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Hansen: Art Walk is still about the art

January 26, 2012|By David Hansen

It's easy during the First Thursdays Art Walk in Laguna, especially after a few glasses of thin wine in plastic cups, to wonder what the fuss is about — until you actually look at some of the new art.

Quietly throughout town, the art scene is picking up.

North gallery row has seen some turnover, with everyone liking S Cube and JoAnne Artman. Farther south, there's the very creative saltfineart.

And now during winter, there is time to actually talk to the artist or hear the passion in the gallery owner's voice. There is no need to entertain summer crowds with Cirque du Soleil-type performances.

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"For me as an art dealer, I really keep things focused on the art and the artist," said Sue Greenwood. "I have never done all these sideshows, like having ballet groups or this or that. For us, I feel people are excited about seeing new, younger artists, so almost each month we're launching someone new. You can't keep recycling and doing the same thing."

Greenwood says her gallery gets about 200 people during Art Walk and does respectable business.

"Every First Thursday, I'll sell one to two, sometimes three paintings, and good people come through," she said.

Keeping things fresh is important.

"If I feel bored with a show, then our collectors are bored with a show," she said. "I think it's really important to stay focused on doing one thing really well."

Jared Linge of nearby S Cube agrees that keeping the art current is key, especially at S Cube, which is trying to make bold statements.

"Art Walk needs to be fresh because that is our ultimate presentation of when the public sees us," Linge said. "We are in a very tourist-oriented town and not in a place that is necessarily known for having serious contemporary art. There's a lot of plein air galleries and commercial galleries.

"Our serious clients are very much into the marriage between the visual intrigue, the conceptual intrigue, the narrative — there's so much more."

For example, at the gallery's downtown location, Art Cube, the featured artist will be Jocelyn Marsh's "Curiosities." Marsh is an L.A.-based artist who started out as a fiction writer.

According to a press release, "From an early age she wrote fantastical fiction stories that eventually translated into mythical creatures and tales told through sculpture."

If you have ever been to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, then you have an idea of Marsh's work.

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