Which S.D. artists should be on your radar for 2017? Local pros share their thoughtful picks.
Wendy Maruyama, legendary woodworker behind The wildLIFE Project
Look out for Adam John Manley. His work, which ranges from sculptures to handprinted books, was defined while [he lived] in S.D., researching the desert areas and working with urban landscapes, all before moving outward to waterworks.
Scott B. Davis, founder of the Medium Festival of Photography
Morgan DeLuna is a local artist using photography for an extended series of self-portraits—exploring notions of appearance and identity. DeLuna is building on the history of photography with depth and thoughtfulness.
Michelle Montjoy, 2016 Creative Catalyst Fellow for River at OMA
Whether Carrie Minikel is categorizing objects she gathers from the street, making weapons inspired by her grandmother or thinking about the volumes of her family members, her work is infused with elegance, intelligence and a deep observation of the world we inhabit.
Victoria Fu, 2015 Guggenheim Fellow and assistant professor at USD
Kate Clark is an interesting artist who connects communities and institutions with their public spaces and mythologies. Her current project is Parkeology, a public art series about lesser-known sites, stories and senses of our urban parks. She is focusing on Balboa Park as her current site.
Inside the Vincent Designs workshop in Barrio Logan, Christopher Puzio is showing off his latest project—a 30-foot dome of flat aluminum rings that, when complete, will be a nearly 1-ton sculpture at La Jolla Crossroads. Puzio’s signature is easy to recognize: the linking of hundreds of geometric shapes into stunning nature-inspired patterns. Each sculpture takes countless hours of welding to bring it to life. Tedious? “It’s pretty fun,” he says, pointing to his MIG welder. “It’s like a glue gun.” But there’s one drawback. “Aluminum smoke isn’t good for you,” he says with a laugh. Since leaving his teaching gig at Woodbury University’s School of Architecture, Puzio’s career as a sculptor has taken off, with a steady stream of private and public art commissions from here to L.A. (His clients include starchitects Jonathan Segal and Jennifer Luce). So, how does he know where each ring goes? “At this point, I really don’t,” he says. “My hands just do.”
Christopher Puzio photo by Robert Benson
Old Guard/ New Guard
Erika Torri, longtime executive director of the venerable Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, and Lianne Thompson Mueller, co-director of the experimental arts incubator Ship in the Woods, give us the inside scoop on San Diego’s burgeoning art scene.
Who’s currently shaking up the art scene?
ET: We certainly will see a lot of interesting and energizing activities from Kathryn Kanjo at the MCASD, who is the newly appointed David C. Copley director and CEO. Another very active institution is the San Diego Art Institute, which has taken on an important role for local artists with innovative exhibitions. Continually engaged artists are Debby and Larry Kline, who find constant ways to impress and nurture the arts here, and Marcos Ramírez ERRE, who, since his first inSite participation in 1994, has astounded the art world with his historic and political approaches.
LTM: There are too many people to name, but if I must, Jason Sherry and Matt Hoyt, whose performance, Talk Talk, at Bread and Salt was roll-on-the-ground funny. SPF 15 held a Candy Ego event that was 100 percent immersive. And of course I have to mention Josh Pavlick at Helmuth Projects; Space 4 Art; Rebecca Webb of the Filmatic Festival; and Nick Lesley of Space Time.
What could be done to make our city even more nationally and internationally recognized?
ET: I actually think many of our artists are known nationally and even internationally. I see Eleanor Antin’s work at Documenta and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. Bob Irwin is everywhere. Andrea Zittel is exhibited widely in Germany. The list goes on.
LTM: If S.D. had an art school like CCA in [San Francisco] or the Chicago Art Institute, that would make a huge difference to our city. However, we are very lucky to have such great art departments at UCSD, Point Loma Nazarene, USD and SDSU—and the community colleges are incredible! Also, bringing back art critics would make a big difference in getting more exposure.
What’s the best exhibition you saw this year?
ET: I was especially taken by The Uses of Photography at MCASD. It gave credit to ’70s and ’80s local artists—most of them connected to UCSD—and highlighted the importance of the work done in photography here at that time. I was excited that old-time S.D. artists were getting much-deserved recognition.
LTM: Marisol Rendón and Ingram Ober had an incredible exhibition, The Secondary Intent, at Space 4 Art. Marisol created a beautiful piece—there was a wall covered in black velvet, and you could put your ear into this contraption and hear more than a hundred different sighs that she recorded. It was very relaxing to listen to.
Erika torri photo by robert benson; Lianne mueller photo by Tim Melideo