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New Shows Now Open at Laguna Art Museum

Allison Schulnik, George Hurrell and John Mason have work that will be on display through the end of April.

Submitted by the Laguna Art Museum:

On Sunday, February 24, Laguna Art Museum will open three new exhibitions to the public: ex·pose: allison Schulnik, George Hurrell: Laguna to Hollywood, and John Mason: Blue Wall. These exhibitions will be on display through April 28.

EX·POSE: ALLISON SCHULNIK

February 24-April 28, 2013

Laguna Art Museum continues its contemporary art program ex•pose with Los Angeles artist Allison Schulnik.

Schulnik’s paintings, sculptures, and clay animations show the same relish for viceral, expressionistic, and surreal forms. Bright colors emerge through an overall dark palette, as paintings and clay animations alike take on the sense of an ever-morphing figure. Hobos, clowns, and motley creatures intertwine into the environment and each other, forming moments of abstraction then a semblance of representation again. The exhibition includes all three of her animated films: Hobo Clown (2008), Forest (2009), and Mound (2011).

Influenced by kindred artists of the past such as the macabre Belgian painter James Ensor, Schulnik pursues a vein of surreal imagery that is haunting, mournful, and beautiful all at once. In her first museum exhibition, her paintings persist in the exploration of fantastic figures and characters on the fringes of society.

Schulnik was born in San Diego in 1978 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She received a BFA in experimental animation from the California Institute of the Arts. In addition to art making, she has a background in dance, and is also a musician. Her works can be seen in notable collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Chaney Family Collection; the Musée des beaux-arts, Montreal; and the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine.

ex•pose is curated by Grace Kook-Anderson, curator of contemporary art at Laguna Art Museum. Focusing on one emerging or mid-career California artist at a time, the program encourages the development of new projects and an immersive involvement with the museum’s Young Artists Society Gallery program. ex•pose aims to present a diverse range of artists working in all mediums.

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GEORGE HURRELL

February 24-April 28, 2013

On display on the museum’s upper level is an exhibition of photographs from the permanent collection by noted Hollywood glamour photographer George Hurrell (1904–1992). Hurrell, who was born in Covington, Kentucky, studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Learning to photograph his paintings spurred an interest in photography as a medium. In 1924 he was befriended by Laguna Beach artist Edgar Payne and his wife, Elsie Palmer Payne, who were spending several months in Chicago after returning from a long European sojourn. The following spring, the Paynes motored back to California accompanied by Hurrell. After a short time in Los Angeles, Hurrell moved to Laguna Beach, living for a time in the vacant cottage of silent film director Malcolm St. Clair. He became part of the art community and developed close friendships with artists William Wendt and William Griffith. He began photographing the leading artists of the Laguna Beach Art Association, including, besides Griffith and Wendt, Anna Hills, Thomas Hunt, and Frank Cuprien.

It was in Laguna Beach that Hurrell met Florence “Pancho” Barnes, who, in turn, introduced him to silent movie star Ramon Novarro. Hurrell’s photographs of Barnes and Novarro caught the attention of Hollywood, and he moved there in 1927. By 1930 he was the head of the MGM portrait gallery. He was soon dubbed the “Grand Seigneur of the Hollywood Portrait.” He established his own studio on the Sunset Strip and later worked for Warner Bros. The museum’s collection contains many Hurrell photographs, including those of the early artists and other prominent people of Laguna Beach, as well as a portfolio of ten portraits of important Hollywood stars, including John Barrymore, Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, and Katharine Hepburn. The exhibition presents a selection of about forty works.

 

JOHN MASON: BLUE WALL

February 24-April 28, 2013

The museum hosts a special exhibition of Blue Wall, on loan from artist John Mason. The large scale wall sculpture was recently on display at The Getty Museum as part of its Pacific Standard Time exhibition Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970.

Blue Wall is an abstract large-scale sculpture, which ignited a new genre of ceramic walls in 1959. It is considered the best example of abstract expressionist ceramics. Mason began his first large-scale sculptures in 1957 leading up to the monumental Blue Wall (1959). Laboriously laid out in one night so the clay could dry evenly, Mason worked directly on the floor, shaping and molding the clay. The sculpture was then cut into shapes and separated into over one hundred pieces. The pieces were then fired and fitted to form on the wall. The clay has been sculpted, pushed, built-up, and cut into, creating a rhythmic ripple throughout the piece.

Born in Madrid, Nebraska in 1927, Mason enrolled at the Otis Art Institute (then the Los Angeles County Art Institute) in 1949. Two years later, his interest in ceramics led him to serve as a teaching assistant at Chouinard Art Institute and then returned to Otis working closely with Peter Voulkos. Mason also taught classes at UC Berkeley, where Voulkos became a faculty member, and at Pomona College in Claremont, before accepting a teaching position at UC Irvine in 1967, founding the ceramics department. Mason showed with the Ferus Gallery from 1957 until its closure in 1966. He continues to live and work in Los Angeles. His notable exhibitions include Pasadena Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Hudson River Museum.

Hours: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday: 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Thursday: 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Closed Wednesdays
Admission: General admission: $7.
Students, seniors, and active military: $5.00 Children under 12: FREE
Museum members: FREE

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