Tag-Archive for » Simon Taylor «

Thursday, March 17th, 2011 | Author:

I think I may have mentioned in the pasted that I am as much a lover of literature and antiquarian books as I am of contemporary art. That is why I got so excited when I learned about the opening of Left Coast Books in Old Town Goleta. The store blends a remarkably good rare book store with a contemporary gallery space. Friday night is the opening reception for their latest exhibition “Collective Node”. If you live in Goleta this is probably your best local contemporary art venue, and if you love rare books (particularly art books) it is without a doubt a must-visit.


COLLECTIVE NODE: An Installation by

Jonathan Cecil & Yumi Kinoshita

March 16 to April 30, 2001


Friday, March 18th, 5 to 7 pm.

The gallery at Left Coast Books, in Goleta, California (5877 Hollister Avenue), is pleased to announce a collaborative installation by Jonathan Cecil & Yumi Kinoshita, titled “Collective Node.” Their installation has been in the planning stages for several months, but the timing of this exhibition, on the heels of the catastrophic tsunami in Japan and an apparent meltdown of some nuclear reactors, is uncanny because elements in Cecil & Kinoshita’s exhibition address such topical issues as the ever-present dangers of nuclear technology, our misplaced faith in “value-free” technology, and media representations of disaster capitalism.

Take, for example Dream Space, located in the center of the gallery, which consists of two large Sony monitors, one stacked on top of the other, positioned so the screens are at a 90 degree angle. A video camera, resting on a tripod, sits on top of the monitors, and points toward a gathering of plastic toy monsters, reminiscent of Godzilla and his kin from the world of Japanese anime. One monitor shows a live feed of the monsters, while the other (being watched by the monsters) displays a calm, blue sky, with wisps of clouds—a tranquil scene, perhaps, but footage shot at precisely the geographical location where the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The plastic toys sit near platforms astroturfed with the floor plans of the artists’ childhood homes. As the artists’ accompanying Statement reveals, there are additional layers of personal and political connotation in the accompanying audio, which includes the racist radio commentator Rush Limbaugh mouthing-off as a pseudo-Oriental (Japan andChina are all the same to him, he declares).

If Dream Space and a collection of deformed and mutant (digitally-manipulated) Family Portraits (shown on an adjacent wall) express our fears of technology, but in a playful and dark-humored way, there is something more poignant about the silent urban landscape represented by Six Ueno Stations, both in what is represented and how it is represented, with its array of recent and obsolete video monitors and screens. In the whole ensemble, there are two laptop computers and a large-screen plasma tv that appear to be quite current, but some of the monitors date back to the eighties and even earlier, and it shows not only in their clunky, oversized appearance, but in the way a similar scene of video footage, showing the Ueno Station, a big transportation hub in Tokyo, looks when mediated by different technologies, how vision and cognition are determined, in part, by technology.

The scene at Ueno Station is a crazy urban collage of trains, cars, and the occasional pedestrian, walking at a pace that seems unbearably slow compared to the speed of the surrounding environment. The imagery is intriguing to watch and the spectator is quickly seduced by the voyeuristic role of the camera. The viewer anticipates something might happen, but the street scenes are on a loop; there’s no beginning, middle, or end, like Warhol’s Empire. There is some symbolism, however, in the choice of location. Critically, it helps to know that the footage in Six Ueno Stations was shot, as the artists have written, “from a hotel window across from the Ueno Station in Tokyo, which was a striving neighborhood in the 1970s, now struggling to be commercially and culturally relevant in the 21st century global economy.” After the lost decade of the nineties, the recent recall of madly-accelerating Toyotas, the tsunami and unfolding nuclear disaster, it appears that Japan itself is in meltdown, that the Six Ueno Stations could be taken for a metaphor of the nation writ large, of one that is lost, or adrift. Or perhaps the artists are simply pointing to the anomie of urban existence. It is hard to say.

Of course, it’s not just Japan that’s in meltdown; it’s the entire planet, which we continue to exploit and pollute. Soon after the tsunami hit Japan, communities up and down the California coast were placed on alert, especially in places like Port San Luis, just north of here, where there is a nuclear facility near the water, in an earthquake zone—a disaster just waiting to happen. Perhaps this exhibition can be a consciousness-raising opportunity to the dangers, real and imagined, lurking in our own backyard.


The gallery at Left Coast Books is located at 5877 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, California. We are open Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 11 am to 6 pm.

Contact: Simon Taylor, 805/698-2842, or visit our www.leftcoastbooks.us, for more information.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 | Author:

I’m not only an art lover, I’m also a book lover. And my collection of first-edition books is far bigger than my art collection. So I got very excited when I read about Goleta’s new bookstore, which is run by Simon Taylor, a former curator and art-critic. Tomorrow night is the opening of the next show at the store/gallery. Make the extra effort to head up to Goleta to show your support! Details below….


VERBARIAN: Word-Based Art by Five Los Angeles Artists

Reception for the Artists: Friday, November 12, from 5 to 7 pm

The gallery at Left Coast Books, in Goleta, California (5877 Hollister Avenue), is pleased to announce its new exhibition, “VERBARIAN: Word-Based Works by Five Los Angeles Artists.” The exhibition will be held from November 2 to December 24, 2010, featuring works by organizer Lynne Berman, Eve Luckring, Audrey Mandelbaum, Rebecca Ripple, and Susan Silton.

There will be a Reception for the Artists on Friday, November 12, from 5 to 7 pm. From 4:30-6:00 p.m., Susan Silton will be typing a text using a ribbonless typewriter as part of an ongoing typewriter performance series.

The art works on display include the media of sculpture, works on paper, drawing, embroidery, and installation. All use language as a primary element. In simultaneously reading the work of art and viewing it, the interplay between distinct perceptual activities is negotiated.

Art Show at Left Coast Books in Santa Barbara

Visual artist and poet Eve Luckring’s “It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” re-creates communication with the City of Los Angeles in a wall installation. The dense and impersonal language of bureaucratic correspondence with the city inspired her to respond in the reflective tone and imagistic language characteristic of tanka, a form of Japanese lyric poetry. Two of Luckring’s poems are also presented on a window of the gallery using colored vinyl text.

Audrey Mandelbaum’s “After Helen Levitt (No…Comforting)” is a hand-embroidered work reinterpreting a 1971 photograph by photographer Helen Levitt using Levitt’s own words to *describe the picture as its text.

In Susan Silton’s “T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922)”, she typed on an old typewriter which intentionally doesn’t contain a ribbon, so that what is left on the page is the imprint of the act of typing. Silton used the text of T. S. Eliot’s seminal poem The Waste Land which was informed in part by the pervasive disillusionment and cynicism gripping Europe in the wake of WWI.

Lynne Berman’s drawings, “Anita Dimendberg Goes to Vegas: Parts A and B”, are based on “tracking” her mother-in-law, Anita Dimendberg, on her first visit to Las Vegas. Anita’s dialogue is the basis for the marks used in her drawings which transform into abstract visual representations.

“thigh/blind”, by Rebecca Ripple, is a sculpture made from aluminum blinds with the word thigh cut into them. Another sculpture by Ripple, “insertion”, is formed from protruding polished steel letters with razor edges spelling insertion, a reference to clinical instruments and jewelry. A fleshy stain of tape fastens the steel to the wall.