La Jolla’s art femme fatales style seductive show
Phebe Burnham with her paintings ‘Granny Oakley’ and ‘Tijuana Tourist’
By Will Bowen
In case you didn’t know, La Jolla has about 20 self-proclaimed femme fatales. Their leader is Judy Judy Judy, an artist and the proprietor of a popular hair salon in La Jolla Village.
Judy and her crew can most often be found in their favorite haunts — the Barbarella and the Piatti restaurants in La Jolla Shores — where they ply their wiles and plan their escapades.
On Oct. 27, 2012, Judy and her gang hosted a reception for the exhibit “Femme Fatales,” which celebrated the virtues of Femme Fatalism at the La Jolla Art Association gallery.
According to Judy, the idea for the show came to her when she was in Paris attending the hairstyle and fashion show, Le Mondial de Coiffure de Beaute.
“I wanted to do a solo show of paintings about femme fatales, but then all my friends wanted to be in the show, too, so I let them. It all started with my painting I call ‘Lady Danger,’ and it is in this show with four others I did for the series,” Judy said. “‘Femme Fatales’ is all about intrigue and danger. Femme fatales are women who use seduction to attract men and then lead them into compromising situations in order to achieve hidden aims. Their tools are beauty, charm, and sexual attractiveness. Am I one? Well, maybe …”
Beverly diGregorio is a femme fatale with two paintings in the show. She is a member of the Point Loma Art Association, San Diego Art Institute and the Water Color Society.
“This was the first time I showed my nudes anywhere in public. There just are not many opportunities to show nudes in San Diego. Frankly, there are not many art shows that have women as their subject. That’s what made this show so special,” diGregorio said. “Thirty years ago I was a flaming femme fatale. I think they have been instrumental throughout history. I am fascinated by the strength and delicateness of woman, especially as personified by the ballerina. That is why I paint them so often.”
Terry Soppe is another femme fatale with work in the show. When she’s not acting as the treasurer of the LJAA, she is a bookkeeper for her husband, Dr. Glen Soppe, a family physician in private practice. “This show was a way to celebrate women in a different way — as strong, intriguing, interesting, and full of life. You know women are the force behind the scene. They make everything happen. They are the planners and the organizers; they keep it all together,” Soppe laughed.
Her husband, Dr. Glen, said the only way he’s able to keep his wife’s femme fatalism in check is, “I keep her painting all the time — that keeps her out of trouble!”
Emily Vermillion is a femme fatale with three mixed-media pieces in the show. Their inspiration, according to Vermillion, is that, “life is full of stories and little pieces, like a collage. We fall apart and then we put ourselves back together again over and over again.”
Vermillion said femme fatalism has to do with seduction. “I am a subtle seductress, but not in a mean way. My art seduces your eye and interest — it enchants you and draws you in. Each piece I make tells a story of love and relationship. Love is not perfect, but it is seductive. Love seduces women. All women are interested in love.”
Femme fatale Ingrid Wolters had the only abstract work in the show; an allusion to female anatomy.
“I like to play with color and shapes,” Wolters said. “When I was younger I was quite a femme fatale. I was a big flirt. Men, you have to be careful of us women because we can be fatal to your system!”
Yanna Shayne, another femme fatale, works in sales and marketing when she is not working on her stained-glass art, which she calls, “The greatest art form and my passion!” She has two works in the show.
Phebe Burnham, who at 92 is the oldest fatale in the group, submitted a painting of an older woman with a rifle called “Granny Oakley,” and other of a young woman in Tijuana called, “Tijuana Tourist.”
“I grew up in New England and was very inhibited. It took me a while to open up. I think that you should live life how it feels good to you, but try not to affect others negatively. I like to make people laugh because life has become so serious nowadays.”
Ken Wilkins — who is not a femme fatale, but said he likes being surrounded by them — added one very special work to the exhibit. “I’m happy to be in this show,” he said, “because it’s new and different and pushes the edge.”
La Jolla Art Association Benefit Set
• The La Jolla Art Association’s 95th anniversary fundraiser is underway through Dec. 15, 2012. The LJAA is donating 60 pieces of art, valued at $400 to $1,500, to be given away to the 50 ticket holders who purchase $200 tickets at lajollaart.org
• When a ticket number is called, the ticket holder will have his/her choice of painting, and the 50th ticket called will have 11 pieces from which to choose.
• Images of the pieces are available online at lajollaart.org and at the gallery, 8100 Paseo del Ocaso, Suite B, La Jolla. (858) 459-1196.
• ‘California Dreaming’ with various media from LJAA members and several guest exhibitors, now through Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.
- The Klines make a fine, funny art of dining out at Athenaeum exhibit in La Jolla
- Someplace Special: New County Operations Center is a showplace for public art
- La Jolla Art & Wine Festival raises funds for schools
- Contemporary art fair heats up interest in what’s new for La Jolla art lovers
- Athenaeum soiree offers guests an evening in ‘Paris’
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