Evelyn Reyes (Creativity Explored), Sylvia Fragoso (NIAD), Dan Hamilton (Creative Growth), Michael LeVell (Tierra) & Maria Kim (ECF)
July 10 – September 4, 2021
Tierra Del Sol Gallery presents Architecting California, a unique group exhibition highlighting five artists from five California nonprofit art studio programs; Creative Growth, Creativity Explored, Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF), National Institute of Art & Disabilities (NIAD) and Tierra del Sol. The artists and programs included in Architecting California show connectivity through creativity across the state’s expansive and diverse surroundings.
The five artists included in this show; Sylvia Fragoso, Dan Hamilton, Maria Kim, Michael LeVell and Evelyn Reyes, have unique practices, use different materials, work at different studios and live in different cities. All variances meet at the conjuncture of the architectural influences that help define California’s aesthetic and civil landscape.
Art and architecture share an impulse to define space and make meaning. Great architecture can inspire artists to investigate line, form, and dimension in conversation with the built world around them. California offers these visionaries classic architecture, from the Eames, Wright, Schindler and Lautner houses that defined modern living to the conjuncture of the past and future commons explored in the public designs of Julia Morgan, Paul Williams, Frank Gehry and Fong & Chan. The five artists in this show have used their imagination to uniquely investigate and express the idea of architecture in their own ways. Nothing is literal and everything open for interpretation.
Sylvia Fragoso’s hand built ceramic sculptures are well known and have been exhibited globally. She has honed here visual language over 30 years at NIAD, concentrating on devotional structures including towers, domes and other objects with religious iconography that express her faith. Fragoso employs a subtle color palette with thick glaze that gives primacy to her mastery of the clay body. Her sculptures are referential, reminding the viewer of artisans of antiquity, and architecture built to communicate power, spirit and endurance.
Dan Hamilton has made Creative Growth his studio home since 1975. With over forty five years of art making, he’s skilled in ceramics, textiles, drawing and painting. The works in this show highlight his color form facades reflecting the California architecture that is known around the world. The beautiful simplicity of Hamilton’s work emerges through defined lines around saturated color fields. These flat, yet dynamic renderings are reminiscent of the work of Burle Marx, another South American artist with a passion for landscape and architecture.
Maria Kim’s studio practice has been part of ECF for over a decade. Focusing on structures of tradition, luxury and beauty, Kim’s richly layered paintings reflect her ability to integrate the narratives of leisure and purpose into her architectural compositions. As example her Buddhist Temple work aesthetically communicates both the serenity and complexity of religious practice. This knowledge of color, scale and narrative creates expressive works that reveal the poetic relationship between people and place.
Michael LeVell has been making art at Tierra Del Sol since 1989. His love of architecture is fostered by his family and Architectural Digest who featured LeVell’s work in the May 2020 online edition. LeVell’s skill with two and three-dimensional work is his ability to abstract architecture to its most salient lines and forms, garnering attention in exhibitions nationwide. In Architecting California, LeVell’s colorful geometry as deconstructed architecture demonstrate his expertise with aggregating elements to be more than the sum of their parts.
Evelyn Reyes, from Creativity Explored, works intimately with repetition and color. Her ritualistic practice uses ephemeral materials to investigate objects of permanence, demarcation and human necessity. The gate series featured in Architecting California is made in monochrome oil pastels. These compositions balance painterly and printmaking characteristics similar to the grid works of Eva Hesse and Agnes Martin. Like these artists, Reyes’ work has received national attention, her work is included in important museum collections and has been written about extensively.
The five artists featured in Architecting California contribute to important aesthetic considerations about the fundamental roles that art and architecture have in human and environmental life. From Grafton Tyler Brown’s 19th century mapping and landscape paintings to Ed Rushca’s text works, California art making has long examined these critical relationships and provided significant visual language about its relevance in bridging the past and future. This exhibition demonstrates that these artists and the studios that support them have a vital stake in how we understand and structure our world.
Architecting California opens at Tierra Del Sol Gallery on July 10 and runs through September 4, 2021.