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Department of Cultural Affairs Presents LA River Paintings and Photographs at The City Hall Bridge Gallery
Mary Austin Klein’s paintings on view at City Hall Bridge Gallery.

LOS ANGELES.- The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is pleased to present the exhibition LA River Paintings and Photographs at the City Hall Bridge Gallery, featuring the works of the Los Angeles artists Mary-Austin Klein, David Jonason, Georgia Love, Martin Cox, Ann Mitchel, Oscar Alvarez, and Angelica Esquivias. The exhibit, featuring oil on canvas paintings, photographs, as well as mixed media imaging, demonstrates each artists’ ability to create artworks that are inspired by the Los Angeles River.

Most of the world’s largest cities, past and present, can be found along the coastal areas, fed by the rivers that criss-cross the cities, penetrating and giving life to the inner ecosystem. The LA River route is encased in a massive elongated stretch of concrete walls, and modern architecture; including bridges, canals, dams, parks, and renovated natural streams and estuaries. The LA River is a prime illustration of the modern human interaction with its natural resources. This interaction has been the subject and inspiration of numerous artists, which are as diverse as the cultural mixing of artistic ideas that are found through out the city.

This art-within-art serves as a continuing representation of the constant evolution of the city as is captured in the paintings, photographs, and works of inspired artists that call Los Angeles their home. Some artists focus their works on the strange juxtaposition of natural beauty with industrial decay, while others depict the harsh truth of the camera eye: graffiti, sewage, run off, pollution, and trash dumping. Many of these contemporary artists highlight the desires of many residents to beautify the LA River. The bridges have served as a source of inspiration to many artists as unification between communities, ideals, and interests.

Mary Austin Klein’s landscape paintings have brought her to the forefront of celebrated Los Angeles regional artists. Mary’s appreciation of the city’s architecture, and natural beauty is brilliantly illustrated through out her paintings. Mary studied at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design. After graduating in 1991 from Otis with a degree in fine art, she painted urban scenes of Los Angeles. Mary A. Klein is also an active member of the Echo Park Historical Society, and a dedicated member for the board of directors for the California Wilderness Coalition. Her exploration of the Californian environment encouraged her to record the ever-changing Los Angeles landscapes in the form of oil on canvas paintings. Mary’s unique style of painting depicts the Angelenos wide view of the LA urban landscape, the broad range of challenges it faces, and the unique way Angelenos see these landscapes as real estate.

Born in Southampton, England, Photographer Martin Cox was raised with a fascination for geography, ships, tidal areas, and the local fauna. Inspired by the arts, Cox studied at the Winchester School of Art, followed by a 3-year degree at the Exeter College of Art & Design, in Devon. In London, Martin Cox embarked on a two-person performance art exhibition of his early works. Recurring themes in his work include his photographic work in relationship to landscape, translation, and urban decay. Moving to Los Angeles, Martin Cox continued his interest in landscapes with his photographic exploration of forgotten areas of the Colorado Desert, and a lifetime fascination with maritime research. Cox’s realistic approach to photography enables him to represent a unique and honest view of maritime life, the landscapes of leisure, and conventional technology. Martin’s admiration for the oceanic environment has carried his research from London, to the United States, up to China, Manila, and Hong Kong.

David Jonason is an architectural artist who combines his appreciation of architecture and design with a keen artistic talent for creating evocative paintings that transcend the angles and shapes of his subject buildings. Jonason is a Los Angeles native, residing in Mendocino California. David was inspired as a child by the memories of the grand buildings of the earlier eras. It is no surprise that Jonason turns his artistic talents to celebrating a diverse selection of architectural landmarks. His paintings are influenced by Cubism, Art Deco, and the works of the Precisionist Painters.

Ann Mitchell is a distinguished Photographer, Professor, and curator. Ann began her education in photography at the Art Center College of Design in 1984, followed by her completion of her MFA at the Claremont Graduate University in 1997. Ann Mitchell is an Associate Professor of Art, and a Photography Program Coordinator at Long Beach City College. Ann’s eminent body of work is inspired by modern landscapes and infrastructures, and the ideas of beauty and identity that they represent. Captured by her camera, Ann Mitchell’s photographs explore our constant interaction with nature, and the perceptions that are evoked in the exploration of our environment. Her work is a unique experience between human infrastructures and the surrounding natural terrain.

Oscar Alcaraz is a young Photography student at Long Beach City College, California. His love for the arts, specifically photography, began in high school, where he took his first photography class, and his first black and white photo. Oscar enjoys all aspects of photography, with a strong concentration on urban landscapes. He is currently exploring the Los Angeles city landscape in black and white with his vintage Holga camera. Each of Oscar’s photographs captures a unique interaction with the urban landscape he frequents for his work.

This exhibition is curated by Juan Garcia, co-owner of Metro Gallery. The exhibition will run from June 12 through July 11, 2008. For more information about the exhibition the public should call Metro Gallery at 323.663.2787.

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