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Art openings this weekend in Rolling Hills Estates, Hermosa Beach, and El Segundo

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ZASK Amir KhordazadOn Saturday evening we’ll have an opportunity to answer that old Firesign Theatre riddle: How can you be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all? That’s because there are two local art shows opening on that day, both of them with receptions from 6 to 9 p.m. So, is it “Imagined Realities” at Zask Gallery in Rolling Hills Estates, or is it “Photography Fusion” at the Frame & Art Dept. in Hermosa Beach? Or maybe both, yes? As for the opening of “Truth” at the El Segundo Museum of Art in El Segundo, the only competition I know of – since it begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning – must come from the various houses of worship (or, to put it another way, Art or Religion?)

“Beauty and Sorrow,” by Kazu Tabu

“Beauty and Sorrow,” by Kazu Tabu

Zask up to the task

“For a number of years I have wanted to [feature] digitally-based new media,” says gallery owner Peggy Zask. “I have been looking for a good cross-section of approaches to fine art in computer-based technology by artists who are well grounded in the media.”

And now she feels she’s found the right amount and the right mix of artists.

“This show will include straight macro-lens photography, Photoshopped images creating bold abstractions and deconstructed narratives, 3D modeled sculpture, surreal digital paintings, video transformations of surface form and space, and mixed media work of conceptual and futuristic designs.

“I have an artist, Amir Khordazad, who is here for the first time from Iran,” Zask continues. “He got a visa to be present for the opening. His images are digitally Photoshopped (and) his subject matter often deals with the status of women in his country.”

Over the years, Zask has displayed the widest variety of art possible. No one can say that she has limited or restricted tastes.

“I am interested in the crossover of media and disciplines,” she adds; “media which may be more commonly used in the film industry, illustration and commercial design – exploring concepts such as futuristic architecture, science and spirituality, and bringing a fresh look to fine art.

“The conversations with artists who are working in these new media are inspiring, sparking the imagination and senses of the viewer to creative and progressive ideas from fantastic, futuristic urban concepts, to our struggle for spirituality and the fading presence of nature.”

Imagined Realities (in New Media) opens with a reception on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Zask Gallery, 550 Deep Valley Drive, #151, Rolling Hills Estates. An artists’ talk is scheduled for Sunday, May 26, from 5 to 7 p.m., and the No Strings Attached Dance Company will present a related program on Sunday, June 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. Call (310) 429-0973 or go to pszaskgallery.com.

“Waiting,” by Inga Gorsvans-Buell, at the Frame & Art Dept.

“Waiting,” by Inga Gorsvans-Buell, at the Frame & Art Dept.

A well-aimed camera

“I decided to get out and exhibit my work with other people who were in the same classes that I had been in,” says Gloria Plascencia. “We did an exhibition in 2011, then we did it in 2012, and this is our third year. I call it ‘Photography Fusion 2013 Showcase.’ We’ve asked people to showcase their best work because I decided, this time, to do a juried exhibition.”

Which means that there’s some prize money: $250, $100, and $50 (for first, second, and third place), the winners being announced at the reception.

“I wanted to create some excitement, a little competition in a way,” Plascencia explains. Her juror, Michael Quinn (photography professor at Cal State Fullerton and El Camino College), was one of her former instructors. “He’s a very strict professor and he’s very technical. I know that whoever wins is going to earn it.”

The Frame & Art Dept, where “Photography Fusion” is being held, is not known for its cavernous interior. Even so, Plascencia notes that she’ll be showing over 75 pieces, by about 27 artists. For the most part, they’re local, from the South Bay.

“Except that I went out on a limb and asked a professional photographer from France to join us.” This is Julie de Waroquier. “She has won a lot of awards, [and] she said yes.”

Although Waroquier began photographing only in 2008, she has already been shown outside of France in several European countries and the United Arab Emirates, among others. There is a poetic reverie that lingers in much of her work.

So far, all of the “Photography Fusion” shows have been in the Frame & Art Dept, which is owned and operated by Claudia, Juan, and Diego Trejo.

You’re a photographer yourself, and a curator as well?

“Yes. I consider myself an art curator,” Plascenia says, “and when I’m selecting the pieces I look for the technical aspect as well as the creative aspect.” If she doesn’t see the merit in work that someone submits she’ll let them know, but she’ll also encourage them to submit other images “with the hope that I see something coming through.”

You have to maintain your credibility as a curator. And of course you have to be open to all possibilities.

“That is true,” Plascencia replies. “Even if I don’t agree with the image I’m still looking at the technical aspect first, because it’s not for me to decide the content. That’s up to the artist.

“I really get [enthused] for people who are exhibiting for the first time,” she continues. “I just go back to 2011 when I was very excited to exhibit my own pieces. That’s really what I want to bring to the table for those people who have never exhibited.”

As for this particular show, Gloria Plascencia says that “It is a mix of amateurs, professionals, and aspiring [photographers]. Even students are in the mix.”

And they’ve all given it their best shot.

Photography Fusion 2013 “Showcase” opens with a reception on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Frame & Art Dept, 950 Aviation Blvd., Suite D, Hermosa Beach (across the street from the Ocean Diner). There is also a dance performance by Gabriela Simich and Ellen Bigelow at 7 p.m. The work is up through May 31. Call (310) 675-4200 or go to facebook.com/photography/fusion.

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