Sorry to make this blog so very geographically specific but I am just too too excited and this is the best way I know to share.
If you live anywhere near LA ... and if you haven't already been to the Santa Monica Museum of Art to see the Elias Sime exhibit... GO NOW! It closes this Friday, April 18th so don't waste any more time...
LOVE it as much as we did.
Here is the SMMOA site with limited info on the exhibit. If you wait a few seconds the photo changes and gives you a chance to see a sampling of Sime's work. Sadly, these few photos didn't really intrigue me and so, stupidly, we waited until this weekend --the weekend before it closes!-- to go see the exhibit. We went expecting to see something, and maybe to come away feeling a bit closer to Ethiopia. That was all. We weren't expecting to fall in love with Elias Sime and his art. We weren't expecting to be so overcome with the desire to own one of his pieces that we would discuss how to go all Thomas Crowne and smuggle every piece out of there for our own home! (fret not... we took only the free photocopied brochure...the art is still safely there.)
Within seconds of entering the space, The Esquire and I were both...... well, speechless. I'm not sure if you call them canvases or tapestries... but they were gorgeous. Up close, they were sort of like Seurat's Sunday in the Park...just lovely abstract colors. But if you stepped back, suddenly the patterns revealed themselves and you saw things... the girl and her reflection, the hand reaching up.
I've done a quick goggle search, trying to find more images of Sime's work so you can see how amazing he is but there just isn't much out there (this is his first one man show in the US). The image below is from the SMMOA website. Click onto it, make it larger, so you can see the stitches. Amazing.
He uses only found objects to create with. So everything in his art has been found, recycled, reworked and reused in someway. Even his signature, his chop if you will, at the bottom right, is a flattened bottle cap sewn on to the canvas.
The stitched canvases were my favorite but that's not all he makes. He works in a variety of mediums... huge wooden thrones (which sadly we did not see in person as they had been moved to the Disney Music Hall for a concert), decorated goat skin containers, little sculptures made from mud and straw...
And there is the most amazing 10 minute movie about Elias Sime, his art, his neighborhood, his home. Peter Sellers (the opera director, not the Pink Panther) talks about Sime the man and Sime the artist and is so obviously moved by both. It is a joy to listen to him carry on.
Oh, and if you haven't been to Ethiopia before, there is another video of interest. The filmmakers simply put a camera on top of a car and drove around Elias' neighborhood in Addis Ababa.
Here's great review on the exhibit... this reviewer is much more succinct than I am about at why he loves Elias Sime.
Seriously, do what you have to do to see this exhibit before it closes on Friday April 18th. You won't be disappointed. And give me a call before you go--I'll meet you there and maybe afterwords we can go have some pie!