In Less Than No Time: Virtual Exhibition Curated by Irene Suh

Exhibition Link: https://www.artsteps.com/view/6194af7113f0d9e8c3b01982?currentUser

Instructions:

  • Click and rotate your mouse to move the camera
  • Use the arrows/WSAD keys to walk through the space or point in the direction you would like to go in and click
  • Click on any piece of artwork to view its description and tombstone
  • The map is located on the bottom left side of the screen

In Less Than No Time is centered around the mural Isle of California: Lunch Brake for V. Henderson and T. Schoonhoven. Created by the L.A. Fine Arts Squad, a collaborative group of artists, around the 1960s-70s in Santa Monica, the mural continues to be relevant today in expressing the ramifications of industrialization and climate change. The idea of returning to nature is illustrated in highlighting the sky with vibrant hues of blue, contrasting with the grey tones of the fragmented highway and rubble. In investigating how this theme can be reflected in other artworks, the exhibition presents ten other pieces in various mediums, such as photographs, paintings, etchings, and a three-dimensional painting. The exhibition is arranged in chronological order, allowing us to see changes from the 19th century, with the rise of industrialization, to the present day.

The artists represented in this virtual exhibition were selected on the basis of their painting practice and concepts related to the turn towards modernization. Fernand Lungren’s oil paintings from the AD&A Museum collection depict vibrant landscapes, capturing the natural beauty of the western United States, as seen in Surf After Storm (figure 2). This relates to the central theme of the exhibition in providing a view of a raw and an untouched sense of the environment. Many of the works after this painting then explore the rise and result of industrialization from the 1800s. Photographers Ester Bubley, John Vachon, and Sol Libsohn often reveal the state of individuals and society through their images. The subject matter of their pieces are still relevant today in reflecting the integration of people living in a world of urbanization, pollution, and concrete. 

The pieces of this exhibition demonstrate how quickly these industrialized changes happen as we see the transformation reflected within a century. In hopes of conveying a narrative through art, I hope for viewers to develop their own informed ideas, investigating what can we do in less than no time?

Figure 1: Fernand Lungren (b. United States, 1857-1932), Surf After Storm. Oil on canvas, 18 x 36”, acc.no. 1964.633. Fernand Lungren Bequest. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara. 
“Most notable for his landscape paintings of Southern California, Fernand Lungren captures the essence of these environments through his detailed strokes.”
Figure 2: Armand Guillaumin (b. France, 1841-1927), Railroad Bridge over the Marne at Joinville, ca. 1871-75. Oil on canvas, 23 ⅛ x 28 ⅜”, acc.no. 1975.1.180. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
“This painting contrasts from Fernand Lungren’s Surf After Storm in revealing a human presence. Although we see one figure in view, the small town and the billowing smoke from the train suggests liveliness through these depictions of manmade structures.”

Figure 3: Fernand Lungren (b. United States, 1857-1932), The Arm of the Law: Hyde Park Corner, ca. 1899. Oil on canvas, unfinished, 24 ¼ x 36 ⅛”, acc.no.1964.636. Fernand Lungren Bequest. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara. 
“Created in 1899, this piece serves as a reflection of the Second Industrial Revolution era. The figures in mid-movement especially contribute to the bustling and chaotic atmosphere, unlike the more early serene paintings of this exhibition.”
Figure 4: Gerald K. Geerlings (b. United States, 1897-1998), Electrical Building at Night, ca. 1933. Etching, 11 ⅞ x 8 ⅞”, acc.no. 1975.67. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara. 
“Gerald K. Geerlings’s architectural etchings provide a different perspective of city life. The towering structures emphasize the burden of these buildings, and how small we are compared to them. Although the bright lights indicate the presence of human beings, the piece expresses a sense of loneliness, especially due to the ambiguous shapes created in the empty space of the background.”

Figure 5: Otto Eglau (b. Germany, 1917-1988), Marine Landscape, ca.1960. Etching, color, 14 ½ x 19 ¼”, acc.no. 1968.5. Anonymous gift to the Ala Story Print Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara.
“Comparable to Fernand Lungren’s Surf After Storm, this “marine landscape” illustrates wave-like fragments. These thin lines may also be representative of power lines or roads as they flow through the painting.”

Figure 6: L.A. Fine Arts Squad (United States, 1969-1979), Isle of California: Lunch Brake for V. Henderson and T. Schoonhoven, ca. 1960s-70s. 28 ½ x 39 ½ x 1 ½” (framed), acc.no.1994.2. Gift of Antoinette Amorteguy. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara.
“Serving as the center of this exhibition, the photograph of the mural is representative of the consequences of industrialization and pollution. However, the vibrant blue sky and dramatic composition informs the piece, possibly conveying the idea of returning to nature. The occupation of vehicles in front of the image also contrasts ironically with the mural, indicating a sense of unawareness from its owners. We also see a “worn down” quality as streaks drip down the image, contributing a grainy element.”
Figure 7: Marion Post Wolcott (b. United States, 1910-1990), Recycling Center, ca. 1970s. Type C print, 16 x 20 ¼” MATTED, acc.no. 2021.004.023. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara.
“Possibly taken in Isla Vista as her other ‘Recycling Center’ series, Wolcott’s image serves as an example of human waste and the mass amount that is produced and consumed.”
 Figure 8: Ester Bubley (b. United States, 1921-1998), Bus Transportation Story, ca. 1985. Gelatin silver print, acc.no. 1985.371. Purchase, Standard Oil of New Jersey Photographic Archives, Ekstrom Library University of Louisville.  Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara.
“This piece is in the interest of Isle of California: Lunch Brake for V. Henderson and T. Schoonhoven by the L.A. Fine Arts Squad as providing a sense of inside vehicles on highways. Ester Bubley’s piece also contains the most condensed and close-up view of people in a small space of this exhibition.”

Figure 9:  John Vachon (b. United States, 1914-1975), Pulaski Skyway New Jersey Highways, ca. 1985. Gelatin silver print, acc.no. 1985.384. Purchase, Standard Oil of New Jersey Photographic Archives, Ekstrom Library University of Louisville.  Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara.
“In relation to the L.A. Fine Arts Squad mural, John Vachon’s highway image is similar in subject as well as expressing elements of nature with objects of industrialization. For instance, standing tall among the reeds, is a smokestack pointing towards the sky.”
Figure 10: Sol Libsohn (b. United States, 1914-2001), Viaduct construction, New Jersey Turnpike ’51, ca. 1985. Gelatin silver print, acc.no. 1985.358. Purchase, Standard Oil of New Jersey Photographic Archives, Ekstrom Library University of Louisville.  Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara.
“This piece expresses a sense of incompleteness as the structure is under construction. Not only does the subject matter follow a similar direction as the highway from Isle of California: Lunch Brake for V. Henderson and T. Schoonhoven, they are comparable in suggesting opposite themes from each other. For instance, the highway of the L.A. Fine Arts Squad mural is a depiction of after completion, while highlighting natural elements with vivid blues. Sol Libsohn’s piece on the other hand, is representative of its pre-transformation as the main focus is on the structure itself with no emphasis on the natural environment.”

Figure 11: Leslie Wayne (b. Germany, 1953-), One Big Love, #58, ca. 2011. Oil on panel, 12 ¾ x 10 x 2 ½” OVERALL, acc.no. 2014.015.001. Gift of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; UC Santa Barbara.
“As one of the most recent pieces created in this exhibition, Leslie Wayne’s sculptural painting builds upon itself from the oil medium through the act of scraping, folding, cutting, and layering. The movement  from this process reveals an organic quality resembling ocean waves and stratum, despite being made up of materials harmful for the environment. This piece explores the utilization of toxic matter being transformed as representations of natural elements.”

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