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Artist’s reception for a new addition to Santa Monica’s art scene


Mimi Cahalan, an artist living and working in Santa Cruz, California, was selected for this project, which uses Cahalan’s signature painted metal pieces attached in a mosaic style “skin” to a wooden form with small nails. It was installed on February 27th at the Lido Apartments building in Santa Monica.

Cahalan’s work in Dwell Magazine caught the attention of Samuel Kim, a landscape architect and owner of SQLA, Inc. in Los Angeles, California. Kim was tasked with locating an artist to provide a large wall work for the building’s breezeway, and felt that something with an architectural look would transform the entryway into a vibrant, welcoming space.

“In searching for a mural artist for the Lido Apartments project, I found Cahalan’s work to be a perfect match,” said Kim. “Her contemporary composition of colors is really appealing and the metal panels provide the more permanent look of a relief sculpture, rather than a painting. Cahalan’s installation will provide a striking composition in the breezeway space.”

The project took several months to design and fabricate. Working in her 20 ft. by 23 ft. Santa Cruz studio, Cahalan made the 32 ft. artwork in four panels over 3/4 inch marine grade plywood. For this project, Cahalan, following her design, prepared the individual machine-fabricated aluminum pieces before painting them with an acrylic paint and varnish. The pieces were carefully fitted together, glued and nailed in place over the front surface and around the sides to the back. The nails and brisk brushwork add a rich textural quality to the piece. Cahalan’s design and fabrication plans unanimously passed a review by the Architectural Review Board of Santa Monica.

This project represents Cahalan’s first large-scale outdoor commission, a new and successful rendition of her familiar technique for interior works.

“I’ve never worked this large before.” said Cahalan. “My interior work typically ranges from 1 ft. by 1 ft. up to 4 ft. by 4 ft. This project allowed me to envision larger designs, and because of the location, I’ve made something that can be enjoyed by many more people than if it were situated in a home or office. I’m working on my next commission — a somewhat smaller piece for a client in New York.”

Cahalan has shown her work in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Fe and Philadelphia. She is currently represented by the Edge Gallery in Philadelphia and at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco.

Background:
Mimi Cahalan lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she works on her wall-mounted constructions in painted metal and wood. She holds a B.A. in Art from San Jose State University and a M.Ed. in Art from the University of Washington.

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