What's It All About?

Laguna Art Museum celebrates the 10th anniversary of its signature Art & Nature initiative with a special artist panel. Join artists Lita Albuquerque, Kelly Berg, Laddie John Dill, Rebeca Méndez and Phillip K Smith III in a discussion of their Art & Nature projects—and the impact of the Southern California environment on their artistic practices—moderated by LAM Curatorial Fellow Rochelle Steiner. A champagne reception will commence the celebration starting at 5:00pm and the panel will be held at 6:00pm.

This is also an occasion to visit and celebrate Rebeca Méndez’s The Sea Around Us with the artist before it closes on February 5, 2023.

Advance tickets recommended.

Museum members: $30

Non-members: $40


About the Panel


Kelly Berg—Art and Nature 2022

Kelly Berg is a Los Angeles based artist who creates paintings and sculptures that explore the ever-shifting nature of our world. Known for her compositions depicting the movement of tectonic plates, volcanic eruptions and dramatic geologic formations, Berg’s works offer a new perspective on the landscape and the sublime. The integration of geometric forms within her compositions and the recurring imagery of pyramids emerging from dark rifts in the earth create a visual framework that symbolizes a convergence of the human and natural worlds. Berg has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 2009. Born in Concord, Massachusetts, she received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA), The Manhattan Beach Art Center (Manhattan Beach, CA), The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art at University of Nevada (Las Vegas, NV), and the Art 1307 Cultural Institution at the Villa di Donato (Naples, Italy).


Rebeca Mendez—Art and Nature 2022

Rebeca Méndez is an artist, designer and chair of the Design Media Arts department at UCLA, where she is also director of the CounterForce Lab. Her research and practice investigate design and media art in public spaces, critical approaches to public identities and landscape and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. In addition to her many great permanent public commissions, including two for the Metro Art Crenshaw/LAX project and three for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Méndez’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections. Among them are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca in Mexico, the El Paso Museum of Art and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From 2017 through 2019 she served as selecting committee member for the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award.


Phillip K Smith III—Art and Nature 2016

Phillip K Smith III lives and works in Palm Desert. His work is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at Palm Springs Art Museum (2022-2023), and he will be honored at the Museum’s 2023 gala in late January. His work is also the subject of a solo exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (through August 2023). Trained as an architect at Rhode Island School of Design, Smith uses light, mirror, and glass to create sculpture and installations that create transformative experiences with color and form that engage our perception and understanding of spatial conditions. His recent projects include The Circle of Land and Sky 2017 for the inaugural Desert X (2017), Detroit Skybridge (2018), a 100-foot-long LED installation commissioned as part of Detroit’s Library Street Collective city-wide revitalization effort, and Three Half Lozenges, a permanent commission on the façade of the Newark Museum of Art (2021).


Laddie John Dill—Art and Nature 2015

Laddie John Dill is a Los Angeles artist. He had his first solo exhibition in New York City with Illeanna Sonnabend Gallery in 1971 and was one of the first Los Angeles artists to exhibit “light and space” work in New York. He exhibited the “Light Sentences” and “Light Plains” in institutions across the United States and globally and has enjoyed a resurgence of interest in these pieces, including a recent acquisition of a “Light Plains” sculpture by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Dill has been crafting light and earthly materials like concrete, glass, sand, and metal into luminous sculptures, wall pieces, and installations since the 1970s. When Dill does use canvas, he paints with pigments derived from cement and natural oxides.


Lita Albuquerque—Art and Nature 2014

Lita Albuquerque’s work interweaves photography, film, performance, painting, and sculpture into a vibrant synthesis of personal and cosmic mythologies through the central tenet “light carries information.”​ She often relies on elements and materials—including pigment, gold, and rocks—and has consistently explored locations both near and remote. She considers light and other atmospheric conditions as inspiration for her work. In doing so, she aims to create links between humans and the cosmos. Albuquerque was born in Santa Monica, California and raised in Tunisia, North Africa and Paris, France. In the 1970s Albuquerque emerged on the California art scene as part of the Light and Space movement and received acclaim for her ephemeral pigment pieces created for desert sites and executed in the natural landscape. Albuquerque famously installed Stellar Axis: Antarctica, a land artwork of 99 ultramarine blue spheres on the Antarctic ice, in 2006.  Her solo exhibition Liquid Light was on view as part of the 59th La Biennale di Venezia, Biennale Arte in 2022.

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