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Laguna artist will curate show at Guggenheim

Sculptor Nick Hernandez is curating show in Orange that will highlight art by him and fellow Lagunans Mia Tavanotti and Jorg Dubin.

May 17, 2012|By Joanna Clay
  • Nicholas Hernandez works on a sculpture of Chapman University Chancellor Ruebén Martinez in 2011.
Nicholas Hernandez works on a sculpture of Chapman University… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

Chapman University this month is offering a rare glimpse at Laguna Beach artists, curated by local sculptor Nick Hernandez.

Hernandez was given the opportunity to curate two shows at the college's Guggenheim Gallery.

The first show, "Immortal Coils," will focus on Hernandez, Mia Tavanotti and Jorg Dubin. Other artists include Mark Garry, Sia Abderazai, Chris Santley, Josh Hoy, Cassey Parlette and Christiana Lewis.

His second show, a Latino showcase, will open June 9. "We've got the fight, we've got the insight" will feature Felipe Castaneda, Nadia Jaime and Arturo Guevera among others.

Hernandez was given this opportunity after he received some other exciting and very unexpected news.

When he picked up his mail on Feb. 29, he thought it was any other day, so he put it aside and continued working in his studio.

The sculptor opened the letter, addressed from Chapman University that announced he would receive an honorary doctorate on May 19. The commencement coincides with the show's opening night.

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The sculptor, who has three statues on the Chapman campus, said it was an obvious choice to reach out to Dubin and Tavanotti, both instructors at the Laguna College of Art + Design.

"Jorg and Mia are two of the finest artists I've seen anywhere in the world," he said. "I recently was in China last year. I just don't find better. They are absolutely world class."

The name of the show, "Immortal Coils," was Dubin's idea.

"It was a play off the term 'mortal coil,' which refers to our mortality in life," he said. "Thinking about art and how it lives well beyond the time of the artist — I thought it was an interesting play on words."

Dubin is showing 10 to 12 paintings, he said, which date from the present back about three years.

Tavanotti describes Dubin's paintings as raw, gritty and said his feminine portraits offer a striking contrast to her own, which are more sensual and ethereal.

"We're all recently award-winning artists," she said. "I think the quality of the three of us together is exceptional."

Although people might scratch their heads a bit — talking about his friend Mark Garry's distinctive work in the exhibit — the show was never intended to be purely figurative. The purpose, he said, is to show high quality work by Orange County artists.

"This particular exhibition will show an interesting contrast of some more traditional techniques being done here, not based in the surf culture or the street culture of Southern California," he said. "It's important for people to come out and see it because this work isn't often presented in Orange County."

A party at Mozambique will follow the exhibit's Saturday night opening.

joanna.clay@latimes.com

Twitter: @joannaclay

If You Go

What: "Immortal Coils," featuring Nick Hernandez, Jorg Dubin and Mia Tavanotti

Where: Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange.

When: From May 19 through June 7. A reception will be held May 26 with the artists.

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