Definitely an E-Ticket
By Stacy Davies
Bringing back that electrifying kitsch, curator and new dA Center for the Arts director Marci Swett has pulled together a wild display of all things off-kilter and bizarre in “Ultraviolet”—and it’s an experience that both the young and those who still feel young, shouldn’t miss.
Jim Towler’s staggering, 8-foot-tall polyurethane and fiberglass sculpture Medusa is a fitting greeter in the main foyer; her scary red/blue snaky locks beckoning you into a carnival of glowing sideshow fun. Likewise, Joshua Frank’s funky 4-foot-tall Barbie, Sex Sellz, could easily be your date or gal pal on this trip—if you don’t mind the smaller dolls clinging to her legs (one with a My Little Pony head), the mirror and nail crotch and the yellow condom she’s (hopefully) getting ready to trash.
Other retro times abound with Grasiela Rodriguez’s acrylic (and culturally tinged) remembrance of Otter Pops, Summertime Favorites, and Carol Towler’s kooky love for those queer and really quite nasty-tasting marshmallow chickies in Peep Show. On the darker side of this memory lane mélange, Sam Towler’s assemblage Moonlit Saloon might recall a favorite spot in Pioneertown or Knott’s Berry Farm, depending on how far your parents were willing to drive you and your screaming horde.
Kenneth Schwartz’s small, plaster companion pieces of brick-like female torsos, Brick and Ribin, are exceptional and might suddenly induce the humming of a Commodores song, and Thomas Stubbs’ fascinating screen print of a giant, clawed insect in a business suit terrorizing city streets, Oly G. Archy, is far-out fantastic.
There’s much more, of course—dozens of eccentric, neon-based paintings from the likes of Robert Stillwell and Charles Fogg, who bless us with smart Day-Glo figures, and Tim Spain, who’s vibrant Le Roi on the Lawn is a striking coup of re-imagined furniture that really should be on every grassy knoll.
Over on the next horizon, the SCA Project Gallery offers a different kind of daytrip or evening excursion. Curated by Bob Pece, “Earthviews” takes us on an organic outing with a wide variety of natural forms and foliage dotting our landscape.
Superstar animal-tician, Amy Caterina has allowed her furry forest friends out for a nibble in her petting zoo installation, once again brilliantly redefining critters and faux crabgrass and its many possibilities. Far from this idyllic scene, Preston Daniels’ models of dismembering steel-girdered shacks and buildings recall the decay of the forgotten—the man-made monuments of a civilization in such a frenzy to produce that it fails to consider its self-imposed demise.
Jessica Newman-Skrentny asks us to ease up on that rapid descent, and stop and smell the ice plant. Her 6-foot-long raised plot of oozing greenery (replete with hovering insects) and Venusian blooming potted cacti are a fantastic botanical bazaar. A place where these freaky flora might once have sprouted could be in the wacky and whimsical realm of the artist known as Magu—whose historically-inspired When They Came Here It… reminds us of imperialism and the many lands and people it envelopes.
A bird’s eye view of that aftermath can be seen in Leora Lutz’s maps—which are a spot-on topic these days with their markings of the thousands upon thousands of American oil truck stops dotted across our nation. Virginia Katz’s abstract swaths of color and texture all tumultuously in motion are clearly what came before man took over this Earth and what will no doubt return after we have long since vanished—reminding us once again that no matter how important we think we are, Nature will certainly get the last laugh.
“Ultraviolet” at the dA Center for the Arts, 252 S. Main St., Pomona, (909) 397-9716; www.dacenter.org. Wed-Sat, noon-4PM; Thurs, noon-9 PM. Thru July 24; “Earthviews” at the SCA Project Gallery, 281 S. Thomas St., Unit 104, Pomona, (909) 620-5481; www.scaprojectgallery.org. Thurs-Sat, noon-4PM. Thru July 3. Open receptions for both Sat, June 12. Free.