I attended Artswalk in Laguna Beach in February and highly recommend it. There are dozens of professional galleries that participate and the caliber of work is exceptional. The community is engaged, if generally an older and more sedate crowd than I am used to being from raucous Riverside, California. The event is fairly spread out, we chose an area (South Galleries) and explored it fully.
One artist, Jason Pearson, was shown at Art Cube, “The Problem with the World is Me.” His large fictional portraits focused on the commercialization of feminine beauty and all featured specific anomalies that focused on political and economic injustices in the world. Jason, who is a co-founder of Blender magazine, highlights the work of NGO’s championing human rights and issues of poverty , while acknowledging his place within affluent Orange County culture.
Metaphysically, where we place our focus collapses the wave of potential quanta to a fine point, narrowing a range of actions to look in at a specific event. In that sense, the problem with the world is all of us, by focusing on the negativity, horror and destruction, we lower and restrain everyone’s potential to a dark vision. Which is not to condemn Jason’s thoughtful, hard-hitting and even bitingly funny art, nor am I suggesting we bury our heads in the sand. However, by turning the focus away from evil systems and placing it on the heroic actions and life affirming victories also taking place daily, we can raise our own expectations and sense of what is possible. We empower ourselves to be the ones for whom we have been waiting.
Michael Summers made an appearance at the Exclusive Gallery, painting a surfer robot during the event. While painting, Michael spoke of his passion for laying on the lawn and watching his garden up close. That surfer robot, grinning happily, may be a reminder to examine the ways we behave mechanically, the systems and habits that keep us from experiencing our world with the fresh presence of beginner mind, alive in the moment.
I also would like to thank the folks at the Fingerhut Gallery for taking the time to discuss their artworks and for making me feel so welcome on such a busy night.