Art

GALLERY

PUBLIC INVITED TO ARTISTS’ RECEPTION AT BISTANGO

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14 – 3 to 5 pm

138th Art Exhibit Opens to Commemorate Bistango’s 30th Anniversary

Saturday, October 14th, foodies and art lovers are invited to Bistango Restaurant Gallery, located at the architecturally unique Atrium building in Irvine, to join in the celebration marking a culinary arts landmark. Bistango, a standard bearer for food and wine excellence since it opened its doors in November of 1987, is throwing a well-deserved party for yet another of its distinguishing characteristics: rotating museum quality art exhibits. The culinary and artistic achievements are well-earned landmarks.

Bistango is a critically acclaimed restaurant renowned well beyond the confines of Southern California for its diverse menu of outstanding international cuisine. Overseeing the bustling kitchen is Executive Chef Javier Montoya, an American success story, having come up through the ranks under the tutelage of Bistango’s founding Austrian Chef, Paul Gstrein, now heading up the kitchen at Bistango’s sister restaurant, Bayside in Newport Beach. Set in the airy lobby level of the iconic Atrium building in Irvine, the restaurant’s interior was conceived by owner John Ghoukassian and designed by internationally renowned, Venice based architect Michael Carapetian, to create the perfect gallery-style backdrop for the restaurant’s extensive rotating art exhibitions.

The 138th Bistango Art Exhibit is curated by Antoinette Sullivan, who has worked with founder John Ghoukassian since the very first collection of artists were assembled in 1987. This alone stands out in the art world, as the works of more than 2,200 artists from around the entire globe have graced the walls of Bistango. Among these are masters, established artists, as well as mid-career and emerging, from Orange County, throughout California, across the U.S. and as far away as China, Japan and Zimbabwe. The works have included sculpture, painting in all media and even neon, covering all artistic styles. Antoinette Sullivan says the new exhibit will include paintings, photographs and sculptures by renowned artists, among them:

MARK LEYSEN – whose participation represents a full-circle between artist and restaurant, as Leysen was among the first artists to present his work at Bistango in November of 1987, when the Gallery Restaurant first opened its doors. His abstract art has been exhibited at one-man shows at such renowned venues as the UCLA Hammer Museum, San Bernardino Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Chapman University, Museo de Arte in Queretaro in Mexico and many others. He recently captured top honors at the 2017 Collector’s Choice Studio Channel Islands Exhibition in Camarillo. Today, Mark is considered one of the foremost abstract artists from Southern California and after three decades of painting, he returns to exhibit at Bistango. Welcome back Mark!

MICHAEL RUFFINI – Is known for his large-scaled contemporary paintings using acrylic on canvas. As a contemporary artist, his primary inspiration to create revolves around the representation of his favorite locales from around the world. He cites the environment, people and music of those destinations to direct his use of colors.

HUGO ZHANG – His photographs depict nature, people, buildings, clouds and everything else that inspires him. His unique art is created by developing the negative, then placing a sheet of photographic paper directly on top of the negative to make a contact print so no photo shopping is involved. The results are silver gelatin prints that, after proper selenium toning, are expected to endure for a few hundred years. Hugo works entirely with a custom-designed wood camera.
The inauguration of the Art Exhibit will run from 3 to 5 P.M., Saturday, October 14, and the public is invited.

“Return To Taos” 40″ x 80″ acrylic on canvas

Mark Leysen participated in the very first art exhibit at Bistango in November of 1987, when the Gallery Restaurant first opened its doors. Today, Mark is considered one of the foremost abstract artists from Southern California; and after three decades of painting, he returns to exhibit at Bistango. Welcome back, Mark.

Bistango over the past 30 years has presented professionally curated, museum quality exhibits giving exposure to more than 1,200 artists from countries across the globe, representing many styles. We look forward to many more years of outstanding cuisine while we raise our wine glasses to fine art at Bistango.

-Antoinette A Sullivan

Mark Leysen’s art has been exhibited throughout California and Mexico in various group and one-person exhibitions, including; the UCLA Hammer Museum, the San Bernardino Museum, the Laguna Art Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Chapman University, Museo de Arte in Queretaro, Mexico, California State University at Fullerton, UC Irvine, the Los Angeles County Museum ARS Gallery, Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, the Fontana Art Depot, and the Irvine Great Park Arts Complex. Leysen is also a past recipient of an artist-in-residence grant at the UCI Storefront Gallery. Currently he won First Place Award in the 2017 Collector’s Choice Studio Channel Islands Exhibition in Camarillo. Art writer, Dr. Roberta Carasso states, “Leysen’s interaction of space, movement in a variety of directions, enhances the surface quality and creates the illusion of multiple planes. The already large image seems even more immense because our eyes continue moving upward and outward, following each shape beyond the space of the canvas.”

Works by Mark Leysen can be found in many private, corporate and institutional collections, including: Saban Entertainment, Westwood; The Finish Line, Los Angeles; East/West Group, Hong Kong; Crowell and Moring, Irvine; Santa Ana College; The University of California, Irvine; Joan Green Management, Los Angeles; Hollywood Community Hospital; Chapman University, Orange; Concordia University, Irvine; World Wide Wadio, Los Angeles; the City of Fontana; Coastline Community College in Newport Beach, Checchi Capital Advisers, LLC., Los Angeles; the Belgian Consulate, Los Angeles; and the City of Newport Beach Arts Commission.

Mark Leysen holds a BA and MA from California State University, Fullerton. He has lectured and taught studio art at the university and college level for over 25 years, including Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, Irvine Valley College and Santa Ana College. He was a previous Art Gallery Director/Curator at Irvine Valley College. Now retired from teaching, he devotes himself full-time to art.

Click on an artist’s name below to view more about them

MITCH RIDDER

With twenty-four years as a painter and illustrator, thirty-eight years as an ocean lifeguard and the last six years as a photojournalist, my training demanded developing an intuitive visual acuity that I now capture photographically.

The foundation of my work and artistic strength is my painter’s visual sense of composition with a designers aesthetic, framed through my viewfinder, composing cinematic stories with light and color.

My passion rivals my vision. Whether pre-shoot strategizing, mapping locations and plotting the sun and moon’s position, rising at 3:00 am to be on location by 5:00, exploring new destinations and cultures, through post-processing, printing and framing, my attention to detail, I do whatever it takes to get the shot and tell the story.

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, the significance of an event, a decisive moment.” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Just as a treasure hunter drives to discover and unlock history, my passion is fueled by discovering my own “decisive moments,” where I intuitively fuse subject, light and composition.

Specializing in photojournalism, landscapes, and cityscapes and traveling for private and commercial clients, including interior designers, commissioned work and stock photography, I love matching and exceeding client expectations.

Images of Cuba

Cuba is a magical place, still frozen for the most part in 1959, but the trade winds of change are blowing. As a photojournalist I was compelled to travel to Cuba in December 2015, to document a slice of Cuban life, famous for its historical capital, colorful Spanish-Colonial architecture, its picturesque seaside Malecón boulevard, classic American cars, cigars, rum and flamenco dancing, before they fade and are lost forever.

SANDY CLARK

Represented in many private and corporate collections, Sandy holds a BA from the University of Arizona and a MFA from the University of California at Long Beach.

Intrigued by the use of various water media, Sandy has embarked on a journey into abstract naturalism, applying nontraditional techniques.

Interpreting nature and the physical world around us, she invites her viewer to share in her discovery and to participate further in their own visual journey.

SUSAN COX

Susan Cox was educated in Fine Arts at California State University, Long Beach and lived in England for 14 years where she painted and exhibited in galleries in the London and Oxfordshire areas. Her work has been featured in the Federation of British Artists, Britain in Watercolours exhibition at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London. National and regional publications have featured Susan’s work and ABC television’s Wide World of Sports highlighted an opening segment with one of her paintings. Exhibitions at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center – The Art of the Automobile, the Newport Beach Concours de Elegance, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts and the Peterson Automotive Museum have showcased her work.

“The reality of the scene is there in front of me to be explored, but I will strive to interpret the scene with expressive brushwork that does not create a copy but, rather, creates movement, with patterns of light and color.”

MICHAEL RUFFINI

“I currently work with acrylic on canvas and best known for original large-scaled contemporary paintings, subtle or bold. As a contemporary artist, my primary inspiration to create revolves around the representation of places I have visited around the world. Its environment, people and music have a great impact on my use of colors. I have discovered that being an artist gives me total freedom to express my mind and emotions. I can assure you, I consider myself an artist placing high standards upon myself and my work in the past 35 years. My main focus over the past several years has been Abstract Expressionism.”

Michael Ruffini always had a passion for art with all its lush shapes, color drama and conflicting images. As a boy, he was captivated by the light and shadows transforming his Italian village surroundings from the familiar to the mysterious. Images of crowds in the market inspired quick sketches using school room chalk. No flat surface was safe from his expressive mischief; a cobblestone path, a rough wall or a poster for a Hollywood western. By age 6, his sketches had won local competitions. His teacher persuaded monks in a nearby order to instruct him in the secrets of color mixture and the tactile art of clay molding.

Ruffini growing up studied the Old Masters and traveled throughout Italy haunting the museums and galleries and sitting for hours examining the legendary brushstrokes as the available daylight altered the paintings impact. He memorized the techniques to enrich his own craft. His journey of self discovery led to ancient and modern Greece. He befriended the locals, absorbing the culture that spawned the classic architecture of Athena. His paintings took on a rainbow of native landscapes and the richness of cultural dance. He traveled across the European continent, every border opening to a new rhythm. He distilled his travel experience to the most memorable and influential moments: the up-close viewing of the great 20th century modernists; Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Cezanne, Dali, etc.; Ruffini wanted that freedom. After a lengthy London stay, Ruffini finally arrived in New York for his first gallery show in Greenwich Village. He wandered the canyons of Manhattan where culture changes on every corner. He found comfort in the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Then and there he decided that he must explore the United States and discover the art of America… and today Michael Ruffini lives and paints and sculpts in his studio in Palm Springs, California.

MARK LEYSEN

Mark Leysen’s art has been exhibited throughout California and Mexico in various group and one-person exhibitions, including; the UCLA Hammer Museum, the San Bernardino Museum, the Laguna Art Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Chapman University, Museo de Arte in Queretaro, Mexico, California State University at Fullerton, UC Irvine, the Los Angeles County Museum ARS Gallery, Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, the Fontana Art Depot, and the Irvine Great Park Arts Complex. Leysen is also a past recipient of an artist-in-residence grant at the UCI Storefront Gallery. Currently he won First Place Award in the 2017 Collector’s Choice Studio Channel Islands Exhibition in Camarillo.

Art writer, Dr. Roberta Carasso states, “Leysen’s interaction of space, movement in a variety of directions, enhances the surface quality and creates the illusion of multiple planes. The already large image seems even more immense because our eyes continue moving upward and outward, following each shape beyond the space of the canvas.”

HUGO ZHANG

One of the few obsessions of my life is making images with wooden cameras. I like to roam around and let my gaze linger upon faces, buildings, trees, waters, sea rocks and clouds.When I set up my camera and study the reflected images on the ground glass under the dark cloth, I often have a strange feeling these inanimate things start to awaken from their long sleep and begin to murmur to me, like old souls. Every place I visited, every face I saw and every object I observed are indeed gifts to my life. By capturing their images on silver paper, I hope to bear witness to their glory and their unique life. As an artist, my goal is to make ordinary things extraordinary. To achieve this goal, I try to be straightforward and simple when I make these images.

There is no battery on my camera. After developing the negative, I put a sheet of photographic paper directly on the top of the negative to make a contact print and there is no enlarger or photoshop involved. People say that silver gelatin prints after proper selenium toning will last a few hundred years. I hope they do and I hope they can bring some smiles on your face, even with my simple style

STEVEN M. LUSTIG

STEVEN M. LUSTIG’s sculptures are born out of a love of the human form and its natural motion. It is powerful, passionate, and embraces both human and natural forms. He was born and raised near the North Shore of Chicago where he began drawing at age 5. In high school he met a regionally known sculptor and began his fine arts education. His early work combining computers, art, and human motion became the genesis of Steven’s fine art. Steven moved to Southern California in the 80’s to work at an Olympic research center focused on Sports Medicine and Biomechanical Engineering. He has illustrated four books and completed a series of life science illustrations for the Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He currently teaches a stone sculpting class at the Laguna College of Art & Design, and Digital Media and Photoshop classes at Golden West College.

TANYA U. LOZANO

TANYA U. LOZANO: “I always have enjoyed the freedom and creativity that art brings to me through expressionism abstract.
It leaves the viewer to see what they want to, it’s never the same for each person. It’s diverse and I like that, as nothing stays the same.

My paintings are a balance of beautiful colors that play off each other and give a visual transition from the morning to the evening.

There are so many colors under the final painting that in different lightings you can see them peek out; as there is always another painting lying beneath the finished works.”

JEFF SCHWALM

JEFF SCHWALM’s earliest stone carving influences date back to his old world Italian Grandfather. For the past thirty-five years Jeff has worked as a master craftsmen creating and executing beautiful stone and tile designs in private homes. Jeff has always known he would pursue a lifestyle where he would use his hands and follow some form of art. From the first stone sculpting class that was offered to Jeff in 2004 at Laguna College of Art and Design, he knew he had found his passion. Jeff’s artistic vision became taking those raw uncut stones, and being the master craftsman, to discover and uncover the beauty that is hiding within each piece. Sometimes that journey takes him to a place where he tests the stones boundaries and sometimes the stone test his boundaries. There is no greater pleasure than shaping raw stone boulders, whether it’s marble, alabaster, onyx, or any other stone, into finished sculptures of art. Now after twelve years, this is his heart and soul. This is the path he plans to follow for the rest of his life.

KENT KAHLEN

KENT KHALEN’s bio is coming soon!

For all art inquires, please contact us at info@bistango.com.

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