maria Britzman, Claude Robert, Willma Van Mierlo, Jasmine Helm and Colleen Kindlon.

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