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Courtesy of Quint Gallery
Tara Donovan's "Untitled (Toothpicks)" will be on view at Quint ONE in Logan Heights through Apr. 16, 2022.

5 works of art to see in San Diego in March

Tara Donovan: 'Untitled (Toothpicks)'

On view at Quint ONE in Bread and Salt through Apr. 16, 2022

Thousands of toothpicks, and nothing else. Sculptor and "Genius Grant" recipient Tara Donovan's 2004 work, "Untitled (Toothpicks)" will be in town at Quint ONE in Logan Heights to baffle you in person. It's a feat of gravity and friction (and the repetitive properties of mass-produced consumer goods); Donovan has formed a massive cube that even in the humblest of photographs looks unreal. And the scale is kind of the point: how many toothpicks does it take before we no longer register it as a toothpick?

Brian Lockhart
Tara Donovan's "Untitled (Toothpicks)" as installed at Quint ONE, on view through Apr. 16, 2022.

Toothpicks will "shed" throughout the course of the installation and the composition of the cube will naturally shift. To protect it, the gallery will keep the doors closed. If you visit during Bread and Salt open hours, you can still peek through the doors' narrow windows, or you can make an appointment at — or check it out on Saturday, Mar. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the ICE Gallery reception for Jamie Franks.

Quint ONE, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. [Exhibition details]

Charles Glaubitz: 'Like It Or Not / A la brava'

On view at the San Diego Central Library Art Gallery through May 2, 2022


When I stopped in front of Tijuana artist Charles Glaubitz's multimedia installation, the multimedia element was in a brief pause. At that moment, it looked like just a dozen monochromatic canvases of varying shapes and sizes Tetris'd into a long rectangle. I was intrigued nonetheless: painted gray backdrops, simple inked illustrations including barbed wire, a pensive face, a bare tree. Then each canvas suddenly came to life with blaring light and color, one after the other, as the projected animation began and each canvas transformed again and again over the course of a few minutes. The face cycles through age and identities and the tree cycles through seasons; splashes of blood or cartoonish, repeating tanks speckle across barbed wire and so much more — I wanted to watch it a few times to catch everything.

Julia Dixon Evans
A still of Charles Glaubitz's animated projection and canvas work, "Like It Or Not / A la brava," on view at the San Diego Central Library Art Gallery through May 2, 2022.

The exhibition, "Occupy Thirdspace II," curated by Sara Solaimani, plays with the intersection of art and language, particularly as it pertains to the San Diego-Tijuana border region in the 1980s and 1990s. For Glaubitz's work, the title "A la brava" translates into what the artist statement calls a "multiplicity of different meanings: winging it, moving forward without a plan, having only a beginning and an end, roughing it, the hard way, by force, aggressively, daringly." It's inspired by Glaubitz's memories of border crossings.

San Diego Central Library Art Gallery hours are Monday and Tuesday, 1-7 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., downtown. [Exhibition details]

Sherin Guirguis at Candlewood Arts Festival

On view at Seley Orchards in Borrego Springs through Mar. 27, 2022

When visiting Borrego Springs, Los Angeles-based installation artist Sherin Guirguis became fascinated with its citrus groves, the paradox of lush green trees and vibrant scents against an arid landscape and an apparent lack of water — as well as the generations of history and labor. Guirguis recently installed a site-specific work near the pyramids in Egypt's Giza Desert, and has also been part of Desert X in the past. In Borrego Springs, the work plays with what curator Kris Kuramitsu called the "multi-sensory possibilities."

Courtesy of Candlewood Arts Festival
Detail of Sherin Guirguis' installation piece at Candlewood Arts Festival in Borrego Springs, on view Mar. 5-27, 2022.

"So she developed a piece that is sited in the orchard among the citrus trees that deals with not only the immediate current environment, but the history of Indigenous peoples in the area and the connection between all of these desert communities through not only this relationship with the land, but through music and sound," Kuramitsu said.

The sculpture is primarily composed of a large, rust-tinged metal framework resembling an ancient percussion instrument, with a peacock feature motif cut into the frame. Repurposed cymbals and movable pieces create a sound element in the wind.

Candlewood Arts Festival runs Mar. 5-27, 2022, with six artwork installations throughout Borrego Springs. Sherin Guirguis: Seley Orchards, Santa Caterina Trail, Borrego Springs. [Exhibition details]

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Anna Stump: 'Long Crescent Wrench'

On view at Mesa College Art Gallery through Apr. 7, 2022

More from the desert: In a new dual exhibition, "Militarized Desert: Life and Death in the Mojave," artists Anna Stump and Ben Allanoff explore the dichotomies in the Mojave Desert — the fiercely wild land against a backdrop of military presence.

While there are plenty of massive, incredible works on view, don't miss the miniatures. In "Long Crescent Wrench," Stump has painted a tiny, serene desert scene on a rusted iron wrench. Vivid pinks and purples dominate the mountain range, and a small, white house sits humbly amidst the vast desert landscape — all somehow managing to fit on half of the wrench's handle. It's a study in the desert's contrasts in image, canvas and scale.

Courtesy of Mesa College Art Gallery
Anna Stump's "Long Crescent Wrench" is on view at Mesa College Art Gallery through Apr. 7, 2022.

Mesa College Art Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be closed for spring break Mar. 28 through Apr. 1. 7250 Mesa College Dr., Linda Vista. [Exhibition details]

Thao Huynh French: Ladies Who Paint mural

On view outdoors at Hotel Z

Last fall, a women-led mural project known as "Ladies Who Paint" took over a bunch of buildings and walls across the city, including four viewable from a small parking lot on the side of Hotel Z downtown. Each of the works lends its own magic, but I couldn't stop staring at the striking floral mural by artist Thao Huynh French, who also recently painted a local mural that honors the Vietnamese community in City Heights.

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Julia Dixon Evans
Thao Huynh French's recent mural, shown in a Mar. 1, 2022 photo, is on view on the corner of Seventh and Island in downtown San Diego.

In the mural, a bouquet of dahlias in bright reds, oranges and yellows sits in an ornate glass vase — with intricate detail on every petal. But it's the spray paint touches that set it apart from any sort of still life. Black squiggles twist and zigzag around each bloom, excess paint drips from the bottom of the painting, and up close, the crispness of the detail softens into an airy haze. I also love how French painted a white frame, almost a canvas on the side of the gray building, but then allowed some petals to "pop" off the edges — it's almost an optical illusion.

Julia Dixon Evans
Detail of Thao Huynh French's downtown San Diego mural is shown on Mar. 1, 2022.

French's work is on view with murals by Enchi, Sarah Tate and Lindsay Sochar at Island Ave. and Seventh Ave. in downtown. [More information]

Corrected: March 11, 2022 at 8:58 AM PST
Note: this story has been updated to note that Thao Huynh French's mural depicts dahlias.
Julia Dixon Evans writes the KPBS Arts newsletter, produces and edits the KPBS/Arts Calendar and works with the KPBS team to cover San Diego's diverse arts scene. Previously, Julia wrote the weekly Culture Report for Voice of San Diego and has reported on arts, culture, books, music, television, dining, the outdoors and more for The A.V. Club, Literary Hub and San Diego CityBeat. She studied literature at UCSD (where she was an oboist in the La Jolla Symphony), and is a published novelist and short fiction writer. She is the founder of Last Exit, a local reading series and literary journal, and she won the 2019 National Magazine Award for Fiction. Julia lives with her family in North Park and loves trail running, vegan tacos and live music.
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