RVOC December 08 : 137

THE GALLERY When Peter Blake opened the doors to his spacious new gallery onOcean Avenue, it was another eureka moment for O.C.’s art scene. Everyone immediately knew that in order to fi nd the best contemporary art in a sophisticated architectural setting they would no longer have to trek to New York—or even L.A. Blake, along with architect Anders Lassiter, created three high-ceilinged exhibition spaces that enhance works by an impressive roster of artists. Blake opened with works by Chris Gwaltney, one of Orange County’s most acclaimed painters. His strength lies in his ocean/beach inspired palette. Using the fi gure as a starting point, he makes paintings that are accessible without losing intrigue. Some 14 years ago, Blake fi rst showed Gwaltney at his old Pacific Coast Highway digs, and the artist’s latest works once again signal big things to come. –DaniellaWalsh GALLERY ROW Clockwise from upper left: The new Peter Blake Gallery; Mean, Manly, Anger’d and Untitled, both by Chris Gwaltney. SURF STYLE Libby Black’s Chanel Surfboard was featured in OCMA’s 2004 California Biennial and was later acquired by the museum—a coup for any artist. Symbolic of a mature museum’s ability to critique and comment on its own community, the overtly handmade object plays on O.C. clichés of wealth, glamour, and the laid-back surf lifestyle, pointing out the often arbitrary nature of luxury amid the fl ow of our ever more turbulent economy. As formerOCMA curator Liz Armstrong says, “In the post-Bush era, Libby Black’s symbolic commentaries on the ‘excesses of wealth’ are more poignant and relevant than ever.” –GW Chanel Surfboard, Libby Black THE MIX MASTER “I’m caught between many worlds,” laughs UC Irvine music prof Kojiro Umezaki. Sounds like the perfect prereq for a gig at the institution that best refl ects O.C.’s cultural and creative diversity. Raised in Japan by a Japanese father and Danish mother, Umezaki attended an American school in Tokyo, where he began playing the shakuhachi, a centuries- old bamboo fl ute. He moved to the U.S. and began recording and touring with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma— all while developing music software to help take the shakuhachi, and music in general, into the future. Th is year, Umezaki joined the faculty of UCI’s innovative new master’s program in composition, improvisation and technology. Students range from a breakdancer to a Persian hammer dulcimer player. “We are dealing with multiple worlds colliding, both technological and also cultural,” he says. –SI ”Everybody who is part of a tradition is always innovating. Otherwise, the tradition dies.” –Kojiro Umezaki, University of California, Irvine, music professor. Dec 2008 | | 137

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