“Direct Encounters:  The Essence of Portraiture”
July 12 – September 6, 2008
Opening Reception:  Friday, July 11, 7-9pm

8069 Beverly Blvd. (at Crescent Heights Blvd.), Los Angeles, California 90048
Contact: Niccolò Brooker/Marvella Muro
Telephone: (323) 655-1550, Fax: (323) 655-1565
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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(l.) Alan Magee, Gravitas, 1995, watercolor, 22 x 30 inches
(r.) Bo Bartlett, Osmosis & Desire, 2008, oil on panel, 15 x 15 inches

Forum Gallery presents the exhibition Direct Encounters: The Essence of Portraiture from July 12 through September 6, 2008, with an opening reception on Friday evening July 11, from 7-9:00 p.m.

The exhibition includes twenty-five paintings and works on paper, all of single, individual objects, by leading contemporary artists.  Whether a racing car, a seashell, a glove or a pumpkin, these non-human portraits evoke sensibilities normally reserved for the animate. Quite familiar but often overlooked, each offers a unique opportunity to explore and contemplate one’s personal relationship with the individual object and the attitudes and ideas it engenders.

Internationally renowned as one of America’s most important realist painters, Robert Cottingham created some of his most emotive work in the last decade with his “still lifes” of vintage cameras and typewriters, whose intricacy of design and streamlined functionality he masterfully rendered in graphite, gouache and oil.  In the exhibition Cottingham’s Oreal's Remington is historically resurrected, palpably present, and dominates the viewing space’s main wall, its elusively toned purple background reflecting off the letters and hands of the typewriter in a medley of color and form.

Equally evocative is Ellen Eagle’s pastel of Peter’s Grandfather’s Camera, whose subject betrays its aged neglect with traces of oxidation running along its rim and throughout its strap.  Of equal tatterdemalion quality are Stephen Brown’s rugged, half unlaced Boots, a study in humility if not indigence, and a subject once embraced by realist Vincent van Gogh prior to his resplendent Post-Impressionism.

Grim humor and spiritual inspiration meet in the cryptic painting Doctrine of Affection by Chicago artist Maria Tomasula.  Depicting a disembodied heart from which light emanates, as do a sea of varying sized needles with multicolored knobs, allegorical meaning is trapped within a phantasmagoric composition of color and depth. Tomasula here provides us with a metaphor for oppositional qualities, in this case the vulnerably naked heart acting more as the aggressor than the recipient of malevolence.

Alan Magee contributes his watercolor Gravitas, of an old metal bucket, punctured and rusting. In a fine example of this highly acclaimed artist’s mesmeric realism, Magee positions his subject on a monochromatic ground, intensifying the viewer’s scrutiny over its punctilious execution and careful selection.

The direct encounter continues with more tantalizing object still-lifes by Bo Bartlett, Michael Beck, Cesar Galicia, Gregory Gillespie, Susan Hauptman, Robert Indiana, Maryrose Cobarrubias Mendoza, Robert Olsen, Wade Schuman, Volker Stelzmann, and Cybèle Young.

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