June 8th marks the opening of Sparks Gallery through the end of June, where we get the chance to visit the new Gaslamp gallery before its major renovations and official opening later in the year. The inaugural exhibit, New Contemporaries VI, will be on view until June 30th, with an open house on closing day from 10am to 6pm.

Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer Anderson, Wegner Study #3; mud and rebar

In partnership with the San Diego Visual Arts Network’s San Diego Art Prize, New Contemporaries VI is an exhibition of this year’s “Emerging Artist” nominees, nominated by the SD Art Prize committee and last year’s prize recipients. Each year, observable similarities arise among the nominees – grouped together, it’s apparent that both the nominating committee (which largely changes every year) and the recognized artists are organically tapped into the current collective unconsciousness. The group’s prevalent theme is Alternative Materials, visible in work like Jennifer Anderson’s use of mud and rebar (seemingly worthless material) to sturdily replicate iconic chairs, and architect Brennan Hubbell’s upcycled palm wood sculptures.

Timothy Earl Neill

Timothy Earl Neill, Leo; concrete, salt, acrylic

Griselda Rosas

Griselda Rosas, detail from Ruido Enmaranado; salt, wood, textiles, fish

Salt – with its preservative, destructive and sculptural qualities – is key in Timothy Earl Neill’s Leo, which seems, alternately, eroding and newly forming, and Griselda Rosas’ femininely pretty, yet grotesque Ruida Enmaranado, the latter also comprised of fabric and dead fish. And while Michelle Kurtis Cole and Ilanit Shalev use glass in very different ways, they both contrast the rigid and heavily worked object with the warm, evolving and unpredictable nature of subjects like topography and human relationships.

Michelle Kurtis Cole

Michelle Kurtis Cole, Swept Away; kiln formed glass with lighted frame

Several artists will join in on a panel discussion about the Alternative Materials topic on June 20th from 6 to 8:30 pm. Moderated by Jim Gabriel, speakers include James Hubbell, Debby & Larry Klein, Timothy Earl Neill, James Enos and Brennan Hubbel. Click here to purchase tickets.

Brennan Hubbell

Brennan Hubbell, Rain Maker; palm wood, acrylic paint, linseed oil, caranauba wax

Make it a point to visit this beautiful, brick space in the next few weeks and acquaint yourself with work by those who are sure to be the next big things to come out of our city.

Sparks Gallery, 530 6th Avenue, Gaslamp