Home is where the art is.
The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest." ~ Thomas Moore ...
I have a special affinity for the homes and workplaces of artists. It is there that I get closest to the essentials of a creative and imaginative mind. There are instances when a house and an artist find each other and something special occurs; an intertwining relationship that resonates in an indelible way.
As a young man, I visited Pablo Neruda's house in a town called Isla Negra on the coast of Chile. The collection of nautical items, rocks, multi colored bottles found objects and books he had assembled there was famous and the site had become a shrine. I am sure that the visit to Neruda’s home helped catalyze some of the practices I engage in personally as an artist. These are practices that are universally engaged in, one way or another, by artists across all disciplines, yet they are often left outside discussions about art and creativity.
Today it is widely understood that the work of artists such as Frida Kahlo or Georgia O’keeffe can be more readily appreciated when we look at the circumstances of their relationships and surroundings. Both women left behind an aesthetic legacy that is not confined to their paintings. Instead, culture, landscape, love and family give us insights into where they sourced both vision and faith.
From this perspective, the work of artists can’t be judged by the building of career or by exhibitions and catalogs left behind. Instead, we have the opportunity to enter worlds that are much richer, interesting and in the end, useful. There are clear sacrifices and challenges that face artists who become parents and in particular women artists who become mothers. Becoming responsible for the lives of others, keeping a home, growing a garden, marks all of us, not just artists, but artists sometimes are able to reflect these changes in both their art and their home- making and in so doing allow all of us a glimpse into human possibility.
There are many examples of this kind of revelation in Venice California. Some are well known and possibly world famous, while others exist quietly and are seldom seen.
Coming up on April 14th, the home and studio of Mary Fama in Venice will be open for the public to experience a special intertwining of art and life. Superior Avenue has some of the oldest houses in Venice and three generations related to the Lennon Sisters have made their homes on the street. Mary bought one of the Lennon Family houses more than 15 years ago and has transformed the century old Craftsman into a compelling studio, home and garden.
Mary Fama perhaps exemplifies the artist who’s work has been kept in the background waiting for its time. Fama is known for the iconic restaurants she started when she first came to Venice, Rockenwagner was one of the restaurants that began the transformation of Abbot Kinney Boulevard while Fama occupied a space in downtown Santa Monica. All the while Mary was raising her children and continuing her practice as an artist.
In countless ways, Fama’s work reflects her surroundings and life experiences, with unique viewpoints of both the larger landscapes we are surrounded by in Venice and the smaller worlds occupied in her gardens. Her carefully wrought works reflect a lifelong study of anatomy, landscape and light, while providing viewers with literate, informed and soulful reflections of our social culture.
John Vester the singer/ songwriter known locally for his work with the band Venice and his long collaborative relationship with Mark Lennon will end the afternoon salon with a house concert of his music. John's trademark, simple, straightforward, picture-painting style of songwriting is a perfect pairing for Fama’s pictorial imagery. Performing with John will be his partner Maria Vester and special guests Ron Sachs and Jan Hunter. There are rumours of other guest artists as well.
Both Fama and Vester exemplify the work of mature and skilled artists that for decades have provided the backbone of the Venice arts community. Quietly and skillfully they create art and music that audiences immediately recognize as valuable and important. Perhaps you will not see them on the social media or the airwaves, instead they are just around the corner in a house that will open its doors and welcome you home.
A Piece of the Sky
Salon and House Concert Sunday April 14th 2:30 – 6pm
House of Mary 2234 Superior Avenue Venice Ca 90291
for information please call 310 995 6642