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Art á la carte

Current gallery in Huntington Beach makes every painting count with small exhibition space.

December 19, 2012|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Innocean USA has a new art gallery in Huntington Beach.
Innocean USA has a new art gallery in Huntington Beach. (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

A street-level window showcasing a solitary painting.

This is the scene that greets people who pass Current, Innocean USA's recently christened art gallery, in downtown Huntington Beach.

"We had an internal contest asking our employees to submit names for the gallery space," Executive Creative Director Greg Braun said in an email. "Two of our employees submitted the name Current, which is very fitting for our agency philosophy. The name Current was inspired by the powerful regenerative force of the flow of water in the Pacific Ocean — which is center to everything we do creatively here at Innocean."

According to Braun, staff brainstormed ideas about how to use an available storefront window space and decided on an employee-run community art gallery. Previously, the full-service advertising agency has partnered with artists, including Pinky Taylor, Marina DeBris, Alex Chiu and others.

Working with Downtown Huntington Beach Art Walk, Innocean hosts an open house to mark the start of each exhibit and welcomes the public to the agency's production studio to observe additional works of art on display.

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The first artist whose work has graced the walls of Current is Southern California-based Josh Agle, more popularly known as Shag, whose work debuted during September's Huntington Beach Art Walk.

The multimedia exhibition, which celebrates Shag's characteristic use of vivid colors and modern aesthetic, comprises 10 paintings, only one of which can be viewed from the street. Eight other pieces — a combination of serigraphs, artist's proofs and printer's proofs — are presented in Innocean's studio, the site of the exhibit's launch, while another is on view in the company's lobby.

From its spot in the window, "Paradise," displayed at the Laguna Art Museum in 2007, invites the attention of passersby. The team has incorporated AstroTurf and constructed trees for a three-dimensional effect.

"We chose 'Paradise' for a number of reasons, including the fact that the painting is quintessential Shag, which is the theme of this installation," gallery curator Chrissy Borgata Luizzi said in an email about the artist's purple and green-hued interpretation of consumerism and consumption. "Vibrant and colorful, 'Paradise' was the perfect painting to be on display for our Innocean and Huntington Beach community to enjoy."

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