The Business of Art  
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Art Reviews

April 7, 2014
Amanda Yamashita
by Gloria Gales for

Humans Being
Biola University
The Earl & Virginia Green Art Gallery
La Mirada, CA

With the confidence of youth, Amanda Yamashita decided not to play it safe with her senior year exhibition at Biola. At first glance, the large hanging sculpture appears light and free-flowing; like a collection of white beach stones, but with the property of helium. Upon closer inspection the clusters gain weight and mass. The fabric and flour creation has a lifelike quality; fleshy organs or perhaps overgrown mushrooms.

This instrument of imagination proposes three types of visual play.
Viewed from afar we regard the entire shape. The outer structure catches the light and brings about a luminous appearance that is enhanced by the depth of the shadows within. It drapes carelessly from the ceiling, seemingly delicate, but so massive that it demands your attention.
Adding to the interest are the shadows cast on the walls, appearing like adjacent cypress trees.
Finally, the copious amount of doughy-soft shapes, independent yet connected, like a bunch of grapes.

untitled, nylon, flour and wire, approx. 41" x 110"

Amanda's training began with portrait drawing and expanded while studying at Biola to include multi-media work. She is someone who seems to enjoy the creative process without becoming too attached to her work. After a show in New York (her first) she destroyed most of the pieces as if to say, "That was then, now let's move on."

She is not the first artist to unceremoniously erase her work. Bulgarian artist Christo is famous for his major art installations that are made to be enjoyed, and then are dismantled to remain only in one's memory and in photographs.

It will be interesting to follow the art career of Amanda Yamashita, an emerging artist with many years ahead and many visual stories to tell.

click on the link below to see
Amanda talking about her art...

June 21, 2013
Christopher McVinish
by Gloria Gales for

Truth in Storytelling: The Urban Landscape Paintings of Christopher McVinish

It has been forty years in the making; Christopher McVinish has studied, experimented, and perfected his craft. The urban landscape paintings of Christopher McVinish never fail to depict compelling scenes of people and places. The characters in Christopher’s paintings often appear as if they are in the midst of decision-making. Has something just happened, or is something about to happen? Known for his large urban landscape paintings as well as for his unique still lifes, Christopher paints with purpose and perfection. A moment in a life is captured and frozen in time to be examined. The after effect of viewing a painting by Christopher McVinish is much like that of a good film; one can imagine the story continuing.

The Business of Art
Christopher McVinish, Overpass, oil on canvas, 30" x 24"

Christopher McVinish put it this way, "I'm usually looking for a moment that might have just passed, and try to imagine what might have gone on. When you're driving through a city or down a highway, you often see something that sparks an idea. My work is about the actual reality of a moment in time.”

Christopher paints with oil on canvas using a skilled clean-line technique that gives the main character stage presence. We see the main character in the drama and enjoy a long gaze before allowing our eyes to thoughtfully roam the canvas. The main character is often a person, but it may be an automobile on the side of the road, or a Ferris wheel on the edge of the horizon. A story can be told in a hundred different ways and it seems as if Christopher has no limits to his visual storytelling. The stories are beautifully told in pure un-muddied colors, and well-defined figures. In the vast world of art, it is a rare talent to blend excellence in fine art application and storytelling, yet Christopher McVinish has made a career of doing just that. He has exhibited continuously since 1979 with more than twenty-eight solo shows and dozens of group exhibits around the world from Sydney, to Singapore, from Miami Beach to Laguna Beach.

In 2011, his extravagantly dramatic 73” x 43" portrait of Robyn Nevin, Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company, was a finalist for the prestigious Archibald Prize. For almost one hundred years, The Archibald Prize has been considered the most important portraiture prize in Australia.

His paintings are sincere and quiet; the drama in the scene never crosses the border into sadness or despair. Imagine an ordinary day in one’s life with its sweet moments and bits of problem solving moments held together like a string of beads. When we think of that day, we can think of one bead that was laughter, and another that was pride, or we can think of the day as a whole – a good day. Christopher’s paintings leave us with a feeling of a good day while giving us one particular bead within that long strand on which to focus. We lived and walked through our routines, and perhaps had to take a detour here and there, but the day was good. We may forget the colors of the day, or how extraordinary the clouds looked in the afternoon, but that’s what artists like Christopher McVinish do for us, they give us back those visions to keep and enjoy any time we like.

The Business of Art
Christopher McVinish, Publicity House Revisited, oil on canvas, 48" x 33"

Christopher is not taking the fastest and most efficient way to garner attention and he is not trying to shock the viewer into an emotion. It is as if he is saying, “Come into my world today and walk around. What do you see here that reminds you of your life?” The characters in Christopher’s paintings are often alone, but they do not look lonely. The paintings reach out and invite us into a personal conversation. We can imagine ourselves there; a witness to the scene. Although we all spend time alone, we are never truly alone in this world, and the fact that we are a witness to other people’s lives is proof that we are connected. This is Christopher McVinish’s gift to us; he has connected us to each other through his art.

The Business of Art
Christopher McVinish, Expanding Horizons, oil on canvas, 48" x 24"

June 14, 2013
Lee Munsell
by Gloria Gales for

Celebrating Creation: The Realistic Landscapes of Lee Munsell

It would be difficult to separate Lee's spiritual life from his artistic life; his faith guides his work and his work reflects his faith. A California native, Lee Munsell is highly familiar with the majestic landscape of the Pacific coast. He spent most of his young years surfing and enjoying the sun. In his own words, "I was a strong willed, rebellious young man in the sixties." Then, on a warm August evening in 1968 Lee had a spiritual awakening and a renewed sense of life.

Lee Munsell has created a spectacular body of work chiefly focusing on California landscapes. His preferred medium is oil on canvas, executed with the narrowest of brushes.

The Business of Art
Lee Munsell, In Quietness and Trust, oil on canvas, 36" x 36"
Also available in hand-embellished limited edition reproductions on canvas in various sizes.

The Business of Art
Section close-up of Lee Munsell's In Quietness and Trust

The art of Lee Munsell presents a reverence for the land that is rarely seen in today's landscape art. In Quietness and Trust occupied a year of Lee's life. His attention to detail is without compromise. Take a look at the painting above and let your eye wander the multitude of scrubs that grow amongst the rocks that hold the twisted tree roots that rise to a cascade of branches laden with delicate foliage. All are capped off with a halo of mist - that is what Lee Munsell does best, he shows us the abundant beauty of nature.

The Business of ArtLee Munsell, At Land's End, oil on canvas, 60" x 20"

Also available in hand-embellished limited edition reproductions on canvas in various sizes.

The Business of Art

Section close-up of Lee Munsell's Land's End

The view of powerful crashing waves against the time-worn cliffs is softened by green cypress branches that reach out to sea and a distant land cast in shadows and mist.

The Business of Art
Lee Munsell, China Cove, oil on canvas, 24" x 18"
Also available in hand-embellished limited edition reproductions on canvas in various sizes.

China Cove is a fine example of Lee's ability to depict the luminosity of the water as it reflects the light from above. Shadows and light, steadfast rock and flowing water, the yin and yang of nature is lovingly painted by Lee Munsell. His body of work is a lasting legacy for future generations of art and nature enthusiasts.