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5 Works Of Art To See In San Diego In April

Catch these five notable works of visual art in San Diego this month, from Christian Garcia-Olivo, Annie Fang, Manuelita Brown, Mark Laver and Regan Russell

Christian Garcia-Olivo's 'Untitled White and Pearlescent Green on Nacreous' i...

Credit: Christian Garcia-Olivo

Above: Christian Garcia-Olivo's 'Untitled White and Pearlescent Green on Nacreous' is on view in a solo show at Porto Vista Hotel in Little Italy through Aug. 30, 2021.

Christian Garcia-Olivo: 'Untitled White and Pearlescent Green on Nacreous'

On view at Porto Vista Hotel from Apr. 1 - Aug. 30, 2021.

If you missed Christian Garcia-Olivo's solo show at Bread and Salt this winter, you have another chance to see a solo show by this incredible, process-based local artist. Garcia-Olivo renders textures, light and shapes by pushing the boundaries of what paint can do and what art might be made from. Expect to see plenty of his unmistakable paint sculptures that look like shiny sheets mid-billow, appearing fragile enough to blow over, but this work takes another approach. Looped and net-like, the fibers, still manifested from acrylic paint, form a work that almost seems part optical illusion, part textile. This work is fairly large, 48" x 48", and transforms as you maneuver towards, away from or around it — a darkened swath of subtle green takes shape from afar. This show is called "Untitled Selections," and is curated by 1805 Gallery's Lauren Siry of works created by Garcia-Olivo in 2020.

Details: Exhibition information. Viewable 24/7 in the lobby of the Porto Vista Hotel, 1835 Columbia St., Little Italy.

Annie Fang: 'Authorization'

On view at San Diego Museum of Art through May 9, 2021.

I'm not going to trivialize this show with some pithy catchphrase like "the kids are all right," because the work in question is more than all right. The San Diego Museum of Art's biennial "Young Art" juried exhibition honors and showcases works of visual art created by San Diegans from kindergarteners to 12th graders. It's also the longest-running program at SDMA, occurring every other year for 90 years. This year's theme focuses on environmental sustainability, and more than 100 works were selected. This exhibition is currently on view in the museum's free gallery, the Mrs. Thomas J. Fleming Sr. Foyer. This space is accessible from the corridor between Panama 66 and the restrooms.

Photo credit: Annie Fang / Courtesy of San Diego Museum of Art

Annie Fang's "Authorization" is on view at SDMA in the "Young Art 2021: My World, Our Planet" exhibition through May 9, 2021.

A standout work is Bishop's School 11th grader Annie Fang's drawing, "Authorization." It's somewhere between hyper realistic and hyper fantastical, coiled smoke-like tendrils from a breathed object becoming hair, becoming a kind of magic. Each wisp of movement, even each fiber in the coat is profoundly detailed, and it's the kind of work you can lose yourself in. Color bejewels the work in the subject's hair, including flashes so vivid they actually feel like they're sparkling or flashing a metallic light. But it's the stark black of the negative space that unsettles, alongside subtle white block letters suggesting a PASSPORT. Who belongs in a planet that we're destroying, the work seems to ask.

Fang was also part of the 2019 Young Art exhibition, when she was a freshman.

Details: Exhibition information. Viewable during SDMA museum hours or Panama 66 dining hours. Closed Wednesdays. Museum admission not required. 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park.

Manuelita Brown: 'Missy'

On view at Oceanside Museum of Art from Apr. 1 through Aug. 1, 2021.

Photo credit: Manuelita Brown / Oceanside Museum of Art

Manuelita Brown's "Missy" sculpture is on view at Oceanside Museum of Art in the "Twenty Women Artists NOW" group exhibition through Aug. 1, 2021.

Manuelita Brown sculpts figurative works that are both strikingly detailed and mournfully expressive. She's most likely known for her iconic Sojourner Truth sculpture and the dolphins at the UTC mall. And right now she has a handful of works on view in the "Twenty Women Artists Now" exhibition at Oceanside Museum of Art — it feels like a gift to be able to see a collection of Brown's works together at such an established point in her career. Greeting you at the exhibition's entrance is the brand new "Uphill Struggle," a collection of grouped smaller, masked figures with fists raised, aching with the endless strife manifested in recent Black Lives Matter protests. Brown's powerful "But By Grace" sculpture of a hunched over woman is also on view. But the large-scale "Missy" stands out. Cast in bronze, "Missy" embodies youthful timidity and defiance at the same time. The lightened hue of the upper half of the figure gives the work a ghost-like tenor, more sorrowful than spooky, but mostly what I read in this sculpture’s downcast glance is a momentary pause, a flash of shyness or a respite before flight.

Details: Exhibition information. Viewable during museum hours, 12-5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 12-4 p.m. Sunday (reserve tickets in advance by time slot). 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside.

Mark Laver: 'I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, I Don’t Know Where I’ve Been'

On view at False Cast Apr. 2 through May 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Mark Laver / False Cast Gallery

Mark Laver's "'I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, I Don’t Know Where I’ve Been," is on view at False Cast as part of the "Earth Sign" group show through May 7, 2021.

Emerging Canadian artist Mark Laver is part of "Earth Sign," a group show at new local contemporary space False Cast that honors the use of landscapes in contemporary art. This 2021 work is a stunner, with inky black waters, swirling treetops and a sky somewhere between night and storm. It evokes something indefinable and untethered — narratives, loss, longing — and entirely wild. While there's always a place in my heart for an almost celestially golden landscape painting, I am here for the moody force of nature in Laver's paintings. "I Don't Know Where I'm Going, I Don't Know Where I've Been" feels beguiling and curious. Laver has four works in this show, alongside Jane Mackenzie, Emma White and Paige Twyman.

Details: Exhibition information. Opens Apr. 2 for appointments 6-8 p.m., then Monday through Wednesday by appointment beginning Apr. 5.

Regan Russell: 'Energized'

On view outside the New Children's Museum.

Photo credit: Courtesy of The New Children's Museum

Artist Regan Russell stands in the colorful shadow of "Energized," seen in this undated photo from inside the New Children's Museum.

Spending his highly unusual artist residency at the New Children's Museum with the doors closed, local artist Regan Russell created an installation that manages to immerse you just the same. Russell used glossy, transparent vinyl sheets in bright, vivid colors to create a work on the museum's floor-to-ceiling windows on Front St — the mural is 28' by 13'. The undulating colors are punctuated by pops, swirls, spirals and swooshes of bright, solid white. It was installed in October, and transforms throughout the day as the sunlight hits the building. When illuminated from behind at night, it takes on a new form. While the museum will remain closed this month, this is worth a walk by.

Details: Installation information. Viewable 24/7 from the sidewalk on Front St. between W. Island Ave. and Market St.


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Julia Dixon Evans
Arts Calendar Editor and Producer

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI write the weekly KPBS Arts newsletter and edit and produce the KPBS Arts calendar. I am interested in getting San Diegans engaged with the diversity of art and culture made by the creative people who live here.

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