This week, the only event I was able to get out to was an art opening at the Robert Graham Gallery in Culver City. Except: I was a day early! But that turned out to be fortuitous because I got a personal tour with the artist, Timothea Stewart.
She is a lively blond, now in her mid-70s who looks 50. The works are rainbow colored vertical ribbons, starbursts, and vortex-shaped figures, all expressive of a spiritual inner journey, many grouped in triptychs, with each work edifying and amplifying the others.
Timothea began drawing and painting in Spain (she has included her earliest drawings in the upstairs gallery). It’s really interesting to see the influences on her early work and how radically she has evolved over time.
After Spain, she was given a studio at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, where in addition to painting and drawing, her career blossomed outward into consulting with museums, private collectors and art dealers. When she moved back to California, she opened a gallery on La Cienega Blvd. with an exhibition of the works of Wallace Berman, the granddaddy of assemblage art and a crucial figure in the history of post-war California art.
Timothea’s inner journey began as coincidences were mounting in her life, and she felt they were pointing her in a more spiritual direction. She eventually joined up with the founder of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) leader, John-Roger. Although he became controversial later in the movement, she traveled the world with him for 30 years and left her art behind. She still attributes her spiritual growth to his teachings, and although he has passed on, she still practices what she learned from him.
Her reawakening as an artist came through a painting exercise involving an investigation into ancient spiritual masters, and the energy she derived from the experience led her back to her art. You can see this energy in her works.
Timothea’s paintings and drawings will be on view for a very short run; the gallery is open Tuesdays through Sundays, and on Sunday, August 26 there’s a closing reception, along with an artist talk with her at 3 p.m.
Robert Graham Gallery is run by Graham’s son, Steven Graham, and in the upstairs gallery, you’ll see a number of Robert’s works on view. The gallery is located at 5856 Adams Blvd., in Culver City. Call 310 480-7977 for more info:timotheastewartart.com and https://www.facebook.com/rgstudioinfo/
A quiet, lovely film opens tomorrow at The Landmark Theatres in West L.A., called “The Bookshop,” starring the amazingly gifted and flexible actress Emily Mortimer. (Interestingly this was also the week that I watched “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” on Netflix, another movie based on a book with literature at its core. I’ll be speaking with the producer, Paula Mazur, this week and will report on that conversation later.)
Based on Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name and set in 1959, widowed Florence (Mortimer) decides that she will open a bookshop in a small English seaside town in East Anglia. She will meet forces she never expected to deal with, objections from those who have never read books, others who want the space they’ve coveted for years (but done nothing about) as an arts center for the town.
Florence does some daring things, or perhaps daring only to those with closed minds. She brings in Ray Bradbury’s books and then the shocking, scandalous and controversial “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. Now the wasps are really buzzing.
Patricia Clarkson plays the “villain,” a high-handed power broker who schemes in the nastiest way to rid herself of the bookshop’s proprietor, while “old guard” eccentric recluse Mr. Brundish (played by one of my favorite actors, Bill Nighy) takes himself out of self-imposed exile to try to help Florence.
It’s a study in individual character strength and stick-to-it-ive-ness, until the forces arrayed against her prove indefensible.
“The Bookshop” opens Friday, August 24 at the Landmark Theatres.
MORE SUMMER STREAMS
I find myself enthralled with the series “Love in a Cold Climate,” the story of three close friends, Fanny, Linda and Polly, whose lives intersect and diverge in unpredictable ways. I’ve only watched 3 of the episodes from this 2001 BBC production, a beautiful period piece set from 1929 through 1940.
Based on the novel by Nancy Mitford, Alan Bates plays eccentric uncle Matthew who raises his niece Fanny (the wonderful Rosamund Pike), who narrates the series. For all three the chief goal is to get them married. Linda, played by Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh, is a sillier girl, whose mother is the very epitome of narcissism; and Polly (Megan Dodds) is a rebel, who refuses to marry then shocks everyone by choosing her dead aunt’s widower (and homosexual) Boy (Anthony Andrews).
Check it out on Amazon Prime Video.
Sarah A. Spitz is an award-winning public radio producer, now retired from KCRW, where she also produced arts stories for NPR. She writes features and reviews for various print and online publications.