September 30, 2005

Art Expressions Gallery Presents Focus Mexico: Two Painters, Two Photographers

Art Expressions Gallery announces the opening of Focus Mexico: Two Painters, Two Photographers, an exhibition of recent works by plein aire painters John Comer and Robin Hall and photographers Leland Foerster and David Lubbers.

More than 50 works will explore the landscape, architecture and people of Mexico from a Norte Americano point of view.

“Each of the artists share a passion for the Mexican landscape and a reverence for the generous spirit of the people, which is evident in their work,” said Patricia Smith, director of Art Expressions Gallery and curator of the exhibition. “Each of the artists has returned to Mexico time and time again for at least 20 years.”

“San Luis Gonzaga” by Leland Foerster

John Comer, who lives on the Central Coast of California, has spent considerable time in Baja California since the ‘60s and says “Baja feels more like home to me than California.”

His paintings celebrate the openness of the land, the slower pace of life, and the adventurous spirit found along the Baja coast. “What intrigues me is that you can go an hour on a dirt road and 100 years back in time. The place has a spirit of adventure that has been lost north of the border in Alta California.”

Robin Hall appreciates the raw, rugged beauty of Baja, characteristics that shine through in her work. The majority of her oil paintings in the exhibition capture the quality of life and landscape around Todos Santos, a picturesque artists’ colony near the tip of Baja.

Leland Foerster, who has been photographing in Baja California for 20 years, sees Baja as the birthplace of California and a place untouched by time. “Baja represents living history,” he said. “Visiting families in isolated places in Baja is like going back in time to visit pioneer families. They exude an openness, resourcefulness and hospitality that is no longer found in the modern world.”

He is fascinated by the procession of beautiful stone churches, established by Jesuit and Dominican missionaries in the 18th century, which hopscotch down the peninsula. Some are in ruins and others have been extensively remodeled, but five offer a window into the mission era. Foerster’s first formal portfolio, Stone Legacy, a collection of 12 photographs of these mission churches with an accompanying letterpress text, will be part of the exhibition.

“The people whose ancestors built the churches are still living in the area. These are living churches,” he said. “While there are no people in my photographs of the churches, a human presence is embodied in the images – a burning candle, a garden still tended after 350 years, a confessional screen where priest and parishioner communicate and time worn stone steps leading to a choir loft.”

David Lubbers, a recognized photographer from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has photographed throughout Mexico for the past 20 years. He is attracted by the naturalness of the people, the landscape and the architecture, but it is the consummate generosity of the people that keeps his soul tied to Mexico.

“Villages are so close knit – with everyone watching out for everyone – it’s hard to tell which children belong to which parents,” Lubbers said. “And their generosity is legend. I have had people share their last speck of food with me.”

The Art Expressions Gallery exhibition will feature David Lubbers Mexico, a collection of 14 photographs in platinum and Old Mexico: Photographs by David Lubbers, a collection of 10 hand-pulled photogravure prints. Subject matter ranges from portraits to abstractions.

The public is invited to an artists’ reception at the gallery, 2645 Financial Court, Suite C, from 5-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6. The exhibition runs through Nov. 12.

As a comprehensive source for art in all media, Art Expressions Gallery provides both corporate and residential art consulting, and has an extensive selection of distinctive custom frames. Art Expressions Gallery is located at 2645 Financial Court, Suite C, San Diego, just off Morena Boulevard. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call (858) 270-7577 or visit www.artexpressions

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