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Arts & Culture

5 Works Of Art To See In San Diego In May

Siobhán Arnold
"Requiem For (Our) Mother Natures" is a sculptural installation by Sien Collective (Siobhán Arnold and Meagan Shein), on view through Oct. 2021 at Sparks Gallery.

Discover these five notable works of visual art in San Diego this month, from Sien Collective, Kaori Fukuyama, Amir H. Fallah, Annie Goldman and Chitra Gopalakrishnan.

Siobhán Arnold and Meagan Shein: 'Requiem For (Our) Mother Natures'

On view at Sparks Gallery

Siobhán Arnold
Detail of "Requiem For (Our) Mother Natures" by Sien Collective.

Sien Collective is a collaboration between artists Siobhán Arnold and Meagan Shein, and they've installed a beautiful, suspended sculptural work at Sparks Gallery downtown. The installation consists of approximately 200 hand-sewn translucent flowers made from discarded thin plastics. The pieces float overhead and are part fluffy cloud, part moon jelly, part fairy magic and part surreal pastoral dream. It's stunning — and yes, highly 'grammable — but also thoughtful, meditative work. It builds on a previous recycled flower installation, "Vanitas," and is commentary on the work and identities of women, domestic work, community grief and life cycles.

Details: Exhibition information. Viewable Monday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through October 2021. Free.

Kaori Fukuyama: 'Totem'

On view at Oceanside Museum of Art

Courtesy of OMA
Kaori Fukuyama's sculpture "Totem" is on view at Oceanside Museum of Art through Aug. 1, 2021.

San Diego artist and sculptor Kaori Fukuyama created this work for the 2020 San Diego Art Prize exhibition. Fukuyama was one of the four winners — you can read my feature on her here. Her acrylic sculptural works are a study in light, reminding us that light is something tangible and particulate as well as ethereal and changing. "Totem" is made from countless thin acrylic rods and dichroic film, it stands 7'8" tall, and is seemingly glowing from within and without at the same time. I saw this installed at Bread and Salt last year, and it's worth a viewing in person so you can marvel from all angles. It reveals itself differently from afar, or right up close, or by walking around the piece's perimeter. At OMA, it's part of the "Twenty Women Artists NOW" exhibition, curated by Alessandra Moctezuma, which celebrates the narratives, histories, vulnerabilities and power of women through art.

Details: Exhibition information. Viewable Thursday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., by reserving a ticket window in advance. (OMA members get early access to the exhibition at 11 a.m.). $10 general admission.

Amir H. Fallah: 'First Person Shooter Game'

On view at Lux Art Institute

Julia Dixon Evans
"First Person Shooter Game" by Amir H. Fallah is on view at Lux Art Institute through May 29, 2021.

It's really easy to panic when I think about the messes I'll leave behind after death. How many unsorted pieces of mail, random keepsakes, unfinished home-repair projects or journals with barely-started ideas will someone find when cleaning up after me? But in a regional artist residency at Lux Art Institute, the Iran-born artist Amir H. Fallah has twisted this fear into something lovely.

Julia Dixon Evans
Detail of "First Person Shooter Game" by Amir H. Fallah.

"First Person Shooter Game" is a large painting full of the wildly specific, intimate details he learned about someone's life just from the estate sale after their death. Scores of basketball trophies were inspired by pages from a left-behind diary, and balls of yarn and knitting needles (positioned in the foreground like video game controls) represent the unfinished knitting projects left in the home, and a veil pattern copied from handmade pillows. Motifs in Fallah's exhibition include detailed borders and touches that reference historical Persian art, and completely veiled figures — twisting the pursuit of identity in portraiture. And definitely get up close to those borders to see the gradient-like patterns.

"I'm interested in how objects can be charged with meaning and how people surround themselves with certain items as a way to hold onto, document, and preserve moments in their lives," Fallah wrote.

And while you're there, check out Baseera Khan's stunning exhibition in the separate building.

Details: Exhibition information. Viewable by appointment Thursday through Saturday 2 - 5 p.m. Through May 29, 2021. Free/donation based.

Annie Goldman: 'Male Torso'

On view at California Center for the Arts Escondido

Courtesy of the artist / Oil Painters of America / CCAE
Annie Goldman's oil painting, "Male Torso" took first place in the Oil Painters of America student art competition, and is on view through May 16, 2021 at California Center for the Arts Escondido.

The Oil Painters of America 30th annual juried exhibition is currently on view online and in person at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. There's more than 250 pieces in the show, all submitted as part of a national juried search. Oils lend themselves so well to landscapes, still lifes and softly-lit portraits, and there's a full range of styles and subjects in this entire exhibition. A stand-out for me is the first place winner in the student section, from Laguna College of Art and Design student Annie Goldman. Goldman's work, "Male Torso," is visual iceberg-style storytelling at its best. Full of curiosity and evocative detail, it's a snapshot of an intimate moment — but whether it's one of pain and anguish, idleness or ecstasy remains a mystery.

Details: Exhibition information. Viewable online (free) or at the museum, Wednesday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Through May 16, 2021. $12.

Chitra Gopalakrishnan: 'Surface Tension'

On view at The Hill Street Country Club

Chitra Gopalakrishnan
Artist Chitra Gopalakrishnan's painting, "Surface Tension," is a portrait of an armored woman using oil, acrylic and mirror paint on canvas, and will be on view with augmented reality animation beginning Apr. 24, 2021 at Hill Street Country Club.

The work of Chitra Gopalakrishnan is astonishing and disruptive. You can read my full feature about the artist and her new solo exhibition at The Hill Street Country Club here, but this piece is one that I keep coming back to. The piece — a 24x24" oil, acrylic and mirror paint on canvas — holds a combination of power and vulnerability that Gopalakrishnan always seems to nail in her work. And it's one of a few select works in this exhibition with a correlating augmented reality animation. You can use your phone to activate droplets of molten steel to fall and rise slowly between you and the painting.

Details: Exhibition information. Viewable by appointment Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturdays 1 - 6 p.m. Through June 20, 2021.