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Universal encompassment

'Nothing is excluded' from the World Gallery, which offers locals a place to showcase their art.

July 27, 2007|By Jessie Brunner

The art at Westside Costa Mesa's World Gallery is intergalactic, but visitors shouldn't expect paintings of orbiting planets or sculptures of little green men.

Thomas Burgard opened the gallery in May, hoping to attract more people to the area and to offer locals a place to view and showcase a variety of artwork.

"What I mean by intergalactic is it encompasses everything in the universe and is not limited to any sort or style of art," said Burgard, who utilizes oils, acrylics and watercolors to recreate his world adventures on canvas. "Nothing is excluded."

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The building on Placentia Avenue between 19th and 20th streets hardly looks like it once housed a boat assembly line or an automobile manufacturer. The rainbow-hued beach scene that adorns its exterior sets is apart from the bland buildings surrounding it.

Throughout the day, passersby poke their heads in to inquire about the business, and it was the "psychedelic look" that attracted Costa Mesa native Maria McCarty, who rents one of three annexes to display her brother Grayson's impressionist sketches and oil pastels.

"It just looked like such a cool, fun place," she said.

Tonight and Saturday, she will showcase some of his Spanish-inspired work for an "Impresiones de EspaƱa" exhibit, complete with tapas, Spanish dancing and wine tasting.

Attendees can also expect a visit from bullfighter Roberto Landa, who is the subject of Burgard's newest painting.

In the main room, visitors can enjoy works by Robert Lederman, Bert Esenherz, including a 7-by-5-foot painting he carried across the country to promote local art and Jim Warren, who collaborated extensively with marine artist Robert Wyland.

Many of the artists are personal friends of the gallery's curator, who goes by his Native American name Clearlight, though he is known by the artists as "the barefoot curator" because of his propensity for not wearing shoes.

Formerly the owner of several local comic book stores, Clearlight travels the world over in search for art to collect and display at World Gallery.

"We are trying to support artists in the community, and to me the community means the whole world," he said. "Keeping a forum alive for people to express themselves is really important."

In exchange for exhibiting some of his stone sculptures, Santa Ana-based sculptor and painter Todd Mihlbauer helps out around the gallery cleaning and hanging pieces.

"I like the inspiration behind it," he said. "They're not limiting it to only famous artists. Everything is art and it should be shown."


  • JESSIE BRUNNER may be reached at (714) 966-4632 or at jessica.brunner@latimes.com.

    IF YOU GO

    WHAT: Impresiones de Espana

    WHEN: 7 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday

    WHERE: World Gallery, 1980 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa

    COST: Free

    INFO: For more information, go to www.worldgallerys.com or call (949) 646-6612.

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