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North County Art Exhibit Features Sweet Art

Audio

Aired 9/17/10

A sculptor who makes art with sugar will be at the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas north of San Diego this weekend.

A sculptor who makes art with sugar will be at the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas -- north of San Diego -- this weekend.

Joining on us on Morning Editon to talk about the exhibit is KPBS arts and culture producer Angela Carone.

You wrote a story about Timothy Horn on your Culture Lust blog. Right now I'm looking at some of the pictures you posted online. Its very detailed and ornate. Tell us what went into making this carriage?

ANGELA CARONE: The carriage is titled Mother Load and it's a child-size horse carriage - if you imagine the carriage from Cinderella that's what we're talking about - and as you say - it's extremely ornate.

The body of it is made out of plywood but you'd never know it because the whole thing is covered in crystallized rock sugar. That's what's so impressive is the material and how he uses it to create this elaborate rococo decorative style.

The carriage has tassels and ornamental scrolling, and it's this orangy, amber color and that's from a layer of amber shellac that Horn used as a sealant. It's completely over the top and fantastical and… you know…covered in sugar, which kind of blows your mind.

DWANE BROWN: This is an artist who's worked extensively with glass and metal. So why sugar?

ANGELA CARONE: Horn really likes to experiment with materials. In 2008 he started using sugar for this carriage and for another piece - a large chandelier also also on view at Lux. The thing is, he'd never worked with sugar before so he went big, starting with these two elaborate pieces he was making for a show in San Francisco.

He was inspired by the rags to riches story of Alma Spreckels, who was the wife of San Francisco sugar magnate Adolphe Spreckels. Alma never quite fit in with San Francisco high society in the early 1900s and she flouted conventions - she was quite a character. She founded the Legion of Honor fine arts museum and gifted her art collection to it. and Horn found a way to honor her spirit in this work.

DWANE BROWN: You spent a lot of time with Horn and saw these sculptures being installed at Lux. I have to admit...I don't quite get it. But what did you take away from the work?

ANGELA CARONE: One of the real pleasures of Horn's work is this discovery of the unexpected. You don't expect this ornate baroque carriage to be covered in sugar but it is.

He has a wall piece made from a Chippendale patterned mirror - also very ornate- and it's made out of translucent rubber. It could literally fall off the wall and bounce.

So I love that unexpected element to his work - and also how that causes one to see this iconic historical kind of decorative styling in a new refreshing way.

For me, his work is all about the way you see differently - whether that's the historical decorative arts he references or the very properties of the material choices like rubber and sugar.

DWANE BROWN: There's another event you want to recommend this weekend. A pop-up shop called Specimen. First of all, what's a pop-up shop?

ANGELA CARONE: Pop up shops seem to be all the rage right now and they're exactly what the name implies - shops that pop up for a temporary time in places that aren't necessarily commercial.

The one happening this weekend is called Specimen. You may remember we talked about the original specimen pop up shop last Christmas. This time it's a different location, and a much larger space, but the same people are behind it - most notably Mark Quint, owner of the Quint Contemporary Gallery in La Jolla. Quint's been a crucial figure in the art world here in San Diego for a long time - he has a very keen, discriminating eye - and he's a collector of oddities, stuff you would see in a cabinet of curiosities.

DWANE BROWN: Is this stuff for sale or is he promoting art?

ANGELA CARONE: Both really. I had Quint's assistant Molly walk through the 1000 square foot space where the sale will be and tell me what she was seeing - here's a sampling of the items: tons of globes, lamps, artwork, birdhouses, an alligator head, jewelry, dog figurines, Mexican wrestler heads, sea shells, vintage mugshots, old fraternity paddles, lots of anatomical models. Just this huge swath of curious objects - many of which Mark has been hunting for throughout his travels. I've asked where he finds this stuff and it's all very top secret, which is fine, as long as he keeps going I'm thrilled. The sale is at an artist studio in Bay Park and I'll have a link to it on my Culture Lust blog.

DWANE BROWN: Thanks Angela.

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