August 10 – October 20, 2019
Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA
Site Specific Installation
Site-specific installation Infinite Love/Flesh and Blood by Erika Lizée spans three floors in the MOAH atrium. Erika Lizée uses trompe l’oeil and sculptural acrylic painting to create images that seem to “react” to the actual light and shadows of the space in which they reside. Her magically biomorphic installations are strange yet familiar, and seem to recede behind the gallery wall and reach out toward the viewer simultaneously. Lizée imagines the wall surface as a symbolic threshold between different realms or states of existence. She is also inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, a tale of human perception and how our perceptions and experiences shape our personal reality.
“The visionary function, which fulfills the soul’s need for placing itself in the vast scheme of things, has been suppressed, with the result that as a culture, we have lost the gift of vision,” states Lizée. She believes there is a “universal and ever-present urge for transcendence, for going beyond the mundane to experience the sublime. I hope to provide such an otherworldly experience.”
Lizée’s recent body of work is based on her studies of the numbers 1 through 10 as well as sacred geometry. Infinite Love/Flesh and Blood at MOAH is inspired by the number 8, with visual references to the shape of the clematis flower, oxygen (the 8th element on the periodic table), musical octaves (there are eight notes in an octave) and the infinity symbol (which looks like a number “8”). Raised in a family of four and now having her own family of four, the number eight holds great symbolic power for Lizée as she reflects on love and life.
Erika Lizée earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of North Carolina Asheville and her Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from California State University Northridge. She is currently a tenured professor at Moorpark College and the Director of the Moorpark College Art Gallery.
Five Year Survey curated by Cooper Johnson
In MOAH’s Main Gallery, Five Year Survey, curated by Cooper Johnson features significant Los Angeles painters over the last five years. Its paintings range from socially-conscious figurative works to “pure” abstraction and everything in between. The exhibition exudes pure joy in paint as a material, with thick impasto brushwork, energetic mark-making, and bright, fresh color palettes. But paint isn’t the only material these artists utilize; photography, digital rendering, and printmaking all make their way into the work to break the mold of tradition and subvert expectations of what painting is and means.
Five Year Survey is a cross-section of contemporary painting focusing exclusively on the works of Los-Angeles-based painters. While the survey includes a broad variety of styles, it highlights painters who are moving the medium in new directions, whether through addressing relevant social issues or through contributions to previous movements and styles. Five Year Survey does not have a global theme, but reflects some of the salient aspects of living in the present moment: an increased awareness of identity, hyper-connectedness and information abundance and a heightened sensitivity to what is fake and what is real.
Despite its breadth, the works of Five Year Survey revolve around three general themes. Many works in the show address issues surrounding identity -- how on the one hand, it can be viewed merely as a construct, but at the same time, be the cause of serious issues concerning one’s experience. Other works use paint to confuse the definitions of what is “real” in a painting; commenting on painting’s tradition of illusion, our propensity for sense-making and technology’s influence on both. Third is the theme of plurality and purity in painting; paintings that do not zero in on any single concept, logic or style of painting, but are more interested in how different sets of rules can coexist in a single image.
Five Year Survey includes the work of: April Bey, Justin Bower, Rebecca Campbell, Petra Cortright, Joshua Dildine, Tomory Dodge, Amir H. Fallah, Tom LaDuke, Annie Lapin, David Lloyd, Allison Miller, Maysha Mohamedi, Ruth Pastine, Kour Pour and Emma Webster.
Immersed in the art world at a very young age, Cooper Johnson grew up surrounded by art and artists, fueling a passion for writing poetry and art criticism. He has written for Artillery Magazine, SquareCylinder.com and numerous critical catalog essays -- most recently for Coleen Sterritt, Alex Couwenberg and Justin Bower. Johnson is based in Los Angeles and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Davis and a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern Law School.
DAVID ALLAN PETERS
David Allan Peters creates work that explodes with countless layers of color and intricate texture, combining painting with sculptural hand-carved qualities. Diamonds, grids and circles create kaleidoscopic compositions that vibrantly explore geometry, intuition and chance. He has become known for his innovative process of building up material which is then peeled and cut away exposing what is below the initial surface, unveiling various colors at different depths. Peters sometimes works for 15 years on a single painting, painstakingly applying layer upon layer of acrylic paint and then cutting, scraping, sanding and carving into the layers to show the passage of time similar to the rings of a tree trunk. From the by-products of his paintings, Peters recycles the carved-out remnants into bricks forming minimalist installations. He pushes the limits of acrylic paint and the traditional painting processes, while dissolving the boundary between the second and third dimension.
Rooted in the history of early West Coast abstraction, the genesis of Peters’ career was inspired by the dense layers found in other abstract artists such as Jay DeFeo. Continuously experimenting with pattern and diverse techniques, David Allan Peters’ latest body of work explores both the bold designs of Native American textiles and post-painterly, geometric abstractions. Peters received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University following his undergraduate at the Art Institute in San Francisco.The artist has been featured in WhiteWall magazine’s profile on the Anderson Collection as well as the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, the New York Times and an artist profile in Elle Decor.
Circle of Truth
A Visual Game of “Telephone” 49 works of art created by 49 contemporary artists in absolute secrecy over a period of nine years.
Laura Hipke and painter Shane Guffogg’s curatorial project Circle of Truth in the South Gallery is comprised of works by Ed Ruscha, Shane Guffogg, Billy Al Bengston, Lita Albuquerque, Jim Morphesis, Charles Arnoldi, Robert Williams, Ruth Weisberg and 41 other artists in a modern, visual take on a common childhood game “Telephone”. The Circle of Truth project opens a dialog regarding the nature of what is considered “truth”, and the inherent flaws of receiving and re-transmitting information from one person to the next.
The process for the Circle of Truth project was simple: the first painting, created by Shane Guffogg, was delivered to a second artist in the Circle along with a blank canvas. The second artist was instructed to find the “truth” in the first painting and respond with their own creation. That painting was then passed on to the next artist. As a rule, each artist was asked to keep their participation a secret until the project was completed.
Circle of Truth, launched in 2009, was completed in 2016 and includes paintings by 49 different participating artists, all of which come from a variety of backgrounds and utilize painting styles ranging from hyper-realism to pure abstraction. The paintings will be hung in chronological order so visitors can see the progression of the “truth” over time.
Each artist was also asked to write an essay about their experience. Excerpts of the essays will be available in the exhibition catalogue titled Circle of Truth (available for purchase at MOAH) and can be autographed during the book-signing on September 7 at 1 p.m.
Kaye Freeman in collaboration with Amy Kaps
The Anatomy of a Painting
Kaye Freeman in Collaboration with Amy Kaps: The Anatomy of a Painting, examines the performative act of applying paint while expanding the painting plane to include the Museum’s entire East Gallery. Kaps’ role as curator quickly morphed into that of cohort, catalyst and collaborator when she asked artist Kaye Freeman to participate in creating the immersive painting installation. Together, they explore the body in relation to the process and product of painting.
The curatorial vision for The Anatomy of a Painting is to tell the story of “creation” from the artist’s point of view using Freeman’s bright color palette and intuitive brush marks. Inspired by Yves Klein’s Anthropometries, Freeman paints directly on Kaps’ nude body, using the human form as a mark-making tool. The installation is made complete with a performance by Amy Kaps in which she walks around the gallery as viewers tear pieces of artwork off her dress, gradually revealing a satin under-dress embellished with body prints, black and white photographs and gestural brush-strokes by Freeman.
Kaye Freeman uses painting and drawing to “fold and unfold the myths that surround us like a cosmic origami”. Memories and shared emotions weave through her paintings, abstracted and reshaped again and again until an ineffable common humanity and truth is revealed. Kaye Freeman was born in Hong Kong, raised in downtown Tokyo and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She has shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia and southern California.
Amy Kaps is an interdisciplinary artist in constant dialogue with her surroundings and those who inhabit it. Possessing a predilection for the abstract and surreal while emphasizing the human form and condition, she presents a psychological puzzle hoping to entice the viewer to question what they see. Kaps is a past Artist-in-Residence at the Museum of Art and History and completed a major installation at MOAH:CEDAR in 2018. She has worked in the realms of performance, installation, video, photography, music and words in the United States, Germany, Cuba and Spain. She currently lives in Venice, California.
Selections from the Permanent Collection
Selected highlights from Lancaster Museum of Art and History’s (MOAH) permanent collection are on display throughout LA Painting. The mission of the permanent collection is to celebrate the rich creative culture and history of southern California. As the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, we place great importance on being good stewards of the art of its collection by preserving and displaying artworks for the enjoyment and education of the public. MOAH emphasizes the support of emerging and established local artists that are significant to our region’s unique cultural perspective. Highlights from the permanent collection include works by:
Craig “Skibs” Barker
Billy Al Bengston
The Clayton Brothers