Press Release: Urban pods and tents - Client: Orbetello Gallery - Date: October 2002

Back to Press Releases

Urban pods and tents, opens Saturday November 16 2002

Exploring ideas of shelter and sanctuary, and man’s ritualistic, obsessive and decadent translation of these as concepts, Urban pods and tents serve as the central theme for Orbetello’s four person group show, opening Saturday November 16.

The exhibition will comprise painting and sculpture and more by north American artists Kenneth Ober, Renee Fox, Tom Steck and Tawny Ellis.

According to Orbetello owner/curator, Tawny Ellis, " locally and globally man inhabits a true dichotomy of homes and shelters, from the shopping cart to the mansion. This exhibition draws inspiration from the concept of the archetypal urban shelter, offering artistic vision that spans everything from the womb to the industrial palace.

Artist Kenneth Houghton Ober was born in Cambridge, Mass. He moved to California in 1999 looking for a place to settle and live as an artist. He received his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 2001. Kenneth spent his last year there focusing on painting and installation in relationship to traditional and contemporary African aesthetics. These studies culminated in several installations that included paintings and video.

Kenneths work has now taken on the characteristics of multicultural magical devices that appear as if they should be part of some ritual event. He utilizes text from English, Sanskrit, Arabic, and Chinese in conjunction with contemporary interpretations of magical diagrams from around the world. These ideas are combined with aesthetics from the modern art world in order to create objects and images that allude to the fusion of spiritual inclinations with material production. The intention is to create a functioning visual presentation of the complex multicultural fusion that is the present planetary culture.

Having shown widely throughout North America, Renee Fox utilizes formal characteristics such as contrasts in surface treatment, interaction of color, movement of line, illusion and creation of dimensionality to evoke a sense of wonder.

"It excites me to speculate on how experience continues with the next person to see the paintings," she says. "In their creation of paintings, I am offering them to an audience so that an original experience will occur, a personal response to a physical object and visual stimulus. The paintings are gifts offering thoughtful, unusual and pleasant sensual encounters. They are experiential objects that ask for personal response to continue a cycle of exchange".

Tom Steck’s tent series fits the exhibition theme both in a literal and lateral context. "My art is intensely personal. It is me talking to myself in my language. It is a self portrait. It is a soliloquy. I am interested in the foundation of things. I am searching for God, origin, and the definition of the self. I strive to define my subconscious symbols by giving them a voice".

The series of tents is a metaphor of the self. I am the tent. The tent is a symbol of the Old Testament tabernacle, which was a symbol of God dwelling with man. To relate to the tent is to say that I am a spiritual being, who tries to understand how God relates to me, and vice versa."

The tent has other applicable associations with revival meetings, and the absurdity of the circus. There is also inherent to the visual of a tent that implies that something is veiled, or hidden. It hints at the paradox of wanting and not wanting to render one's soul on canvas,".Steck says

Destined to be one of Los Angeles most vibrant fine arts venues, Silverlake’s Orbetello Gallery, on the corner of Berendo and Melrose celebrates its second month of operation, with the closing show for international artists Cesare Pergola (Italy) and Mario Londono (Columbia).

Located on the corner of Melrose and Berendo streets in Silverlake, Orbetello Gallery is the cornerstone of the freshly converted Berendo Building. Originally a bus station site in the 1930’s, the Berendo Building now serves as a significant creative hub in Silverlake, occupied by artists of various media, including painting sculpture through to fashion and design.

Gallerist/ curator Tawny Ellis is keen to define Orbetello as something synonymous with high end fine arts, while catering to a variety of artistic media. Herself a sculptor, Ellis a has a good understanding of the arts community and what constitutes quality fine art. Having exhibited throughout Los Angeles including The Brewery Arts Complex, Holly Matter and The Bureau Of Arts and Culture.

"Orbetello aims to defy the constraints of a conventional gallery environment, by offering not only fine art, but also performance, including film screenings, poetry and music. Ultimately we hope to represent the art and cultures of both our local and global environments." Ellis said.

Written by Craig Stephens

Back to Press Releases