Javier Marín and the human search for identity.

Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art enter Gallery 15, where many human figures sculpted by Mexican artist Javier Marín stand horizontally upon a large wall.
Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art enter Gallery 15, where many human figures sculpted by Mexican artist Javier Marín stand horizontally upon a large wall.

Yesterday, during my walk through Balboa Park, I stepped from the Panama 66 outdoor cafe into Gallery 15 of the San Diego Museum of Art . . . and look what I saw!

Upon one large wall stand numerous small sculptures of the human body, created by Victor Javier Marín Gutiérrez, a Mexican artist whose celebrated work has been exhibited internationally.

The organic sculptures stand on the wall in poses of naked expression, casting dynamic shadows that crisscross in every direction. There is anguish and joy and perplexity and care and simple, wonderful being. There is flesh and there is soul. There is that ongoing internal search for human identity.

According to the San Diego Museum of Art’s website: “Javier Marín’s work, above all, is about beauty, a particularly human beauty that reflects what the poet José Emilio Pacheco described as ‘the terrible miracle of being alive.’”

Looking across at the wall containing many small sculpted human forms is like gazing down from above upon the mass of naked humanity. It’s like a Creator gazing down upon his living, breathing, dancing Creation.

This astonishing wall is an example of the Javier Marín sculpted work now on display in the San Diego Museum of Art’s free Galleries 14 and 15.

The exhibition will be officially kicked off with a special event on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Culture & Cocktails: Art of the Body includes a VIP pre-tour with the artist himself.

The exhibition will continue through March 3, 2019.

Javier Marín's fleshy sculpted forms include every sort of human expression.
Javier Marín’s fleshy sculpted forms depict every sort of human expression.
Gazing at representations of our mysterious selves.
Gazing at many representations of our mysterious selves.

UPDATE!

I saw even more amazing Javier Marín art during a later visit to the museum, and here are some photographs!

The first photo showing sculpted elements of the human body intermixed, is of a piece that can be viewed in Gallery 14.

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The next two photos, taken in the San Diego Museum of Art’s first floor rotunda, are of several large, truly stunning sculptures that are described: Untitled I, II, VI. Polyester resin and iron wire, 2004.

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Moon Gold shines in San Diego Museum of Art!

Chrysanthemum Lacquer Box, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Inspired by a lacquered wood box in the San Diego Museum of Art's collection.
Chrysanthemum Lacquer Box, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Inspired by a lacquered wood box in the San Diego Museum of Art’s collection.

Have you ever dreamt of dipping a brush into bright molten silver or gold, to paint and swirl that precious shine all over a canvas? This vision comes to life at the San Diego Museum of Art in their current exhibition Nancy Lorenz: Moon Gold.

Nancy Lorenz uses silver and gold leaf, mother-of-pearl and lacquer on large canvases of board, cardboard and jute to achieve the effect I just described. She calls these gestural applications of water-gilded gesso Pours. Some of her abstract creations appear like gleaming treasure raining down from sun-glowing clouds, through and into strangely Earth-like places. Others appear to be swirled with bright, pure heavenly essence. Moonbeams seem to emanate from her dreamlike Silver Water Screen.

Other pieces, including several fantastic boxes, look like they’ve been frosted with pure, sumptuous, smoothly dripping gold!

The exquisite gilding and lacquer work of Nancy Lorenz, who lived in Tokyo for a span of years, is influenced by Japanese decorative arts. Every line and fine detail seems perfectly placed. The refined brilliance of her unique artwork is extraordinary.

Nancy Lorenz: Moon Gold is a treasure for greedy eyes. So go and see it at the San Diego Museum of Art before the exhibition ends on September 3, 2018.

Exquisitely beautiful art shines at the Nancy Lorenz-Moon Gold exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Exquisitely beautiful art shines at the Nancy Lorenz: Moon Gold exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Moon Gold Mountain, Nancy Lorenz, 2018. Moon gold leaf, clay, cardboard, on wood panel.
Moon Gold Mountain, Nancy Lorenz, 2018. Moon gold leaf, clay, cardboard, on wood panel.
Gold Flying Apsaras, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Gold leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, black lacquer, clay, gesso, on wood panel.
Gold Flying Apsaras, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Gold leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, black lacquer, clay, gesso, on wood panel.
Lemon Gold Sunlight with Rain, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Lemon gold leaf, silver leaf, clay, cardboard, on wood panel.
Lemon Gold Sunlight with Rain, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Lemon gold leaf, silver leaf, clay, cardboard, on wood panel.
A section of Rock Garden Room, Nancy Lorenz, 2004. Silver leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, pigment, gesso, shellac, on 12 wood panels.
A section of Rock Garden Room, Nancy Lorenz, 2004. Silver leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, pigment, gesso, shellac, on 12 wood panels.
Silver Sea and Sky, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Silver leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, lacquer, on wood panel.
Silver Sea and Sky, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Silver leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, lacquer, on wood panel.

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Alfred Mitchell’s fine paintings of San Diego.

La Jolla Cove, Alfred Mitchell, oil on canvas, circa 1950.
La Jolla Cove, Alfred Mitchell, oil on canvas, circa 1950.

Today, with great thanks to my docent friend, I enjoyed several exhibits at the San Diego Museum of Art. The first exhibit, and perhaps my personal favorite, was a small collection of landscape paintings by Alfred R. Mitchell.

Silent Light: Alfred Mitchell features deeply beautiful work by an artist who spent most of his life in San Diego. Along with several other local artists who obtained national stature, including Maurice Braun, Arthur Fries, Charles Reiffel and Donal Hord, he was a founding member of the Contemporary Artists of San Diego. He also helped to create the La Jolla Art Association in 1918 and the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego in 1925. The latter institution is known today as the San Diego Museum of Art!

Here are photos of four pieces that I particularly like. My poor old camera doesn’t do them justice. Each painting is infused with light and indescribably rich color. Each seems a perfect memory–a brief moment in the life of this world made timeless.

You might recognize these particular four locations. They are all by the ocean in La Jolla. It’s a place of great natural beauty where I love to walk.

Silent Light: Alfred Mitchell can be enjoyed through August 19, 2018. If you’ve fallen in love with the landscapes of San Diego, you’ll be awed by these extraordinary paintings.

Cliffs South of La Jolla Shores, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, circa 1930.
Cliffs South of La Jolla Shores, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, circa 1930.
Bathing, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.
Bathing, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.
La Jolla Coast Walk, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.
La Jolla Coast Walk, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Architecture and light at Timken Museum of Art.

The Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park is designed to be filled with natural light.
The Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park is designed to be filled with natural light.

Would you like to enter a truly magical place? Step into the Timken Museum of Art. Walls disappear, and suddenly you are surrounded by fine art masterpieces, natural light, and the greenery and open space of beautiful Balboa Park.

I took a special tour of the building during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2018 OPEN HOUSE event. I jotted a few notes and will now try to describe my experience.

According to our tour guide, David Kinney, a Balboa Park Conservancy Board Member, the building housing the Timken Museum of Art is disimilar in many respects to the extremely ornate Spanish Colonial buildings lining El Prado, which were designed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The Timken has clean, symmetric, simple lines. It is the only building in Balboa Park specifically designed for people to walk around. The museum was built in 1965 and incorporates many facets of modern architecture. It was designed by San Diego architect John Mock, who intended it to be a “see-through” museum, where boundaries are blurred and gardens and sky are visible from many points inside.

When built, the Timken was the most expensive building ever constructed in San Diego. The building is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of mid-century Southern California Modernism and the International Style in the nation.

The abundant travertine, bronze and glass create a magical effect. Visitors to the museum feel surrounded by San Diego’s native sunshine. There are views of small gardens, the Plaza de Panama, the Lily Pond and families enjoying picnics on nearby grass.

By taking a few steps into the museum’s intimate galleries, visitors can view one of the most amazing small collections of fine art in the world. There are 60 major works, paintings by the likes of Copley, Johnson, Bierstadt, Veronese, Guercino, Clouet, Claude, David, Brueghel, Rubens, van Dyck, Zurbarán and Murillo. The Timken owns the only Rembrandt to be found in Southern California. Every work is partially bathed in indirect natural light, from hidden skylights along the walls in each gallery. During our tour, as we gazed at the Rembrandt, a cloud passed over the sun, and the light in the gallery dimmed. It was an extraordinary experience that infused additional life into the moody masterpiece.

Come along with me as I show you a few photos. Read the captions for more info!

Fences enclosing a small garden and sections of the museum seem like airy lacework. The building's white travertine reflects San Diego's sunlight.
Fences enclosing a small garden and sections of the museum seem like airy lacework. The building’s white travertine reflects San Diego’s sunlight.
Turning west, we can see the California Tower across the Plaza de Panama.
Turning west, we can see the California Tower across the Plaza de Panama.
Our tour guide describes an architectural marvel.
Our tour guide describes an architectural marvel.
This small garden by one large museum window was created in 1983 by a Japanese master designer.
This small garden by one large museum window was created in 1983 by a Japanese master designer.
Inside the central lobby of the museum. The seats are Italian made. Another large window allows light in from Balboa Park's beautiful Lily Pond.
Inside the central lobby of the museum. The seats are Italian made. Another large window allows light in from Balboa Park’s beautiful Lily Pond.
Inside one of the galleries. The small fine art museum is free to the public and a popular destination in Balboa Park.
Inside one of the galleries. The small fine art museum is free to the public and a popular destination in Balboa Park.
Lights along the ceiling perimeter include skylights, admitting natural indirect sunlight.
Lights along the ceiling’s perimeter include hidden skylights, admitting natural indirect sunlight.
Saint Bartholomew, Rembrandt van Rijn, oil on canvas, 1657.
Saint Bartholomew, Rembrandt van Rijn, oil on canvas, 1657.
The Timken's collection was begun by the Putnam sisters, who had a passion for fine art. They also loved Russian Orthodox religious icons, a few of which are housed in one gallery.
The Timken’s collection was begun by the Putnam sisters, who had a passion for fine art. They also loved Russian Orthodox religious icons, a few of which are housed in one gallery.
Our tour ventured into the Timken's employee lounge, where we saw the original blueprints of this iconic building.
Our tour ventured into the Timken Museum’s employee lounge and meeting room, where we saw the original blueprints of this iconic building.
Also displayed was one early Timken architectural design concept, where the building would have been circular.
Also displayed was one early Timken Museum architectural design concept, where the building would have been circular.
A very cool free museum in San Diego, the Timken combines the magic of sunlight, a carefree day in Balboa Park and fine art.
A very cool free museum in San Diego, the Timken combines the magic of sunlight, a happy, carefree day in Balboa Park and fine art.

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San Diego African American fine art exhibition.

Green Tea. Kadir Nelson, giclée on canvas.
Green Tea. Kadir Nelson, giclée on canvas.

If you love fine art, there’s something you really need to see. Legacy in Black is an exhibition featuring the work of local African American artists who enjoy national and international acclaim. You can enjoy this exhibition for free by visiting the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

A number of outstanding pieces represent the work of eight artists who’ve made significant contributions to our city’s cultural life. Many of the artists have produced public art around San Diego and California. Faith Ringgold has had works exhibited in places like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Museum of American Art, and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Ernest Eugene Barnes Jr. was the official artist of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Kadir Nelson was the lead conceptual artist for Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad, and his work is often featured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine. All eight artists featured in this exhibition are exceptional.

Legacy in Black is a collaboration between the San Diego History Center and the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art. Head on over to Balboa Park before the exhibition closes on March 28, 2018!

Sandlot Football. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on canvas.
Sandlot Football. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on canvas.
Legacy in Black, an exhibition of work by local African American artists, is now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
Legacy in Black, an exhibition of work by local African American artists, is now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
I'll Fly Away. Manuelita Brown, bronze with painted wood base, 2003.
I’ll Fly Away. Manuelita Brown, bronze with painted wood base, 2003.
Coming to Jones Road Part II #5, Precious, Barn Door and Baby Freedom. Faith Ringgold, acrylic on canvas with fabric border, 2010.
Coming to Jones Road Part II #5, Precious, Barn Door and Baby Freedom. Faith Ringgold, acrylic on canvas with fabric border, 2010.
The Valley. Jean Cornwell Wheat, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
The Valley. Jean Cornwell Wheat, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
Gridiron Hero. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on board.
Gridiron Hero. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on board.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Rare exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America.

Third Victoria, oil on canvas, 1959. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
Third Victoria, oil on canvas, 1959. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.

The impressive, first-ever exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America is now on display at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. On Christmas Eve I was given a special tour of this exhibition, and I must admit it’s fantastic! For a limited time, visitors have the rare privilege to experience one of the finest collections of modern art in the world.

Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection contains almost a hundred memorable paintings, by the likes of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Joaquín Torres-García, Fernando Botero, Alfredo Castañeda and Fernando de Szyszlo. Many nations, cultures, themes, moods and styles are represented. You’ll see impressionistic landscapes, lively scenes depicted through the lens of cubism, weirdly rendered surrealism, and mind-bending, eye-teasing abstraction. Many of the works reflect different Latin American national identities. Many contrast modernity with the culture and memory of indigenous people.

I was struck by the deep emotion that radiated from most of these works. I detected human pride and passion, childlike innocence and gnawing guilt, deep love and intense anger, inexpressible suffering and irrepressible joy. These emotions were often presented in confused contrast.

One masterful work by Frida Kahlo titled Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon shows an innocent girl sitting between ancient symbols of night and day–the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. She is seemingly lost in a barren desert, a model of a World War II bomber in her hands. Her quiet expression contains resignation and sadness.

My few photos here are a modest representation of the actual exhibition. To see the true colors, the touches of light and seeping darkness, the diverse textures and stunning vibrancy of these many paintings, head down to the museum while you can. You might not have a chance to see this amazing collection again.

Modern Masters from Latin America is on display at the San Diego Museum of Art through March 11. Among the fantastic works are two by Frida Kahlo, but to see those you must visit by January 14.

A visitor to the San Diego Museum of Art explores Modern Masters from Latin America, from the Perez Simon Collection.
A visitor to the San Diego Museum of Art explores Modern Masters from Latin America, from the Perez Simon Collection.
Aqueduct, oil on canvas, 1918. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Aqueduct, oil on canvas, 1918. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Ship Graveyard, oil on canvas, 1930. Benito Quinquela Martin, Argentinian, 1890-1977.
Ship Graveyard, oil on canvas, 1930. Benito Quinquela Martin, Argentinian, 1890-1977.
Crying Woman, pyroxylin on Masonite, 1944. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Crying Woman, pyroxylin on Masonite, 1944. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Death in Life or Black Christ, acrylic on plywood, 1963. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Death in Life or Black Christ, acrylic on plywood, 1963. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Young Girls with Shells, Duco on canvas, 1945. Mario Carreno, Cuban, 1913-1999.
Young Girls with Shells, Duco on canvas, 1945. Mario Carreno, Cuban, 1913-1999.
City of Quito, oil on canvas, ca. 1980. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian, 1919-1999.
City of Quito, oil on canvas, ca. 1980. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian, 1919-1999.
The Mexican or Young Woman with Rebozo, oil on canvas, 1935. Agustin Lazo, Mexican, 1896-1971.
The Mexican or Young Woman with Rebozo, oil on canvas, 1935. Agustin Lazo, Mexican, 1896-1971.
House Eight, oil on canvas, 1978. Fernando de Szyszlo, Peruvian, 1925-2017.
House Eight, oil on canvas, 1978. Fernando de Szyszlo, Peruvian, 1925-2017.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon, oil on Masonite, 1942. Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954.
Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon, oil on Masonite, 1942. Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954.
Constructive Composition in Planes and Figures, oil on canvas, 1931. Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Uruguayan, 1874-1949.
Constructive Composition in Planes and Figures, oil on canvas, 1931. Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Uruguayan, 1874-1949.
Concert, oil on canvas, 1941. Emilio Pettoruti, Argentinian, 1892-1971.
Concert, oil on canvas, 1941. Emilio Pettoruti, Argentinian, 1892-1971.
Peasant, Industrial, and Intellectual Work, oil on wood, 1956. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
Peasant, Industrial, and Intellectual Work, oil on wood, 1956. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
World's Highest Structure, oil on canvas, 1930. Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican, 1883-1949.
World’s Highest Structure, oil on canvas, 1930. Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican, 1883-1949.
Green Structures, oil on canvas, 1964. Gunther Gerzso, Mexican, 1915-2000.
Green Structures, oil on canvas, 1964. Gunther Gerzso, Mexican, 1915-2000.
Study for The March of Humanity, oil on recovered plywood, ca. 1968-69. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Study for The March of Humanity, oil on recovered plywood, ca. 1968-69. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Portrait of Maria Felix, oil on canvas, 1948. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Portrait of Maria Felix, oil on canvas, 1948. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.

I recently published an odd, moving short story about a world made of bones. You can read it here.

Photos of Donal Hord’s iconic sculpture Aztec.

Face of iconic sculpture Aztec, presented to SDSU in 1937 by artist Donal Hord.
Face of iconic sculpture Aztec, presented to SDSU in 1937 by San Diego artist Donal Hord.

An iconic work of art can be found at San Diego State University. The diorite sculpture is considered by many to be a modernist masterpiece–some have called it one of the finest stone figures ever sculpted. Its renowned artist, Donal Hord, who lived most of his life in San Diego, referred to his creation as Aztec or The Aztec. He presented the amazing sculpture to SDSU in 1937 during a Founder’s Day celebration.

I headed over to SDSU yesterday to see the sculpture for myself and hopefully take some photos. I was struck by the quiet strength, nobility and simplicity of the work. I could have rested my eyes and mind upon the Aztec for a very long while. It touched my innermost feelings about humanity–elevating those feelings. Art done well cuts deeper than philosophy. It reaches deep inside like potent magic.

Donal Hord with Aztec, 1937, at San Diego State University. Public domain image from the collection of the Archives of American Art.
Donal Hord with Aztec, 1937, at San Diego State University. Public domain image from the collection of the Archives of American Art.
The sculpture's base, which was presented to SDSU by the graduating class of 1937, has a plaque with the title Montezuma. The artist himself called his piece the Aztec.
The sculpture’s base, which was presented to SDSU by the graduating class of 1937, has a plaque with the title Montezuma. The artist himself called his piece the Aztec.
A tranquil, bold sculpture that evokes feelings of nobility.
A tranquil, bold sculpture that evokes feelings of human nobility.
Side view of the Aztec shows gracefully folded hands and strongly planted feet.
Side view of the Aztec shows gracefully folded hands and strongly planted feet.
The diorite sculpture seems to be carved from the eternal substance of the black, star-filled cosmos. Light upon its curving surface is like gentle light on rippled water.
The diorite sculpture seems to be carved from the eternal substance of the black, star-filled cosmos. Light upon its curving surface is like gentle light on rippled water.
An expression of strength, thoughtfulness, humility. An iconic image one will not soon forget.
An expression of strength, thoughtfulness, humility. An iconic image one will not soon forget.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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The most amazing sand sculptures in the world!

The end of San Diego's B Street Pier is lined with amazing sand sculptures created by world masters for the 2016 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.
The end of San Diego’s B Street Pier is lined with amazing sand sculptures created by world masters for the 2016 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.

At this moment, the most amazing sand sculptures in the entire world are on display in San Diego on the B Street Pier. They were created by genuine world sand masters–many have won world championships–for the 2016 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge’s World Masters Solo Competition. The artists have come in for this big competition from countries all around the planet!

You doubt these are the most fantastic sand sculptures in the world at this very moment? Take a look at some photos! All of these sculptures will be destroyed right after the special event ends.  The day after Labor Day, these truly amazing works of art become history!

Rockin' Bobbin, by Kirk Rademaker, world sand master from Stinson Beach, California.
Rockin’ Bobbin, by Kirk Rademaker, world sand master from Stinson Beach, California.
The Rockin' Bobbin, which resembles a machine with many parts, is a wonderful example of complex sand art.
The Rockin’ Bobbin, which resembles a machine with many parts, is a wonderful example of complex sand art.
I Want To Fly, by world sand master Katsuhiko Chaen from Japan.
I Want To Fly, by world sand master Katsuhiko Chaen from Japan.
A large winged foot carved of sand appears ready to take flight.
A large winged foot carved of sand appears ready to take flight.
Armadillo Lizard, by world sand master Susanne Ruseler of the Netherlands.
Armadillo Lizard, by world sand master Susanne Ruseler of the Netherlands.
The friendly world-class sand sculptor Susanne Ruseler poses for photos by her fantastic artwork.
The friendly world-class sand sculptor Susanne Ruseler poses for photos by her fantastic artwork.
Alpha Waves, by world sand master Fergus Mulvany of Dublin, Ireland. This sculpture won second place at the 2016 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.
Alpha Waves, by world sand master Fergus Mulvany of Dublin, Ireland. This sculpture won second place at the 2016 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.
Alpha Waves photographed from a different angle. The layered sand art is truly amazing.
Alpha Waves photographed from a different angle. The layered sand art is truly amazing.
And another photo from behind.
And another photo from behind.
Yell, by world sand master Benjamin Probanza of Mexico City.
Yell, by world sand master Benjamin Probanza of Mexico City.
An angry face yells at a graceful woman made of sand.
An angry, melting face yells at a graceful woman made of sand.
Another photo of the astonishing sand sculpture Yell.
Another photo of the astonishing sand sculpture Yell.
My Inner Self Revealed, by world sand master Melineige Beauregard of Montreal, Canada.
My Inner Self Revealed, by world sand master Melineige Beauregard of Montreal, Canada.
Peering through the amazing layered sand sculpture reveals a human form.
Peering through the amazing layered sand sculpture reveals a human form.
The tender, small inner self is revealed.
The tender, small inner self is revealed.
The Man Who Wasn't There, by world sand master Rusty Croft of Carmel, California.
The Man Who Wasn’t There, by world sand master Rusty Croft of Carmel, California.
This abstract work of sand art makes the viewer think about its potential meaning.
This abstract work of sand art makes the viewer think about its potential meaning.
A photo of the rear of this surreal sand sculpture reveals an open door.
A photo of the rear of this surreal sand sculpture reveals an open door.
Yesterday upon the stair I met a man who wasn't there he wasn't there again today Oh how I wish he'd go away...
Yesterday upon the stair I met a man who wasn’t there he wasn’t there again today Oh how I wish he’d go away…
What Is The Real Face, by world sand master Agnese Rudzite-Kirillova of Latvia.
What Is The Real Face, by world sand master Agnese Rudzite-Kirillova of Latvia.
Is this the real face, or a mask worn in public?
Is this the real face, or a mask worn in public?
What is the real face? Where is it?
What is the real face? Where is it?
Nostalgia, by world sand master Ilya Filimontsev of Moscow, Russia. This incredible sculpture won first place at the 2016 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!
Nostalgia, by world sand master Ilya Filimontsev of Moscow, Russia. This incredible sculpture won first place at the 2016 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!
Proof that sand sculptures can sometimes be classified as fine art.
Proof that sand sculptures can sometimes be classified as fine art.
Side view of the stunning, award-winning sand sculpture on San Diego's B Street Pier.
Side view of the stunning, award-winning sand sculpture on San Diego’s B Street Pier.
Surrender To Diversity, by world sand master Michela Ciappini of Italy.
Surrender To Diversity, by world sand master Michela Ciappini of Italy.
An unusual sand sculpture features a rabbit perched upon an upside-down alligator!
An unusual sand sculpture features a rabbit perched upon an upside-down alligator!
Out Of Reach, by world sand master Thomas Koet of Melbourne, Florida.
Out Of Reach, by world sand master Thomas Koet of Melbourne, Florida.
Many hands reach for a very beautiful woman, but she is out of reach.
Many hands reach for a very beautiful woman, but she is out of reach.
The most amazing sand sculptures in the world can be found in sunny San Diego. Until Labor Day weekend ends!
The most amazing sand sculptures in the world can be found in sunny San Diego. That is–until this Labor Day weekend ends!

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Amazing animal bronzes at San Diego Museum of Art!

Dog Gnawing Bone, Arthur Putnam, 1904. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Dog Gnawing Bone, Arthur Putnam, 1904. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.

Wow! I enjoyed another awesome visit to the San Diego Museum of Art last weekend, courtesy of my docent friend Catherine! She provided a spellbinding tour of several exhibits!  The one I liked most–possibly because I love animals and because the artist has a San Diego connection–concerned the bronze sculptures of Arthur Putnam.

The exhibition, titled Ferocious Bronze, features artwork so utterly amazing that Arthur Putnam has been called the American Rodin. He was such a gifted sculptor that his pieces have sometimes been mistaken for those of Frederic Remington. Most of his bronzes depict animals in the wild:  hunting, in mortal combat, at play or at rest.

Arthur Putnam lived from 1873–1930 and was considered one of the greatest sculptors of his era. At the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco he won a coveted Gold Medal.  During his lifetime his work was exhibited in major cities, including New York, Chicago, Paris and Rome. Many of his monumental public sculptures still stand in San Francisco, Monterey and San Diego.

Check out these photos! They provide a small taste of what you’ll experience should you visit Ferocious Bronze. You can get an idea of Putnam’s tremendous artistry. The superb realism is partly due to the fact that he personally loved the outdoors, and spent many days observing animals in the wild and at zoos. A mostly self-taught artist, Putnam even worked for a brief time at a slaughterhouse. (Yuck!)

Did I mention Arthur Putnam’s unique San Diego connection? His very first commission was from newspaper magnate E. W. Scripps, which he received at the Scripps Ranch located in Miramar. In addition, two of Putnam’s monumental works stand today near the spot where San Diego was founded–the very place where European civilization took root in California.

(I’ve included my own photos of the two large bronze sculptures that stand on San Diego’s Presidio Hill.  I wrote a blog several years ago that concerned an interesting walk past these sculptures.)

Ferocious Bronze, curated by Dr. James Grebl, showcases 28 of Putnam’s amazing animal pieces.  They were selected from the over 100 pieces that the San Diego Museum of Art has in their collection. This special exhibit was inspired by another Balboa Park institution: the world famous San Diego Zoo! They are now celebrating their centennial year!

If you happen to be in San Diego, and if you love fine art or have a special place in your heart for wild animals, I recommend that you head over to see Ferocious Bronze at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park! This very cool exhibition runs through October 11, 2016.

Big Combat, Arthur Putnam, undated. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Big Combat, Arthur Putnam, undated. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Ambling Bear, Arthur Putnam, 1910. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Ambling Bear, Arthur Putnam, 1910. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Fighting Buffalo, Arthur Putnam, 1900. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Fighting Buffalo, Arthur Putnam, 1900. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Lynx Ready to Spring, Arthur Putnam, 1909. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Lynx Ready to Spring, Arthur Putnam, 1909. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
The Indian, Arthur Putnam, 1905. This amazing sculpture stands today on San Diego's Presidio Hill beneath the Serra Museum.
The Indian, Arthur Putnam, 1905. This amazing sculpture stands on San Diego’s Presidio Hill beneath the Serra Museum.
The Padre, Arthur Putnam, 1908. This sculpture stands among some trees on San Diego's Presidio Hill beneath the Serra Museum.
The Padre, Arthur Putnam, 1908. This sculpture stands among some trees on San Diego’s Presidio Hill beneath the Serra Museum.
Wild Cat, Arthur Putnam, 1908. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Wild Cat, Arthur Putnam, 1908. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.

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Truth rendered with small touches of light.

Sorolla and America special exhibit at San Diego Museum of Art.
Sorolla and America special exhibit at San Diego Museum of Art.

Light is the physical means by which my eyes see. But I often don’t see true light.

Light is a mixture of myriad colors. But I often don’t see those many colors.

Yesterday I was struck by a few small touches of rare light. My eyes widened with astonishment during a few joyful, delicious moments of revelation.

I was very fortunate and privileged to be a given a special tour of the amazing Sorolla exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Catherine Jones, a docent at the museum, provided an excellent introduction to the light-dabbed paintings of a very important artist that the world has often overlooked.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida was a Spanish post-Impressionist painter who won several major art awards and popular fame while he lived, but who soon became forgotten with the advent of the modern abstract movement in the early twentieth century. His stylistically varied and often unusually angled images contain applications of light like I’ve never before seen. Bits of reflection and exquisite luster, and sheens of revealed color, pulled me into a world where the true essence of a subject seems to shine out like magic, but in a very natural way.

I could have gazed at his emotionally stirring, always fascinating paintings for the entire day!

María at La Granja, courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
María at La Granja, courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.

The above painting, María at La Granja, was painted by Sorolla in 1907. In it you can see Sorolla’s famous application of light. The piece was donated to the San Diego Museum of Art in 1925 by Archer Huntington, philanthropist and founder of The Hispanic Society of America. The very first work of art to enter the collection, today María at La Granja is probably the most recognized image in the entire museum.

Joaquin Sorolla Portrait of President Taft, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Joaquin Sorolla’s Portrait of President Taft, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joaquin Sorolla’s Portrait of President Taft was commissioned by the president in 1909. It is one of many canvases in a special exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art assembled from museums throughout the world. Most of Sorolla’s important works are present, including Another Marguerite (1892), which was awarded a gold medal at the National Exhibition in Madrid and first prize at the Chicago International Exhibition, and Sad Inheritance (1899), which was awarded the Grand Prix and a medal of honor at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, and the medal of honor at the National Exhibition in Madrid in 1901.

The two paintings that I’ve posted here hardly do justice to the full range of Sorolla’s splendor. His sun-splashed scenes of beach life in Valencia, his diverse and stunning portraits, his detailed scenes of life in Spain, all the essence and astonishing light that he captured, must be experienced firsthand to be most fully appreciated.

These works by Sorolla are on display for a limited time at the San Diego Museum of Art. If you can, you really should go see them! The special exhibition ends August 26, 2014.

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