In The Arts

Women Painting Women features college artists

Five faculty and alumni from Laguna College of Art & Design were recently featured in the Women Painting Women group invitational at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, S.C.

The show, which featured one of the largest collections of female painters on record, brought together more than 50 female painters from around the globe, including LCAD faculty Sharon Allicotti, and alumni Alia El-Bermani, Candice Bohannon, Adrienne Stein and Stefani Tewes.

Featuring a variety of paintings depicting the female form, the exhibit displayed a shift in notoriety toward contemporary women painters. It was an expression of alternative ways of perceiving and portraying the female form.

"This was our most ambitious show to date," said gallery owner Megan Lange. "The quality of work and thematic breadth of the more than 200 submissions was characterized by the jurors as stunning, exuding freshness and vitality."

The inspiration for Women Painting Women, she said, came thanks to a poor choice of title for a show presented by Sotheby's Auction House called "Women in Art," which, ironically, didn't include a single female artist.

Only showing women as the subjects, El-Bermani said the show posed the question, "Do women have a different sensibility when presenting the female form?"

"Working on Women Painting Women has been an incredible and empowering experience," El-Bermani said.

"The artists chosen for the exhibition were those who refuse to play it safe, who don't adhere to traditional painting standards and are creating truly unique works," she said.

"I was so proud to be included in this showcase of talent among so many gifted female painters with such diverse visions. The show was so unique and the women who participated are just as deep, interesting and colorful as their paintings."

Cataloguing contemporary women artists painting the female figure, artists Sadie Valeri, Alia El-Bermani and Diane Feissel first established the concept on a website in 2009. Since then, the site has featured the work of more than 260 women painters from around the world. Out of the overwhelmingly positive response to the website grew a desire to create opportunities for women artists from diverse locations to gather and share inspiration and technique, and to promote and exhibit their work.


LCAD brings visions of Paris

Laguna College of Art & Design will present "Visions of Venice and Paris", a collection of student paintings and drawings inspired by the 2010 summer abroad program, from Jan. 6 to 15 at the college gallery, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road.

During the summer abroad, students studied major works of masters under the guidance of art historian Dr. William Havlicek and art professor Betty Shelton.

Among the many of the inspirations for paintings that Venice and its nearby towns and islands offered was St. Mark's Basilica with its Byzantine inspired gold mosaic interior; the Church of San Zaccaria and its famed Bellini monumental San Zaccaria Altarpiece; Frari Church and its famed Titian paintings and sculptural ensembles by Canova and Donatello; the Church of San Paolo; Maggiore Church with Tintoretto's massive and haunting Last Supper; the islands of Murano; Burano famed for its glass makers; and Torchello with its exquisite Byzantine style basilica and majestic interior mosaics.

Other important features of the trip included a visit to the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, a day trip to the city of Padua to see its great cathedral and the relics of St. Anthony of Padua and a tour of the sublime Arena Chapel of the early Renaissance master Giotto.

A smaller contingent of students traveled onto Paris for a five-day tour, where they saw the Notre Dame Cathedral, Musee d' Orsay, the Louvre, Jacquemart Andre Museum and the Pompidou Center featuring a major exhibition of Lucian Freud and its great permanent collection of modern and contemporary art.

Each stop contained some of the most important art in the western world and enabled students to reflect on Paris and Venice's enduring contribution to the use of color and light within the history of art.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.


Laguna author releases fourth spy novel

Laguna novelist Anne Kimbell recently published her fourth spy novel, "Assignment Paris," the sequel to the story about CIA agent Janine Simms who faces the most difficult task of her career when she must uncover the leaders of al-Qaida in Paris and discover the whereabouts of a missing Saudi princess.

Having lived and worked in London and Paris, and in the Republic of Chad and Tunisia while working for the U.S. Department of State, Kimbell has firsthand knowledge of the exotic locales about which she writes.

Her three prior thrillers are "Assignment Sahara: Chad and the Sudan," "The Ibeji Twins" and "To Catch a Spy," all of which can be purchased at and at Barnes & Noble bookstores. For more information, or to contact the author, visit

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