South California Abstract Artists
At ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries
The five artists being exhibited in "IMPACT: Emotions of Color Part II" represent the new generation influenced by the light and environment of Southern California. Heirs to both the light and space and finish fetish movements, each has found a unique way to build upon and continue to evolve from the extraordinary art matrix of Southern California in the 1960s, a heady mix of the surfing culture, glossy finishes on custom hotrods and motorcycles, and new materials from the local aerospace industry.
Those influences, coupled with the region’s natural phenomena of surf, shorelines, skies, desert landscapes, and a sprawling metropolitan area pulsating with freeways, peppered by billboards and glowing with neon, triggered an avalanche of art that often was abstract or minimalist.
The artists represented by “IMPACT: Emotions of Color Part II” essentially cite the same influences —with an updated global perspective. It is no coincidence that Casper Brindle, Ned Evans and Andy Moses are dedicated surfers; the sport’s flashing excitement can be felt in their art. Atmospheric phenomena are among the influences found in the paintings of Lisa Bartleson and Suzan Woodruff.
Bartleson describes her work this way: “When I paint and construct, I try to create a visual articulation of the motion and emotion contained in color... It is the discrete gradation in hues, the simplicity and expansiveness of color that I am drawn to...Each piece is an exploration of color, with patterns of varying weights and rhythms, that is intended to evoke the perception of breathing or pulsing.” Her meditative, atmospheric vortexes are described by critic Peter Frank as “downright mysterious.”
Brindle was a sponsored competitive surfer while in high school. He studied art and art history before working with Eric Orr, a founder of Southern California’s light and space movement. The glossy, intense colors of his “Strata” paintings conjure visions of coastal sunrises and sunsets, waves and storm clouds. According to Megan Abrahams in Whitehot magazine, “This LA artist embraces color and harmony with seemingly uninhibited fervor.” The Surf Journal’s Alex Weinstein gave Brindle’s paintings a succinct endorsement: “They’re tight, tasty works.”
When a surfer catches a wave perfectly, for a few ecstatic moments his body, the surfboard and the sea become one, flying with the wind toward the implacable beach. Malibu, Baja, El Salvador, Hawaii: the Meccas of surfing have been the classrooms of Ned Evans for nearly a half-century, just as were the art classes of Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Larry Bell and Craig Kaufman at the University of California at Irvine. When he was 23, Evans moved to Venice, California’s art Mecca, and worked and surfed Baja California, Hawaii and El Salvador with abstract painter Billy Al Bengston, a seminal figure in Southern California’s art scene.
Critic Rebecca Cox calls Evans’ paintings “a collective of physical and sensory reinterpretations of the surf. After nearly five decades of surfing and painting, a symbiosis occurs between the two, a deeply interwoven relationship feeds both passions.”
Like those of Brindle and Evans, Andy Moses’ paintings are born out of a lifetime of surfing. Writing in “Art in America,” Frances Colpitt described Andy Moses as “a quintessential Los Angeles” artist whose works are “an abstract version of seascape painting indebted to the precedents of Finish Fetish and Light and Space.
“Andy Moses’ paintings are characterized by exceptional control of his pearlescent acrylic medium and its luminous effects...recalling expansive vistas of the Pacific coast at dawn or dusk.”
Art Ltd editor George Melrod wrote in a cover story that Suzan Woodruff “creates elegant abstractions that seem to capture the dynamism of natural phenomena; her work ranges widely in its implied imagery, from Turneresque sunsets, to sedate seascapes, to turbulent tornadoes.” Despite their abstract nature, Woodruff’s paintings seem feminine, even sensual, reminiscent of the works of Georgia O’Keeffe, whose work she admires.
Gallery owner and director Virginia Miller notes that “IMPACT: Emotions of Color Part II” will offer art enthusiasts an opportunity to experience the contemporary works of outstanding Southern California artists deeply rooted in that region’s Light and Space movement through September 2112.