If I Can’t Have You…

I just spent some time in Los Angeles. Why? Well because it was the man’s birthday and usually we go hiking or camping or somewhere in nature, or maybe on walking food-and-drink tours or winery hopping or something like that, but with the Delta variant wandering around and his knee still on rest, I needed to be somewhat creative. So we booked a hotel in Little Tokyo, within walking distance of a bunch of stuff, including some breweries and art museums and a shit ton of ramen (unfortunately, the man is not a ramen fan).

We drove up and stopped at Left Coast Brewing in Irvine…

We had some food and drink. I went to college in Irvine and the men in blue business shirts still frighten me.

After we checked in, we checked out (ha!) two local breweries, Mumford Brewing…

And the Arts District Brewery…

Food was a little more complicated…we ended up back at the Arts District Brewery for food. Eh.

The Arts District area has a variety of restaurants…we just weren’t sold on anything. Well, except Salt and Straw (ice cream), which we had the next night. Not everything is fully open yet either. Although ramen. I could have had a lot of ramen. It’s OK.

We walked around the area a bit…lots of murals. And this neon artist, Lili Lakich

She likes the neon. And her work looks fun…

Our hotel was fine…

Clean and relatively quiet, considering the location. Good views of the haze that is LA. I should clarify that I grew up in LA County and that haze has been around for a LOOONG time.

The next morning, we eventually got up (no cats to stand on us) and headed out for breakfast. This mural is by Bunnie Reiss, who I follow on Instagram.

First time I’ve seen one of her pieces in person…very cool.

We aimed for Grand Central Food Hall, to try out Eggslut.

It was OK. I know. Both my kids think I’m crazy, but it was just OK. Better than McD’s or Starbucks, yes. $10 better? Eh. That juice, by the way…sometimes when they say “triple ginger”, I’m like yah, sure, and it really isn’t that gingery. This was. Totally. More ginger than I’ve ever had. Overpoweringly gingery. ALL the gingers. Not from Eggslut though…juice place across from it in the Food Hall.

So then we had to decide what to do with the rest of our day. It was warm, we were warm, we were kinda tired, the man is sad about his knee, all the things. So we went to The Last Bookstore

It was also OK. I wasn’t really in the mood to shop. I don’t need to OWN more books. I’d like to read more though. There were some interesting art and shops upstairs. Worth a look.

And more murals.

We headed back to Grand Central for a drink (chai for me, beer for the man from a brewing company he recognized) before booking free tickets at MOCA and The Broad (don’t pronounce it wrong…if you’re not from LA, you might not know. OK, I didn’t know.). Some contemporary art? Sure. Especially in air conditioning. Plus things to look at.

Ah ha ha. SEE what I did there? Yeah. I know. Corny. Diet Piece: Moral Kinship, by Samara Golden.

I saw many cool things there. An Asawa. Never seen one in person.

Part of Cromosaturacion by Carlos Cruz-Diez. Green makes your hands look really weird.

Oh yeah, here’s the drawing I did in all the breweries the day before…

And then waiting for The Broad appointed time, we sat in a grove of 100-year-old olive trees and I drew one of them…

Yeah, no leaves. I didn’t get to those.

The Broad was great. I really enjoyed it.

I think the man is not as into contemporary art as I am. Gotta love some Jeff Koons.

There was some Kara Walker, which I’d never seen in person…

Oh man. Amazing stuff.

Just a fun museum.

We asked the staff about these lumps and they didn’t know what they were called and whether they were by an artist or the architects, just that they were watered daily, and yes, dogs pee on them and kids climb on them. Turns out they are called eruptions and they are part of the architectural design.

Even the crosswalks are artsy…

We walked past the Walt Disney center…

It was hotter on that block.

Cool flower…very few plantings in downtown LA. Probably what makes it feel hotter than it is. Plus lots of buildings.

Lots of street art though. I do love me some street art.

That night, we tried Angel City Brewery, which had been closed the day before.

They have a nice outdoor space. We ate there too, but eh. Basically food for three days: Eh. The ice cream at Salt and Straw was amazing. Everything else was eh. Even the chai. Ah well. I should ask the man about the beer. He did not wax poetic. That said, we got out of town and did some things. So that is always worth it. Although one of the things we did was watch Saturday Night Fever (my god, was it always that sexist?) and the sequel (you didn’t even KNOW there was a sequel…feel free to skip it) and something else. And there was air conditioning, which there isn’t here. So that’s good.

And lots of street art and mural. All good.

And then we drove home on Friday through crappy traffic that could have been worse. I finished the binding on the third quilt in the hotel and delivered them all to the photographer this morning. Oh yeah, I drew at Angel City…

I liked the wings on that heart mural.

And then this morning, I found out why all my clean laundry has cat hair on it.

Not really a shocker, but she hasn’t been a laundry basket sleeper before. Much. Ah well. A sign that I should put my clothes away.

Today is quickly disappearing, but we’re gonna walk some and art some and IDK what else, probably watch some bad movie. Oh yeah, and I have Bee Gees songs recurring in my head over and over again and it’s driving me crazy. If I can’t have you, I don’t want nobody baby… Otherwise, it’s all good. One month until I’m in a classroom with kids. Seems like a mistake. More like a woman to me…

Dinah Sargeant at College of the Canyons

I have some favorite artists out there. One of them is Dinah Sargeant, whose work I’d seen on and off in books (Quilt National, Quilt Visions, etc.) over the years. I think the first piece of hers that I saw in person was in SAQA’s traveling exhibit Creative Force, which included one of my pieces as well. I stared at hers for a long time…her work seems to ask for that level of attention. I had the pleasure of finally meeting her at the Visions opening last October.

I saw a notice of a solo show of hers up in the Los Angeles area, opening last weekend, and I thought about going up there. It was the first day of my Spring Break; plus we have friends up there that we rarely see. It’s a trek to LaLa Land, but it seemed like something that was worth doing, so we headed out Saturday morning.

The exhibit is at College of the Canyons Art Gallery in Santa Clarita, California, and runs through April 25. The exhibit may be viewed Mon-Thurs 11:00-3:00 or by appointment. I know the hours are limited, but it’s worth making a call to see it.

The exhibit was well worth it. I’ve never seen so many Sargeant pieces in one place, and I had never seen one of her dolls in person, only in pictures. Both fare much better in real life, and the gallery was well-lit and a big, open space that was well-suited to standing back and giving her work some space.

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Her dolls invite careful examination…there are so many details and the hands are fascinating…

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Her website has closeups of many of the dolls (I was not great at taking photos, again!). I did get a closeup of this one’s face and heart area…

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The arrows shooting off the head and heart area, combined with the hand-stitching on the face (and the beautiful quilts behind!) made this doll one of my favorites (of course, I forgot to get its name).

This is 2-Be…a much darker doll, with a plastic belly ball full of liquid and fetus…

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Behind her is Seer and Fledgling…here is a better picture of Fledgling…

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But even that doesn’t do the piece justice. The color vibrated in the light-filled gallery. The face is enigmatic; the figures are vague shapes, but even then, it is clear that the figure holds a bird and a nest is behind. Someone is being helped out of the nest.

Echo was another favorite of mine, with the dogs in the bottom left and the ribbons spiraling throughout, seeming to encircle imaginary figures.

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It’s interesting that I never saw the face in the bottom right until I was looking at the photo here. There is so much depth of color and imagery in her work that it takes a long stare to believe you’ve seen all of the piece. Like I said, these are so much more alive and intriguing in person…I am so glad I went up to see this exhibit.

This piece, Link, was installed under beautiful natural light, which highlighted the colors and depth of dye throughout.

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There is a sense of escape in the birdlike creatures who fly up, while the other figures sit in their glass domes, connected only by the orange line.

This gives you a better idea of the space given to each piece…it’s amazing how clean white walls enhance the work.

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Orbit is the doll on the left, and the quilt is Tentacle Woman.

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The movement in Sargeant’s quilts is part of what draws me to them, along with the use of color and abstraction. You know there is a great deal of emotion in these quilts, as they try to communicate with you. They just keep pulling me back to try to make sense of the message.

I recommend the exhibit…it’s worth a trip if you are in the Los Angeles area. I will be enjoying another one of her pieces at Quilt National in May.