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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Michele Guieu's 'Defragmentation' by Drew Snyder

Michele Guieu's Defragmentation
by Drew Snyder
San Diego Union Tribune / Visual Arts Blogs
December 21, 2010

"With their vague silhouetted bodies and landscapes, Michele Guieu's paintings have for some time been about memory and the past. Through a process of digitally transforming her own photography and translating it on to canvas, her work retains an old photographic quality, acting like a kind of monument to the family albums that serve as lock boxes for many of our most intimate yet estranged memories.

While nominally a painter, Guieu's solo exhibitions usually take the form of installations. In her latest show at Project X: Art in Solana Beach, she maps out a unified display built from a number of different parts, incorporating paintings on canvas, murals on the wall, and video components."


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Michele Guieu at Project X and Judy Chicago at SDMA by Patricia Frischer

From SDVAN / Peeked Raw Peeled / December 2010

Michele Guieu: Defragmentation
comes back early to SD from SF to paint the walls at Project X: Art (320 So. Cedros Avenue, Suite 500, Solana Beach, 92075) for her opening reception: Dec 11, 6-10 PM and show until Jan 14. More info: Chris Martino 858.792.9685

Michele Guieu is now living near San Jose but has returned to Solana Beach for this exhibition. We have watched Ms. Guieu go from strength to strength and this latest show is the best ever and not to be missed. She has managed to balance her strong graphic design skills with the slightly abstracted selection of her intimate memories. Three walls of the gallery have been enhanced directly with her painting and a multitude of rectangular paintings are laid over this mural work. The fourth wall is a more balanced but no less interesting collection of similar works. The color palate is limited adding clarity to this vision. Various video frames have morphing colored images giving added information but still allowing us to make our own interpretation of the work. Or better, yet, just let the imagery wash over us. The large scale of this installation encourages this and I was happy to float in Michele Guieu’s world.

Judy Chicago lecture on Frida Kahlo on Wed. Dec 8, 7 pm at the San Diego Museum of Art (1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, SD 82101) More info: 619.232.7931

The world of Frida Kahlo according to Judy Chicago is, of course, a study in feminism. Judy always delivers an education and what was wonderful to me was the audience for this lecture at the SDMA was way ahead of that game. In fact, the questions from the audience were stimulating and impressive and even Ms.Chicago commented on their quality. They were probing and brought a balance to the evening. We heard how history had viewed Kahlo through the eyes of her famous husband Diego Rivera until recently. Of course, San Diego’s cognoscenti has long been aware of the value of Kahlo’s art even it if it took the rest of the world time to catch up. There was lots of comparisons between Chicago’s own work and Kahlo as one would expect. But the interesting idea of how this in-depth study of Kahlo has influenced Chicago’s work is still unclear.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Timeline (video - part of the exhibition "Defragmentation")

length 9:30

"Defragmentation: Rearranging Bits and Pieces of Memory"
December 11, 2010 - January 14, 2011

Project x Art Gallery
320 South Cedros Avenue
Suite 500
Solana Beach, CA 92075

Open Monday – Friday, from 10am to 5pm
Also by appointment: Chris Martino (858) 792-9685

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coming back from a week in San Diego

"Defragmentation: Rearranging Bits and Pieces of Memory"
The 3 main walls of the installation

The fourth wall

It took one week to install the show, I've got some great help from Janine Free and her husband Marvin, had the pleasure to drive every morning the 101 between Encinitas and Solana Beach. Amazingly, Janine and Marvin happened to be in the bay area a few days before the installation began in Solana Beach, and they transported almost all the paintings to San Diego in their truck. I brought myself all sorts of painting material, and I bought my favorite non-toxic paint at ACE in Hillcrest.

Tracing the large geometrical figure on the walls with a great ruler/level.
Using yards and yards of masking tape.
Painting with brushes, small rolls, large rolls. 2 coats.
Hanging paintings for hours, installing the videos (one flat screen, two digital frames).
Installing the very last series of paintings I've made on the fourth wall, which was already painted in dark gray.
Everything worked. Smoothly I can say.

mock up of the main part of the installation

It was interesting to see how the mock up I've made before coming to install the show at the gallery changed as I was working in the real space: they were transformed but not that much. I did not get the chance to do much else than installing the show. Everything was ready Saturday morning by noon, a few hours before the opening reception.

Another great experience for me. Another space, new paintings and new videos. I am very happy to have found a way to make videos which look like my paintings, with those shadowy/ghostly/round people. I'll post the videos soon.

Now I am back here, the show is up until January 14.

Some photos taken during the week the show was installed

With Janine Free and Lori Lipsman

"Defragmentation: Rearranging Bits and Pieces of Memory"
December 11, 2010 - January 14, 2011

Project x Art Gallery
320 South Cedros Avenue
Suite 500
Solana Beach, CA 92075

Open Monday – Friday, from 10am to 5pm
Also by appointment: Chris Martino (858) 792-9685

Sunday, November 28, 2010


My show at Project X: Art is coming up fast: in a few days, I'll be in Solana Beach to install it. I am very excited about this new experience with a different space. Here's the press release - The opening is December 11, from 6 to 10pm!

For Immediate Release
Contact: Chris Martino


DECEMBER 11, 2010 - JANUARY 14, 2011

Opening Reception: December 11, 6-10 PM

Project X: Art is pleased to present “Defragmentation: Rearranging Bits and Pieces of Memory” - an installation of paintings and video by Michele Guieu. The exhibition will be on view from December 11th, 2010 through January 14th, 2011. An opening reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, December 11th from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Michele Guieu’s work focuses on large-scale installations constructed from paintings and drawings, with secondary elements including murals, video, photography, furniture, decals, and found objects. Her imagery is both abstract and concrete: it draws on photographic images collected from mass media and her personal life, but is then abstracted through a high-contrast process that derives from her graphic design background. Scale is a crucial component in her installations, as it serves to reduce the constituent paintings and drawings to pure graphical-sculptural units in a bigger whole.

Regarding her new installation, Guieu says:

“I just moved to the Bay Area, and am coming back to San Diego to show ‘bits and pieces of memory.’ I never had a very good memory - that may be why I take so many photographs and videos. The installation is based on photos and video I took over the years and transformed via editing, painting, and digital manipulation. The idea of defragmentation came from watching a computer defragment a hard disk. The installation works the gallery like a large file system - tying together memories while making space for the ones to come.”
Michele Guieu is a San Jose-based artist and a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, France (MA Graphic Design and Multimedia).

She has presented solo exhibitions at Art Produce Gallery and the San Diego Art Institute, and participated in group shows at the California Center for the Arts, Oceanside Museum of Art, and Cannon Art Gallery. In 2009 she was a San Diego Art Prize nominee for Emerging Artist, and more recently was part of the recent Summer Salon Series at the San Diego Museum of Art. Guieu lived and worked in San Diego for six years, before moving to San Jose in 2010.

Project X: Art is located at 320 South Cedros Avenue, Suite 500, Solana Beach, CA 92075. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. The gallery is also open by appointment - please call for details. For more information, call 858.792.9685 or visit

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tis the season

Last week at school (4th grade): owl pellet dissection


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Last Four Weeks

I did not post anything for four weeks. I've been working a lot on my upcoming show at Project X: Art. And also on assignments for my video class.

Because we moved so recently and I do not know many people, I guess in a way it helps me to concentrate a lot on what I have to do for the show. I have, luckily, a lot of hours to work on my projects before approximately 2:00pm during the week days, which is the time to switch to mom mode.
Often, I can work at night too.

I am taking a video art and editing class at Foothill College which I am really interested in. I am taking the class online: the timing for the class on site at the college was not fitting with my kids' schedule and that's OK. There is a forum online, questions are posted by the students, tutorials and assignments are posted by the teacher, it is really well organized. From what I can see, it seems that the teacher is always online, available to answer any question, which is quite amazing. Of course, I would prefer to share the discussions for real, may be next semester it will be possible.

I divide my time between working in the studio (the garage) on my paintings and working on Photoshop and Vegas on the computer. Also I am still taking lots of photos. And lots of video footage. I do with the video footage what I do with my photos. I kind of create my own image/film bank. And of course, I work with the material which amazes me the most: the kids. But although they are available almost any afternoon or week-ends, they are not always ready to participate! I am very patient with that, I videotape what I can, a few minutes here and there.
A few months ago I bought a bag where I can fit both cameras (photo and video) and I take "notes" with both very often.

Even if I do not stop thinking about my projects and even if I have an opening soon, I cannot be all the time in the studio or on the computer.
The family still need to take some time to visit around!

We had the pleasure to go to a magic house at friends' in San Francisco.

We enjoy the market every week-end, marveling at all the wonders it offers. Mostly organic, super yummy and affordable.

We had some great time hiking in Big Basin.

Milo and I won a pumpkin-carving contest at friend's. I used my Dremel for the first time, to get the transparency and "floating elements" (otherwise impossible to do). I never thought about that before, and the idea came when watching a "Halloween" video on YouTube.

We spent another day in San Francisco, at the Fall Opening Studio / Hunter Point Shipyard, and visited the building 101. It took us hours and we did not even visited all the studios. More than 300 studios were open to the public in total, including Islais Creek Studios.
Incredible old industrial place which apparently -and not surprisingly - inspire a lot of the works of the artists working there.

I attended the "ClimateClock 100 Year Iconic Landmark" talk, presented by the artists who are working on the project and are in residency for a few months at the Montalvo Center for the Arts, a stunningly beautiful estate nested in the forested hills of Saratoga. A quiet world apart, minutes away from San Jose. The project is Titanesque (longevity "required": 100 years) but the artists are putting together a smart response: it will be like a relay race. Rather than to envision something sturdy and unique, the idea is to give the baby to other artists after a while to nurture the project further and make it richer and more diverse as the years pass.

We had the pleasure to spend a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The room with the jellyfish, with different types and morphologies, is absolutely fascinating and I could have spent hours just marveling at those animals.

Outside the aquarium, miles and miles of beautiful shore offer attractive tide pools.
Big Sur's wilderness is not far from there.

I read the powerful, chilling and riveting "Into Thin Air, a Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster". I found it at the school fair, along with two books I did not read since I went to art school: "the Story of Art" and "Art and Illusion" by E. H. Gombrich. Both brought back nice memories.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lucy, Darwin and Me / video

A 12 mn video part of my solo exhibition, "Lucy, Darwin and Me", at Art Produce Gallery in San Diego, December 2009 - January 2010.

It was videotaped in Anza Borrego State Park, Southern California, in 2009.

More information:
Photos of the exhibition
Photos of the Exhibition 2
In the San Diego Union Tribune
In the San Diego City Beat
Essais by Katherine Sweetman (SDVAN)
Essais by Jane LaMotte
In Archaeoikon