My Art Journey
When I travel for work, to visit family, or just for pleasure, I always look for art experiences along the way. Whether I take in a museum or a gallery exhibition, a local art show, or a trip to the art supply store… I always manage to fit art into my travel.
And why not?
I have been fortunate enough to have seen some of the most amazing art along my journey. I started out the gate BIG, with the opportunity to travel to Madrid, Malaga, and Toledo Spain in 1985. As a budding artist at the tender age of 16, I went on a class trip with my high school Spanish class that afforded me the opportunity to see Picasso’s mural-sized painting “Guernica” at Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum of modern art. Our guide also took us to see works by the artist El Grecco when we visited his hometown of Toledo.
Something Special in Sacramento
The Crocker Art Museum, is the longest continuously-operating art museum in the West; hosting one of the state’s premier collections of Californian art. The collection contains works dating from the Gold Rush to the present day, a including master drawings, European paintings, one of the largest international ceramics collections in the U.S. as well as Asian, African, and Oceanic art.
I was lucky enough to take in the Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 exhibition this week at the Crocker. Organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in conjunction with the Crocker, this traveling exhibition is the first to focus specifically on the work Diebenkorn made prior to his switch to figuration. It focuses on the artist’s stylistic and technical origins in oil, watercolor, gouache, ink, crayon, and collage.
Growing and Changing
It was interesting to be able to follow the progression of Diebenkorn’s work as he experimented with watercolor, gouache, pen and ink, collage, and eventually oil painting. The exhibition starts with his work from art school, progresses to his work from the military, then back to art school, and beyond. The exhibition is chronological and shows his growth as an artist; focusing on the pre-figurative work from his early years of abstract expressionism. “Though his evolution was rapid, he [Diebenkorn] did not suddenly arrive on the scene as an Abstract Expressionist prodigy,” “He investigated many styles and ideas to get there.” says Scott A. Shields, chief curator of the exhibit.
Open to Interpretation
This exhibition is unique because it is the first of his work from prior to 1950. My Docent tour guide indicated that many of the works were only available since Diebenkorn’s wife’s recent passing, he indicated that many had never been seen before as they were still in her private collection. Most of his work is “untitled,” making it difficult to describe individual pieces beyond the medium they are created in. Some were “untitled” with the area in the county in which they were created in parenthesis, ie: (Sausalito) and (Albuquerque). My second Docent tour guide (yes, I took the tour twice) indicated that when the viewer has no title to work with, it allows them more opportunity to bring their own interpretation to the piece, without influence. However, she indicated that even when the geographical location is indicated, folks then try to see elements of the environs in the work, ie: boats and water in Sausalito and desert landscape elements in Albuquerque.
I found this to be totally true.
In keeping with geographical influence, my second Docent tour guide indicated that the color in the above overiszed oil painting was inspired by Pueblo art; focusing on the rust red, the ochre yellow, the black and the white. There were many oversized pieces in the exhibit, as well as small sketches and watercolors. Overall there are over 100 pieces of work in this incredible presentation.
Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 is on display at the Crocker through January 7, if you are in the area you should try to make it!
for being a part of my