Wednesday, November 21, 2012

new art in old places

Back to the Huntington - not for wandering the gardens, this time (although it's impossible to walk anywhere without walking past the most wonderful trees and flowers.  And, rather oddly, a big burly Santa, who seemed to be on his way somewhere) but for more meetings, and then a very brief visit to the Gallery - in the Mansion - to check out a couple of the Victorian paintings and the Arts and Crafts room - in part with an eye on next fall's teaching.  There was also their First Ever Exhibition of contemporary art - paintings and sculpture by Lesley Vance and Ricky Swallow.  The thick swept oil paint on the fairly small paintings - reminiscent of wood grain, reminiscent of leaf veins, reminiscent of how I once upon a time drew a comb across a thick gummy surface to produce marbled paper - produced images that were ok - I thought rather safe and unexceptional, but pleasant enough; the sculptures, which were for the most part modeled on everyday objects that were undergoing some uncomfortable metamorphoses, were more interesting.  Both worked best when they were juxtaposed with older art and furniture rather than being left, slightly scared and out of place, in a room on their own.  It was good to see the space being used for some current work, though - so much potential for echoing form and color and turning one's gaze back to the more familiar collection.

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