COD Marks Center for the Arts Presents
New Exhibition, Phantasmagoria
College of the Desert’s (COD)
Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts presents the paintings and mixed media
artworks of five artists whose haunting imagery straddles a thin line between
abstract and surreal in Phantasmagoria,
on exhibition Nov. 3 – Dec. 12, 2013.
An artists’ reception will be held Wednesday, Nov.
20, from 5-7 p.m. This free event is open to the public, with light refreshments
and musical entertainment by Jesika von Rabbit, lead singer for the Joshua Tree
band Gram Rabbit. The reception will be followed by the monthly Cup of Happy
Open Mic from 7:30-9:30 p.m., a SafeHouse of the Desert event that is also free
and open to the public.
“Phantasmagoria” as an art form has its roots in late-eighteenth
century theater, in which a modified lantern was used to project frightening
figures, shadows and reflections onto a surface. The exhibition title, Phantasmagoria, refers to deceptive
images and illusions. These surreal and dreamlike images began in the minds of
the artists and are completed by the imagination of the viewer.
This compilation of collage, assemblage and
paintings by artists Lee Balan, Shaktima Brien, Shahram Farshadfar, Peggy
Vermeer, and Brian Wilson wavers between abstract and surreal. Familiar objects
and imagery appear from a fog of color, brushwork, light and sometimes chaos.
It is up to the viewer to decipher what is really portrayed and what is
surfacing from their own subconscious.
The Marks Art Center is always free and open to the
public, Monday-Thursday, and the first Sunday of the month (November 3 and
December 1), 11-4 p.m., and by appointment; for more information, please call 760.776.7278,
or check online at http://collegeofthedesert.edu/community/gallery/Pages/ex.aspx
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Shaktima Brien has been published
multiple times as an artist and author. This year alone she released three art
books featuring her paintings. She wrote a novel which she adapted into an
award-winning screenplay based on the idea of the Goddess Journey—a theme that can also be found in her artwork.
Brien has exhibited at the Palm Springs Art Museum and the UCLA Fowler Museum.
Lee Balan has been
working and exhibiting as a fine artist for thirty years and is also a poet, published author and performance artist
with a deeper understanding of how the creative mind works. He earned a B.A. in Art and Sociology and also a Graduate
Certificate in Counseling. For fifteen years, he worked as the Director for a
mental health program which emphasized the benefits of art and writing to help
clients control symptoms. Balan describes himself as an experimental artist who
uses mixed-media to create sensory-experiences. He has exhibited The Palm
Springs Art Museum, M-modern Gallery, and the L.A. Center for Digital Art.
Iranian born Shahram Farshadfar studied art
in New York before moving to Los Angeles to study Comparative Religion. After
working in the fashion industry in NY and being introduced to hypnotherapy in
LA, Farshadfar moved to Palm Springs where he
continues to pursue creative outlets and still reach people on a subconscious
level, “I believe laughter overrides fear at the
subconscious level. I confront societies with their own taboos by expressing
myself through my artworks joyfully, beautifully, radically and humorously.”
Peggy Vermeer has been an active member of
the Coachella Valley art scene for over forty years. She worked
for the Palm Springs Desert Museum (now the Palm Springs Art Museum) for
twenty-eight years as the Art Education Specialist, and assisted in the
formation of the Docent program. Peggy is still an active member of the Docent
council, volunteering her time to give tours of the museum. She is also a mixed
media artist who creates paintings, prints, collages, and assemblage
sculptures. She says themes are very
important in her work and describes her process as this,
“Usually the female form will emerge or a
face to center the piece and from there the spirit of creativity takes over and
is finished when the moment of revelation comes about.” Vermeer has exhibited
at the Palm Springs Art Museum and Coachella Valley History Museum.
California resident and artist Brian Wilson
is fascinated with the physical landscape and the human condition. As a child,
he began drawing maps, landscapes and architectural renderings. As an adult,
his works have recently morphed into mostly acrylic based, mixed media
paintings and textures. The unique geography, climate and energy flow of the southwest
United States all strongly influence Brian’s current artwork. Brian’s works
have been shown in several solo shows at Espresso Cielo in Palm Springs, as
well as group shows at the Red Arrow Gallery in Joshua Tree. He has been showcased in the Desert Sun as