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The Evanescence of a Dream The Southern California multimedia artist, Victoria Arriola, bursts gently from a five year dream

The Evanescence of a Dream

The Southern California multimedia artist, Victoria Arriola, bursts gently from a five year dream

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: May, 2021

approximate reading time: minutes

"I enjoy the process of creating art but all the materials that go into that have begun to weigh me down." -- Victoria Arriola

The Evanescence of a Dream
April 17-May 29, 2021
Avenue 50 Studio,
131 N. Avenue 50
Highland Park, CA 90042.

Victoria Arriola's installation, The Evanescence of a Dream at Avenue 50 in Highland Park is the culmination of a five years of work during which Victoria  forensically disected the interaction between consciousness and impermanence with her effervescant wonder. As The Evanescence of a Dream opened, Victoria found some time to talk about her work, the lockdown and what to do once able to breakout... 

OUTSIDELEFT: Can we begin by talking about your new installation at Avenue 50… The Evanescence of a Dream… Is the inference that what happens at the show, stays here, it’s going to be gone in a blink of an eye… Gustav Metzger style, or… Or, or, the subject… The focus on nature, water, fire, earth, light, darkness, and spirit and it’s ephemerality…

Victoria: Thanks for this interesting question -  the inference is not in what happens at the show, stays there - hopefully, viewers will “take the experience with them”. It is meant to be more of a visualization of the fluid interaction between human consciousness, the spirit, nature and their mutual impermanence and yes, indeed shared ephemerality. 

Life’s fragments create who we are... “Evanescence” everything is fleeting - permanent, impermanent. During Covid, we all were forced into “slow-time” - for many of us, it was a good time of reflection and taking inventory of our lives. Putting this installation together was not only cathartic but healing for me. 

Now in my 60s, I find that l get overloaded much easier. I already have a very busy mind... So clutter, is really disturbing as well. I don’t want to keep loading the world up with more stuff. It is for this reason, in 2014, I decided to explore video as an end to a means  - I had the desire to share my work but also wanted to leave less of a mark on the planet while simplifying my life. Therein lies another layer of impermanence. I enjoy the process of creating art but all the materials that go into that have begun to weigh me down. Though I have a passion (and a weakness) for collecting objects found in nature - Le Corbusier called them “objects of poetic reaction” - I find comfort in knowing that I am borrowing them in a sense... And they are easily returned to the earth. The beauty of video is that is only visible when you want it to be. The installation is not auto destructive - yet it is temporary. (ref: Gustav Metzger). Thank you for that connection.  The 2 videos in this installation: “Remembered_Unremembered” and “Water Makes Many Beds”. The teabag panels, “Faint Murmurings”  all represent the flow of life, nature - both steady and fragmented of consciousness and unconsciousness.

OUTSIDELEFT: You’ve mentioned that this show has taken a while to put together…

Victoria: The process began in 2016 - after my last installation, “Beneath the Flow”, which was also a mixed media video installation. At that time, I said to myself that this was to be the last show I would ever do one of that size again. The very next day - I looked at my used teabags and had an “aw-ha” moment and saw the poetic beauty in them. I began collecting them also from friends and family and started studying their properties and shapes both full and empty. This lead to flattening them then creating compositions by folding and placing them in a dedicated visual journal. They turned into little studies - the nuanced color and textures were quite lovely. Next came the larger panels - metaphors for a “collected conversation”. One VOICE.  

OUTSIDELEFT: I know that your art work you travel a lot… And always return back to Southern California, Pasadena… Is there a good arts scene in your area, is that fed at all by the blockbuster downtown LA/Wilshire Ave/ although there’s LA Brea and Santa Monica too, if they are still areas of interest?

Victoria: LA is diverse, multi-cultural, great weather! Art and music - CULTURE - is pretty well - received here - the diversity is a gift! DTLA has become more of a hub for change... As in the Arts District... which isn’t really... used to be. But Hauser Wirth is there... A great gallery... La Brea, Culver City, Mid-Wilshire, Santa Monica, Pasadena, East LA all have their own special offerings... Travel, exploration - new cultures, language, experiencing nature, communities, at all levels whether here in California or the rest of the world, continue to all fuel my inspiration... I need it - I see it truly as a blessing given the restrictions and state of the world during Covid. 

OUTSIDELEFT: We were at Hauser Wirth in Somerset in the summer, it was beautiful. Showing your work in Highland Park is particularly poignant for you…

Victoria: Yes, I was raised and grew up in HP - our family roots are there. My grandparents moved their family of 8 children to HP in the 1940s one of the first hispanic families to live in HP.  My mother and stepfather still live in HP. Because it continues to go through many changes, it was important to me to show my work in the neighborhood that shaped me - I have great respect for the communities of origin here. It is now being gentrified. Over-run by hipsters - all trying to be different but looking exactly the same. Highland Park is genuinely full of character and soul via its historic roots. My fear is that its soul is being stripped by developers. 

video watcher

OUTSIDELEFT: Victoria, let’s get personal, I can’t help it… It interests me, since your last show, you got married! How does that impact your ability to work, how does that influence your work?

Victoria: That’s a good and funny question. Yes, my last “big” solo show was in 2016 (as I have been in many other group shows since). My husband and I got together in 2017 - I guess lots of things were born out of that period. Being married has enhanced my ability to work and my creativity. My husband is a very creative soul, a past animator, a huge patron and lover of art and of a wide range of music. We are both professors of art and design.  We share similar aesthetics and have much intuitively in common - we not only influence each others work, we inspire each other. He is my muse! All good.

OUTSIDEEFT: Is The Evanescence of a Dream able to travel, could it be boxed up, and replicated abroad?

Victoria: Absolutely! The installation was born out of and inspired by my travels. Meant to be shared in those parts as well. I would really like to show in Iceland and Denmark, Basque Country... And perhaps Birmingham in the UK. I remember visiting First Friday in Digbeth and an exhibition upstairs at Centrala! 

Panels fold up nicely and videos housed virtually. Have been researching and scouting different locations along my travels. Ideally, I am looking for an outdoor space much like one I discovered in Leiketio in Spain - an open colonnade along side a church in a village courtyard.  A dear friend and fellow artist also suggested entering it into the Venice Bienelle..don’t think I am quite there yet.. but what a lovely thought!

Essential Info:
The web page for Victoria's show is here
Victoria's website is here
The Avenue 50 Gallery website is here

This exhibition will be viewable only in-person at limited capacity from April 17-May 29, 2021 at Avenue 50 Studio, 131 N. Avenue 50 | Highland Park, CA 90042. For questions, please email or call (323)258-1435.

Free parking is available behind the building. Please enter through the dirt road driveway along the train tracks. The gallery is also walking distance from the Highland Park Metro Gold Line Station, and Dash and Metro bus lines.

Founder & Publisher

Publisher, Lamontpaul founded outsideleft with Alarcon in 2004 and is hanging on, saying, "I don't know how to stop this, exactly."

Lamontpaul portrait by John Kilduff painted during an episode of John's TV Show, Let's Paint TV

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