Just Four Show

By Patricia B. Dwyer

From a gallery in the Gaslamp to museums in Balboa Park , here are four upcoming openings that confirm the art beat is pulsing through San Diego.

11/3-1/30: Tim Cantor
The Art of Tim Cantor, Gaslamp
timcantor.com

San Diego artist Tim Cantor adopts painting methods used by artists in the 1500s to create dark and magical imagery. Using pigments imported from Europe, he spends as much as two years applying up to 30 layers of paint onto wood paneling to produce powerful, moody scenes.

"I'm really attracted to dramatic imagery," says Cantor, "but there's always two sides to it. Half the public sways toward the darker side, and half the public sees the lighter and the goodness in the painting. That's exactly what I'm after."

Cantor says the upcoming exhibition of his work, which will be on display at his gallery in the Gaslamp, is his "most powerful collection so far." The November 3 opening coincides with the release of Cantor's second book, Tim Cantor, Paintings and Writings, which comprises never-before-seen works, sketches and poetry that trace his maturation as an artist.

11/10-12/29: Kelsey Brookes
"Serotonin; Happiness and Spiritual States"
Quint Gallery, La Jolla
quintgallery.com

Six years ago, Kelsey Brookes quit his job at a Mira Mesa biotech company to make art. Take that, American Dream.

Hints of the North Park artist's scientific background come through in "Serotonin; Happiness and Spiritual States," a collection of Brooke's paintings depicting the molecular structures of hallucinogenic drugs and the neurotransmitter serotonin.

"It just happened a little more naturally than actively mining a psychedelic experience and trying to represent that on a canvas," Brookes says. "It comes from a different place. I haven't quite figured out exactly what's going on, but you can tap into it without having to do all those drugs."

Brookes uses phosphorescent paint, radiating lines and meticulous detailing to portray the molecules, conveying the palpable hallucinogenic substances as well as the experience and culture associated with ingesting them.

"Just expect a lot of color, a lot of really, really intense details and a little bit of fun," he says.

11/10-2/10: "Behold, America!"
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, mcasd.org
San Diego Museum of Art, sdmart.org
Timken Museum of Art, timkenmuseum.org

Three of San Diego's largest art museums are pooling their resources to create an exhibition that will span all of their locations and display more than 250 years of American art.a

Highlighting pieces from their permanent collections, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) and the Timken Museum of Art will display 175 paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, pastels, watercolors, installations and more.

"It's a great way to connect with American identity, culture and history," says Amy Galpin, associate curator for art of the Americas at SDMA. "In many ways, it's a visual history of the United States."

Because the exhibition will be split into three sections - forms, figures and frontiers, with each museum showcasing one section - viewers will be able to compare similar pieces created centuries apart and get a sense of the progression of artistic expression in the U.S.

11/10-2/10: Charles Reiffel
"An American Post-Impressionist"
San Diego Museum of Art
sdmart.org

Charles Reiffel's paintings may appear tame to today's viewers, but in the 1920s to 1940s, they were considered radical.

Reiffel was a post-impressionist, meaning he didn't depict life exactly as-is, but rather used vibrant colors, abstraction of forms and loose brushwork to create vivid and expressive scenes. Critics of his day either praised him as an "American Van Gogh" or shunned his work and considered him "too modern."

"Reiffel's landscapes, whether modest sketches or monumental murals, appear to vibrate and pulse with life," says Ariel Plotek, assistant curator at the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA). "An energy and vitality is communicated by means of both color and composition."

More than 90 of the artist's watercolors, paintings and sketches from SDMA's permanent collection will be on display along with loans from The San Diego History Center, private collectors and public institutions across the country.

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