MUSEUM AT A GLANCE: Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA

(Author’s Note : This review will briefly cover a few galleries that comprise the whole of Bergamot Station. Unfortunately my review will only cover a small sample of the artists who exhibited the evening I attended since there were many galleries, and I couldn’t see all of them. I encourage my readers to visit these galleries, and to view other exhibits that I did not have the time to see.)

A short while ago, I, along with my editor, made my first trip to Bergamot Station, a collection of small galleries in Santa Monica where many contemporary artists show their works. It was the opening night and the area was bustling with art lovers from all generations and walks of life. There was a festive mood in the air, with live music and drinks and snacks in some of the galleries.

The first gallery I visited was the Robert Berman gallery, which had an exhibit of works by the artist David Trulli, called “In Broad Daylight”. David Trulli’s medium of art is quite interesting to me: he covers a board with clay, sands it down to a smooth surface, covers it with black ink, and scrapes away the negative space to create his image. His works in the galleries were mostly cityscapes and office interiors with bold, dramatic chiaroscuro (the use of light and shade in paintings and drawings), sharp (yet freehanded) perspective, and vivid foreshortening, all of which added up to a breathtaking effect. The artist chose interesting angles from which to depict his subjects, either choosing an aerial view or an extreme low view where I felt dwarfed by the seemingly mundane desks and cabinets. His style and treatment of light and darkness reminded me a bit of the works of M.C. Escher. According to the guide in the gallery, Trulli was originally a cinematographer, and his sense of placement and arrangement to evoke the feelings of both drama and quietude in his works reflected his former career. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that in order to create different light and volume effects, the artist used strokes of varying sizes and depth with his tools, which personally fascinated me as an artist.

The next gallery I visited was the James Gray gallery, which held an array of works by different artists in various mediums. The first works I noticed were the paintings of Christy Rodgers, which were a series of realistically painted sea nymphs floating in a dark ground. The artist recreated the blurring effects of water in the paintings to great effect. Next my eye was caught by a small exhibit containing many black and white photographs of celebrities, including Grace Kelly, Gregory Peck and Cary Grant, among others. The title of the exhibit was “La Dolce Vita” and all of the photographs were from 1950s Italy. I then saw two lovely paintings by an artist simply called “Gadi”, which reminded me of the works of Joseph M. W. Turner in their use of bright yet smoky modulations of color to create a fleeting impression of the subjects (one of which seemed to be a harbor with boats). The last highlight of the gallery were two pictures, one of Marilyn Monroe and one of Benjamin Franklin, which were composites of smaller pictures, by the artist Robert Silvers.

Part of the Bergamot Station Complex at night. (

The next gallery, located next door and in the same building as the previous two, was the Tag Gallery, in which the highlight was the work of Sue Keane. She exhibited flat wall sculptures of beaten metal and porcelain that I (and especially my editor) loved. Some were dark and sparsely speckled color, others were metallic and reflective. The last gallery in the complex, Galerie Anais, was home to a small showing of bright and energetic urban graffiti art called “Inside-in/Outside-out”, which my editor enjoyed very much as well.

The highlight of the entire outing, for me, was in the Richard Heller Gallery (located in B building, for those who are interested), in the exhibit of works by the artist Devin Troy Strother, called “Please Don’t Act a Fool in the Club: A Memory of the Sugar Shack”. This exhibit had been recommended to us, and it was by far the most captivating showing of works I saw. The medium was a collage of paper cutouts of people, with bright, exuberant colors. The works were energetic, chaotic, and incredibly detailed, with some designs literally bursting off the page. Paper cutout is a medium that I have rarely enjoyed using, but this exhibit showed me how the medium can be used in an amazing and enchanting way. The highlight of the showing was a cutout collage that depicted hordes of paper cutout people and a massive, menacing lion tearing through the pink paper background. The work was exploding off the wall and is sure to catch the eye. Fortunately for me, the artist himself was at the gallery, and, after being coaxed out of my shyness by my editor, I introduced myself, talked about I On the Arts, and attempted to interview him. Unfortunately I lacked a tape recorder, so my first interview was lackluster, but the artist and I exchanged contact information and he so kindly agreed to answer my interview questions and they will be posted verbatim on this blog! I On the Arts will have its first interview with an artist shortly!

My editor and I then visited a few more small galleries and the Gallery of Functional Art, which included several chairs made of wine corks and bowls made of beaten crystallized vegetables. Overall, it was an incredible experience and I hope to visit again soon. I highly recommend the exhibits I saw and encourage my readers to visit as many galleries as they can!

(Author’s Note: Unfortunately, the Devin Troy Strother Exhibit closed on October 9, 2010.)


  1. I eargerly await the artist interview! Meanwhile, I shall bask in the glory of the phrase "beaten crystallized vegetables."
    Thanks for another in depth andinspiring article!

  2. You have done a great job of conveying the atmosphere of Bergamot Station. I also like the way your create the image for your reader. For those not lucky enough to have been to these galleries, you provide an image of the art...both the medium used in each case and the emotion conveyed. Great Job! And I too loved the crystallized vegetables. Let's get that interview up and running...The artist was very nice and friendly so I would like to hear more form him.


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