Circle of Truth debuting at NUMU is based on the idea of Telephone, a game where children are seated in a circle and a statement is whispered along in a chain from ear to ear, until it comes out at the end as something unrecognizable. But what if this was done visually, with each artist asked to find the truth in the painting that came before them with a responding piece of their own. What elements, if any, might be carried through to the end?
And so the game began 9 years ago with Los Angeles based curators, Laura Hipke and Shane Gaffogg arranging for a sponsor for all the canvases, a specialized traveling crate and 49 participating artists: Kim Abeles, Lisa Adams, Lita Albuquerque, Charles Arnoldi, Lisa Bartleson, Billy Al Bengston, Justin Bower, Virginia Broersma, Randall Cabe, Rhea Carmi, Greg Colson, Jeff Colson, Stanley Dorfman, Cheryl Ekstrom, Jimi Gleason, Rives Granade, Ron Griffin, Alex Gross, Shane Guffogg, Lynn Hanson, Doro Hofmann, Tim Isham, Kim Kimbro, Bari Kumar, Cal Lane, Margaret Lazzari, Mark Licari, Dan Lutzick, Deborah Martin, Susan McDonnell, Christopher Monger, Jim Morphesis, Andy Moses, Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez, Gary Panter, Daniel Peacock, Bruce Richards, Michael Andrew Rosenfeld, Ed Ruscha, Eddie Ruscha, Paul Ruscha, John Scane, Vonn Sumner, Matthew Thomas, Alison Van Pelt, Michelle Weinstein, Ruth Weisberg, Robert Williams and Todd Williamson.
The beauty in the show is moving from piece to piece and seeing how each artist chose to react to the previous work, which threads did they decide to pull through to explore in their own work, how did they reinterpret them into their own truth. It’s a fascinating visual conversation that flows through the entire exhibit. The show continues at NUMU until March 10 when it will go on to exhibit in other museums. P.S. check out the exhibition catalogue for illuminating artist essays! Also, click on any to the artist’s names here for links to their website>
Circle of Truth curators, Shane Guffogg and Laura Hipke, former members of Pharmaka (co-founded by Guffogg), a defunct painter’s group museum/gallery in downtown Los Angeles, with NUMU’s Executive Director Maureen Cappon-Javey.
Laura Hipke, Los Angeles based artist and curator.
Shane Guffogg, Los Angeles based artist, curator, lecturer and television host.
We were lucky to have a number of the artists drive up from LA for the opening and talk a little about their work and their experience being part of the cirlcle.
Shane Guffogg started off the process with an oil painting based on the golden ratio, a great launching point to explore artistic universal truths.
Vonn Sumner, known for his figurative work, responded to the formal elements of color and geometry for his piece.
Doro Hofmann drew on the idea of air mail and dynamic communication from the letter in the painting she was reacting to. Incorporating some lines of German philosophy and some great raking angles from the preceding work.
Paul Ruscha followed with some angled text of his own with “dead ducks falling”, perhaps inspired by flight in the previous work.
Dan Lutzick took on elements of color and form, the peace symbol from the visiting painting transforming into rust colored sprinkler covers from his studio, but rejecting a singular truth, wanted to refer to the idea of multiple realities existing at once through his screen grid and use of multiples.
Daniel Peacock picked up on Lutzick’s crowned woman and orange hues – snap!
Todd Williamson pulled a streamlined linear movement of monochromatic hues in reaction to the preceding morass of color and marks.
The crate that was specially designed to safely contain two canvases (one potentially still wet) and one blank.
Exhibitions & Collection Manager Cristiano Colantoni received a warm round of applause for such a beautiful job installing the show.
The final piece was by Ed Ruscha (seen here with curator Shane Guffogg) zeroing in on a distorted bit of text in the previous work.