September 16, 2005

Southern Exposure at La Jolla Museum of Art

Featuring over four decades of work made by artists from Los Angeles to the Mexican border, Southern Exposure draws from MCASD’s permanent collection to showcase the diversity and aesthetic innovation of contemporary art making in the region. The exhibition will be on view at MCASD La Jolla (700 Prospect St.) from September 18, 2005 through January 1, 2006.

Certain subjects and artistic techniques developed specifically in response to a Southern California location, including: the light and space movement, urban/suburban themes, interest in border, beach and car culture, as well as counterculture movements. While some of this art is politically motivated, some is concerned primarily with formal considerations.

Highlights from the exhibition include important early works by John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, and Robert Irwin. Seminal as both a teacher and art maker, Baldessari’s paintings Composing on a Canvas (1966-68) and Terms Most Useful in Describing Creative Works of Art (1966-68), comprised of painted text on monochromatic backgrounds, humorously conceptualize our expectations about art, its limits, and its dependence on language. Similarly, Ed Ruscha’s Ace (1962) uses text as subject matter to create a summation of the state of art and painting at a pivotal moment in American culture. As a central part of the light and space movement, Robert Irwin created works exploring perceptual effects.

Art that questions the status quo and the importance of feminist and Chicano voices in California will be demonstrated with works by Chris Burden, Alexis Smith, Eleanor Antin, Ruben Ortiz Torres, and Daniel J. Martinez, among others.

Younger generations of Los Angeles-based artists whose studio practice has been impacted by these influential artists will be shown, while San Diego’s local artist community will be well represented, with works by David Avalos, Roman De Salvo, Manny Farber, Jean Lowe, Kim MacConnel, Patricia Patterson, and Italo Scanga—artists who have served their community as innovators, teachers, and mentors. Southern Exposure will illustrate the numerous artistic responses to Southern California, both debunking and supporting the multiple perceptions of the region.

Site-specific projects will be commissioned in response to the theme of the exhibition. Los Angeles-based artist Raymond Pettibon, known for his idiosyncratic renderings and room-size installations of clustered works on paper with drawings made directly on walls, will create a drawing installation in the galleries, and fellow Los Angeles-based artist Portia Hein will create a new installation in the Museum’s café.  Hein makes flat, abstract compositions in quiet colors that suggest plant life and landforms, but go beyond nature into worlds of her own creation.

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