See ‘em while they’re hot: Several exhibits open at Oceanside Museum of Art

Alexandra Dillon with ‘Two Mothers,’ one more benign, one darker, representing the grandmothers and mothers who came before us; on exhibit at Oceanside Museum of Art
(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)


If you’ve never been to the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA), now is the time to visit. Any one of the four exhibitions currently on view would be reason enough to make the trip.

The official opening of three of the exhibits on Oct. 5 drew more than 400 art-lovers, and their enthusiasm was off the charts. The star of the evening was definitely the 10,000-piece “Tiny Canvases: The Art of Nails,” an amazing, world-premiere show that, as one (male) viewer said, is not just about nails; it’s about history, science and empowering women and their creativity.

Produced in partnership with Creative Nail Design, Tiny Canvases is the brainchild of Del Mar resident Jan Arnold, daughter of the dentist who invented the nail product that made this art possible. Such a grand display deserves its own story; look for it in an upcoming issue of La Jolla Light.

Jan Arnold, the power behind creative nail art, at the Oct. 5 opening of 'Tiny Canvases: The Art of Nails;' on exhibit at Oceanside Museum of Art
(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

Dress Rehearsal,” actually on view since late July, is a wonderfully varied look at dresses made from all sorts of materials — hand-stitched photo transparencies, pinecones, cardboard, sponges, sea shells and more. The first piece you see is a black-and-white “Dressing Room by Dosshaus,” the dynamic duo of Zoey Taylor and David Connelly, who can make whole worlds out of cardboard, and whose work suggested the show’s theme.

Curator Kate Stern and her artists are all from L.A. and the artworks not only look good from a distance but call for close-ups. Gwen Samuels’ dresses made of tea bags have interesting photos inside; Alexandra Dillon’s portraits painted on antique clothing incorporate wrinkles on the fabric into the expressive faces. Melissa Meier creates life-size sculptures out of shells and sponges, and since her materials don’t last forever, she photographs them too. And there’s a wall of photos of sassy dresses made entirely out of trash found on So Cal beaches by artist Marina DeBris (get it?). They are part of her “Trashion” series, which turns discards into fashionable clothing.

‘Dress Rehearsal’ curator Kate Stern with Dosshaus’s ‘Dressing Room,’ whose furniture and dresses are all made of cardboard; on exhibit at Oceanside Museum of Art
(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)

Smallest of the shows is “Six-Word Story,” a collaboration with Carlsbad’s Front Porch Gallery, which really merits more breathing room than the tiny second-floor room its 38 pieces are crowded into.

Here’s the story behind it: It’s said that Ernest Hemingway once proposed a six-word story contest to some of his buddies and won with his own entry: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” The story may not be true, but the idea took hold, and there have been many Six-Word Story contests ever since.

In 2016, Julie Weaverling, director of Front Porch Gallery, came up with the idea of staging a contest that added a visual component — a photograph to illustrate the accompanying six-word story. This year, she was happy to collaborate with OMA, with each venue showing half the 74 winning entries, chosen out of 300 submissions, and then switching to show the other half. Both shows have been running since August, the switch took place Oct. 8, and the Carlsbad half will be closing Nov. 2. So you may only have time to see the ones at OMA, and contemplate their clever blends of images and words.

While you’re upstairs, don’t miss Brian Kesinger’s expansive “Dream It Yourself” exhibition. It’s a delightful look into the mind of a visionary cartoonist, author and filmmaker. You can even visit the artist’s studio, see some of his inspirations, and create your own artworks in the DIY Project Room. Kids of all ages will love this!


If You Go:

• Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday; 11 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $5-$8. First Sundays free. (760) 435-3721.

• “Six-Word Story” is on exhibit through Nov. 2, 2019 at Front Porch Gallery, 2903 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad.
• “Six-Word Story” is also on exhibit through Nov. 24, 2019 at Oceanside Museum of Art.
• “Brian Kesinger: Dream It Yourself” is on exhibit through Nov. 24, 2019 at Oceanside Museum of Art.
• “Dress Rehearsal” is on exhibit through Jan. 19, 2020 at Oceanside Museum of Art.
• “Tiny Canvases: The Art of Nails” is on exhibit through Feb. 9, 2020 at Oceanside Museum of Art.


SPECIAL EVENT: Oceanside Museum of Art’s Steampunk Halloween, 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, with cirque entertainment, spooky DJ dance-jams, futuristic Victorian characters inspired by Brian Kesinger’s exhibition, light bites and no-host bar. Costumes encouraged. Admission at 7 p.m., $50-$60; VIPs at 6 p.m., $125-$150. Tickets: (760) 435-3721.

'Flying with Otto' by Brian Kesinger is part of the 'Dream It Yourself' exhibit at Oceanside Museum of Art.
(Courtesy Photo)
Melissa Meier and her Shell Dress, made of shells gathered by her parents on Florida beaches, with some of her photographs in the background; on exhibit at Oceanside Museum of Art
(Photo by Maurice Hewitt)