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5 Ojai Artists at The Art Center (4 of them OSA artists)

The Ojai Art Center is presenting a group exhibition of “5 Ojai Artists" Gayel Childress, Mark Thompson, Carlos Grasso and Bruce Tomkinson (from Ojai Studio Artists) + Peter Fox, from May 1 through June 2nd, 2021. (Ojai Art Center: 113 S. Montgomery St. Ojai, CA - Tues-Fri 10-4; Sat. & Sun. noon-4)

Through an interesting mixture of abstraction and representation, contemporary pottery and assemblages, mixed media and modern mandalas, this show tests the pulse of what is going on in Ojai’s art scene these days.

Mark Thompson: Painting, for me, begins with beauty. A person or place, real or imagined, draws me in. Inspires me, challenges me to create my personal vision. The fundamentals aren’t enough. Without passion and emotion, my work won’t resonate- for me or any viewer. Each painting is a leap of faith. The journey from inspiration to Art is intuitive. That first step is uncertain. I feel my way, brush stroke by brush stroke. When things go well, I’m In The Zone, focused, oblivious to time. How to begin? Where to end? There are no rules. I know it when I get there. Then I clean my brushes and wait for the next beautiful inspiration.

Gayel Childress: I will be exhibiting the first half of a planned series of 80 paintings, never seen before, a Tribute to "My Most Favorite Things”. I used one of my favorite painting mediums, Encaustic with wax crayons and trying to explore the Mola technique of the Panama Indians. The first half of my series include Favorite logos/Brands, Primitive/Ancient designs, Fish and Family.

Bruce Tomkinson: was born in L.A. and received his Bachelors and Masters in Design and Ceramics at U.C.L.A. He learned an appreciation for fine craftsmanship and classical functional form. These characteristics are hallmarks in his present work in porcelain and stoneware. Travels in Europe and Asia influenced the development of his style – primarily functional with sculptural elements that work within the confines of art objects, meant to be used in everyday life. Bruce is presently a Professor of Art at Santa Monica College. Tomkinson works with stoneware and porcelain material using the Raku technique.

Peter Fox: moved to Ojai in 2005 after a long career in Hollywood as an actor and playwright. Once here, he turned his creativity to found object art and his work has been seen at most art venues in the area, most recently at the Museum of Ventura County along with Carlos Grasso. He describes his process as putting 2 + 2 together into something other than 4. He lives with his wife Julie and two entitled cats.

Carlos Grasso: He defines himself as a “visual explorer”, combining shapes, materials and colors to create new tactile and visual experiences. The series presented in this show: “Mind Tapestries" is his most recent work, inspired by geometry, abstraction, ancient linguistic forms and inner inquiry. Over the years, Carlos has participated in numerous museum and gallery shows: LA Art Show - The Museum of Ventura County - The Santa Paula Museum - Ojai Valley Museum - OCCCA (Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts) - San Diego Art Institute. His collector base spreads throughout the United States.

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