Circle of Truth – Debut!

Jim Morphesis

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?

Alison Van Pelt

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.

Vonn Sumner

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.

Doro Hofmann

Paul Ruscha
followed with some angled text of his own with “dead ducks falling”, perhaps inspired by flight in the previous work.

Paul Ruscha

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.

Dan Lutzick

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.

Todd Williamson

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.

Robert Williams,
founder of Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine.



 Laura Hipke and Todd Williamson

John Scane

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.

Liminal Deer – work in progress

Lots of time to waffle on a title for this quadriptych as I try to claw back some time time in the studio! I see these leucistic deer as liminal figures in a dormant California winter landscape that is cut through by a highway – traces of which have caught the deer’s attention as the headlines of an oncoming car approach.

Iwasawa Oriental Art

Have you been to Iwasawa Oriental Art yet? It’s a lovely gallery of fine Japanese art, furniture and design serving a very discerning clientele and celebrating their 35th anniversary this year! It’s located at 75 University Avenue in Los Gatos, California.

Kumikio Iwasawa Vadas
, the gracious owner, exhibits work that reflects the changing seasons and is currently showing Water in Life an exhibit that runs until February 28th, 2018. How perfectly this parallels the current Waterlines exhibition at NUMU (where my pieces Stilla Maris and California Water Rites are currently showing) for which she is one of several generous sponsors! She is standing in front of a beautiful work of calligraphy by Kihachiro Nishiura – Sound of Water – Sumi Ink of Canvas. This skilled artist teaches calligraphy lessons at the gallery!

On display in front of the calligraphy are these amazing stone vessels by Ken Matsumoto, the one at the bottom is called Spillway Wash from 2015.

Ken Matsumoto  – Grant Lake RipRap – Unidentified Stone – 2016

A painting from Masamichi Kotaki’s series, Neither a Point or a Line, work that echoes the gestural sweeps of calligraphy in Sumi Ink, mineral pigment and gold on hemp paper from 2006.

This beautiful Urushi or lacquerware green tea container is part of several vignettes of Toriawase in the gallery, the poetic art of arrangement, which is highly evolved throughout Japanese culture and maybe nowhere more so than in the Japanese tea ceremony in which the host can covey more than can be expressed in words with artful, thoughtful arrangements. The Chrysanthemum of autumn, depicted in gold is a symbol of longevity and follows the idea of Shitsurae, the practice of arranging decor to reflect the season or occasion. This piece is an example of Utsushi, where craftsmen look to employ and improve upon traditional imagery and methods, not to copy but to participate in an artistic dialogue that spans centuries.

Not only did I want to share this wonderful gallery with you but also share the exciting news that Kumiko Iwasawa Vadas has invited me to exhibit my triptych, Blooming Deadwood, here in the spring!  We discussed it with a few friends over some lovely plum wine, cheese and crackers after my artist talk at Fade where the painting in currently on exhibit at Vargas Gallery. I am so honored to think of my work adding to the conversation of art and nature that envelops you when you enter this very special space!