CODA Gallery unveils a new exhibition of paintings by Jeff Faust, running March 2-23. The artist from Claremont will attend an opening reception on March 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. in conjunction with El Paseo Art Walk/Palm Desert First Weekend.
Rowboats floating in the sky, drifting leaves, puffy clouds, collections of objects (sometimes including clouds) casting shadows in wall niches, and the mysteriousness of shiny spheres recur in Jeff Faust’s work, which he labels “subtle surrealism.”
“I paint things that I want to see happen but can’t in real life. I find gentle twists on reality comforting,” he says. “I have been painting since I was in grade school. My work was big, bold, and graphic sometimes. But at an early age, this [subtle surrealism] approach appeared. I was searching. I never had anyone tell me how to paint, which is the way I wanted it.”
Having grown up in the Southern California city of Claremont, immediately after graduating from high school, Jeff spent three months in England and then ventured around the United States.
“In Portland, Oregon, I saw an ad for a carnival that needed help. I hooked up with a fellow who had a traveling go-kart concession and stayed with him for four years, traveling to state and county fairs and supermarket openings. It is a fascinating life when you are 18,” he says. But he continued his pursuit of art.
“My folks would send my art supplies to me by Greyhound bus,” he recalls.
After returning to Claremont, Jeff met and married Jan. For 20 years, they lived in the Bay Area, but eventually returned to Claremont, where Jeff works from his home studio.
“It doesn’t take much to spark an idea,” he says. “I have always been a walker and generally try to get in a couple of walks a day. I can pick up a twig or leaf and get ideas for paintings. I am bummed that I don’t have another 17 lifetimes to do some of the pieces I would like to do.”
Among recurring elements are bird’s nests, sometimes in precarious placement — a combination that represents both security and the fragility of life.
When Jeff and Jan lived in the bayfront town of Sausalito, boats entered into his catalog of items that he likes “to assemble.” But his approach places them aloft, above the waves, and sometimes with sails made of feathers.
“I love what it can mean for a lot of people,” he says of the visual that can be interpreted in endless ways.
In another twist on an ocean scene, his painting titled The Traveler shows an urn-potted tree in the water, land in sight, as though it was searching for promising ground.
“It is a wonderful concept to me that a tree has been roaming the globe at sea,” Jeff says. “Even though I am not that interested in poems, I like to think of my work as poetic.”
73-400 El Paseo
Palm Desert, California
About CODA Gallery
Recognized by American Art Awards 2017 as one of the nation’s 25 best galleries and museums, CODA Gallery offers a wide range of art styles and mediums by local and international emerging, mid-career, and established artists. An El Paseo landmark that has resonated with contemporary art collectors for more than 30 years, CODA Gallery moved in 2016 to a new 9,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art location in the heart of Palm Desert at the corner of El Paseo and Lupine Lane.