10 months ago

Peninsula People Feb 2018

Original sketch of

Original sketch of Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary by Albert Operti, from which a life-size portrait was painted. Courtesy of the Explorers Club of New York Sketch exhibit cont. from page 22 Katrina’s grandmother (and the grandmother of Katrina’s siblings, Kelvin, Narcissa, and Henrik). A sketch by Kelvin Cox Vanderlip, Katrina’s father, showing the Villa Narcissa cypress allee in the early 1930s is being included, in addition to sketches of the Villa Narcissa entrance hall by Denis Berteau and various mural sketches by nearby resident Steve Shriver. Notable, also, are the jewelry designs, coupled with the finished pieces, by Marianne Hunter. Please see the accompanying story. Katrina Vanderlip’s new children’s book, “A Tale of Twin Peacocks,” will be available for purchase. As a girl, Katrina was taught illustration by Ted Geisel, that fellow better known as Dr. Seuss. What was, and what could have been A companion show, “Inhabit: The Olmsted Brothers on the Palos Verdes Peninsula,” is to occupy the third gallery. The Olmsteds were hired by Frank Vanderlip to study and evaluate the vast tract of land he’d purchased. They did a thorough job, and the exhibition, in the words of curator Hilarie Schackai, “casts a spotlight on the crucial process of visionary translations from rough settlement and natural environment into a manifestation of cultural splendor. It presents formidable and meticulous early surveys, planning sketches, and other documents – topographical surveys, water analyses, road studies – that in their glorious abstraction are more than technical artifacts: they are virtual art objects in themselves.” The person who knows the most about Frank Vanderlip’s history, before, during, and after the land on the peninsula was acquired, is Palos Verdes Estates resident Vicki Mack. Her book, “Frank A. Vanderlip: The Banker Who Changed America,” is a panoramic view of the man and his vision for developing the area from Portuguese Bend to Malaga Cove. It was a vision interrupted by that little bump in history called The Great Depression. Capturing a Vision: The Portuguese Bend Tradition, curated by Katrina Vanderlip, paired with Inhabit: The Olmsted Brothers on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, curated by Hilarie Schackai, opens Friday, March 16, from 6 to 10 p.m., with Palos Verdes Wild! a farm-to-table and foraged feast with Chef Paul Buchanan of Primal Alchemy Catering. The seasonal produce as well as the wild ingredients are entirely from local sources. Tickets, $125. The Palos Verdes Art Center is at 5504 W. Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 541-2479 or go to PEN 24 PeninsulaFebruary 2018

Left, Marianne Hunter’s sketch elaborating on an orphan medal designed by René Lalique in the aftermath of World War I. Right, her completed work. Hunter cont. from page 23 inch or half-inch cloud an idea for a piece may emerge. An opal, for example. “That’s one of the things I’m good at,” she adds, referring to her ability to extrapolate an image or part of a story. One grouped set of stones that she shows me reminds her of photographs taken from the Hubble telescope: “An expansion of galaxies and the beautiful colors in space.” “And also, by this time, the titles have become poems. I make no claim as to how good the poetry is, but it’s heartfelt. It’s just a longer title; it’s the way I feel about the piece.” And now, because the exactitude of her work has led her to create just 18 pieces a year instead of the previous 50 a year, “I have a lot of emotion left over. So it ends up in the poetry.” It’s not just the physical work that is taking more of her time, Marianne says. The decisions about the physical work are taking more time as well. Some of that pre-planning is made by what her trained eye conveys to her brain. She has boxes of different materials, tiny stones and other objects she may have saved for years, even decades, waiting for the right setting or the right context. Like sifting through patterns to see what plays with or against something else. “And I just keep moving them around on the bench until I find the things that [go together].” She says at one point, as she shows sketches and photographs of recent and past work: “I love these materials. It’s a real indulgence for me to be able to do this.” In Tucson, each year, sellers gather to display their wares. Booths, tents, every place imaginable. Marianne used to be a regular. But now? “I don’t have good self-control,” she confesses; and since she already has so much material on hand, in addition to crafting less than 20 pieces annually, “I just get myself in big trouble, so I don’t go to Tucson anymore.” But some of her favorite dealers make house calls as they pass through California. She’ll patiently look through everything, the high-end stones as well as the less expensive. One just never knows… Meanwhile, the jewelry-making continues. “I like doing commissions as long as I know that the person who’s placing it is familiar enough with my work that they know they like it, and they trust me.” That’s the key; she doesn’t want a client who starts telling her how to design something. First she’ll gather all relevant information from them, so that client and artist are on the same page. “And then I do a drawing to scale before I finish the piece so that I get an approval.” Recently she’s been bidding on and collecting orphan medals made in France during the aftermath of the First World War to raise money for the orphans of the French army. Specifically the one designed by Lalique. There’s something in the somber quality that strikes a chord with Marianne, and with each medal she’ll add a little here, there, to enhance its poignancy. She shows one, and it’s a real beauty. Quiet, subtle. And we’ll use that word again: exquisite. “I keep one piece a decade,” she says, “and I’m thinking of keeping that one.” How do we describe these little works of art? So small, and yet how firmly they resonate through time and space. Marianne Hunter’s jewelry and sketches will be on display at the Palos Verdes Art Center from March 16 through April 22 in Capturing a Vision: The Portuguese Bend Tradition. PEN February 2018Peninsula 25