you seeking some peace and quiet after listening to fireworks blast across our
horizon? If so, the VillaTerraceDecorativeArtsMuseum
(2220 N. Terrace Ave.
is the place to be, particularly in July, when the RenaissanceGarden
reaches its full beauty and the west-facing Mercury Court
explodes with color in this
1923 Italian-Renaissance-style villa.
now through Sept. 14, the exhibit “Rituals & Meditations: Works by Richard
Bolingbroke & Imari Bowls from the Permanent Collection” provides a perfect
pairing, similar to the colorful big bangs defining our night sky… without the
big bangs of course.
a painter from San Francisco,
was on-site during my review. Tall and slender, he’s a Zen kind of chap who had
much to say about his numerous watercolors (ranging from 60-by-40 inches and
downward). His paintings, brought to life from his studio still-life
arrangements (“a ritualized space for working,” he says), are carefully
constructed and wildly colorful. Orchids and lemons, cranes, koi and kimonos
crowd the work, but never suffocate it. There are ample spaces left free for
meditating, a discipline practiced frequently by the artist, who is a follower
of Rumi, a Sufi mystic.
work, both quiet and energetic, finds focus from the mandellas of India, where
the artist lived for five years. Lining the hall on floor two are several
watercolors depicting skulls, bones and thorny limbs from black locust trees.
They reference pain and the loss of friends stricken with AIDS. One such
memorial, the starkly simple Circle of
Life, says it all, and says it well in grayed-down tones. Rather than being
maudlin, it’s hopeful.
Imari ware, embellished primarily in red, blue and gold, is almost incidental
to this show, but the pieces are modestly displayed and don’t duel with the
lush paintings. As I exited via the hallway, I passed one simple bowl, Rice Bowl, embellished with a Dutch
vessel under full sail. Bound for European markets from Imari, the Japanese
port that exported loads of
porcelains in the mid-1600s, the tiny vessel has a tale to tell.