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Techniques are unique at Open Studio show

August 04, 2010|By Terri Martin
(Tim Berger/News-Press )

For the sixth year, artists in Glendale and surrounding cities opened their studio doors to the public for the annual Open Studio Tour on July 24. Nearly 200 artists participated in this year's event.

As part of their mission to support the arts, the Brand Library and Art Center is exhibiting one work of art from each participating artist. The Brand's main gallery is lined with an eclectic band of original works, representing artists from various backgrounds and skill levels, exercising media from watercolor to glass. Artists from 7 to 70 were welcomed and share paintings, jewelry, sculpture, photography and crafts.

Artist Ruben G. Yadao exhibits "Grasshopper" outside the main gallery and reveals his unique method for producing opaque watercolor paintings on silk. The artist wraps damp silk around a small stretcher bar system made of foam core board, which dries to become a tight ground for his paintings. He depicts his subject matter — insects, horses, fish and flowers — in primary and secondary palettes.

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Yadao then produces a background painting, either a wash or landscape on paper, which slides behind the silk painting on a cleverly engineered foam core, tongue-in-groove system. The air gap between the opaque silk and paper wash paintings gives an interesting depth of field. Yadao's pieces have a contemporary Asian feel and are marked with both a signature and personal chop, a character symbol representing the artist's name. The result is quite beautiful, and the mechanical device is interesting!

Encased in the center of the main gallery are glass jewelry designs by Joanie Stevens. The artist crafts her pieces using brilliantly colored glass fused together by carefully timed kiln firing. Pendants, earrings and necklaces vary in size, and are as functional as they are beautiful. Sun-caught iridescence brings these miniature sculptures to life.

These pieces would steal attention and dominate a conversation. They are contemporary yet organic. Stevens has improved upon the nature of the elements she uses. She has devised new gems, and they are extraordinary. Bravo.

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