artists in Menlo Park

Let’s just say artist Tara de la Garza is a bit trash obsessed. “As a child, a trip to the ‘tip’ (dump) was always an adventure,” said the Menlo Park resident who is of Irish descent but grew up in Australia. “Furniture, electronics, bicycles, all sorts of treasures could be found.”

Later as an adult living in New York where trash is omnipresent, “my interest became an obsession. A series of gutter trash photos was followed by detailed drawings of piles of trash bags left on the sidewalk every day.”

So, when she landed on Peninsula, one of her first stops was a visit to Recology. “People come from all over the world to see the Big Green Machine sort the waste. I have several videos of mesmerizing plastics rolling through the sorter and light waste plastics being discarded back to landfill.”

There in lies the rub, also known as the plastic lie: “Since 2018, our recycling is no longer taken by China and often ends up in unregulated trash piles that are openly burnt in South East Asia. The toxic fumes harm the local inhabitants.

“I want to address this in my work by encouraging the first of the three R’s, reduce, secondly I am reusing plastic waste in my artwork series that I’m calling Monuments to the Plastocene.”

She showed us two tube lights with recycled plastic bags as gels when we visited; there will be a total of nine on display when she takes part in  SF Design Week June 20 – 28.

“This is a pivot for me,” she said. “I’ve never done any sculpture before, but I like challenging myself.

“I really have bee-in-my-bonnet about the lie we were told about recycling. This is my attempt to elevate the material and to give it some value.”

Photo by Robb Most (c) 2019

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Krista Skehan rediscovers painting, leading to show at CoffeeBar

Krista Skehan’s life has been a string of successes. Growing up in Lindenwood, she attended St. Francis High School, where she was on the boy’s golf team [there was no girl’s team] and acquired what she describes a “good foundation of water color techniques.” Off to Indiana University, she did an individualized major that in […]

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Badri Valian showcases her paintings and videos at Art Ventures Gallery in Menlo Park

“39, Silence” is the name of an exhibition of Menlo Park resident Badri Valian’s  Abstract expression artworks on display at Art Ventures Gallery at 888 Santa Cruz Avenue. She’ll be at the gallery tonight (Jan. 17) at 6:00 pm to talk about her paintings and videos. Badri, who we first profiled in 2016, was born […]

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Lisa Frick and Casey Raftery are linked by artistic endeavors, now on display at Gitane

Dogs and art sparked a friendship between Lisa Frick and Casey Raftery that’s led to an art show currently on display at Gitane in downtown Menlo Park. Lisa, a relative newcomer to the Bay Area, works in collage and mixed media. She’s been making art off and on for the past 20 years, although she […]

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Asia Morgenthaler explores various artistic – and other – pursuits from her Menlo Park home

We admit it was the enormous downed tree trunk that caught our eye as we drove by Asia Morgenthaler’s home in Menlo Park. But we soon found there is a lot more to her story than just the tree. Asia is something of a Renaissance woman. Trained as a computer scientist, she found herself increasingly drawn to artistic pursuits while […]

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Dana Shields’ paintings on display at Willow Art show

Making art. Teaching art. Developing art curricula. These are all things Menlo Park resident Dana Shields is passionate about. “In my work, I strive to share my passion for joyous color, simple shapes, light and shadow, and bold compositions,” she said.  “As a teacher and a mother of a 5th grader, I have limited time […]

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Menlo Park-based artist Alice Weil’s current exhibit benefits Ronald McDonald House

“Chasing Light and Reflection,” a collection of oil and acrylic paintings inspired by Alice Weil‘s passion — rolling hills and​ majestic oaks — takes on additional meaning while being featured in December at the Portola Art Gallery in Menlo Park. The artist will donate 25% of her December sales to Ronald McDonald House via Blair Morgan Design Group […]

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Applied physics professor Hideo Mabuchi is also a ceramicist

Ceramics and applied physics. That’s not a marriage of disciplines that would pop up in most people’s minds. But the two pursuits are front and center in the life of Menlo Park resident Hideo Mabuchi. Hideo is a professor and department chair of the Department of Applied Physics at Stanford University. “My scientific research tends to […]

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Jesse Cool and Mitchell Johnson share art, food and admiration for each other

Think of them as bookending the stretch of the Alameda in Menlo Park between Sharon and Walsh roads. One a restaurateur feeding the body. The other a painter feeding the soul. Jesse Cool, owner of Flea Street Cafe, and artist Mitchell Johnson are joined together in what has been a mutually beneficial partnership for about five years with the […]

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Artist Susan Dunlap’s stone sculpture marks 30th anniversary at Bedwell Bayfront Park in Menlo Park

Artist Susan Dunlap, a Menlo Park resident since 1977, recalls how she felt 30 years ago when the final phase of her stone sculpture at Bedwell Bayfront Park was completed. “A 505-ton sculpture was what I needed to get Christo off my back!” she exclaims with a wry smile. “With that pressure gone, I was […]

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Creative upbringing propels Soni Bergman into designing jewelry from her Menlo Park studio

Jewelry designer Soni Bergman, who’s lived in Menlo Park for about 20 years, has art in her genes. Both her grandmother and mother are artists, the latter accomplished enough to have a piece accepted at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. “I pursued fine arts in college. Printmaking, to be exact,” she explained. “Later I came West with […]

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