San Diego Museum of Art / Summer Salon Series

“A Different Look at the Permanent Collection”
San Diego Museum of ArtSummer Salon Series
July 8, 2010


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I was invited to participate to the Summer Salon Series at the San Diego Museum of Art.Each artist or group of artists was invited for a one night event, held every Thursday during the whole summer. My project revolved around the use of the permanent collection of the museum. Everything was specially made for that evening.

I had banners made specially for the occasion, made a video (projected inside), projected images on the outside walls of the museum, had a workshop for people to participate to, invited a group of music, and a silk-screen printed who printed t-shirts on the spot as give aways.

A Different Look at the Permanent collection“is based on a selection of pieces constituting the museum’s permanent collection.

The people could chose between a t-shirt or a limited edition print (limited editions of 10 each on BFK Rives – 30 prints in total). One is the facade of the museum, one is based on “Mandragora” by Diego Rivera, the third one is based on “After many days” by Thomas Hart Benton.

My workshop took place in Gallery 16. The idea for the people participating to the workshop was to chose a painting which inspires them. To chose a detail or the whole painting and to make an interpretation in black and white of the chosen part. To keep only a few details. They had to draw shapes on a black card stock. Then they could cut the shapes and glue them on a white card stock. I would then take a picture of the person and her piece, in front of the chosen painting.

People told me it was great to work in that beautiful room, it was a “zen” workshop, engaging and open. I had a great time talking to people about the piece they were making. They were happy to be there and to share the moment. The quality of the work was amazing and the final “gallery” was really a beautiful piece!

video Lori Lipsman

“C’est La Vie” at the San Diego Art Institute

Solo Exhibition
San Diego Art Institute / Balboa Park / San Diego CA
Thursday, June 4, to Sunday, July 12, 2009

A San Diego Artist distills everyday moments and world events into a pure essence of color, space, and shadows, inspiring others to connect to the world around us.
Sandra Shrader, Under the Sun Magazine, June 2009.

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“C’est la Vie”, a site-specific project, 2009 – 45 feet
photos Leslie Ryan

Created and painted from a series of recent photographs of landscapes and of people, taken in San Diego and in the adjacent deserts, “C’est la Vie” proposes a series of snapshots of the way I see the place where I live.

The puzzle-like installation, made especially for the SDAI space, continues the exploration started with “Here it’s Peace”, my first solo show at the SDAI in June 2008, and with the ensemble of six large paintings “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” presented in the show “New Contemporaries II” (San Diego Art Prize 2009) at Noel-Baza Fine Art in February-March 2009.

“Correspondences and Elevation” at the San Diego Art Institute

An Installation of Paintings
San Diego Art Institute / Balboa Park / San Diego, CA
June 18 – July 18, 2010

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“Correspondences and Elevation” is a 40×12′ installation of paintings, from floor to ceiling. Each painting is either 60″x36″, 48″x36″ or 36″x36″. The series shown in this exhibition is comprised of paintings inspired by the Pacific ocean and the desert surrounding San Diego, where Michele Guieu lives. Her paintings question the relationship between the human beings and nature which echoes the catastrophe of the massive oil spill happening right now in the Gulf of Mexico.

Seas, oceans and deserts have always been part of Guieu’s life. She was born in Marseille, a French town on the Mediterranean sea. She then lived in Dakar for several years, on the Atlantic Ocean and in the Saharan desert. When living in Paris, she would often go to the Atlantic Ocean. Living in California, she now finds inspiration in both the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding deserts. She spends time watching people walking on the beach. In the desert, the people in the paintings are mostly her family.

Guieu is profoundly attached to empty landscapes and spaces. This attachment was given to her by her father at a young age. “The Flower of Evil”, where one can find “Elevation” and “Correspondences” was the first book of poems her father gave to her when she was in her early teens. She read “Elevation” at his funeral.

These two poems are a hymn to nature and also carry nostalgia and sadness for a lost paradise, which echoes what is happening right now in the Gulf of Mexico..

Michele Guieu takes photos wherever she goes. She then work these photos in Photoshop, keeping only the essential elements. In the end she paints the images on large canvases.

“When I started to organize the pieces that now constitute this series, I used canvases that were identical in height but variable in width. They fit together both physically and in content, like stanzas of a poem. Some of these paintings were originally created as diptychs, and the diptychs appear in their entirety here.

The arrangement and composition of this group of paintings invites change. This composition could absorb new paintings; pieces could be reorganized and presented differently in spaces of different proportions.

For this exhibition, I considered the dynamics of the space first and experimented with the size of the wall and the scale of the art, and the way one can read the piece as a whole from a distance and read each element when being up close.

Each element is a result of my experiments with outdoor spaces. This exhibition is an opportunity for me to experiment with bringing these elements into a relationship with indoor space.

I borrowed the title “Correspondences and Elevation” from two of my favorite Baudelaire poems. Those poems express a connection to a sequence of scenes from a life and a living landscape.”

“Correspondences” by Charles Baudelaire
“Elevation” by Charles Baudelaire

“Living Room with Ghost and no TV” / Vacancy 2

Vacancy 2 / group show
One Night / One vacant apartment / 15 artists
February 5, 2010

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About “Living Room with Ghost and no TV” or “Watching the campfire”

I worked in the living room. I created a mural about the “TV room”. TV is usually the central element at people’s houses. I personally do not watch TV but I wanted to use one as a “fireplace”, with a video of a campfire I took in Anza Borrego Desert a few weeks ago, when we were camping. So one TV is working, the other one is empty. 2 men are watching.

Sprinkled on the walls are a series of photos taken during dinner time, birthday parties, at family and friends’, at moments where the TV is turned off. Some small paintings are also on the wall.

I worked three days on the installation, and the show was only for one night. Then I painted the walls back to white.

The exhibition took place at Lori Lipsman‘s who curated and organized it. Four artists had one room each. A special project took place in the kitchen, the “Leftovers Project”. The concept for that project was to re-work some piece already made and transform it for the event.

“Lucy, Darwin and Me” at Art Produce Gallery

December 12, 2009 – January 24, 2010

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On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publishing of On the Origin of Species, Michele Guieu puts together a show, “Lucy, Darwin and Me,” that celebrates our origins and biodiversity, and evokes the years she spent in Africa, including the trips she took to the Sahara desert with her geologist father and her biologist mother. Michele’s time in Africa coincided with the discovery of the skeleton known as Lucy, the oldest hominid found at the time and named for the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

In this show, constructed like a natural history museum exhibition, Guieu is at the same time the designer, the curator and the artist. And through it, she recalls her formative adolescent years spent in the Sahara with her father and with her family, finding fossils and sleeping under the stars.

The show is a two-room installation, comprised of a series of drawings scattered within a mural and a large cloud of text, period photos from the Sahara, family artifacts, and selected short videos.

Michele Guieu is a San Diego Art Prize 2009 nominee. The show was made possible by collaboration between Patricia Frischer from the San Diego Visual Art Networks (SDVAN), and Lynn Susholtz, director of the Art Produce Gallery. In 2009, Art Produce Gallery has been honored with an Orchid award in the category of Public Art by the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

Michele describes “Lucy, Darwin and Me” as very autobiographical. She says, “I was raised in a family where I always heard about evolution, species and continental drift. It is a natural part of my life. I find it interesting that the country where I live today is profoundly divided about the notion of evolution.

“I started to really consider working specifically for a space with the mural for the San Diego Art Prize show at Noel Baza Fine Art last February. I continued on the same path at the SDAI with my solo show “C’est la Vie”, in June 2009.

“For this show I worked with the specifics of both rooms in the gallery. I use the long wall in the first room for the mural. In the second room, smaller and more intimate, I show the photos of my father and family in Africa circa 1975 and a series of artifacts found in the desert or belonging to my father.”

About the opening festivities, Michele Guieu says: “I believe in bringing energies together, and for that reason, I was very interested in including the music I was listening to and the tales and stories I read when I was a teenager, living in Senegal. I want to share some of this very rich culture by inviting other artists to participate in the event.

“I am thrilled that Leslie Ryan and Deborah Forster accepted the proposition to organize a panel discussion on the occasion of the show. It brings a scientific perspective on evolution to the show and offers the occasion to reflect together on a subject which touches our everyday life.

The gallery events happening around this show are the result of a desire to make the community participate and to open the dialogue. Art Produce is definitely community oriented and this important goal suits very well what I am looking for with my work.

Michele adds: “I am interested in making ephemeral elements, like murals in a gallery. It makes the work less sacred. In this show I wanted to mix different techniques (photo, video, drawing, painting), to create a museum-like ambiance. The first room is inviting from the outside; the second room is more intimate.”

Art Produce Gallery
3139 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 584 4448

San Diego Art Prize 2009 – New Contemporaries II

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”
San Diego Art Prize 2009 – New Contemporaries II
Group exhibition: 13 artists nominated
Noel-Baza Fine Art Gallery, San Diego, CA
Feb 18 to March 21, 2009

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“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”,
Ensemble of six paintings, mixed media on canvas

Artists: David Adey, Tania Alcala, Michele Guieu, Keikichi Honna, Omar Pimienta, Daniel Ruanova, Marisol Rendon, Tara Smith, Matt Stallings, K.V. Tomney, Jen Trute, Gustabo Velasquez, Yuransky.

Presented by the San Diego Visual Arts Network
and Noel-Baza Fine Art