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Art exhibit ‘Gravitas’ enters final week at Brand Library & Art Center

Duet Series

This mixed-media installation “Duet Series: White Lightness,” by Kristan Marvell, changes colors as the viewer watches.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

A collection of artwork brought together by themes of size, mass and perception will be on display for its final week at the Brand Library & Art Center.

“Gravitas” ends next Friday and will be followed by the next exhibition, “Naked Underneath,” which will debut Aug. 13 and run through Sept. 16. It will feature work focusing on the shared human struggle with identity.

“Gravitas” features the mixed-media works of five artists whose submissions were whittled down from nearly 300 by curator Shannon Curie Holmes.

On one end of the gallery space are paintings on display on a wall, while on the other end are mixed-media monolithic structures that stand as high as the ceiling.


Shannon Currie Holmes

Shannon Currie Holmes, exhibitions supervisor for the Brand Library & Art Center, in front of work called “Prime,” by Sonja Schenk.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Artist Carlos Beltran-Arechiga is known for his paintings of scale and blending detailed architectural backgrounds with a lot of action going on in the front, as depicted in his piece titled “Folds.”

“He likes this juxtaposition between built pieces and organic forms that are in the foreground,” Holmes said. “He lets himself go wild.”

Also, he uses construction materials in his paintings such as plaster and caulking.


In the same room as Beltran-Arechiga’s works are the mostly unnamed sculptures by Nicholette Kominos. Known for using unconventional materials, Kominos’ works appear to be intricate tangles made from a woven basket that were dipped into a churning vat of ceramic slurry.

“Through that process, it adds weight and gravity and helps form these objects,” she said. “So it switches from the basket to become more and more abstract.”

Also featured are the works of Melissa Manfull, who’s main interest is in paintings that explore the understandings of the third dimension. Her works, such as “Chance” and “Conglomerate III,” depict naturally occurring structures and those made by humans.

Kristan Marvell specializes in manufacturing objects that have an organic look, weight and feel to them. “White Lightness” is on display in its own room, featuring an abstract object with lights projected on it that change colors every few seconds.

Nicholette Kominos

Mixed-media artist Nicholette Kominos in front of her untitled sculpture, from the current exhibit Gravitas at the Brand Library & Art Center.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Sonja Schenk’s works are typically large paintings that show natural and man-made structures, such as in the pieces “The Mountain” and “Empire,” which were created on two canvasses and depict a large wooden construction surrounded by scaffolding.

Overall, Holmes said the five artists worked together, and she’s surprised they didn’t all come from the same studio.

Half of the gallery has a black wall, something that’s not typical of a space displaying artwork, but Holmes said there’s a reason why she did that.


“I wanted a black room inspired by the gems and mineral rooms in the [L.A. County] Natural History Museum,” she said.

The Brand Library & Art Center is located at 1601 W. Mountain St. For more information, call (818) 548-2051.