The Telling of Beautiful Untrue Things – Anthony Riggs

The Recovery of Reason After the Fall of Eden – 2013 – oil on canvas

Today Anthony Riggs gave an artist talk as part of the Brown Bag Lunch Lectures at the Triton Museum of Art in conjunction with his exhibition, The Telling of Beautiful Untrue Things (such a gorgeous title)!  These aesthetically arresting paintings weave historical art imagery and patterns (from both Eastern and Western cultures) with religious and pop allegories and environmental and scientific symbolism. His paintings are studded with post-modern elements such as pixelation, color banding and employ a collaged style in which space, scale, light and color are all intentionally ambiguous. His figures, carefully rendered in three dimensional style, inhabit two dimensional spaces and are even bisected by flat swaths of pattern. Shadows are purposely inconsistent and color is thoroughly appealing but rarely reliable. All to underscore the artifice inherent in the the very act of painting.

The artist shared a quote from George Orwell that was on his mind as he created this body of work, “All art is propaganda.” In a time before the printing press, the radio, the television, and the internet, there was the power of the painting which was used through patronage of the Church and State and those in power to promote ideology and status. Painting is not truth – art and artifice go hand in hand and that is what Riggs is emphasizing in his seductive, apocalyptic paintings in which opposing ideologies and power dynamics intertwine in conflict without answers but leaving room for more questions. It is a good time to be questioning and seeking one’s own truth in this age of the internet where fake news and propaganda flows fast and furious and purposely muddies the waters between fact and fiction.

In Much Wisdom is Much Grief – 2017 – oil on canvas

All is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit – 2017 – oil on canvas

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He that Increases His Knowledge Increases his Sorrow – 2017 – oil on canvas

The Future will be Better Tomorrow – 2012 – oil on canvas

The Star Planters – 2014 – oil and metal leaf on canvas

The Gemini (detail from diptych) – 2016 – oil on canvas

 

Anthony Riggs is based in Benicia, California. You can visit his exhibition, The Telling of Beautiful Untrue Things, which runs until August 5 at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, California or visit his website, anthonyriggs.com.

Lunch with Theodore Wores

What a pleasure to learn more about Theodore Wores, California Impressionist painter (1859-1939) over my bag of almonds at the Triton Museum of Art’s Brown Bag Lunch series conducted by Deputy Director, Preston Metcalf today! The Triton has 47 of his paintings in their permanent collection, a generous gift from his wife, Caroline Bauer. A good number of these pieces were recently cleaned and restored and are included in this exhibit, Under the California Sun, which consists of landscapes painted in the San Francisco Bay Area and Yosemite. Many of his orchards were painted right here in Los Gatos and Saratoga and are so special to me as I grew up in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, surrounded by orchards. In fact, they are actually kicking off their annual Apple Blossom Festival today! Under the California Sun will continue at the Triton until July 29 when it will go on tour!

Theodore Wores – Spring Blossoms of California – Los Gatos – 1919 – oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores – Blossomtime, Saratoga, California – 1919 – oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores -Tree Blossoms – 1920 – oil on canvas

Theodore Wores – Road with Blossoming Trees – 1922 – oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores – Road by Blossoming Orchard – 1925 – oil on canvas

Theodore Wores – Spring Blosoms of Los Gatos – 1925- oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores – My Studio Garden in Saratoga, Ca. – 1926 – oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores – A Garden in Saratoga, California – 1927 – oil on canvas.

Want to see more Wores? The Triton has a batch of paintings he did in Spain that need the same loving (read professional and expensive) cleaning and restoration that these pieces had. They are gratefully seeking financial donations (to bridge the gap in grants)…just saying!

David Stonesifer on Plein Air

“I paint what I believe in.”
Los Gatos artist, David Stonesifer gave a wonderful talk about his approach to plein air painting and it’s role in the California art scene as part of the Brown Bag Lunch series at the Triton Museum of Art.  He shared lots of great painting tips and his infectious passion for the immediacy and vibrancy of the genre!

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 - talk

Plein air is painting that is done on the spot, outside in all kinds of weather. You have to be quick and skilled to get down your response to what you see before the light and shadows change and David Stonesifer gave us all kinds of advice he’s gleaned from great teachers and years of “brush milage” in the field. One was, “Don’t chase the shadows!” -paint those in first if that’s where your interest lies – get that down quick!

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 - audience

David Stonesifer spoke of Oakland’s Society of Six – a plein air group that I need to study up on! One of them had said of his work, “I have nothing to say, but much to express”.  Such a lovely way of summing up the plein air experience, which has historically (pre-camera) been about capturing the scene as a study for the larger “real” painting that would be done in the studio later. These “studies” have come to be highly valued in their own right for the freedom and immediacy that the studio work often lacks.  That’s what Stonesifer loves being out there with his subject and painting it as se sees it and feels it.

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016  Theodore Wores 1925

We were even treated to a comparison of a Saratoga orchard painting from 1925 by Theodore Wores (from the Triton’s permanent collection) to one of Stonesifer’s from last week in nearly the same spot!

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016  Wores vs Stonesifer

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 painting

David Stonesifer shared with us a number of paintings showing different weather and times of the year.

David Stonesifer - Navakavich Orchard, Saratoga, Feb 6, 2013 - oil on board - photo Marie Cameron

I’m delighted to have several of Davis Stonesifer’s paintings  in my personal collection, Navakavich Orchard, Saratoga (above) and Saratoga Barn (below). I adore them, beyond their beauty and subject matter, for the skillfully free manner in which their painted.

David Stonesifer - Saratoga Barn, June 15, 2012 LG Plein Air Event - oil on board - photo Marie Cameron

One of  the tips  David Stonesifer shared with us is to block in a thin, general underpainting using the complementary color of what you see. When the underpainting peaks through the final brushstrokes it adds a vibrant intensity. You can see in this illustrated in the painting above where he’s used pink and peach under the sky and mountains and aqua and periwinkle under the meadow.

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 - with audience

There was certainly a lot of interest in this well attended lecture!

I case you’d like to see more of his work, you can visit his website or his upcoming open studio Saturday & Sunday, May 7 & 8 from 10am – 5pm at 18000 Overlook Road, Los Gatos, an event not to be missed!