Errant Lines: Notations on Canvas
John White, Robert Walker, Carol Sears, Lindsey Nobel and Michael Gomez Burton
Errant Lines: Notations on Canvas brings together five Los Angeles-area artists who, in the words of curator Peter Frank, “treat what is normally a painted surface as a place to draw, to paste, essentially to think with lines and contours rather than just with brushstrokes and areas of color.” All five artists work in abstract styles, but to varying degrees, all have roots in the observation of nature. This fact, however, is secondary to the way they work, making marks in a process of visual rumination.
Two veteran artists join two emerging, and one “re-emerging” artists in Errant Lines. John White and Robert Walker have been on the Los Angeles scene for decades, their work going in and out of the public eye but admired on a continual basis by their artist colleagues and those in the know in the local art world. White’s notational approach, coming originally out of his performance work in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, has evolved into something much more painterly, but still performative and even cartographic. (White will be the subject of a retrospective at Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts in the spring of 2011.) Walker has been exhibiting, locally and internationally, for almost as long, becoming known first for his gestural painting, and more recently for his painted and collaged work that combines fastidious handwork with exuberant imagery, Walker’s expansive, even explosive compositions renew the “pattern painting” of the 1970s and 1960s “op art”.
Carol Sears is the exhibition’s “re-emergent” artist, trained in her native Australia and in Los Angeles as a technically exacting but highly expressive figurative painter and draughtswoman. She has evolved into an abstractionist, working in painting, drawing, and sculpture. In her current works on canvas Sears combines painting and drawing techniques to create vast but delicate fields of line and color.
Lindsey Nobel received initial recognition in New York before her recent move back to California. The paths and tendrils she inscribes in her paintings reference various levels of organic energy, suggesting both plant forms and the nerve pathways, or neurons, inside the human body. Even more “emergent” than Nobel, Michael Gomez Burton is also a southern California native. His large fields of curving, swooping, seemingly electrified shapes capture the viewer’s optical field with their size and their intensity; but in their reliance on line, they are as calligraphic as everything else in Errant Lines.
Peter Frank is art critic for the Huffington Post and Adjunct Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum. He has served as Editor of THE magazine Los Angeles and Visions Art Quarterly, and was art critic for the LA Weekly and, before that, the Village Voice and SoHo Weekly News in New York.