Posts Tagged ‘Craig Kauffman’
For the installation of Los Gigantes, I included something new – a bench! Although I don’t often place benches in the gallery, this show motivated me to include one. The aesthetic of Los Gigantes is very spare, with only ten pieces on view. The works really fill the space though, and they all benefit from prolonged looking. For example, the more time a visitor spends with a Light Knot by Larry Bell, the more they understand the ephemeral, kinetic nature of the piece. Practically weightless, the Light Knot turns and sways with the slightest breath of air. Because it is so responsive to light and environmental conditions, the piece changes from moment to moment.
I encourage people to sit down and study the pieces, rather than rushing through. From the bench installed in Los Gigantes, you will see a painting by Ed Moses, framed by two luminous wall reliefs by Craig Kauffman. The subtle, translucent colors of the Kauffman pieces beautifully complement the stained surface of Moses’ painting. Viewed together, the works illustrate the impact of shimmering, sensual color in differing media.
I know I’ve posted artists’ portraits before, but I can’t resist sharing these great photos of the artists in Los Gigantes: Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman, John Mason, Ed Moses, and Peter Voulkos. These giants of the West Coast art scene were all photographed by Jim McHugh, who was kind enough to send us these images. McHugh is a noted chronicler of contemporary West Coast artists and has published several books including California Painters: New Work, 1989 and The Art of Light and Space, 1993. More recently, his work was exhibited by Timothy Yarger Fine Art, and was included in the Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time initiative. For over thirty years, McHugh has created compelling portraits of artists, capturing their individuality and offering unique views into their world. His respect and enthusiasm for his subjects and their work comes through in every image.
We had our opening reception for Los Gigantes at the gallery last Saturday, January 18th, and it was a great time. As you might expect, a show featuring the work of Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman, John Mason, Ed Moses and Peter Voulkos draws a big crowd. These artists are giants within the history of West Coast art, and their work attracts writers, other artists, museum and gallery professionals, and lots of fans!
We were lucky enough to have Larry Bell, John Mason, and Ed Moses in attendance. In the week leading up to the reception, we fielded phone calls from excited visitors who wanted to know if they would have the chance to meet the artists, and I’m glad we didn’t disappoint them. The reception had the feel of a reunion, as Bell, Mason and Moses have known each other for many years, and they have a large circle of mutual friends. It was great to see so many members of the Los Angeles art world turn out to support these artists, who each have such strong histories in the city.
With a group like this, it was no surprise that visitors wanted to linger, spending time with both the artworks and the artists. It was a great opportunity to hear from the artists directly, in a relaxed atmosphere. In the end, we knew it was time to head home after a long night when Pinky, Larry Bell’s dog and constant companion, curled up and took a nap in the gallery.
Taking a look around at Los Gigantes today got me thinking about the artists and their histories with the gallery. Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman, John Mason, Ed Moses, and Peter Voulkos have all exhibited here numerous times and most of them even have a gallery publication to their name! I’m always happy to produce catalogues for artists, and to support their work with scholarship that provides important context for visitors.
Right now, we have four gallery-produced publications available, as well as one collaborative effort. These include exhibition catalogues for John Mason from 2000, Craig Kauffman from 2008, and Peter Voulkos from 2012. Of course, we also have Sensual Mechanical: The Art of Craig Kauffman, the definitive monograph on Kauffman’s life and work. To round things out, I also contributed an essay to the catalogue for the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery’s 2012 exhibition Clay’s Tectonic Shift, which I co-curated with Mary MacNaughton and Kirk Delman.
Frank Lloyd Gallery artists have been very busy, so here’s a round-up of their latest activities. To begin, Jennifer Lee has been invited to participate in the International Ceramic Festival in Sasama, Shizuoka, Japan. During the festival, November 22 – November 24, 2013, Lee will present a slide lecture and practical demonstration. Gustavo Pérez will join her at the festival, as he is also scheduled to speak to participants. In 2014, Lee will return to Japan for a two-month artist’s residency at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.
An important work by Craig Kauffman is now on display at the Barbican Art Centre, as part of their exhibition Pop Art Design, which opened on October 22 and will run through February 9, 2014. I was fortunate enough to preview this show during my recent trip to London. Pop Art Design investigates the “exciting exchange of ideas between the fields of design and art” during the Pop Art movement.
Peter Voulkos is currently the subject of a one-man exhibition at the Franklin Parrasch Gallery titled Peter Voulkos: Works, 1956 – 1997. On view through November 23, 2013, this show features ten ceramic artworks drawn from distinct periods within the artist’s long career.
I am also pleased to announce that the Hetjens Museum in Dusseldorf, Germany, has acquired a recent sculpture by Wouter Dam. Founded in 1909, the Hetjens Museum is home to a collection of ceramic works from all over the world, spanning 8,000 years of ceramics history. Finally, The Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico, recently announced a major gift of contemporary art by a private collector. The promised collection contains over 30 artworks by Larry Bell, including two examples of his most recent series, the “Light Knots.”
I am very proud to announce that the gallery, in collaboration with ColorNet Press, has been awarded a Certificate of Merit from the Printing Industries of America for our artist’s monograph, Sensual Mechanical: The Art of Craig Kauffman. The Premier Print Awards are held yearly to recognize the highest quality printed pieces in over 100 categories from around the world. As our plaque notes, “The Premier Print Award goes to those firms who demonstrate a unique ability to create visual masterpieces. Chosen from thousands of entries, each represents the unique partnership between designer and printer, need and creativity, technology and craft.”
I’m glad the award emphasizes collaborative relationships because it’s so important to me to recognize the gallery’s partners in this project – it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s hard work. For the design of the book, I will always be grateful for the vision of the late Joe Molloy, of Mondo Typo, and his wife, Amita Molloy, who worked as our production manager. Additional design assistance was provided by Jim Drobka, with typography done by Diane Franco. Finally, I have to thank Nick Nejad of ColorNet Press, for his dedicated attention and expertise. I’m proud to share this award with him.
The artists in our current show, Translucence, were all active in the 1960s. Their work is linked by their shared interest in transparency, light, reflection and the awareness of visual perception. Although they are frequently united under the label of Light and Space, and strongly associated with the late 1960s and early 1970s, it’s important to note how these artists’ work has evolved.
Our current show presents historical and contemporary examples of artwork. For instance, Larry Bell’s well-known form, the glass cube, is presented alongside work from his most recent series, the “Light Knots.” Working in diverse materials, Bell achieves complex visual effects through his use of thin film deposition – resulting in objects that absorb, transmit, and reflect light, thus calling into question the nature of the physical and visual spaces they inhabit.
Sensuous color characterizes Craig Kauffman’s practice, and plastic allowed him to expand on and enhance this sensibility. Suspended from the ceiling, Kauffman’s Untitled Loop from 1969 radiates luminous color, casting reflections on the surrounding walls. His more recent wall reliefs pulse with layers of iridescent paint, applied in thin layers to achieve a glowing, atmospheric quality.
Helen Pashgian’s work, like that of many of her contemporaries, used the new possibilities offered by industrial mediums to manipulate and explore visual and physical phenomena. Her practice constitutes an ongoing investigation into the interaction between light, color, and three-dimensional form. Like her historical spheres, Pashgian’s recent pieces explore the perceptual relationship between color and structure, blurring the borders between these principles. As the viewer moves around her work, colors and shapes advance and recede within each piece, creating an effect of instability.
As we start to install our next exhibition, titled Translucence, at the gallery, I am struck by its parallels with the Beyond Brancusi show currently on view at the Norton Simon Museum. I visited the NSM’s show in July, and really enjoyed its perspective on the influence of Constantin Brancusi on the following generations of 20th century sculptors.
I particularly remember the third room of the exhibit, which featured “a grouping of works by Southern California artists who introduced experimental materials and expanded the relationship between sculptural object and space even further.”1 This space features four of the five artists included in the gallery’s Translucence exhibition: Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Helen Pashgian, and DeWain Valentine. A large cube by Larry Bell (our fifth artist) rests just beyond the doorway.
The works on display at the NSM, like those that will soon be up at the gallery, explore the qualities of light, color, reflection, and translucency. They play with our perception of sculptural space, complicating the subject/object relationship as they dissolve into the surrounding environment. Spatial relationships and perceptual phenomena are the primary focus of these works, and of Translucence as a show.
1 Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture, Press Release, The Norton Simon Museum, January 2013, http://www.nortonsimon.org/assets/Uploads/Beyond-Brancusi-Press-Release.pdf
It has been a busy summer for our gallery artists, and their momentum looks like it will continue into the fall! For example, Richard Shaw has three works featured in the Laguna Art Museum’s ongoing exhibition, Faux Real. On display through September 29th, Faux Real presents a selection of artworks that mimic and manipulate reality. Shaw’s porcelain sculptures are a natural fit for the show – he has been producing artful and irreverent trompe l’oeil objects for decades. Shaw is also presenting a series of figural ceramic sculptures in a solo show at the Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, through August 24th. At a glance, these figures appear to be cobbled together from a variety of everyday objects, including instruments, books, branches, and cast-off shoes. However, these seemingly found objects are actually cast in porcelain.
The Orange County Museum of Art’s California-Pacific Triennial includes works by Akio Takamori. A re-working of the OCMA’s previously established California Biennial, the Triennial explores the complex cultural exchange between countries located on the Pacific Rim. Takamori, a naturalized American citizen born in Japan, is a perfect example of this phenomenon, making figurative sculptures that explore ideas of global community and his own multicultural background. His work will be on display at OCMA through November 17th.
Finally, Craig Kauffman will be included in an exhibition titled Pop Art Design at the Barbican Art Gallery in London, running October 22, 2013 through February 9, 2014. This show, organized in cooperation with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Moderna Museet, will investigate the “exciting exchange of ideas between the fields of design and art” during the Pop Art movement.1 Kauffman will be represented by a beautiful plastic lozenge from 1968-69, from the collection of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
1 Pop Art Design, Barbican Art Gallery, London: 2013, http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=14797
I recently viewed the superb show “Beyond Brancusi” at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. It’s a very carefully selected show (just twenty works plus “Bird in Space” upstairs), entirely from the NSM holdings of modern art. There are three sections of the exhibit, demonstrating “…the transformative notion of space, and, secondarily, materials, that Brancusi presents.”
Entering the Norton Simon, one descends the center staircase to the basement, into the Special Exhibitions area. Part one includes nine works; Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and Isamu Noguchi (all marble) as well as Louise Nevelson, Gabriel Kohn, Charles Mattox and Guy Dill (wood and other materials). These sculptures set up the relationship to Brancusi in ways both direct (Hepworth and Moore) and tangential.
Relationship to sculptural volume and the use of larger masses in space abounds in the second room. The scale and industrial materials of Minimalism expand the exhibit in works by Donald Judd (two from Judd), Robert Morris (a felt piece), and John McCracken as well as Carl Andre’s modular floor piece and Larry Bell’s big dark cube. This is a compact view of the major power of the Minimal era.
It’s in room three where the show gets really interesting, as far as sculptural space is concerned. That’s because the work of Helen Pashgian, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman and DeWain Valentine present ways in which our perception of space is heightened or altered. The Robert Irwin disc—in aluminum sprayed with a luminous, magical shifting aura of pale color—is installed at the far end wall, framed by the room openings of the previous sections.
Back upstairs in the permanent collection, Brancusi’s “Bird in Space” is highly polished bronze, and the progenitor is “reflecting life itself” according to the artist. That might be a good way to view the whole show. Certainly, the emphasis on spatial relationships dominates, and the significance of materials or process is secondary in the show. It’s the work of Norton Simon Museum curator Leah Lehmbeck, and definitely something to see.