Dive under the sea at the Fine Arts Gallery

NEON-LIT SCULPTURE “ANEMONE 2000”

By Catherine George
Western Sun staff writer

After walking through the doors of the Fine Arts Gallery, you will stop dead in your tracks, and be completely amazed by the sheer beauty that is on display. Marvelous colors are everywhere – beckoning you to take a long, lingering look, as you pause and picture yourself there, amongst all of the wonderful colors and lights.

The first works on display, entitled, “Dark Waters” were done by Michiel Daniel, whom began this body of work five years ago after a number of years working as a realist painter.  The colorful  abstracts were inspired by ocean life at extreme depths and Warner Brothers cartoons from the 50’s and 60’s.  The influence of the ocean was quite natural as Daniels has been a surfer for over 50 years.

His use of a myriad of common household items such as t-shirts, doorknobs, undergarments and other things found throughout his home, is predominantly unique to his beautiful creations. The art is whimsical and humorous and makes you feel like you’re looking into an aquarium. At first glance, you notice a vast sea of brilliant blue, but upon second (third and fourth) glance, you see the unending beauty of the intricacies and life forms that perhaps are looking beyond our feeble human eyes.

Daniel is a graduate of the Claremont Graduate School of Fine Arts and was the winner of the Individual Artist’s Fellowship Grant, Public Corporation for the Arts in 1997. He has exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Southern California for over 30 years. His work is in private and public collections and he is currently a professor at Long Beach City College.

The next thing to catch your eye is the magnificent glow from around the corner.

The second artist and creator of these glowing surreal, ethereal sculptures is Candice Gawne. Gawne brings science and art together in her pieces entitled, “Luminous Life” and has achieved near perfection in doing so.

Her interactive works display how slight pressure shift can cause the compounds inside of the glass to move. By shining a high-powered black light onto some of the art, you will notice how the compounds change color.

Gawne spoke with me about the process of creating her artwork and said that the majority of her inspiration comes from daydreaming. She then takes her daydreams to paper and develops it into what her mind dared to dream. Then she works with scientific glass blowers to create the pieces of art.

After each glass piece is blown, she works with different compounds to create the neon light art. Gawne creates art that is mirroring what you might come across at the bottom of the sea. Her art is engaging, entertaining and wonderfully beautiful.

Gawne is an Los Angeles based artist living and maintaining her own studio in San Pedro. Gawne studied at El Camino College and UCLA and has been an Art Instructor at Otis College of Art and Design, and in many other public and private schools and institutions. Since 1975, her oil paintings, light sculptures and art furniture have been exhibited in galleries and museums in Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Berlin, Tokyo and Taiwan.

The placement of the art truly flows and each piece made you look to the next as you are so drawn to wander in deeper and deeper.

MICHIEL DANIEL’S “Black Olives” and other aquatic style art at the gallery.

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THE WESTERN SUN is published bi-weekly on Wednesdays by the newspaper production classes of Golden West College. All opinions expressed in The Western Sun, unless otherwise indicated, are those of the individual writer or artist and do not necessarily reflect those of the college, district, or any other organization or agency. The Western Sun is a member of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges and the California Newspaper Publishers’ Association.