I took the afternoon yesterday and drove with a friend to Orange County to see the Illumination exhibit, showing the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin, and Florence Miller Pierce. Part of the premise of the exhibit is showing parallels in the lives and careers of O’Keeffe and Pelton, and Martin and Pierce, which was interesting in a slightly eerie way.
I confess my main purpose in going was just to see Agnes Pelton’s paintings. I remember only seeing two in person before, one at a gallery on Melrose and the other at an Art Fair. Most of my exposure to her work has been through the book, Agnes Pelton: Poet of Nature by Michael Zakian. Zakian, who is the director of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in Malibu also happens to be the juror of this years’ California Open exhibit at TAG Gallery. When I first encountered Agnes Pelton’s imagery I felt like she had somehow translated visions and sensations that I’ve experienced in meditation into an easily accessible form. I was thrilled to see so many of these paintings in person, including many of my favorites: The Voice, Wells of Jade, Illumination, Incarnation, Sand Storm, Orbits, Even Song, and many others.
There were quite a few O’Keeffe painting in the exhibit, although it wasn’t necessarily her strongest work, or perhaps I’ve been spoiled having seen her retrospective at LACMA as well as her work in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Having seen this exhibit I think what I’d really like to see now is an exhibit of Agnes Pelton and Sharon Ellis together.
Los Angeles Times Art review: 'Illumination' at the Orange County Museum of Art
Examiner Review: Orange County Museum of Art Illumination exhibit
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