For the first time, in fall 2022, UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art (Langson IMCA) will present two concurrent exhibitions. The first exhibition, Dissolve, comprises 20 works—including two new commissions—by artists who explore modes of transformation across mediums in their diverse practices. It will be presented on UCI’s campus at the University Art Gallery. The second exhibition, Echoes of Perception: Peter Alexander and California Impressionism, pairs artwork by Peter Alexander (1939 – 2020)—among the vanguard of Southern California Light and Space artists—with California Impressionist paintings from which he drew inspiration and admired. Echoes of Perception will be on view at Langson IMCA's interim museum space at 18881 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine.
Langson IMCA Museum Director Kim Kanatani said, “Presenting these exhibitions simultaneously is a wonderful opportunity to share aspects of the stunning expanse of California Art in numerous manifestations, including video, sculpture, painting, textile, and works on paper. We are delighted to present our first art commissions created for Dissolve that, while very different projects, illuminate little-known chapters of California’s history and its natural environment. I also had the honor to co-curate with a terrific team Echoes of Perception—a celebration of our late friend Peter Alexander, his category-defying practice, lifelong fascination with form, color, light, natural phenomena, sense of place, and metamorphosis as well as his interests in plein air art and California Impressionism.”
September 24 – December 10, 2022
UCI University Art Gallery, 712 Arts Plaza, Irvine, CA
Open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 6 pm
Featuring two artworks commissioned expressly for the exhibition, Dissolve explores how 12 contemporary artists perceive what it means to change from one form to another. Through painting, photography, sculpture, installation, and video, the artworks demonstrate how gradual and immediate changes impact viewers’ perceptions of self, one another, and the shared environment. Adopting an inclusive view of the process of dissolving, the featured artists visualize the physical dissolution of light, water, distance, and geographic borders. They also address the dissolution of personal relationships, identity, and social and political networks.
The exhibition is curated by Bridget R. Cooks, PhD, professor of Art History and African American Studies at UC Irvine and Langson IMCA interim associate director.
Participating artists include: Lia Cook, Erica Deeman, Ana Teresa Fernández, Chris Fraser, Linda Gass, Joe Goode, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Helen Pashgian, Sonia Romero, De Wain Valentine, William Wendt, and Eric Zammitt. Dissolve includes loaned artworks, selections from Langson IMCA’s permanent collection, and new commissions by Gass and Hinkle.
Multimedia environmental artist and activist Linda Gass created When we listen to the watershed (2022) to address the changing Santa Ana River Watershed that serves as a resource for Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino County residents. She collaborated with faculty member Valerie Olson, PhD in the Department of Anthropology at UC Irvine, in the development of the new piece informed by Professor Olson’s research about climate change, water, and land use issues. The result is an exquisitely detailed textile installation of silk organza and colored threads depicting a multi-layered aerial view of the Indigenous, precolonial watershed’s topography and the industrial landscape it is today.
Interdisciplinary artist and writer Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle has created THEY: A Temple of Black Possibility [Allensworth] (2022), an installation of three photography-based painting collages inspired by Allensworth, California, the state’s first all-African American town. Informed by archival research, Hinkle’s artwork considers Allensworth’s transformation from a thriving township founded in 1908—financed and governed by African Americans—to Colonel Allensworth Historic State Park named for one of the town’s founders. Through imagery and narration, Hinkle commemorates the dignity and enduring spirit of these early settlers.
A poignant 8-minute film Hinkle co-created and narrated will be available to view on Langson IMCA’s Vimeo channel during the exhibition. The film is directed by HRDWRKER.
Together, the works in the exhibition present how changes in perspectives inform daily life and accumulate to create transformations and shifts in perception.
Echoes of Perception: Peter Alexander and California Impressionism
September 24, 2022 – January 14, 2023
UCI Langson Institute and Museum of California Art’s interim museum space on the main level of the Airport Tower building at 18881 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100, Irvine, CA
Open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 4 pm
In 2019, Langson IMCA Museum Director Kim Kanatani invited artist Peter Alexander to curate an exhibition of California Impressionism from the museum’s collections. Prior to his untimely death in 2020, Alexander had begun identifying works in the permanent collection with which he felt a kinship and exemplified the California Impressionists’ profound connection to the light, space, and natural phenomena of the state and their influences on his own artistic practice.
Co-curators include: Kevin Appel, professor and chair of Art at UC Irvine and Langson IMCA interim associate director; Julianne Gavino, former assistant curator, Langson IMCA; Kim Kanatani, Langson IMCA museum director; Curt Klebaum, consulting curator; Claudia Parducci, artist and trustee of the Peter Alexander Art Estate; and Bruce Richards, artist.
To honor Alexander’s commitment to the project, the co-curators expanded the exhibition into a dialogue between the early modernist painters and Alexander’s own work, forming a fluid exchange among generations equally influenced by the atmospheric light of the Golden State.
With pieces spanning from 1896 to 2020, Echoes of Perception includes 14 Impressionist works from Langson IMCA’s collection along with 11 of Alexander’s resin sculptures, canvases, works on paper, and a painting on velvet. The latter offer an alternative way to engage with California Impressionism through the eyes of this pioneering artist.
The exhibition is organized to enable visitors to experience light and its absence over the course of a day, from dawn, to dusk, to the depths of night. From mountain peaks to the ocean floor, Alexander and these California Impressionist painters echo one another in their pursuit of capturing the ineffable sensibility of place and space.
Visitors will encounter works in dialogue and color relationships dynamically in sync. For example, Sunset in Monument Valley (c. 1928), a luminous landscape by James Swinnerton, is in discourse with Alexander’s 1/24/20 Pink Orange Block. The angular verticality of the monumental cliffs is repeated in essence in the shape chosen by Alexander. The way in which Alexander’s urethane block fades in color as it reaches its apex is analogous in affect with the rising transition from dark to light caused by a sunset reflected in Swinnerton’s painting.
Accompanying the exhibition is an 8-minute film developed by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Adam Leier that serves as an homage to Alexander and his kinship with California Impressionism and connection to the art and environment of the region. The video seeks to capture Alexander in his element—responding to his surroundings through his restless and relentless exploration of materiality in search of methods to harness the visceral enchantment he felt in the state he called home.
About UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art
UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art (Langson IMCA) is home to two foundational collections of California Art—The Irvine Museum Collection of more than 1,300 works includes California Impressionist and plein air paintings, and The Buck Collection, which includes 3,200-plus works with a concentration in California modern, Post-War, and contemporary art. In addition, the permanent collection continues to grow, augmented by acquisitions and gifts. The university is planning to construct a permanent museum and research institute to serve as a global magnet for the exhibition and study of California Art within its social, historical, environmental, and cultural frameworks. Langson IMCA is located in an interim museum space at 18881 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100, and admission is free. For more information, visit imca.uci.edu.
About the University of California, Irvine
Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It is located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.
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