There’s a sense of harmony in Laemmle Playhouse 7 on Colorado.
Maybe there’s harmony in the warm colors of paintings that line the gray walls, or perhaps it’s instilled in the moments caught in photographs. Maybe it’s in the smell of popcorn just down the hall. Wherever it is, there’s an eyeful at the theater, and it’s bringing local artists, filmmakers, and their enthusiasts together.
April 16 marked the opening of the Pasadena Art Show ’15 at the historic theater. The exhibit was borne out of owner Greg Laemmle’s Art in the Arthouse program, which was a direct result of the business’s decision to move from wall mounted posters to digital poster frames. The result of the digital takeover: lonely looking walls.
“Art in the Arthouse is basically an opportunity to take advantage of the fact that we have open space and an audience that’s interested in all sorts of arts,” said Laemmle. “It’s different from going to a gallery or a museum where you’re going there specifically to see artwork on a wall. Here, you’re seeing a movie, but you’ll also encounter art.”
The show was juried, which is a first for Art in the Arthouse because it typically features solo artists.
“This exhibit I knew was going to be eclectic from the start,” said Joshua Elias, the juror who selected the pieces.
According to Elias, he looked for good understanding in a variety of different elements to make his decision on what went in. For example, in paintings, he looked for an understanding of color and composition. But he didn’t always adhere to traditional criteria.
“When you do jury a show, you often find something you didn’t expect, and you can’t turn your eye away from it,” he said. “So there’s some bending with that understanding.”
“Because of the very nature of a juried show, the work was diverse – yet somehow, as you will see, harmonious,” said Lynn Chang, a local artist who was featured for her work Monrovia Canyon and also an on-and-off again PCC student who worked together with the theater to create the show. “You can see through artists’ eyes what intrigues them – whether it be the stark beauty of a landscape, contemporary splashes of color, or a special object.”
Rhonda Raulston, an assistant director and a self-professed science geek, showcased her work “Darkness Into Light,” an encaustic endeavor that involves layers of beeswax and resin. The encaustic technique can date back to 100-300 A.D. in Egypt for mummy portraits.
In Raulston’s piece, the technique was used to illustrate her vision of the universe and the cosmos through the layers of red, orange, and yellow dots, marked with circular carvings and distortions created on the actual piece itself. For Raulston, it’s kind of a conversation starter about humans and their search of the truth.
“What fascinates me is that we’re always searching where we are in space and time,” Raulston said. “We still keep trying for the truth. Human beings are so fabulous. We started with no telescope to see the heavens, but humans knew how Venus orbited the sun. I think people are so cool.”
For Hal Yaskulka, his arrival to his painting entitled Crimson Sky was on accident.
“I had another painting underneath this and I didn’t like it,” Yaskulka said. “I don’t remember what it was. So what I did was take a chance and throw around colors and see what speaks to me. And then I started seeing this landscape form. I kind of let it evolve and let it speak to me and let it respond to how it came out on the canvas.”
The art here has given many folks in the neighborhood a chance to appreciate it. Such was the case for Sara Sofia, a PCC alum and artist who favored “Her Shoes” by Karen Yee.
“It’s so impressive because it’s acrylic and because of its detail,” Sofia said. “It has this overlay of acrylic gloss on top so it tricks the eye into thinking it’s probably oil. I think because of that, it’s really fascinating. I love how it makes it look real.”
Paintings only made half of the showing. Photographs were also on display, including Catherine Roberts Leach’s “Between the Shadows,” an exploration of interstitial space and the way shadows form shapes at different times of the day.
Kireilyn Barber’s “Congruence #9” and “Congruence #25” were other abstract photography feats in which Barber would shoot a full roll of film and reuse that same film to shoot again. In doing so, the viewer can come to their own conclusions about the photos. In SLOPPO S’s work, a car is flying over an intersection. It poses the question: doctored or not?
The exhibit is a foray into the creative mind of 20 artists, a look at what inspires them. “I think when you explore the very essence of what captives artists, writers, musicians, thespians, you can see we all share the same heart,” said Chang. “A desire to share something.”