Long Beach Press-Telegram, Entertainment section: "U"

Featured the weekend of February 23, 2007

Women Turning Personal Pain into Art

THERE IS so much going on in the art world this month, you could visit a different exhibit every day and still not see them all.

A short drive over the Vincent Thomas Bridge takes you to The Loft in downtown San Pedro (corner of Fourth Street and Mesa), where "From a Female Point of View" is holding a gala public reception Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Curated by Annemarie Rawlinson as part of Rutgers University's nationwide "Feminist Project," this diverse exhibit spotlights a broad range of creative expression by 26 San Pedro artists.

One of them, Carol Es, was a child laborer in the garment industry. As an adult artist, she uses her knowledge of patterns, pins, sewing materials and cut fabric to create fascinating visual stories that help heal the pain of her abused childhood.

(Incidentally, a solo exhibit of Es' work, "A Girl Apart," is simultaneously on view at Torrance Art Museum, 3320 Civic Center Drive, Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., through March 10. Call (310) 618-6340 for more information.)

Photographer Annie Appel's documentary work "Notorious" is an artistic attempt to mend her deep sorrow after the breakup of a long relationship.

Every hour for a year, Annie forced herself to find something meaningful and life-affirming, which she captured with her cell phone camera.

Several panels of these black and white little "miracles of life" (visits with her mother, highway commutes, afternoons at the laundromat, walking the dog, shopping) are on view at The Loft.

By contrast, Nancy Towne-Schultz is in love with color, the more intense the better. Working in an abstract expressionistic style, she creates paintings of wildly imaginative shapes and exciting colors that explode from the canvas with life and joy.

Bearing names such as "Jelly Roll Blues," "Tambourine Man" or "Blueberry Muffin" they will make you smile from ear to ear.

Other captivating works include: "Labors of Life," Loa Sprung's dramatic painting of two clutched callused hands; "Holy Mackerel," Debbie Marr's charming illustration of a seafood market counter; "Woman," Annmarie Rawlinson's found object assemblage of a weathered face; and "Pool," Marie Thibeault's abstract painting of water that sparkles, reflects and ripples across the canvas.