LANCASTER – The Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) is presenting eight new exhibitions focusing on the use of signs and symbols to communicate visual messages and information. From the ancient cave paintings of Lascaux, France to the use of the internet today, humans have corresponded through a visual language of signs and symbols for tens of thousands of years. The entire museum will be filled with artists employing a variety of materials and methods to communicate their observations and philosophies on art, politics, cultural identity, social justice and the human condition.
In the Main Gallery, MOAH is showcasing the artwork of internationally renowned painter Gary Lang. Lang, distinguished by his circle paintings spanning as much as 13 feet in diameter, draws the viewer into his work through calculated shifts of radiating color and by creating the illusion of pulsing, glowing surfaces. Lang’s canvases provide a contemporary link to the prehistoric depictions of the circle, which have long been associated with unity, infinity and eternity. A signature feature of the show will be the installation of Lang’s highly-anticipated and never before seen work in conversation with his long-celebrated circular paintings.
In the Vault Gallery, distinguished photographer Thomas McGovern will showcase new work made specifically for and about the Antelope Valley. An artist living in the age of glitzy digital media and the proliferation of high definition billboards lining eight-lane highways, McGovern turned his lens toward the deteriorating hand painted signs, murals and advertisements that punctuate the rural High Desert landscape, capturing the diverse use of symbols and signs in our local environment. The show is accompanied by a self-guided tour map equipped with a QR code that pinpoints each of the locations that McGovern photographed.
Guillermo Bert: The Bar Code Series will be showcased in MOAH’s Second Floor East Gallery. Bert’s minimalist Bar Code Series is layered with various symbols of power, both in the choice of materials he uses and in the imagery he selects. The work blurs the boundaries between culture and commodities and reflects Bert’s interest in exploring concepts of consumerism, politics and social ideals.
Figurative painter Jorg Dubin has created an installation of paintings made directly from his Facebook friends’ profile pictures, many of whom the artist has never met or whom mostly remain unknown to him. The installation as a whole creates an entirely new “friend”; one that questions our desire to be needed, to be seen, to be heard and investigates how social media has changed human communication and interaction. Located on the Second Floor Atrium Wall.
Susan Sironi’s delicately altered books will be on display in the Wells Fargo Gallery. Through the removal of selected text and the reconfiguration of old books into new forms, Sironi promotes an individual re-reading of the accepted norms of communication and conventions of the past.
In the Second Floor Education Gallery, MOAH will screen a film by interdisciplinary artist Danial Nord. Nord’s new film: Youtopia pokes fun at electronic communication and how the information we receive is controlled by automated search engines.
In MOAH’s Entry Lobby, celebrated urban artist Cryptik will create a two story mural using his signature signs and symbols.
MOAH tops off the season with a group show: Signs and Symbols: From Street Art to High Art in the Second Floor South Gallery with works by: Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Barry McGee, Heretic, Keith Haring, Cryptik, David P. Flores, Robbie Conal and others. Many of these artists pioneered the street art movement by using the urban realm as their canvas. Through creating guerilla works of art using spray paint, templates and wheat paste, these artists transformed the dialogue about where art may or may not be placed, sanctioned, and shown and questioned the commercialization of art. Collectively the artists are master editors, using only the most relevant symbols to achieve the greatest visual impact.
Spring Events Preview:
Spring Exhibitions Opening Reception—Saturday, March 16, 4 – 6 p.m. Many of the artists will be present and light refreshments will be served.
Third Thursday Artist Critique + Conversation Night—March 21, 6 – 8 p.m. in the Hernando and Fran Marroquin Family Classroom. Artists are encouraged to bring one work of art to be critiqued in a casual, constructive session among peers. Each session will be moderated by a professional guest artist/critic from the Los Angeles region. Suggested donation: $5.00
Young Artist Workshop—Thursday March 28, 2 – 5 p.m. in the Hernando and Fran Marroquin Family Classroom. Come create mobiles from colored paper! Community Engagement Artist Rebecca Niederlander will lead a mobile making workshop based on the public art work of Brad Howe in celebration of the new Multi-Ambulatory Care Center (MACC) currently under construction on Avenue I in Lancaster.
A Night of Spoken Word—Thursday March 28, 6 – 8 p.m. in the Main Gallery. Join MOAH in an evening of spoken word by poets and performing artists from The Renaissance Center, the BLVD’s hub for young artists.
“One Hour/One Painting”—Thursday, April 11, 6 – 8 p.m. in the Main Gallery. Author and art critic Peter Clothier will lead a contemplative art viewing session followed by offering signed copies of his new book: “Slow Looking: The Art of Looking at Art” which is based on his One Hour /One Painting method of practicing a different, more profound and more rewarding way of looking at art. It combines the practices of meditation and contemplation, asking participants to sit for a full hour in front of a single work of art. Participants learn to drop the baggage of prejudice and expectation at the door and take time to really examine what is actually there.
(Information via press release from the city of Lancaster.)