Fine Art & Culture

Visual Expressions at The Merc

The monsoon that had engulfed Temecula for the last few days, lightened up to a drizzle for the Premier Exhibition of Visual Expressions 2010 at Gallery at the Merc. The gallery was mobbed with over 200 people in attendance, overflow was on the porch as there was simply no room inside.

Winding Down

The night wound down early to clear the space for the band in the back of the Merc. Photo by Natalie Mills


The premier of Visual Expressions 2010 was organized by Sissi Hale, event chairwomen and local artist. To meet Sissi for the first time was an experience; gregarious, convivial, riske, and opinionated were the words that came to mind as she hobbled around the art premier on one good leg, and another in a walking cast…part of her mystique as to what happened. Speaking with Sissi was a breath of fresh air as there is no guesswork where she stands on any given topic.

“I was either going to move to LA, or make something here. I can’t sell my house, so I made something here”, said Hale.

Good thing she stayed, the night was a huge success for furthering the Arts in Temecula.

Visual Expressions was a professional jurored art exhibition, with judges brought in from San Diego. Over 200 pieces were submitted for this show, from  56 artists. Sissy Hale curated in over 80 of the works.

Artist Danae Wilson came away with best of show for the piece ‘conflict’. Ironically named, as I felt a cohesion, rather than conflict. This painting tried to capture something that is only rarely seen in a painting, that of actual movement. Not implied movement, not brush strokes, but the actual act of a dancer skirting across the stage in full pageantry, leaving a swath of color in her wake.


One of the most daring techniques exhibited for the show by Danae Wilson. Photograph by Natalie Mills.


Feet away hung Danae’s ‘Transition’. A disturbing piece not on the surface but upon the interpretation. It reminded me of Escher combined with Second World War propaganda posters, it instilled a feeling of unease, falling, and hidden violence. More fascinating still because you are seeing familiar shapes, but are unable to view the drawing as a whole due to it’s jumbled masses and lack of basis in the version of reality that we are familiar with.


Juxtaposition of space is quite annoying if you have a logical and orderly brain. Photo by Natalie Mills


Blob with Spikes

This may not be the formal name for the piece, but what the hell is it, did not quite have the same ring. Every art show seems to have one of these pieces that makes you stop and stare, and wonder what the artist—sculptor and metal-worker in this case—was thinking. Organic, feminine, smooth flowing marble transitions to brass, with mushrooms sprouting out. Dr. Suesse would have approved.

Photo by Natalie Mills...maybe she knows what the hell it is!


Bird of Prey

Yes there is a Star Trek reference here. The sculptor has created a steel bird of prey, actually a eagle that closely resembles a space ship from the TV series. It’s a brilliant piece of metalwork by Austin Casson

Nicole Toesca presented a photograph of a brilliant white canvas tent with a stark blue sky peeking through. There is a metaphor here dying to get out.

Instead of driving all the way to San Diego or Los Angeles  to view fine art, save your gas money and stay in town. With the money you  saved, treat yourself to a  bottle of fine wine.

Parting notes, please no more burnt Swedish meatballs in art exhibitions.

3 thoughts on “Visual Expressions at The Merc

  1. Pingback: Danae Wilson Conqures Old Town Temecula. « Fear UTL, Love UTL

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