From April 3—24, the California Art Club will present its Annual Gold Medal Exhibition at the Autry Museum of the American West. Included among the more than 200 fine art paintings and sculptures—by contemporary artists who work in traditional style—are works by artists who either trained or lived in the Greater Wilshire area.
The exhibition pays tribute to the pioneering California artists who founded the organization in 1909 and inspired California Impressionism—the first artistic movement to be defined as uniquely Californian.
Local art academy
An early member of the California Art Club was the late painter Theodore N. Lukits (1897-1992). Lukits was a renowned teacher. Starting in 1924, and for 60 years, he operated the Lukits Academy of Fine Arts on Citrus Ave., just below Wilshire, in the community now known as Sycamore Square. Two of his students were Peter Adams and Frank Ordaz, both of whom have works in the exhibition. Another exhibitor, painter Gayle Garner Roski, grew up in Hancock Park.
Adams’ painting, “Dreaming of Cathay,” is based on three Meissen porcelain figures that represent the continent of Asia. Behind the figures, the view outside the window indicates a stormy rainy day—just the type of weather that inspires daydreaming about faraway exotic lands.
Frank Ordaz, the other artist in the exhibition who studied at the Lukits Academy, painted “Saint and Sinner.” According to the artist, the painting “depicts the duality of man in the persona of a local Auburn, California, individual who goes by the name of the Time Traveler. He has set his mental clock to 1870 and routinely dresses in authentic period clothing. He is aware that we judge others by their outward appearance and therefore he is comfortable with being judged.
The painting reveals him as a possible country gentleman who proudly poses in front of his brandy still. He remains true to himself, regardless of appearance.”
Gayle Garner Roski has been working on a series of paintings where she is documenting a current trend in society—people taking pictures with their cell phones and posing for selfies. Roski says her painting in the exhibition titled “Mona Who?” is her favorite “selfie moment.” As she waited in line to view this famous painting at the Louvre, Roski saw hundreds of people from all over the world with their arms raised above their heads, cell phones in hands, taking pictures of each other and of themselves.
David Doheny is a third-generation Californian who was raised in the Los Angeles area. Although he studied some art in school, Doheny is largely self-taught. One of his exhibited paintings is “Receding Tide — Carmel Beach.” Doheny has become widely collected. Jean Stern, executive director of The Irvine Museum, has called Doheny “the seminal American landscape artist of the early 21st century.”
In addition to Adams, Ordaz, Roski and Doheny, nationally known artists participating include Clyde Aspevig, Belá Bácsi, Lisa Bloomingdale Bell, Warren Chang, Scott L. Christensen, John Cosby, David C. Gallup, Daniel F. Gerhartz, Jean LeGassick, Jeremy Lipking, C.W. Mundy, Alicia Ponzio, Ray Roberts, Mian Situ, Christopher Slatoff, William Stout, Joseph Todorovitch, Kent Twitchell and Jove Wang.
Many Larchmont Chronicle readers are collectors of works by these artists. All of the Gold Medal works of art are available for acquisition, so the exhibition at The Autry provides an opportunity for collectors to add a new painting from a favorite artist.
Some of the works being featured represent a departure from the pristine California plein air landscapes that defined earlier Gold Medal exhibitions. Recently, the exhibiting artists have shown how they employ classical fine art techniques to create works that push the boundaries and explore topical imagery and messages. For example, this year’s exhibition includes numerous works that focus on more figurative and inner-city themes plus images of daily life from around the globe.
Events and programs
There are numerous events and educational programs being offered in connection with the exhibition. On the Sun., April 3 opening day of the exhibition, California Art Club president Peter Adams will present a program titled “Giving Life to Still Life” that will include a panel discussion and demonstration. Presented from 1 to 3 p.m., the discussion moderated by Adams will feature Gold Medal artists Jim McVicker and Kate Sammons, who will explain their approaches to the still-life genre as they create new paintings, working from the same set-up of objects. In addition, Adams will share insights with the audience about his Gold Medal artwork – the still life painting “Dreaming of Cathay.”
Tickets for the presentation and the exhibition, generally, plus additional information, are available at theautry.org.
By John Welborne