Place through media: art’s dystopia and utopia compete at Ink and Clay 42 

Monarchs, from my ink painting, Pulse, and Nubia Bonilla’s Micaella’s Journey

The Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona delights art lovers with Ink & Clay 42. Artists explore both media in a variety of forms and — whether by curatorial design, artistic coincidence, or some other joyous trick of fate — tackle visions of utopia and dystopia in a contemporary context. 

David Avery
The ink works, including the Juror’s Choice Purchase Award Winners, David Avery’s No. 2 and No. 4 from The Coming of the Cocklicranes series, and my own Pulse, provide the darker view. 

Anthony Lazorko and Edgar Ivan Rincon

From the lonely paths in Anthony Lazorko and Edgar Ivan Rincon’s woodblock print, Crossroads, to the dual views of Colleen M. Kelly’s Naked Under Her Clothes pieces, the ink works challenge by asking viewers to engage with the unexamined. Indeed, Kelly’s Cursive Study, which received on of the Juror’s Choice ink awards, is a beautiful testament to the dying art of handwriting. 

Colleen M. Kelly

The flicker of Roland S. Escalona’s Close Quarters is more reminiscent of a perpetual storm of life, even in its electric patterning, than it is of the light one might seek in life. And though the crisp, white, neatly cut row-houses huddle close, they ultimately feel cold, the individual lost in a hegemony of enforced sameness. 

Meriel Stern and Catherine Burce

As a counterpoint, the clay works were often delicate, bright, and reflective of hope and promise. 

Stern, detail

Meriel Stern’s showstopper, Domestic Flow 3, an installation of porcelain ‘basket’ forms, is beautifully reminiscent of the sea. It’s undulations, structure, and color are both wave and whale-like, while the subtle blue gray swirls mimic microscopic life. You wish to fill each precisely hung vessel with whispered memories. 

Similarly, Ethan Snow transports us to a bright and mechanical future; the pastel pinks, golds, and whites in his porcelain ‘idols’ have both the whimsy of space-fantasy and the thoughtfulness of form. Snow’s Central won the Curator’s Choice Honorable Mention. 

Gina Lawson Egan

Whimsy was also on display with Gina Lawson Egan and Annie Nguyen’s latest works. Both artists, staples of the Ink & Clay exhibitions, delight with new stories and characters in their familiar creative styles. 

Not all ink works were dystopian, such as Barbara Foster’s woodcut, Telltale Signs, and not all clay works were hopeful. Pascual Arriaga’s Exposed is a truly sobering sculpture that reveals as much as hides. 

Overall, the exhibition delivers on its long running promise for fine art. There were a couple of misses for me but I’m honored, once again to be among such a talented cast of artists. From virtual reality to porcelain quality, Ink & Clay 42 is an excellent destination for art lovers. 

Catherine Burce, winner Curator’s Choice Purchase Award
Peter Mays, executive director of the Los Angeles Art Association and Gallery 825, served as curatorial juror alongside Denise Kraemer and Patrick Crabb, who served as jurors for ink and clay works respectively. The exhibition, which was curated by The Kellogg University Gallery’s own Michele Cairella Fillmore, runs through October 27, 2016. You can view all the works, including mine, on the Ink & Clay 42 site. 


Update 10/19 – I had wrongly spelled Meriel Sterns name, misnamed Barbara Foster, and incorrectly named the shows curator. Corrections are reflected above with apologies. 

Pop art for Play at LAMAG

Pop Art at the Beach will be part of the massive Open Call show at Barndsall Art Park.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs’ Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery presents

Open Call 2016: Play  

August 14 to September 18, 2016

Opening Reception: Sunday, August 14, 2pm – 5pm

Candy wrappers clothe the bathers as they look, longingly, at their various objects of desire. 

Pop Art at the Beach is watercolor, ink, and candy wrappers on 140 lb paper, 42×42 inches, black wooden frame. 


K. Ryan Henisey is a queer artist in Los Angeles. The art in his #ArtToEndViolence collection celebrates a passion for important and challenging social justice issues juxtaposed against a veneer of pop art. The superficiality of the genre draws attention to the violence perpetuated against communities marginalized by the dominant culture by forcing the viewer to confront what is meaningful. 

Ryan’s other works can be seen at the upcoming Open Show, Play, at LAMAG at Barnsdall on August 14 and later this fall in Oakland for a second installment of Viral: 25 Years from Rodney King. #ArtToEndViolence is on display at the residence gallery at Wilshire / Vermont through 2016 and Slumbering Sea and other select works are on loan to the Newhall Aquarium. 

Kimani Gray at Viral: 25 Years from Rodney King 

Kimani Gray
Prints from four of my #ArttoEndViolence pieces are included in Viral: RK25. The show, opening Saturday, April 9, 2016, features artwork that documents police brutality in the 25 years since Rodney King. 

The Durón Gallery Space, SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd. Venice, CA. 

On March 9, 2013, Kimani Gray was shot and killed by two plainclothes police officers. Kimani, affectionately called Kiki, was struck by seven bullets, three of which entered through his back. He was heard to cry the words, “don’t let me die.”

Controversy surrounding the event led to mini riots in New York neighborhoods and highlighted the growing tension between African American communities and law enforcement in the US.

There is no database for crimes committed by law enforcement against the people. This lack of data echoes Jim Crow, for it is the very function of government to ensure the safety of all its citizens. There is no oversight. The very agencies that may have committed crimes against American communities are solely responsible for the investigation and reporting of such crimes.

No indictment was made after the shooting of Kimani Gray.

He was 16 years old. This occurred in Brooklyn, New York.

Hands up. Don’t shoot.

In the Neighborhood: Laguna Beach Art Walk


IMG_0849A collection of canvas portraits featuring notable Trans Teen is on display at Orange County Creatives in Laguna Beach. Join me in the gallery, Thursday, June 4, for Laguna Art Walk!

Taylor, Ghost, depicts young Taylor Alesana, who recently took her own life in San Diego. This portrait, along with others in the series, #ArttoEndViolence, contrast the vibrancy of pop art with horrors of American violence.

The Titualr piece, #ArttoEndViolence has been selected as part of the California State Fair Fine Art Exhibit for 2015. Pieces from the collection will also appear in Laguna Beach, West Hollywood, Long Beach and Ventura.

In the Neighborhood: Laguna Beach Art Walk

IMG_6720#BlueHolocaust is part of an exclusive collection for In The Neighborhood at Orange County Creatives in Laguna Beach. Join me in the gallery, Thursday, June 4, for Laguna Art Walk!

#BlueHolocaust is a set of six watercolor and pen paintings. Each depicts the portrait of a boy from the Holocaust (in reds) or a young boy killed by police in the United States. A poetic narrative wraps, halo-like around each portrait.

#BlueHolocaust is part of a larger series, #ArttoEndViolence, of which the titular piece has been chosen for the California State Fair.