Pasadena Art Night

As I have less and less free time to do things, I lament the diminishing variety of topics on my blog. There used to be more than just fashion--I used to write more about such things as the joys of cooking and cheap/freebie cultural events, but these days I haven't had much time to experience much of either. I'll try to mix things up as time permits.

A few weeks ago, my roommate asked me if I happened to be free after work. I still had enough energy to do something fun, so I was intrigued. We ended up hitting the Pasadena Museum of California Art for free as part of Pasadena Art Night. There were 2 amazing exhibits. One is of Wayne Thiebaud, the other of Frances Gearhart.

I can't believe that I have not heard of Wayne Thiebaud until now. As my friends and I strolled through the exhibits, we just couldn't stop talking about the paintings. The use of color, brushstrokes, and piling paint on thick with a a palette knife are just few of the techniques used to make certain elements of the picture literally pop out. For one painting of a man standing at a lecturn and another of a beach ball, we walked up close to the canvas just to make sure it wasn't 3-dimensional in form.

There are quite a few recurring themes we observed: beaches, food, and buildings. All of them involve the use of many colors. Since we had just eaten dinner before we went to the museum, we salivated after looking at the many paintings of desserts, such as this:

There's a Norman Rockwell sense of homeliness/familiarity to it, but the painting seems to be far less nostalgic and far more deliberate. The pastel-colored food itself looks very inviting, and so does the empty space--I paid an equal amount of attention to the food as I did to the bare shelf. It seems like the space was created after the multi-layered cake vacated the case, but it still left me wondering: what filled out the empty space before they flew off the shelf?

My favorite paintings were of the fantastically-steep hills nestled between skyscrapers, which look something like this:

Based on the aforementioned eye-popping paintings beach balls and lecturers, it is clear that the man knows how to depict a view from a particular perspective very, very well. However, his landscape paintings often conflate a few perspectives together, including those that seem "wrong" together (like diminishing point motifs in the middle of a field at a corner of a bird's eye view painting). But "wrong" has never looked so right in unison--the exaggerated steepness combined with the super-flat surfaces, or the profile views combined with the aerial view, just belong together. It is unlike anything I've ever seen.

The woodcuts of Frances Gearhart just blew my mind away. They're just beautiful, and hardly anyone does woodcuts like those anymore. I love seeing the series of prints that illustrate how multi-colored prints are made. Precision is a must, and there's really no room for error.

I don't know when the next Art Night is, but the two amazing exhibits I saw runs until January 31. I highly encourage anyone who is remotely interested to see it...you will not be disappointed. I look forward to more museum visits the next time Art Night rolls around.

1 comment:

ambika said...

This is a great reminder to me about the free first Tuesdays and Thursdays at various art museums here in Seattle.