Barbara Mathes Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of California Dreaming, an exhibition of work by postwar, Los Angeles-based artists. Surveying its development from modernist abstraction through Minimalism, Pop, and Conceptual art, the exhibition highlights key episodes in the emergence of one of the great hubs of American modern art.
The exhibition’s chronology begins with the taut, contemplative abstract paintings of John McLaughlin, whose interest in geometric composition and meditative calm presaged themes explored by a subsequent generation of Californian artists, most notably the Minimalists. This latter movement is represented by works in cast resin by Ron Davis and Peter Alexander and a glass microbead painting by Mary Corse. All three of these artists used geometric abstraction as a platform for exploring the perceptual nuances of novel synthetic materials. While they pursued new horizons in abstraction, two recently arrived upstarts from Oklahoma, Joe Goode and Ed Ruscha, were reintroducing figurative imagery that drew on popular culture with a punning wit. These friends’ contributions to California Pop are reflected here with a pair of complementary works that play with concepts of representation and materiality. A photomontage by John Baldessari introduces Conceptual art with a cinematic sequence of found images that hints at a narrative that eludes cohesion. Lastly, and least amenable to art historical categories, is the work of Ken Price, whose revolutionary ceramic practice shook off the medium’s craft-based traditions to create voluptuous forms and dazzling chromatic effects previously unknown in modern sculpture. Collectively, these works draw on cultural reference points such as Eastern philosophy, surfing, Hollywood, and the aerospace industry—articulating a history of American art that unfolded worlds away from the well-rehearsed narrative centered on New York.
Barbara Mathes Gallery is located at 22 East 80th Street. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm; and Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm. For more information or images, please contact Marie Kim at (212) 570-4190 or at [email protected].