Outdoor art to see in San Diego right now
Speaker 1: (00:00)
We're shaking things up just a little bit with a guide to some works of art viewable from the outdoors, whether you're avoiding indoor gatherings or maybe just for a way to kick off the new year with more walking. And here's some art for you. Joining me with the list is KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. Julia. Welcome.
Speaker 2: (00:19)
Hi Jade. Thanks for having me.
Speaker 1: (00:21)
So let's start with the oldest piece on your list by the influential regional artist, James Hubble, where can we
Speaker 2: (00:27)
Find it? Right? This one is, uh, the foot of Vulcan mountain in Julian. It's right at the trail head and it's called the Vulcan mountain gateway and it was built by James Hubble and a team of in 1990. It's a multi-piece sculpture. It's more of, of a passageway than an actual gate. There's two carved Cedar low walls on either side of the trail and they kind of jut upwards to the sky. They mimic peaks of their own. And then in the middle of the trail, there are three intricate iron sculptures on, on these posts. So you kind of have to walk through and around the sculpture to start the trail. Hubble's work is all over the region. And this is, is kind of one of the lesser known works of his plus. It's a really great hike. It's about a five mile round trip climb goes through the forest as well as these big grassy Meadows. And this trail is sometimes closed after rain or weather. So you can check with the San Diego county parks and rec department in advance. And
Speaker 1: (01:33)
Another trail side work of art is an early 20, 20 sculpture by Roman DeSalvo at mission trails. Tell us about that.
Speaker 2: (01:41)
Yeah, this is that the newish east Fortuna staging area field station. It's called fountain mountain kind of a play on the nearby Fortuna mountains. And this is part of the city's civic art collection. And it looks literally looks like something between a fountain and a mountain. There is a drinking fountain built into at this giant Boulder, which Roman DeSalvo then carved with intricate rivers and almost like trail patterns. So you can watch the water from the drinking fountain actually flow down those little channels. The Trailhead is convenient for a beginning, the 15 K loop over south Fortuna. Or you can just take a shorter mile, are so stroll around the grasslands right there.
Speaker 1: (02:26)
And now for some of the newer works on your list. Tell us about the new sculpture and Liberty station just unveiled last week.
Speaker 2: (02:34)
So this one is by Trevor Amie and it's the newest part of the NTC foundation's outdoor art program. That's at Liberty station. Uh, the one is wood and mixed media and the wood is actually sourced from fallen trees in Babo park. It's kind of rebuilt into an abstract version of what am Marie described as a nurse log or the trees that have fallen in the forest. And they remain there to kind of decompose and nourish the soil underneath. I love what the sculpture has to say about decay and death, and it's really huge and striking. You can wander around and look through it. This one is installed just outside the command center at Liberty station, and it takes the place of where the Nikki Gator temporarily was while the Mingay was under renovation in the last few years. And
Speaker 1: (03:24)
The next one is a window installation at the new Mor studio in golden hill. Tell us about deja
Speaker 2: (03:31)
Harris' work. Yeah, deja Harris is a fiber artist and this is her first solo exhibition. It's entirely contained in the front windows there, right on 25th street in golden hill. Harris makes these experimental rugs and fiber works and she kind of plays with a color block nostalgia. It's very abstract and it kind of like reimagines a rug. It's something that we almost always think of as one of those functional textiles. She also sources dead stockyard in her work, whether they're remnants left over for manufacturing or they're textiles that are not used because of a flaw and her works will be on view through January 16th
Speaker 1: (04:13)
In LA JOA. There's a new installment in the murals of LA JOA series. This one by Gabriel E. Sanchez. Where can we find,
Speaker 2: (04:20)
Yeah, this one is next to the lot movie theater in LA JOA, right on Fay avenue. And it's part of 15 current murals in this project throughout LA JOA Sanchez is a Los Angeles artist who studied art at point Loma Nazarene university. So there is a local connection and the mural is the series of, of lodge style vignettes. Um, these are scenes from the pandemic and with massive lettering of the word time across the center, the murals about tides and time life cycles and the such, and also bigger questions of our future. And many of these murals in the project are within wall distance of each other around the town center of LA Jolla. So you can make a day of it. And
Speaker 1: (05:06)
Finally you have some augmented reality art round out the list.
Speaker 2: (05:11)
Yeah, this is at the San Diego Botanic garden and the artworks are also on view in a dozen other Botanic gardens around the world. At the same time, the project is called seeing the invisible and you download an app and then you hold your phone up to the designated area at the gardens. And that makes the artworks appear to be in place. My favorite is WABA Mohammad Keem. It's called directions zero. And it's basically as if someone dropped a gigantic zero from outer space and it landed on top of the boardwalk path at the San Diego Botanic gardens. It's about math. It's about coexistence and peace. And if you can, you can zoom in or look closely on your phone etched into the imager that coordinates for every single country on the planet. And this whole exhibition, there are 13 works in total is on view through
Speaker 1: (06:03)
August. It all sounds fascinating. Uh, you can find details and an interactive map of all these outdoor artworks on our firstname.lastname@example.org. I've been speaking with K PBS arts editor, Julia X and Evans. Julia. Thank you. Thank
Speaker 2: (06:18)
You, Jade. Happy
Speaker 1: (06:19)
New year. Happy new year.
To ring in 2022 (or maybe slam the door on 2021), here's a short list of brand new and some long-standing works of art viewable from the great outdoors — from urban window installations to augmented reality to mountain sculptures, featuring Denja Harris, Trevor Amery, Gabriella Sanchez, Mohammed Kazem, James Hubbell and Roman De Salvo.
First up, a handy map:
Denja Harris 'Soft'
Textile artist Denja Harris just opened her first solo exhibition at the new Mortis Studio in Golden Hill. The exhibition is entirely encapsulated in a window display: a handful of works visible from the sidewalk. Harris creates rugs and experimental fiber works that play with color, shape, form, abstraction and nostalgia. She sources deadstock yarn, which is a catch-all term for things like remnants leftover in manufacturing but also entire colors, runs or bolts of a textile that end up not being used, whether for lack of demand or because of a flaw.
This is Harris' first exhibition, and it's a vivid reimagining of the humble rug — a bit surreal, otherworldly and kind of '90s.
Details: Mortis Studio, 1038 25th St., Golden Hill. Through Jan. 16, 2022.
Trevor Amery: 'Archive and Witness'
The newest kid on the block in the NTC Foundation's outdoor art installation program at Liberty Station is a wood and mixed media sculpture by Trevor Amery. It's his first piece of public art. The wood was sourced from fallen trees from Balboa Park — and rebuilt as an abstract version of what Amery describes as a "nurse log," or the trees fallen in a forest that remain there to decompose and nourish the understory. I love what this piece says about decay and death, and ultimately life.
It's installed just outside the Dick Laub Command Center, in the same spot Niki de Saint Phalle's "Nikigator" sculpture temporarily hung out while the Mingei was under renovation. Plus, there's plenty more outdoor art to hunt for in Liberty Station. Here's a list of what's currently on display.
Details: 2640 Historic Decatur Rd, Liberty Station. On view beginning Dec. 22, 2021.
Gabriella Sanchez: 'Time'
The latest in the Murals of La Jolla project is installed just next to The Lot in La Jolla. Gabriella Sanchez is a Los Angeles artist who studied art at Point Loma Nazarene University. Her mural is a series of collage-style vignettes, from photos she took in La Jolla this summer. The text "Time" across the center is huge, each letter taller than the cars that would be parked beneath the work. The mural is about the way time intersects with nature — the repeating tides, life cycles and bigger questions of the future.
Build your own walking tour of all the murals in the series using the map here.
Details: 7611 Fay Ave., La Jolla.
Mohammed Kazem: 'Directions (Zero)'
Imagine if someone dropped a gigantic zero from outer space, and it landed askew over a boardwalk path at the San Diego Botanic Gardens. Kazem's augmented reality work — originally made for Abu Dhabi — calls attention to the significance of zero in math, as well as issues of coexistence and peace. Inscribed on the donut-shaped work are the coordinates for every single country on the planet. Light and shadows actually transform throughout the day, and you can even walk beneath it.
Kazem's piece is one of 13 other augmented reality pieces on view at SDBG. Another one of note: Isaac Julien's "Stones Against Diamonds (Ice Cave)" is a five-screen video work, although there are no real screens beyond the one in your palm. The work is based on Julien's 2015 film of the same name, which was inspired by a letter from architect Lina Bo Bardi, and it is set in an actual ice cave.
In La Jolla, you can also catch another of the London-based filmmaker and artist's works outside, and again it's based on one of Julien’s previous films. On the corner of Torrey Pines Rd. and Girard, "Eclipse (Playtime)" shows a silhouetted figure standing against a circular yellow window. It's part of the Murals of La Jolla series.
Details: Augmented reality requires app download in advance. Garden hours: Open Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday) and open most holidays (closed Christmas Day), through Aug. 2022. San Diego Botanic Gardens, 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. $10-18.
James Hubbell: Volcan Mountain Gate
Built in 1990 by the influential regional artist Hubbell (now age 90) and a team of volunteers, this gateway at the base of Volcan Mountain in Julian is more of a passageway. Two carved cedar walls jut skyward like peaks of their own on either side of the trail, surrounding a trilogy of intricate iron sculptures, which — according to the Volcan Mountain Foundation — were constructed by Hubbell's son Brennan.
As an added bonus, after you take in the art, you can tackle a peak just outside of Julian. The hike is just shy of 5 miles, traversing gnarled patches of forest as well as vast, grassy meadows. The trail is sometimes closed after rain, so check with San Diego County Parks and Recreation in advance.
Details: Volcan Mountain trailhead, 1209 Farmer Rd. at Wynola Rd., Julian.
Roman De Salvo: 'The Riparium' and 'Fountain Mountain'
Completed in 2012, "The Riparium" is an overhead web of massive trees sliced in half and then reconnected and suspended from above. It's installed in Ruocco Park on the waterfront (and even looks cool in satellite images). The park was named after famed modernist architect Lloyd Ruocco, known for the County Administration Building, the City Concourse Plaza (including the Civic Theater), the 1950s-era Children's Zoo, and work on the 1935 Panama Exposition and over a hundred homes and other projects.
Another outdoor, public work by De Salvo (FYI there are many) — particularly if you're in the mood to kick off your new year with a hike — is Fountain Mountain, nestled just outside the new field station near the Mission Trails equestrian staging area off Mast Blvd. Part drinking fountain, part topographic model with actual mini rivers, it's one of my recent favorites in the city's civic art collection. While you're there, I recommend hiking east across the grasslands towards the Fortunas, then heading down towards the river-side Oak Canyon trail. Find the official trail map here.
Details: Ruocco Park, 585 Harbor Ln., downtown; Mission Trails East Fortuna Staging Area field station, Equestrian Circle, Santee.