August 10, 2018

Gallery Selections 2018: Sonya Sparks – Sparks Gallery

Gallery Selections 2018 features a selection of 6 artists whom we feel are up and coming, and worthy of a second look. On view at Sparks Gallery, with commentary by owner and curator Sonya Sparks.

Khalid Alkaaby was born and raised in Bagdad, Iraq, where he worked as an artist. Alkaaby chose to leave Iraq due to the terrorist attacks there and immigrated to San Diego in 2005 to begin anew.

In our first Chapter of Gallery Selections, we exhibited several of his figurative dancers. His talent is shown in his brushwork and use of color to bring realistic movement to each painted form. These works really speak for themselves and show his innate talent and ability to bring out the elegance and beauty of the female form.

Paul Hobson began his career as an artist as studio assistant to Bauhaus Master Herbert Bayer, where he began to refine his painting techniques. Hobson, however, is best known for his works in the public realm. A few examples include the El Cajon Boulevard Transit Plaza Gateway, the Encinitas Community Library gateway, Maple Street Pedestrian Plaza benches, Fire Station Number 31’s facade in Del Cerro, Alga Norte Community Park in Carlsbad, and of course the new ceiling installation in the Terminal 2 of the San Diego airport.

Currently, he is developing a series of small paintings that celebrate the Fibonacci (Leonardo of Pisa) sequence. Their 5 ¾” square formats are a counterbalance to his large scale public work. We have also exhibited several of his travel-inspired works, which are fun little pieces with sea charts, starry nights, and scenes of the ocean.

Monty Montgomery is well known for his abstract “fractals” series. His paintings with colorful geometric patterns are fresh, bright and bold. His works are inspired simply by the world around us. He translates the emotional experiences of perhaps a hike in nature, viewing a sunset, or even urban experiences into abstract expression. I love that although there is a lot of movement in his works, he strives for symmetry and balance when possible.

Montgomery recently joined forces with Orlando-based artist Tony Philippou to form the artist partnership called “Kaleidoskull”. Their collaborative works feature Philippou’s detailed griffins paired with Montgomery’s fractals. These works seek to express our fascination with creatures of fantasy by using both total abstraction and realistic representational artistic techniques.

Marissa Quinn is a versatile artist who combines realism and surrealism with her pen-and-ink drawings, both in small scale and large scale. Her works often include endangered flora and fauna and anthropomorphic compositions. The works we have recently shown at Sparks Gallery delve deep into modern mythological symbols combined with the concept of the feminine spirit, as well as current environmental issues. The book “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés also inspired her recent works. She has written a poem corresponding with each of the 4 pieces currently on view. The series itself is a visual poem, telling a narrative of incubation and growth through darkness. Combining the titles in order, one will discover a message:

“A New Story to Tell
Of the Night Soul’s Trust
In the Bloom of Surrender
To Tell a New Story”

Perry Vásquez is an established visual artist, musician, and educator.

Vasquez has work in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Laguna Beach Art Museum. In addition to teaching, currently serves as the director for the Southwestern College Art Gallery.

Vásquez has created imagery, music, and visual performances related to his series, The Gates of Heck, and we were honored to have his painting of the same name on view for our Chapter 1 of Gallery Selections this year. This huge, gorgeously detailed piece by Vasquez is an homage to Auguste Rodin’s monumental bronze sculpture, “Le Port de l’Enfer” or in English, “The Gates of Hell”.

The Gates of Heck also borrows ideas from Rodin’s The Gates of Hell, such as divine justice, punishment, temporality and redemption and places them at the center of a super-hero centric universe. Many of his works follow the same themes, including his collage works currently on view, which also combine contemporary and traditional myths.

Creating imagery that inspires the imagination, coupled with classic oil painting techniques, Brady Willmott’s unique twist on pop surrealism leaves a lasting impression. Willmott’s connection to the ocean and nostalgia for the mountains are evident in his work. A strong imagination, dry sense of humor and successful career as a tattoo artist also play a role in his themes and compositions. I really enjoy seeing his new works come in because they are all so playful and different from each other. With each new painting I can see his growth, both personally and professionally.

All the artwork you’ve seen is currently available for purchase at the gallery. We will be hosting a reception for the new works for “Chapter 2” of this year’s gallery selections show on Saturday, August 25, from 6-9pm. I hope you all can attend to view the works in person and meet the artists who will be there as well.