La Jolla Athenaeum opens 2015 with two exhibits

Exhibits include Michelle Montjoy’s ‘The Pit Bull Licked the Baby’s Head and Scented It with Ham’

An art reception for Amanda Farber’s “Here,” and Michelle Montjoy’s “The Pit Bull Licked the Baby’s Head and Scented It with Ham,” will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9 at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St. The two exhibitions will be on display Jan. 10-Feb. 14.

Farber works with images derived from many sources —including imaginary forms, personal memories, photographs, textile patterns, vintage illustrations and advertisements. Her paintings are loaded with high contrasts and rhyming negative spaces. Distortion or abstraction often blurs the line between two and three dimensions with an unexpected edge or a surprising surface.

She earned a BFA in art from Cooper Union, New York and an MFA from UC San Diego. Her work has been exhibited at MCASD, Quint Contemporary Art, Protea Gallery and the Athenaeum. Farber teaches at Design Institute of San Diego.

Montjoy presents with familiar materials and techniques. Employing absurdity, obsessiveness and abnormal juxtapositions, her work observes suburban tropes, personal failings, and political paradoxes.

In “The Pit Bull …”, more than 300 T-shirts were collected from friends and thrift stores, cut into strips that act as one continuous thread, and then knitted into 12-foot forms resembling sleeves. The variety of stitches, shades of white, bits of logos, stains and holes, speak to the combined stories held in the shirts — all of which have served their original function. To produce the work, Montjoy said hours of solitary knitting were balanced with joyful friend-filled sessions working on oversized hand-built knitting looms.

Montjoy is a well-known Southern Californian artist, who has exhibited at the Oceanside Museum of Art, LUX Art Institute and Hanson Scott Gallery. Her sculptures and drawings have been selected for several of the Athenaeum’s juried exhibitions.

If you go: The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St. in La Jolla, is closed Sunday and Monday. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays. (858) 454-5872.