Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Artist-In-Residence Collection @ Fullerton College Art Gallery

Yesterday I popped into the Fullerton College Art Gallery to check out their latest exhibit, a collection of work by artists who have participated in their Artist-in-Residence program, which started in 1972, with famous artist Wayne Thiebaud.  Every year, a professional artist gives classes, workshops, and has an exhibit at the Fullerton College Art Gallery, and then donates one piece to their permanent collection.  In the years since I've taught at Fullerton College, I've been pretty impressed with the caliber of artists Fullerton College has managed to pull--people like Sandow Birk, Frank Romero, Gronk, and many others.

I wandered around the gallery, taking pictures of some of the work, and educating myself on the artists exhibiting.  It's an impressive collection.  Here are some of the pieces, presented in chronological order of when the artist was at Fullerton College, beginning in 1972 with Wayne Thiebaud...

Wayne Thiebaud, Penny Machines

1972 artist-in-residence Wayne Thiebaud rose to prominence in the 1960s, and was associated with the Pop Art movement.  He liked to paint colorful objects of mass culture.

Florence Arnold, Artist Proof

1973 artist-in-residence Florence "Flossie" Arnold helped start the annual "Night in Fullerton" celebration in 1964.  She started painting at age 50, and her style is associated with the "hard edge" movement.

Jose Luis Cuevas, Self-Portrait

1975 artist-in-residence Jose Luis Cuevas is a world-renowned Mexican artist.  There is a Jose Luis Cuevas Museum in Mexico City.

Jack Beal, Still Life

1977 artist-in-residence Jack Beal, who died this year, was an American realist painter whose artwork graces the walls of places like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

Ynez Johnston, Voyage of the Mandarins

1982 artist-in-residence Ynez Johnston graduated from UC Berkeley and has traveled the world extensively.  Her artwork is characterized by mystical references to ancient cultures.  She has a piece at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

Leslie Gabrielse, Fullerton Flute Player

1992 artist-in-residence Leslie Gabrielse is a fabric artist who studied at the University of Rotterdam, and has shown his work extensively in the United States and Europe.

Jim Morphesis, Dark Triptych

1993 artist-in-residence Jim Morphesis paints powerfully emotional pieces, often of male torsos, influenced by Christianity and Greek mythology.  His work can be see at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many other world-class museums.

John Frame, Self-Portrait: Given Shadows

1994 artist-in-residence John Frame is an American sculptor, photographer, composer and filmmaker.  Frame has been given Grants and Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has participated in group exhibitions around the world and has had major solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Long Beach Museum of Art, and the Huntington Library.

Milford Zornes, Hogan in the Canyon of Art Criticism

1998 artist-in-residence Milford Zornes was a famous California watercolor painter.  During the Great Depression, he was commissioned to paint WPA murals in post offices in Claremont, California and El Campo, Texas.  During World War II, he was commissioned as a war artist.  He traveled extensively in China, India, and Burma, making war art.  He ended up teaching painting at Pomona College.  His art is featured in the White House and the Library of Congress.

2001 artist-in-residence Frank Romero was an important member of a Chicano group of painters known as "Los Four," which also included Carlos Almaraz, Gilbert Lujan, and Roberto (Beto) de la Rocha (father of Rage Against the Machine front-man Zack de la Rocha).  Following the break-up of Los Four, Romero turned his attention to cars, low-riders, freeways, and general street culture.  In Los Angeles, Romero is perhaps best known for his iconic "Going to the Olympics," a downtown LA mural he painted in 1984, celebrating the olympic games of that year.  The piece that he donated to Fullerton College is located in the library.

Frank Romero, Fullerton

Terry Allen, Buddha Cage (Catcher)

2002 artist-in-residence Terry Allen is both a conceptual artist and country musician from Lubbock, Texas.  He collaborated with Talking Heads frontman David Byrne on the soundtrack to Byrne's film True Stories.

Mike Sheehan, Uncle Sam

2003 artist-in-residence Mike Sheehan currently lives and works in Los Angeles.  His recent sketches have been featured on KPCC's "Off Ramp" with John Rabe.

Justin Sweet, Untitled

2005 artist-in-residence Justin Sweet studied art at Cal State Fullerton, and is now an acclaimed fantasy artist, whose has worked as a concept artist for numerous films, including the live action Chronicles of Narnia film.

Alyssa Monks, Rebecca

2006 artist-in-residence Alyssa Monks is a contemporary painter who has studied painting in Boston, New York, and Florence.  Her work has been featured in exhibits around the world.  She paints mostly human figures and has taught "Flesh Painting" at the New York Academy of Art.

Sandow Birk, The Bombardment of the Getty Center (The Battle of Los Angeles)

2009 artist-in-residence Sandow Birk is one of my top five living artists.  He has made contemporary visual adaptations of such epic works as Dante's Divine Comedy and the Qu'ran.  He combines ancient ideas and texts with scenes from modern life.  My dream is to have Sandow Birk exhibit at my gallery, Hibbleton.  

Hung Liu, Fullerton Fawn

2010 artist-in-residence Hung Liu was born in China and studied art there until she immigrated to the United States in 1984.  Her work often incorporates images of China, and is a reflection on history, heroism, and feminism.  She teaches at Mills College in Oakland, CA.

Gronk, Untitled Mural

2011 artist-in-residence Gronk was a founding member of ASCO, a Chicano artist collective from East LA who famously graffittied their names on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), as a protest against the museum's lack of Chicano art. 30 years later, ASCO had a major retrospective exhibit INSIDE LACMA!  Historical irony.

Marlo Bartels, These Days

2012 artist-in-residence Marlo Bartels is a tile muralist, and he created the first ever exterior mural in Fullerton College history (pictured above).  Bartels work can be seen publicly and in private spaces all around Southern California.

The image in the center above is by current Fullerton College artist-in-residence Mia Tavonatti, who paints meditative figures, often surrounded by ornate cloth.  

Overall, the exhibit is packed with important art, full of ideas, history, and beauty.  Just studying the lives and work of these artists, one gets a richer sense of what has happened in the world since 1972, when the artist-in-residence program began.  

1 comment:

  1. In the 7th grade, I was fortunate enough to be a student in an art class of Florence Arnold (Flossie, 1900-1994). But prior to this, in elementary school, she told me she would be my teacher and her eyes showed that she (as a teacher and "sub") cared about me. Eventually, she gave me one of her hard edge oils; which hangs on my living room wall to this day...and she hung one of my USAF-OJT 16"x20" photographs (of subtle-colored "scrub oak" leaves) on the wall in her Fullerton home. It was so nice to be recognized for a moment in time in this way. But it was her effervescing heart that I remember the most. Flossie cared about people, especially children...and I'm not so sure that people viewing her subtle and often unobtrusive art and yet who did not know her personally "got that". It is good to remember that art only has meaning as it arises from deep within, whether it portrays something intense and representational, or perhaps simply nuances of the reflections of life. 'Tis but the tip of the iceberg, and yet the continuance of many a ship are weighed in the balance. Just beyond the canvas, and unseen by onlookers in a the artist. That is true art, drawing the smile, wrenching the heart, or perhaps floating downward from the loftiest branch. Bless your heart, "Mrs. Arnold"...for you certainly blessed mine.