We glance to the right while walking east on Colorado Boulevard, just before the corner at Hudson Avenue. “790 Colorado” the silver signage says, listing below some tax consultants and a number to call for executive suites. Yet it’s the irregular bobbing and weaving of two red balloons attached to a makeshift easel that catches our attention. A purple arrow points the way. We look right. Right into an empty corporate space. What’s that through the window? It’s rather dark, in shadow. It looks like a cluster of chairs.
We walk into “You Are Here” and sitting in two straight-back chairs set on a Persian rug are Holly Boruck, founder of Surrogate Gallery Projects and the show’s curator Erika Lizée. This is Boruck’s fourth exhibition, the fourth time she’s invited artists to participate in an exhibit, then sought, fished, and jumped through hoops in order to secure an unused space in which she could create a temporary gallery—free and open to the community.
This current location is truly spacious with floor to ceiling windows on two sides, a rough cement floor, and rambling square footage. To be blunt, our first impression is that the space seems hollow—which means we’re enjoying the experience already.
We chat briefly with Boruck and Lizée, then take a walk…
Lizée is an admirer of Billy Collins. “He’s funny, an observer. He makes the mundane poignant, and he’s a great ‘absorber’ of the world.”
“You Are Here” is inspired by one of his poems…
by Billy Collins
Sometimes I see it as a straight line
drawn with a pencil and a ruler
transecting the circle of the world
or as a finger piercing
a smoke ring, casual, inquisitive
but then the sun will come out
or the phone will ring
and I will cease to wonder
if it is one thing,
a large ball of air and memory,
or many things,
a string of small farming towns,
a dark road winding through them.
Let us say it is a field
I have been hoeing every day,
hoeing and singing,
then going to sleep in one of its furrows,
or now that it is more than half over,
a partially open door,
rain dripping from eaves.
Like yours, it could be anything,
a nest with one egg,
a hallway that leads to a thousand rooms—
whatever happens to float into view
when I close my eyes
or look out a window for more than a few minutes,
so that some days I think
it must be everything and nothing at once.
But this morning, sitting up in bed,
wearing my black sweater and my glasses,
the curtains drawn and the windows up,
I am a lake, mu poem is an empty boat,
and my life is the breeze that blows
through the whole scene
stirring everything it touches—
the surface of the water, the limp sail,
even the heavy, leafy trees along the shore.
Lizée is Surrogate Project Gallery’s first guest curator. She’s the Associate Professor of Art at Moorpark College and Director of the Moorpark College Art Gallery, and also teaches gallery practices. According to Boruck, “she was awarded a sabbatical specifically to work with Surrogate Gallery Projects to learn the process of creating a pop-up exhibition so she can take this knowledge to her community in Moorpark.”
Producing art exhibits in a leased space is one thing, creating art shows in spaces that are different every time is quite a different type of challenge. How does one work with the space one secures for this finite period of time? What will be the issues when hanging work? What about lighting? What work will actually succeed in the space?
Lizée’s choices do work: the variation of styles and mediums, from oil and acrylic to ink and graphite, from bright to subtle, from near photographic to whimsical and abstract. Even the differing sizes, from minute to large; the works snag one’s attention and hold their own, as they hang right next to each other, as well as taken as a whole in the vast raw space.
“You Are Here” asks the question, from where does inspiration come? Whether the final works are realistic or abstract, the participating artists have pulled from their immediate environment—examining and reacting, interpreting and reflecting. With a literal or impressionistic eye, creating is interpreting, and in “You Are Here,” viewers are offered a glimpse through the filters in which these artists view the world around them.
Surrogate Gallery Projects: “You Are Here”
Through June 18
Closing reception, June 18th, 4-7 p.m.
790 e. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Thursday, noon-5 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4-6 p.m.
For more info, visit Surrogate-Gallery-Projects.com