Abundance in Pomona
By Jamie Solis
Fertility is the essence of life—the guarantee that our species will continue on. Therefore, rituals recognizing and celebrating fertility have been prevalent in all societies throughout history. One obvious example of this is Easter and its many customs. The Easter Bunny and dyeing eggs are traditions celebrating abundance that are still held onto today—rabbits are known for their fecundity while eggs are half of the equation in the formula of life. Many other cultures have celebrated nature’s abundance through utilizing herbs, acupuncture and performing ritual dances. In Pomona, the celebration of the bounty and fruitfulness of summer is being recognized by 10 gifted artisans who have imagined a unique event entitled “Pomona/Demeter Group Exhibition” at the 57 Underground.
Every year Pomona holds an Annual Summer Arts Festival, in which various works of art are present along the downtown streets for the local critic to enjoy. Of the many galleries that line Thomas St., 57 Underground typically features contemporary art and is currently showcasing 12 vibrant and lively works. Nine artists and members of this gallery, as well as a special guest artist, have all illustrated their individual interpretations of abundance, independence and fertility through diverse forms of media. There is an underlying theme of freedom within this exhibit, which is appropriate because it has been running since early July.
Entering through the door that leads to 57 Underground, you’ll find yourself led down a dark and narrow staircase with the promise of finding two galleries at the end of the walkway. Unfortunately on this trip, we were disappointed to find the gallery wasn’t open, despite its advertised hours—we highly recommend calling the gallery before you make the trek out to P-town. However, if you enter the gallery, you’ll be impressed by the array of exquisite works, including one original and eye-catching painting by Lisa Brugger. She uses two primary colors to convey the magical development of life, which comes together through a necessary and chaotic process. Exuding the nature of fertility through different shades of red—matching the rich color of blood—the artist illustrates numerous patterns of different shapes starting at one end of the piece and ending at another. The name of this painting, Crimson Snow, is absolutely appropriate considering the orgy of rogue lying atop a deeply textured white background, the depth creating a swirling maze of tunnels. It is clear that Brugger’s painting has kept consistent with the underlying theme of Independence Day, as blue is the only color missing from her patriotic palette.
Contributing artist and curator of this fine exhibit, Caesar D. Alzate, Jr., has two unique and commanding works that also demonstrate a similar taste in the crimson and achromatic color scheme. For his work entitled Possibilities 2013, he’s mounted 100 pieces of plain white paper on the wall using 400 neodymium rare earth magnets—the strongest magnets ever made. Keeping with the theme of abundance and judging from the name of this piece, it appears the artist is conveying the endless possibilities that are presented with a blank slate, such as these empty sheets of paper. His second piece Defying 2013 contrasts Possibilities 2013 with a bright rush of red. This large depiction has nine square paintings that altogether make for one overwhelmingly beautiful piece. The artist describes the one-of-a-kind process he used to create the profound texture—applying hot air to speed up the drying process of the paint. He assures viewers that Defying 2013 is capable of “ . . . challenging your expectations of what a painting is and should be.” His work relates to his personal view of fruitfulness, perhaps that there is an infinite opportunity for creativity lying within each individual soul.
Don’t expect this sneak preview of a few pieces of artwork encompass the diversification of the “Pomona/Demeter Group Exhibition.” This show breeds more inspiration and exuberance than you’d expect in anything themed around the Fourth of July—so remember to be fruitful and multiply, even if it’s just by creating a plethora of art.
“Pomona/Demeter Group Exhibition” at 57 Underground, 300 S. Thomas St., Pomona, (909) 397-0218; www.57underground.com. Thru Aug 31. Admission is Free.