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A Dark Place, Well Lit-Candace Gawne on her artistic journey

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Candace Gawne talks about her art on Saturday at South Bay Contemporary GLORIA PLASCENCIA, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Candace Gawne talks about her art on Saturday at South Bay Contemporary
GLORIA PLASCENCIA, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

No bones about this, Candace Gawne – painter and neon artist – has been one of my favorite people for several years. A show of her neon work at El Camino College, a while back now, still remains fresh and vigorous in my memory.

Gawne is one of two featured artists (the other is Ellen November) at South Bay Contemporary who will be sharing the spotlight of an artists’ talk, showing their work and telling us what makes them tick.

“At 16, I was very serious about being an artist,” Gawne says. “Painfully, I tried to draw like the Masters. Drawing the human body meant everything to me and I created a schism with my family by not attending Immaculate Heart College because they did not have nude models. My mother gave me a suitcase for my 18th birthday so I sold all my possessions at the Rodium swap meet and moved out. I took the bus to El Camino College and studied life drawing with Mildred Walker for as many semesters as they let me.”

Later, Gawne found herself in the “gallery art system” with regular solo shows, and did this for maybe a decade. Then her neon work took precedence over her painting.

And now? “The images in my large oil and small encaustic paintings are scenes from my everyday life that have a life of their own inside me. In accord with the laws of physics, natural or manmade light defines form. For me, it also creates a special kind of abstract energy within the space it describes. I use this kind of living light energy coming into the darkness to symbolize transformation. The energy of ‘Light Entering the Dark’ is at the core of all my work.”

Hear this fascinating woman talk at 5 p.m. on Saturday at South Bay Contemporary, 550 Deep Valley Drive, Suite 151, Rolling Hills Estates. Ellen November then talks about her innovative quilt work at 6 p.m. Information, (310) 429-0973 or go to southbaycontemporary.com.

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