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Rick Griffin  
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Making Waves: A Tribute to Rick Griffin and John Severson
October 7, 2017 - March 31, 2018
Curated by Gordon T. McClelland

The Making Waves exhibition at The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University saluted two masterful artists: Rick Griffin and John Severson, who contributed much to the surfing culture in California and elsewhere. The exhibition included Griffin's influential painting "Pacific Vibrations" (pictured left), Severson's thrilling surf paintings, and a collection of surf ephemera, zines, and posters.

In addition to this exhibition, four other exhibitions ran for the same duration of time at the museum:

50/50: California Art in Transition, 1940 - 1970, curated by Glen Knowles, examined the period from World War II and the following three decades when new ideas of modernism came to California and influenced its artists and how art was taught in art schools.

American Illustration: Children at Play launched at the Hilbert Museum's new American Illustration gallery, highlighted the works of accomplished artists who created illustrations for magazines, books, and other publications. This first exhibition featured works from the 1920s to 1950s by Joe DeMers, Stevan Dohanos, and Andrew Loomis, among others.

The Magic of Disney Art, Featuring Pinocchio, in the Animation Art gallery, included four newly-acquired, original animation cels from the 1940 Disney classic film. Also on exhibit were animation art and concept art from Disney films Lady and the Tramp, and The Jungle Book. Well-known California artists who worked for Disney Studios, and were represented in the Hilbert Collection, include Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, Phil Paradise, and Phil Dike.

California Masters: Bradford J. Salamon featured works from the Hilbert Permanent Collection by the acclaimed Los Angeles artist. This exhibition included monumental "portraits" of vintage objects, food, and Star Wars' C-3PO.

An opening reception for these exhibitions was held at the museum on Saturday, October 7 from 5 to 8:00 p.m.

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, Gordon gave a slideshow presentation of the exhibition at the museum from 2 to 3:00 p.m.

Rex Brandt  
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Out of the West
March 18, 2017 - September 23, 2017
Curated by Gordon T. McClelland

The Out of the West exhibition at The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University showcased paintings by 20 renowned California artists.

During the 1930s and the mid-1960s, these artists shared their vision of California with the world by sending their works to well-established art museums and galleries across the U.S. and abroad in Europe.

In addition to this exhibition, two other exhibitions opened at the museum and ran for the same duration of time: Golden Dreams: The Immigrant vision of California and Disney Production Art.

An opening reception for the three exhibitions was held at the museum on Saturday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m.

On April 1 at 7:00 p.m., the museum hosted a special event, Golden Dreams: An Event of Music and Art, featuring three members from the Pacific Symphony who performed a composition commissioned by the Hilberts. This musical piece is based on one of the paintings in the art collection.


In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture
Pasadena Museum of California Art
September 25, 2016 – February 19, 2017
Curated by Gordon T. McClelland

  In the Land of Sunshine at PMCA
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The exhibition In the Land of Sunshine featured oil paintings, watercolors and a few fine art prints produced by California artists between 1850 and 2016. The subject matter of each work in this exhibit was inspired by a scene along the California coastline in Southern or Northern California. During that span of time, artists used many different stylistic approaches in an effort to convey what they experienced while on the coast. Styles of art included 19th Century realism, Luminism, Impressionism, Cubism, Abstract Surrealism, American Illustration and California Style Watercolors.

The exhibition was comprised of 80 paintings on the walls with supporting text, and additional art, photographs and ephemera in cases with supporting text.

Standish Backus, Jr. Louis Betts Raymond Dabb Yelland William Coulter Rick Griffin
Rex Brandt Art Riley Duncan Gleason Phil Dike John Severson
Dennis Hare Phil Dike Roger Kuntz Duncan Gleason Donna Schuster

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Some of the artists represented in this exhibit included: Roger Kuntz, Phil Dike, Donna Schuster, William Wendt, Joseph Kleitsch, Millard Sheets, Duncan Gleason, Rex Brandt, Alston Clark, Richard Bunkall, Keith Crown, Alexandra Bradshaw, Ken Potter, Lee Blair, Suong Yangchareon, and William Wray. Additionally, a special section dedicated to California surf art showcased works by John Severson, Rick Griffin, Jim Evans, Bill Ogden, Kerne Erickson, Kevin Short, Bradford J. Salamon, and others.

About five miles south west of the Pasadena Museum of California Art is El Alisal, the home of Charles Lummis who was the editor of Land of Sunshine; one of the first magazines dedicated to the promotion of Southern California. Lummis worked tirelessly researching Southwestern history and hired talented California artists to produce art for reproduction in his publication.

Many issues of Land of Sunshine featured promotional stories extolling the virtues of towns being developed along the California coastline. This exhibition was named after that publication and paid tribute to the efforts of Charles Lummis: a man who in 1884 walked by foot 2,200 miles to Los Angeles from Cincinnati in 143 days; a truly outstanding example of the American pioneer spirit and a man who loved the California coastline.

In Dialogue: The Art of Surfing
Saturday, January 21, 2017 | 3:00 p.m.

Exhibition curator and California surfer Gordon T. McClelland gave Museum visitors a lecture about surfing and the California coastal cool, with a focus on pioneering and contemporary surf culture artists such as John Severson, Rick Griffin, Jim Evans, and Kevin Short. Gordon explained how these artists depicted the cultural phenomenon and discussed how key organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation have kept California’s beaches clean and free to the public, and open for surfing and art inspiration.

This was Gordon's second presentation for this exhibit. On October 22 at 3:00 p.m., Gordon gave visitors a walk through of the entire exhibition.

Hilbert Museum of Art Celebration  
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Narrative Visions:
20th Century California Art
February 26, 2016 -
March 4, 2017
Curated by Gordon T. McClelland

The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University opened to the public on Friday, February 26, 2016 at the museum's temporary location on 167 North Atchison Street in the City of Orange. The museum's collection of artwork, donated by Mark and Janet Hilbert, showcases the work of the California artists who visually captured the history and culture of the Golden State from the 1920s to present times, in what is known today as California Scene art.

The opening exhibit "Narrative Visions: 20th Century California Art" was curated by Gordon T. McClelland. The body of work in this exhibit depicted Californians at labor or at leisure in rural, seaside, and urban settings from many historical periods of the 20th Century. Among the acclaimed artists represented in this exhibit were Emil Kosa Jr., Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Fletcher Martin, Rex Brandt, Phil Paradise, and Milford Zornes.

An open house celebration was held on Friday, February 26 from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday, February 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., with Ruby's Streamliner Café providing refreshments.

The museum is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The eventual home for the Hilbert Museum will be the former Villa Park Orchards Packing House building on Cypress Street, near the location of the current museum.

Joan Irving Brandt Centennial Celebration  
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Joan Irving Brandt Centennial Celebration — curated by Gordon T. McClelland — was held at the Central Library in Newport Beach from February 16 to March 31, 2016.

On Saturday, March 5, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., the Newport Beach City Arts Commission hosted an event for the exhibition honoring the life and art of the California painter, sculptor, and muralist. A special program was presented at 2 p.m. in the Friends Meeting Room at the Library, followed by a reception at 4 p.m. For this program, Gordon delivered a slide show presentation of Joan Irving Brandt’s life and works, and then introduced three panelists who further discussed the life and works of the artist: Brandt's daughter Joan Brandt Scarboro, art collector and friend Gene Crain, and artist and former Brandt student Chris Sullivan.

Born March 12, 1916, Joan Irving studied art in Riverside City College and the Los Angeles Art Center School under Edward Kaminski and Barse Miller. From early in her career, Joan Irving's works received high acclaim and were purchased for collections in notable museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

With her husband, artist Rex Brandt, Joan Irving Brandt taught at the famed Brandt-Dike Summer School of Painting in Corona del Mar which earned the reputation as one of the most successful watercolor schools in California during the 1950s.

Joan Irving Brandt was also very active in the historical and cultural development of Newport Beach, serving as chairman of the first City Fine Arts Committee (later known as the City Arts Commission), and helping to establish the Newport Harbor Art Museum.

A selection of Joan Irving Brandt's watercolors and sculptures was displayed in the Central Library, courtesy of Gene Crain and other local art collectors.

Rex Brandt Centennial Celebration  
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Rex Brandt Centennial Celebration —curated by Gordon T. McClelland— was on display at the Central Library in Newport Beach from November 1 to December 15, 2014.

On Saturday, November 1, the Newport Beach City Arts Commission hosted the opening event for the exhibition which honors the life and art of the California scene painter. A special program was presented at 2 p.m. in the Friends Meeting Room at the Library (see photo). In this program, Gordon provided an overview of Brandt’s life and works, and introduced the following panelists who each supplied anecdotes about the artist: Joan Scarboro (Brandt's daughter), Gene Crain (art collector), and George James (Brandt's art student).

The program was followed by a reception in the courtyard from 3-5 p.m.

Born September 12, 1914, Brandt became known as one of the premier 20th Century American watercolor painters. He depicted countless scenes set in Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and Balboa Bay, and created the Newport Beach City seal. Brandt passed away on March 21, 2000 in Corona del Mar, having painted nearly to the end of his life.

A selection of Rex Brandt paintings remained on display at the Central Library, courtesy of Mark and Janet Hilbert, through December 15, 2014.

California Scene Paintings book jacket  
California Scene Paintings: 1920s-1970s was on exhibit at The Irvine Museum from January 18, 2014 to May 8, 2014. This exhibition, curated by Gordon, featured a collection of pieces from the California Scene Paintings traveling art show that had not been previously displayed.

The book that accompanies the traveling exhibit, written by Gordon T. McClelland and Austin D. McClelland, is available for purchase at GOOD STUFF II. (Click/tap the image of the book jacket to view it larger.)

Gordon wrote about this new exhibit at The Irvine Museum:

"Between 1920 and 1970 hundreds of talented artists produced oil and watercolor paintings inspired by scenes of everyday life in California. Today these works are being rediscovered. As they are analyzed from a retrospective viewpoint, their value as highly creative fine art and as a visual record of the social history of California is becoming increasingly evident.

"Most of that era’s premier artists participated in this art movement and several of them received national acclaim for the art that they created. Notables such as Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Emil Kosa Jr., Milford Zornes and Rex Brandt fit into that category. Sadly, other artists included in this exhibition received little attention from the fine art community during the pre-1970s era, but are now being recognized for their important contributions to the California Scene Paintings movement. Ben Norris, John Bohnenberger, Art Riley and Preston Blair are among them.

"The term California Scene Painting is used to define works that include people or evidence of humanity through the inclusion of manmade objects and structures. Automobiles, trains, barns, roadways, fences and coastline piers are among key elements that serve as markers to define works as California Scene Paintings.

"The architecture, industrial design and clothing styles seen in these works capture the essence of a time gone by. When select works are exhibited together they provide unique insight into how creative people from that era perceived the world around them. It is my hope that you find these works to be artistically inspiring and intellectually engaging."
California Scene Paintings, Pasadena Museum of Art  
California Scene Paintings from 1930 to 1960 was on exhibit at Pasadena Museum of California Art from March 10, 2013 to July 28, 2013. Gordon gave a walk-through of this exhibit on Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m. (Click/tap the image to view a larger image of the painting.)

The term California Scene Paintings was first used by Los Angeles Times art critic Arthur Millier in the early 1930s to describe representational art specifically created to capture scenes of everyday life in California. These works typically included people or evidence of humanity; through the inclusion of structures, vehicles, roadways, fences and other such man made creations.

This exhibition of 75 works focused on oil paintings, watercolors, drawings and prints created during the 1930 to 1960 period when this art form was the most celebrated type of art being produced in California.

A number of the works in this exhibition were included in 1930s and 1940s era exhibitions of Regionalist, American Scene and W.P.A. art which went on display at major museums across America.

The works selected for this exhibition visually captured the essence of life in Los Angeles and San Francisco when those cities were growing at an alarming rate. Most of the artists who produced this art lived in or near those two cities.

Street scenes, factory scenes and the emergence of the California Car Culture were all documented using innovative approaches to painting. The California Style of watercolor painting which brought international acclaim to these artists was well represented in this exhibit.

On the outskirts of the cities were suburbs, ranches, and agrarian communities. Scene paintings with this type of subject matter were also included, along with figurative works and interior scenes of people engaged in everyday activities.

The 1950s era works recorded the developments of many more important events in California history including the building of freeways and the forming of the California Beach Culture. They also revealed the manner in which California Scene Painting continued well after the art communities interest in abstract and non-objective art began to prevail.

Works by the key artists from California Scene Painting movement were selected. Among the most prominent names were Phil Dike, Emil Kosa Jr., Phil Paradise, Millard Sheets, Paul Sample, Ben Messick, Rex Brandt and Dong Kingman.

A large format art book titled California Scene Paintings which visually documents this art and emphasizes its value to California history was released at the opening of this exhibition. Visit GOOD STUFF II to order the book.
White on Black, Pasadena Museum of Art  
White on Black: The Modernist Prints of Paul Landacre was on exhibit at Pasadena Museum of California Art from October 28, 2012 to February 24, 2013. (Click/tap the image to view a larger image of the print.)

This exhibit featured nearly 25 black and white prints by California artist Paul Landacre who emerged as one of the leaders in an American revival of fine art wood engraving during the 1930s.

While most artists who created black and white art used black lines on a white background, Landacre became renowned for doing the opposite: his engravings are white lines on a black background. His expert craftsmanship and his intuitive grasp of how to use light and dark made it possible for him to create the detailed and highly sensitive line work which gave his prints a wide variation of tonal values, ranging from pure white to extremely deep black.

Landacre’s work was considered abstract: his prints often had a recognizable main image, surrounded by non-objective shapes and patterns. Although his work had a tremendous impact on printmaking and the progressive graphic arts movement, Landacre later devoted less time to his own practice, choosing to focus his energies on making prints for books and on teaching at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles where he worked until he passed away in 1963.
Buena Vista, Long Beach Museum of Art  
Buena Vista: California Artists in Mexico (1925 - 1975) was on exhibit at Pasadena Museum of California Art in Long Beach, California from July 26, 2012 to November 4, 2012. (Click/tap the image to view it larger.)

Watercolors and oils in this traveling art exhibition were painted by California artists, each of whom discovered the rich culture, landscape and architecture of Mexico, and chose to repeatedly travel to that country for artistic inspiration.

Featured in this exhibition were some of the premier artists of the 20th century, including Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Emil Kosa, Jr., Phil Paradise, Rex Brandt, George Post, Milford Zornes, Barse Miller, Hardie Gramatky, Ralph Hulett, and Doris Rosenthal.
Citrus: California Golden Dream  
Citrus: California's Golden Dream was on exhibit at Fullerton Museum Center in Fullerton, California from December 17, 2011 to March 25, 2012. (Click/tap the banner image to view it larger.)

This exhibit told the story of the second California Gold Rush, the quest for oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, the fruits that dominated the state's economy from the 1880s through the 1950s.

Curated by Richard Smith, the exhibition featured a fascinating array of fruit labels, historical books, maps, postcards, farm machinery, packing crates, and memorabilia. Several of these items on display were loaned from the personal collection of Gordon McClelland.

Additionally, Gordon presented "Citrus Crate Labels: An Artistic Overview" at the Museum on Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Buena Vista poster  
Buena Vista: California Artists in Mexico 1928 - 1970 was exhibited at California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica, California from November 19, 2010 to May 1, 2011. (Click/tap the poster image to view it larger.)

This exhibition featured 53 watercolors painted in Mexico by California artists between the years 1928 and 1970, the  majority of whom, as California Style watercolorists, received nationwide recognition during the during the 1930s for pioneering direct and spontaneous approaches to location painting using the aquarelle medium on paper. Many of their works captured the essence of California culture from that era and were widely exhibited in nationally acclaimed museum exhibitions of Regionalist and American Scene painting.

As roads in Mexico were paved and improved in the late 1920s to 1970s, these watercolorists traveled south where they used their artistic skills to capture the Mexican culture, and the unique atmosphere and scenic beauty of Mexico.

This exhibition featured outstanding pieces by a number of artists, including Phil Paradise, Millard Sheets, Emil Kosa Jr., Ralph Hulett, Ken Potter, Phil Dike, Rex Brandt, Marian Wachtel, Wayne La Com, and George Post.

The Museum's permanent display includes fine examples of California arts and crafts, furnishings, and objects.
Mid-Century Geometric Abstraction poster  
Mid-Century Geometric Abstraction
Geometric Abstraction was a popular compositional device used by California artists during the mid-20th Century to create abstract art based on recognizable subject matter.

This well-received exhibition, held at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, July 7 through September 20, 2010, featured 37 works by a number of highly creative California artists, including George James, Ed Reep, Bill Anderson, George Post, Robert E. Wood, Rex Brandt, Phil Dike, Wayne La Com, Jack Laycox, and Dong Kingman.

Hosted in the main airport terminal, the exhibit was viewed by thousands of people. (Click/tap the poster image to view it larger.)
Millard Sheets The Early Years (1926-1944)  
Millard Sheets: The Early Years (1926-1944) From February 14 through May 30, 2010, Pasadena Museum of California Art presented this exhibition of the largest and most complete display of Millard Sheets' works from the 1925 to 1945 era ever assembled.

Sheets was the leading figure in the California Style watercolor movement and is considered by many to be the premier California artist from the 1930s era.

Although the exhibition has closed, a hard bound, oversized art book that accompanied this exhibition and documents the artist's life, is still currently available. (Click/tap the image of the book jacket to view it larger). This book features large, full color illustrations of Sheets' most celebrated works of that era.

Visit GOOD STUFF II to order the book.
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