Some windows look out to a perfect view of a mountain or the sea but more often, windows look over drab concrete, joyless structures and cheerless mud. Even a barren landscape, however, can become fascinating when framed aesthetically.
From the window of their shared studio, Keb Cerda, Dale Erispe, and John Marin have a full view of the house across the street, which they find intriguing but also annoying. This contradicting view from their window is what prompted their exhibit, Locale. Their studio is the locale or place where things happen, where stuff are made, where ideas become paintings, and where the view from their window transforms into something else completely.
Instead of painting the actual view from their studio window, they painted from cropped images of local landscapes, roads, architectures and random scenery. Their paintings can be distinguished by color or lack thereof: Cerda’s paintings are sepia, Erispe’s are colored, while Marin’s are black and white. Put together, the paintings are a montage showing multiple views at once, not unlike a computer interface. The paintings may appear picturesque at first glance but upon closer observation, evoke doom and desolation. Some of the images, in fact, are of World War II ruins. Others are taken from travel photos while cycling (a hobby they share), hinting at joy and exhilaration.
The forty 12 x 9 inch paintings are arranged like a grid or a puzzle that does not piece together yet blend in. They are mounted on the wall with a pair of venetian blinds to simulate a picture window. Installed on the opposite side are different types of unprepossessing chairs that transform the gallery into a living room and invite viewers to sit down and enjoy the scenery. Or one can shut the blinds and hide the paintings from view. A recurring motif in the history of painting, the window is a potent symbol that echoes the shape of the canvas and reveals a world outside and a world within. It is a metaphor for human curiosity and functions as a threshold between the world of the observers and the world of the observed.