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Finding Their Own Means of Creative Expression

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 Three artists with diverse backgrounds are being featured in Manhattan Beach exhibition

by Vy Nguyen

Three local artists – Terril Cascia, Abdul Mazid, and Alex Weinstein – are being featured in a show that opens this evening at the Manhattan Beach Art Center.

Terril Cascia admits that despite loving what she does for a living, she was not always so open about her passion for art.

“I grew up in the Chicago area,” she says. “I remember always wanting to be an artist even though I never told anyone. I studied architecture at the University of Illinois for three years and after I moved to L.A. in 1978 I transferred to California State University Long Beach. I finished my formal education with a BFA in printmaking. I’ve been painting on my own in the studio for the last 30 years. My days are pretty much structured around art and yoga.”

Cascia explains that she draws and paints on plywood or cardboard, and says that her work is non-objective and completely abstract. What inspires her for each project is not concrete and changes from day to day:

“The things that influence my work are arbitrary. I’m sure it’s both conscious and unconscious. Once in awhile I do see something, a shape, a color, or both, and know that I’ll use it in a piece, but not every piece has such a distinct influence.”

“Dark Inventory,” by Abdul Mazid

“Dark Inventory,” by Abdul Mazid

As with Cascia, Santa Monica native Abdul Mazid also grew up knowing he had a calling for the arts that could not be ignored.

“My father is the initial reason I got into art making,” he says. “Being an architect by trade, he always had blueprints, pencils, and rolls of paper around our home that I would examine and practice drawing with. I didn’t, however, become serious about art-making until after attending UC Santa Barbara for my undergraduate degree in economics. I realized then that art making was a way for me to explore and experiment with ideas about my identity that had remained unresolved.”

As an artist, Mazid has many motivations for his work, and states that “anything can lead to inspiration.

“I love the vast realm of exploration,” he adds. “As an artist I am allowed to explore within different fields of interest, from economic theory to biology to sports. Growing up in a multicultural household (Syrian and Mexican) in Southern California provided me with a unique hybridized cultural experience. As mentioned, I used my own identity as a point of departure for creative exploration and critical examination of how the self is affected by everything from daily interpersonal interactions to global economic policies.”

Lastly, Alex Weinstein is an artist who was fortunate enough to know and never question

what his true passion in life truly is.

“I am from Providence, Rhode Island,” he says. “I moved to Venice Beach in 1997 after four years in Brittany, France. In 2004 my wife and I moved to Manhattan Beach and my studio is in

Gardena. I completed a double major in Visual Art and English at Brown University, graduating

in 1992. I have been interested in art my entire life.”

Geometric art, by Terril Cascia

Geometric art, by Terril Cascia

Weinstein has other passions as well, one of which is surfing. Weinstein is a fine example of what happens when different interests and passions overlap, and he states that his love for surfing and the ocean influences his artwork.

“Over the last ten years, I have made a lot of paintings that depict the surface of the ocean. The paintings are atmospheric and visually quiet yet immersive. They speak to a reductive, minimal esthetic that is at times almost monochromatic.”

Unlike some artists, who stick with one medium, Weinstein experiments with many different form of art.

“I paint with oil paint on paper, wood panel and canvas,” he explains. “In conjunction with the painted work is a series of sculptures that also take the ocean as their subject. They are made primarily from materials common to the surf industry: resin, fiberglass, etc., and often look like cross sections, or extracted volumes, of water.

“Art can be a wonderfully evocative filter to behold the world in a new way; a chance to

see the world with your own eyes, [or] through the eyes of someone else!”

Cascia agrees, encouraging us to come and see the work on view: “Treat the show like an open house. Just go and look; you do not need to have any prior knowledge about art. The more shows you see the more you learn. It just takes time and interest.”

Asked what we should expect, Cascia says, “I’m not sure I can explain my work any better with words. My work needs to be seen.”

Abdul Mazid, Alex Weinstein, Terril Casia opens tonight, Thursday, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Manhattan Beach Art Center, 1560 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach. Hours, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Thursday from 1 to 8 p.m. Through Feb. 25. Free. (310) 802-5440 or go to citymb.info.

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