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Environmental Impact: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation

August 26 - November 30, 2014


Environmental Impact: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, an exhibition showcasing original art in various mediums inspired about our natural world, is on view at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University through November 30, 2014. (right: Jen Liu, Brethren of the Stone: Paul's Vision (Three Worlds Under a Mushroom Cloud Sky), 2006, watercolor on paper, 95-1/4 x 52-3/8 inches. Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation)

Since the dawn of time, artists have been inspired by nature.  This thought-provoking exhibition features work by a diverse group of contemporary artists who comment on our relationship to the natural world.  Their art reveals the complex ways nature functions in society.  While some see it as a source of delicate beauty, others view it as an overwhelmingly powerful force.  Regardless of their perspective, artists today understand that our relationship to nature is delicate, complex, and interconnected.  Over 35 large-scale works fill two floors of the Weisman Museum with various meditations on one of the most pressing issues of our time. 

A key work in this exhibition is Ed Ruscha's LAX - Sunset - Malibu (1981).  Three place names, rendered with the artist's signature use of typography, allude to the drive up Pacific Coast Highway from the airport to Malibu.  But instead of showing scenic views, the landscape is shrouded in thick gray smog.  Ruscha's witty and poignant image reminds us that through much of the 20th century, Los Angeles held the unfortunate distinction of being the smoggiest city in the nation.  Another work on the theme of air pollution is Joe Goode's Torn Sky (1979).  A canvas painted a smoggy gray is literally ripped to shreds revealing another canvas painted with a bright blue sky underneath.  This humorous but poignant work reminds us of the extent to which we can destroy our environment-and possibly repair it. 

Another side of nature is seen in Wave (2009) by New Orleans artist Srdjan Loncar.  A massive eight-foot tall sculpture of a cresting wave towers over the viewer.  This monolithic mass is covered with hundreds of photographs of water, depicting various oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.  This work reminds us that bodies of water do not exist as isolated entities but are all part of an active, interrelated, worldwide network. 

New York painter Andrew Piedilato views the ocean as a source of floating mystery and potential chaos.  Two large-scale, 10-foot paintings depict the seas as a setting for cataclysmic events.  In Submarine Surfacing (2010) a submarine violently emerges from the depths, shattering the peace.  In Whirlpool (2011) a logjam of ocean debris alludes to a shipwreck but also to the fields of man-made garbage that float upon our oceans. 

In Brethren of the Stone: Paul's Vision (Three Worlds Under a Mushroom Cloud Sky) (2006) New York based artist Jen Liu creates a futuristic fantasy world where nature and industry collide and intermingle. Adopting a format from traditional Chinese landscape painting, she creates a world within a world where elephants wear gas masks and smokestacks dance alongside smoking volcanoes.  The title, which contains both religious and apocalyptic references, reveals the artist's belief that the fate of our environment involves both a religious and a material battle.  

Our environment has historically been impacted by natural change on and within the Earth -- by relentlessly evolving weather conditions, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, severe winds, torrential rains, etc. Man has also added to the list of stimuli that has significantly affected the quality of the environment, with industrial pollution, manufacturing, automobile and airplane exhaust, plastics, paints, etc. Environmental Impact: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation has gathered various examples of how artists have reproduced, commented and critiqued our ever-changing environment, whether the result of nature's forces or man's interventions. The exhibition brings together different approaches to the subject -- both formal and conceptual -- including commentary on pollution and natural disasters, and observing and altering the environment. 

This exhibition was curated by Billie Milam Weisman and is generously funded by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation. 


(above: Gina Phillips, Tree No. 2, 2010, fabric thread, ink and paint, 116 x 99 inches. Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation)


Related events:

Reception: Saturday, September 13, 5-7 p.m.

Family Art Days: Sunday, September 28, 12-2 p.m.; Saturday, October 18, 10-1 p.m


Checklist from the exhibition:

  • ALBUQUERQUE, Lita - Untitled - 1989 - oil on curved panel
  • ALEXANDER, Peter - Punta Pilar - 1985 - oil and wax on canvas
  • ARNOLDI, Charles - Impound - 1985 - acrylic and branches on plywood
  • BACHMAN, James - The Portage - 1985 - Alaskan birch
  • BAILEY, Radcliffe - Uncured Labor - 2003 - mixed media on wood
  • BEN-HAIM, Zigi - Nighttouch - 1984 - branches & acrylic on wood
  • BROVALL, Veronica - Wurzel-Füllung II - 2007 - wood and mixed media
  • CARLOS, Ernie - Growing Plate - 2003 - glazed ceramic
  • CELMINS, Vija - Untitled - 1975 - lithographs (set of 4)
  • CHASE, Louisa - All Fire All Flame - 1983 - oil on canvas
  • DEDEAUX, Dawn - Burnt Palm Hatch - 2009 - enhanced digital print
  • DEDEAUX, Dawn - Mold in Greens - 2006-07 - enhanced digital image
  • DEDEAUX, Dawn - Over Six Feet of Water - 2008 - transparency on Plexiglas
  • DEDEAUX, Dawn - Texas Tree (For William Blake) - 2006-07 - enhanced digital image
  • DOVE, Daniel - Eye of Providence - 2007 - oil on canvas
  • DOVE, Daniel - Sequel - 2008 - oil on canvas
  • GOLDSWORTHY, Andy - Earth and Snow, from Silverlake to Jackson - 1993 - pigmented snowball melted to paper
  • GOODE, Joe - Commissioned Work (3 PANELS) [Tan] - 1979 - oil on canvas
  • GOODE, Joe - Forest Fire No. 77 - 1983 - oil on canvas
  • JIA - The Road Series No. 5 - 2009 - Inkjet print on Hahnemühle rag Baryta paper
  • KACHERIAN, Gegam - No. 9 - 2007 - acrylic on canvas
  • LIM, Won Ju - Untitled (Hawaii No.2) - 2006 - mixed media sculpture in plexiglass
  • LIU, Jen - Brethren of the Stone: Paul's Vision (Three Worlds Under a Mushroom Cloud Sky) - 2006 - watercolor on paper
  • LONCAR, Srdjan - Mountain - 2006 - inkjet prints on aluminum
  • LONCAR, Srdjan - Wave - 2009 - styrofoam, glue, photographic prints and photographic paper
  • Mi Ju - Full Moon - 2009 - acrylic on canvas with cut out paper
  • MOSES, Andy - Permian Basin - 2010 - acrylic on hyperparabolic concave canvas
  • PHILLIPS, Gina - Tree No. 2 - 2010 - fabric thread, ink and paint
  • PIEDILATO, Andrew - Submarine Surfacing - 2010 - oil, alkyd, and latex on canvas
  • PIEDILATO, Andrew - Whirlpool - 2011 - alkyd and acrylic on canvas
  • RIDGWAY, Linda - Without Ceremony - 2001 - bronze
  • ROSE, Thomas - Out of the Garden - 1989 - oil on wood with photograph & mixed media
  • RUSCHA, Edward - Atmospheric Trash - 1985 - dry pigment on paper
  • RUSCHA, Edward - Laurel Canyon / Ventura - 2001 - Mixografia print on handmade paper
  • RUSCHA, Edward - LAX - Sunset - Malibu - 1981 - oil on canvas
  • SIMONDS, Charles - Gates - 1982 - clay and wood sculpture
  • TSUMAKI, Ryozo - Kyohgen No Kabe [Wall of Appearing Border] - 2007 - acrylic and pencil on paper
  • WEDEL, Matt - flower tree - 2009 - fired clay and glaze
  • WELLIVER, Neil - Abandoned Beaver House - 1983 - oil on canvas
  • WIGHT, Frederick S. - Palm Between Two Suns - 1979 - oil on canvas
  • YELLIN, Dustin - Tobelas - 2007 - resin and acrylic

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