There is nothing phantasmagorical about phantom exhibits; the tag is just an apt way of describing art shows that appear in temporarily vacant retail buildings and, poof, vanish in a month or so.
“It’s just pop-up galleries,” said organizer and curator Michael Reddell. “It’s not like it’s original.”
In the fall, Reddell became the executive director of Central Coast Sculptors Group and started doing phantom exhibits, which have become popular in urban areas. The inaugural one in San Luis Obispo was on Higuera Street in March. The current one is in Paso Robles, near the downtown park.
This show is unique in that normally only jurors’ selections are exhibited. Because of the vast 10,000-square-foot space in the A&R Furniture Building, all 465 entries are being shown along with the 195 juror selections.
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“The idea is to show the whole field to the public as an educational experience,” said Reddell, a Cambria resident.
If there’s anything spooky about the exhibit, it could be how jurors Sylvia White of Ventura and Chris Winfield of Carmel, often selected the same winners, although they did so separately. Something subliminal could have been in play because of titles.
Allegedly, one of the jurors immediately wanted to buy Mark Bryan’s “The Collectors.” Each juror gave second place to the oil painting of Bambi in a forest, as flying saucers beam him with a pink light.
The title of Reddell’s metal work “Picket Fence” may have registered as “pick it,” as both jurors chose his work for honorable mention, among seven awarded.
Dennis Kehoe’s untitled bronze of a shark suspended between reed-like twigs took first place, as picked by White, and also was a Winfield honorable mention selection.
Classically trained silversmith Randy Stromsoe took first place for his “Beauty: Look Inside,” a glowing pewter that needs to be seen in person, to peer into the form for a surprise. It was selected by Winfield.
Woodturner Barry Lungren, represented by Gallery at the Network, nabbed third place, White’s choice, for his maple burl “Bubinga Bowl.”
Winfield bestowed third place for the large oil plein oil “End of Storm” by Bruce Everett, who is also represented by the Gallery at the Network.
A kinetic work, “The Electric Ray” by Paul Saueressig, has a prime spot in the front window. “The first torpedo they called the Electric Ray,” he said.
Saueressig earns a living as a welding contractor in his Paso Robles shop, “although I want to be a starving artist,” he said. Both jurors selected his large steampunk fish for honorable mention. A switch on its pedestal sets its tail spinning and makes its red glass eyes flash.
This is the first time the eighthgeneration Central Coast resident has exhibited. Saueressig began creating art pieces a year ago after moving to a San Luis Obispo house with a garage that serves as a studio.