Covering Ground



Curated by Dion Johnson

Harris Art Gallery
University of La Verne
California

September 13-October 20, 2011




Black Diagonal, 2011. Oil, enamel, pigment and PVA on canvas, 45x35 cm.


Grey Grid, 2011. Oil, enamel, pigment and PVA on canvas, 122x153 cm.
Artist Statement

In the last little while I have been thinking of Agnes Martin. These works stem from that contemplation. She said that she finally got to the point where her art made no connection with the ‘real world’. But as I walk the city and peruse its structures I see echoes of Martin’s work. I am drawn into a paradox between the often simple order of a decorative facade and the inevitable disorder and imperfection that occurs to a surface over time. ‘Yesterday’s shiny’, becomes the worn and forlorn. Arbitrary surface juxtapositions can weave a random tapestry. It is within this certain/uncertain space that I sometimes find a personable beauty and a reason to paint.

Neapolitan, 2011. Oil, enamel, pigment and PVA on canvas, 127x176 cm, Polyptych.

  Harris Gallery

The University of La Verne Harris Art Gallery is pleased to present Covering Ground, a collaboration between six mid-career abstract painters from Los Angeles, CA and Melbourne, Australia.
Barbara Kerwin, Marion Lane, and Ruth Trotter are three Los Angeles based artists who utilize non-objective painting as a mode of pictorial representation and draw conceptual references from landscape, architecture, psychology, and telecast media. Katherine Boland, Terri Brooks and Dawn Csutoros, are three Melbourne based artists who construct abstract paintings based on nature and derive content from materials and process.

Boland’s and Brooks’ work is influenced by the harsh environmental conditions of Australia’s early post-settlement heritage as well as the Process Art and Arte Povera movements. Boland’s use of organic materials such as wood, beeswax, asphaltum and graphite, combined with a process involving the use of fire and hand tools is symbolic, informed by Buddhist thought and observation. By favoring the common materials of house paint and pencils and employing techniques focused on weathering and found marks, Brooks creates rich, physical surfaces that address contemporary landscape abstraction. With a Minimalist approach Csutoros draws parallels between eastern philosophy and quantum mechanics. The use of symbolic matter, such as tea and coal, and the spatial exploration of color, are central to her practice.

Kerwin, whose background is in architecture and sculpture, paints geometric abstractions inspired by the structural urban harmony of Los Angeles. Her layered application of color in acrylic, oil, or encaustic, activates the painting surface unifying form and content. Trotter’s paintings start from drawings based on Rorschach inkblot contours, abstract expressionist patterns and references to modernist history. Her oil on linen paintings, are constructed with luscious impasto smears of color, which evoke organic transitions and structural migrations. Lane creates biomorphic forms and caricatured flora with poured and pushed areas of color and pattern that recall nineteen-fifties suburbia with a hallucinogenic spin. With television as an influence the paintings poke at the charm of Kitsch, while maintaining formal rigor and complexity.
For exhibition catalog or information please contact Dion Johnson djohnson@laverne.edu or 909.593.3511 x 4273


Covering Ground, 2011, Harris Gallery, University of La Verne, California.
The 28 page catalogue with essays by Betty A. Brown (US) and Phe Luxford (AUS) is available at Amazon.