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Friday, September 22, 2006

The California Modernist Portrait

L.A.'s wonderful Spencer Jon Helfen Gallery's current exhibit is titled, The California Modernist Portrait, a must see show of California Modernist paintings and sculptures from the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's. The gallery has some dazzling paintings on display that will give you an idea of the technical and emotional power of the artists from that particular period. The gallery asks that their web graphics not be reproduced without written permission, a request we respect, so we are writing this brief report sans graphics because we couldn’t wait to share our enthusiasm about this gallery, its collection, and its current exhibit. You’ll have to visit the Helfen website to take in the visual splendors of the exhibit.

The LA Stuckist/Remodernist circle wants to categorically state our belief, that in order to go forward, we must have a firm understanding and appreciation for those artists who preceded us, and for Angelinos there's no finer chance to become familiar with California Modernism than the current exhibit at the Spencer Jon Helfen Gallery. As LA painters, we have an acute sense of history about our city, a sense that has been sharpened by the works on view at the Helfen. Our desire to reinvigorate the Modernist project - i.e. "Remodernism", has been strengthened in knowing that we have a strong foundation for our efforts - the remarkable painters from California’s not so distant past whose works possessed incredible beauty, narrative power, and a deep humanism.

The California Modernist Portrait exhibit should make viewers aware of the losses suffered by art over the last few decades, as figuration was buried and all but forgotten by a new art elite enamored of abstraction, minimalism, and conceptualism. But the works on display at the Helfen are also exciting examples of what could be done with figuration today, if only those artists with skill and vision would put their minds to it. We don’t wish to replicate the past, but we gladly take the baton passed to us by our forerunners, with the full intention of creating a new school of modern painting worthy of our predecessors and fit for the 21st Century.

If you live anywhere near Los Angeles, don’t miss The California Modernist Portrait, which runs until November 11th, 2006. The Spencer Jon Helfen Gallery is located at, 9200 West Olympic Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Phone: (310) 273-8838. Visit their website, at: