Burb's Eye View: Gallery attracts artists to Magnolia Park

The arts scene in Magnolia Park lives well beyond the vintage couture designs of its throwback shops and barista bars, beyond the art galleries and theaters that pepper its storefronts.

Starting Friday, a group of artists will demonstrate that art pulses through every fiber of this eclectic stretch of commerce.

A new show at Towns Burr Gallery features work that explores the Magnolia Boulevard streetscape. From Burning Bonzai to Buena Vista, the entire Magnolia Park district will be represented in photos, oils, mixed media, watercolors and collage.

The main rule of "Creative Visions of Magnolia Park" — let the buildings be your guide.

"I wanted (the artists) to be inspired by whatever they're inspired by," said Connie Towns Burr, the gallery owner who is hosting the show.

She's also a driving force behind the district's "Women's Night Out" monthly events, so it's no coincidence the show is opening this Friday during the monthly open house for Magnolia Park businesses.

Artist Mark Brunner regularly attends the "Night Out" events because they attract a very local and tight-knit crowd.

"I love the way they bring the artists together, the community together," he said.

His entry in "Creative Visions" is a pop-art representation of gift shop Mindful Nest, a frequent stop for him and his wife.

"We've seen a lot come and go on that street — that's something I wanted to pay homage to," he said. "Mindful Nest is one of the last gift shops left. It's great to see a local mom-and-pop."

Artist Caecilie Carlsen lives near the Towns Burr Gallery at Magnolia and Hollywood Way. Her entry is perhaps the most abstract of the show's 26 pieces — a woman's face hidden in the façade of the gallery itself.

It surprised even the artist.

"I thought I could paint it like an Italian-style villa. It transformed into a very expressive woman," Carlsen said. "I thought that was very weird because that was not my plan at all."

The show puts a lens on what might otherwise seem mundane — through 16 artists' eyes Magnolia is transformed into form and color. What might just seem like a simple storefront reflection becomes a timeless window in the paintings of Robin Neudorfer of Pasadena.

Most striking is the many interpretations of Handy Market — the most common subject of the "Creative Visions" show. Its bold details pop from the canvas of artists such as watercolor painter Vincent Takas, of Glendale.

A former New York City police officer, Takas has worked as a safety specialist at Disney for 23 years. There, he took painting classes three times a week for six years and now travels the world capturing signs and cityscapes — including several in Burbank.

He chose Handy Market for its design and bold color scheme of red, green and white.

"That makes the entire sign pop out," he said.

Among the store signs and structures, one high-contrast photo stands out: A boot announcing Sous Repair, which if you blink on the sidewalk, you'll miss. It's sandwiched between Doug's Collectibles and a nail salon. For a quarter-century, third-generation cobbler "King" Edward Icabouian has held court there.

Icabouian politely shrugs and smiles when reminded that his shop is one of the subjects of an upcoming art exhibit. He then picks up another shoe and continues to work.

"As long as I can stand up, I'll be here," he said.

The "Creative Visions of Magnolia Park" show begins Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and continues through Nov. 15 at Towns Burr Gallery, 3609 W. Magnolia Blvd.

For more information, call 818-845-7144.


BRYAN MAHONEY writes about Burbank neighbors and the place they call home. He can be reached at 818NewGuy@gmail.com and on Twitter at @818NewGuy.


Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World