As Lovely as a Tree: This Artweek.LA (December 2, 2013)

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Michael Kenna | Kenna has long been recognized for the dream-like landscapes that make up the majority of his work and has been exhibited internationally since the late 1970's. Kenna travels six months out of the year to remote locations around the world and patiently wanders the landscape in search of light and forms that conjure an emotional response. Using techniques of long-exposure and shooting primarily at night or under foggy climatic conditions, Kenna creates ethereal photographs that show a seemingly deserted planet illuminated by a mysterious glow.

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John Huggins: Aspen | Huggins is a master of the challenging and exacting process known as Polaroid transfer (made even more challenging by Polaroid's recent bankruptcy). This process, in which wet Polaroid emulsion is transferred to another piece of paper, results in a grainy, desaturated image. Huggins then enlarges the transfer into a 30x40" archival pigment print, further enhancing the grain of the image as well as the fiber of the paper, thus resulting in a textured, tapestry quality. All of the photographs in this exhibition were made from the photographer's gondola on the lifts of Aspen. His compositions of horizonless, snow-covered mountain faces dotted with tiny skiers suggest a Zen simplicity of man in the context of nature. In the most minimal images, it appears as if the tiny figures are actually skiing down the vertical surface of the paper.

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Tom Zimmerman: Neon Noir | This collection of images by Los Angeles photographer and historian Tom Zimmerman is part historical document, part moody, atmospheric urban pictorial. But most of all, it is a character study of modern day Los Angeles. Showcasing the City of Angels at night, Neon Noir profiles the area's neon signs in their street settings, from the deepest corners of Downtown LA to the tourist mecca of the Santa Monica Pier and beyond. Tom Zimmerman's portrait of Los Angeles captures the vintage to the modern, the sophisticated to the seedy, with equal savvy and reverence for these varied aspects of the city, and how they combine to form the essential personality and visage of Los Angeles.

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Kenny Harris and Judy Nimtz: Terra di Sienna - Paintings from Southern Tuscany | An exhibition of recent work by these two Los Angeles painters featuring paintings based on recent travels in Northern Italy. The title Terra di Sienna: Paintings from Southern Tuscany, plays on "Siena" the province in Italy and "Sienna" the color, a fundamental staple in an artist's palette, as well as the color of the earth in southern Tuscany.

The paintings on linen and panel range in scale from the portable and intimate studies done on site to the larger more intensive paintings created upon return to their studios in Venice, California. Each painter brings their own vision and technique to the work: Kenny Harris, who is known for his interiors and mastery of reflective light, paints lush studies with confident brushstrokes that portray his decisions with immediacy and accuracy. Judy Nimtz, known for her poetic figure paintings and atmospheric backgrounds, renders towering cypress trees and still-lifes with delicate precision and attention to detail.

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Luis Paredes + Amber Adela Rose: Nature Human Nature | The work of Luis Paredes combines hundreds of moments documented in the life of a forest in Denmark fusing them into a single powerful image. The result is a panning emotional timeline that tells the tale of Vikings, the Norsemen fleeing religious persecution and the Jews hiding out amongst the trees during WWII. The forest is a place where a picnic spot at noon becomes a shadowed land of nightmares by nightfall, much like the varying sides of humanity, all captured in one image and conveyed without the use of a single human figure.

Where Luis Paredes speaks of our invasion into nature and its conspiracy with us, in Amber Rose's paintings nature invades right back. Amber Rose captures the grandeur of buildings with glamor and prestige as humanity moves on and they slowly but surely are reclaimed by nature. As they crumble and fall and bricks become earth, these man-made arenas remind of our significance and also the lack thereof.

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