Off To The Office
Mark Bava's sculpture offers reflections on the rat race.
Thursday, July 16, 1998
Mark Bava''s work is unlike that of most Monterey-area artists. Instead of drawing inspiration from the region''s natural beauty, Bava''s work--at least the body of his work currently on display at the Sculpture House and Gardens in Carmel Highlands--focuses on the corporate-controlled, urban 9-to-5 rat race that detaches, dehumanizes, and de-individualizes people.
Bava claims Italian sculptor Giacometti as one of his favorite artists, and the Italian master''s influence is obvious. Several of Bava''s pieces copy closely Giacometti''s elongated human forms, and even in pieces that don''t follow Giacometti''s style, Bava exhibits a similar penchant for experimenting with space and mass. Some of his human figures are shortened and broadened, even as they remain largely two-dimensional.
Bava leaves Giacometti''s shadow, however, in the social issues he tackles. Whereas Giacometti was primarily interested in exploring how we visually perceive the world, Bava''s work comments on the individual''s place in society today. His human figures, even those that are sculpted with a second human figure, exist independently of anyone around them. The image-conscious, money-centered, modern world has divided and conquered their souls. As he explains it, "There tends to be an air of loneliness in some of [my] figures. The characters are frequently ones who have brought themselves to a sealed fate, as it were."
In his piece "Teamwork," two businessmen stand in can-do postures. While their broad-shouldered business suits give them confidence that their team can conquer any business problem, there is no rapport between them; they are more business-suited drones than they are humans. Their heads are too small for their bodies, and they have no facial features. The flattened, two-dimensional quality of the figures completes the effect.
"Off to the Office" portrays similar worker-drones, although the forms are radically different from those in "Teamwork." In "Off to the Office," an overly tall, thin Giacometti-esque man and woman stand side-by-side, each wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase. While they do have facial features, they are expressionless. They stand just inches from one another but look straight ahead, isolated in their own diminished bodies.
A handful of Bava''s pieces are currently on display at the Sculpture House and Gardens. A new, more abstract body of his work will be shown at the Monterey Conference Center beginning on July 26.
Pacific Grove Art Center "Four Points of View." Plein air paintings by Delia Bradford, Mary Lou Correia, Geri Keary and Shirley Nootbar; "Future Memories," abstract paintings by Psy; "Day''s End," coastal sunset photographs by David Gubernick; "A Diary of Near and Far," paintings and prints by Kristin Hayward. 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Reception: 7/17, 7pm. Through: 8/21.
Village Pub Oil paintings by Sofanya. During Sunday reception, Sofanya will demonstrate her "essence portraits." Highway 1, near the Big Sur River Inn, Big Sur. 626-2876. Reception: 7/19, 3pm. Through: 8/8.
Venture Art Gallery "I''d Rather be Sculpting." Abstract sculptures in several media by Ken Wiese. Resin-casting demonstration. 260 Alvarado Mall (in the DoubleTree Inn), Monterey. 372-6279. Reception: 7/18, 1:30pm. Through: 7/31.
Carmel Art Association "Monterey County: A Colorful Past." Recent work by CAA artists depicting MoCo''s historical landmarks and artifacts. Also, works by Eileen Catbagan, Mary FitzGerald Beach, Frieda Golding, Susan Jordan and Wilda Northrop. Dolores Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 8/5.
Carmel Valley Manor "The Canals of England." Color photographs and stories of English canals by Mary Adair. 8545 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel. 626-4711. Through: 7/31.
Chapman Gallery Works by SC Yuan, Hank Ketcham, Ron Elstad, Keith Lindberg and Colden Whitman. Also portrait artist Gail Reeves will be painting in the gallery every Saturday. 7th Avenue, between San Carlos and Mission streets, Carmel. 626-1766. Through: 9/6.
Fireside Gallery "Crossing the Mirror." The exhibit includes photographs from two bodies of work by Martha Casanave. One group features pinhole photographs of staged scenarios; the other, "Beware the Dog," includes close-up studies of peoples'' pooches. At the Highlands Inn, Highway 1, Carmel. 624-3801. Through: 7/27.
First Murphy House Turn-of-the-century summer dresses from the Gallery of Historic Costumes. Lincoln Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 624-4447. Through: 7/31.
Grove Homescapes Marilyn Barrett''s "up-close photo studies of rock formations" and Melissa Lofton''s paintings of the coastline. 472 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 656-0864. Through: 7/31.
Henry Miller Library "The Alchemy of Possibility." Paintings and art work from Carolyn Mary Kleefeld''s book of the same name. Highway 1, just south of Nepenthe, Big Sur. 667-2574. Through: 7/31.
Juice and Java Watercolors by Mary Ellen Okelberry. 599 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 373-8652. Through: 7/16.
La Mirada "Fragile Traditions: The Art of the Asmat." Traditional works by native people of New Guinea from the collection of Loet Vanderveen; "Armin Hansen and William Ritschel: California Paintings from the Permanent Collection," through 7/26; "Gardens as Art and Sacred Space," an exhibit that combines photography, painting, and mixed media installations that "rejoice in the extraordinary bloom of the garden, after our devastating winter." Featured artists are Elizabeth Murray, Mary Holmes, Susan Dorf and Jeanne J. Templeton. 720 Via Mirada, Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 7/17.
Monterey Museum of Art "Jo Mora: Artist and Writer." Collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures. Also works by Marie Brumund. Through 8/16. 559 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 9/6.
Morgan''s Coffee & Tea "Living and Breathing." Abstract paintings by Shane Ridenour. 498 Washington St., Monterey. 649-4613. Through: 7/31.
Pajaro Valley Gallery "Collective ''98: New Works by PVAC Members." Works in many media by members of the Pajaro Valley Arts Council. 37 Sudden St., Watsonville. 722-3062. Through: 8/15.
PG Museum of Natural History
"Leaping Elk, Dancing Men: Prehistoric Art of the Russian Altay." Photographs by Christopher Hulse. 165 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. 648-3116. Through: 8/16.
Rox Arcana Group show by members of Monterey Bay Metal Arts Guild featuring jewelry and other small metal works. Carmel Plaza, Ocean Avenue and Junipero Street, Carmel. 624-3122. Through: 7/31.
Sculpture House and Gardens "Spirit of the Human Form." All new works from Gay Gordon, Christopher Moon, Mark Bava and Jane Morba. Four miles south of Rio Road on Highway 1, Carmel Highlands. 624-2476. Through: 7/30.
Searle Art Watercolors by Mark Farina and works by his students from Carmel Adult School. 639 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 373-0126. Through: 7/31.
Seaside City Hall "We Color Outside the Lines." Works by Seaside Art Commissioners, past and present, including Walter Avery, Merlin Brown, Sandra Robinson Gray, Gloria C. Mattos Hughes, Patsy Hughes Irvine, Ed Krankshaw and Colleen Lingenfelter. 440 Harcourt Ave., Seaside. 899-6270. Through: 8/1.
Shallcross Gallery Abstract oil paintings and prints by Mira Kamada. Inside Galerie Monterey, 499 Calle Principal, Monterey. 655-0642. Through: 7/31.
Valley Art Gallery "Retro and Recent." Fiber art and basketry by Eloise Iverson. 218 Main St., Salinas. 455-1706. Through: 7/25.
Weston Gallery "Selected Artists." Photographic works by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Irving Penn, Yousouf Karsh, Paul Strand and Imogen Cunningham. 6th Avenue, between Dolores and Lincoln streets, Carmel. 623-4453. Through: 8/31.
Woman''s Wellspring Polaroid transfer photographs with hand painting by Clare Lerner. 575 Calle Principal, Monterey. 649-2320. Through: 7/31.
Zantman Art Galleries Figurative paingings by Jie Mei Wang. 6th Avenue and Mission Street, Carmel. 624-8314. Through: 8/14.