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Intersecting at the Edge: Karl Benjamin, Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt 

Karl Benjamin, #8, 1972, oil on canvas.

Intersecting at the Edge: Karl Benjamin, Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt 
July 13 – September 16, 2018
Claremont Museum of Art at the Depot

The Claremont Museum of Art presents Intersecting at the Edge, an exhibition that juxtaposes recent works by Los Angeles artists Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt with paintings and sculptures by seminal Claremont artist, Karl Benjamin. Using bold colors and clean edges each artist expresses a distinct sensibility that may allude to the refinement of architectural structure, the mesmerizing dazzle of echoing shapes, or the vastness of atmospheric luminosity. The exhibition is curated by Los Angeles-based artist Dion Johnson and sponsored by Louis Stern Fine Arts, Beverly and Beth Benjamin.

Intersecting at the Edge: Karl Benjamin, Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt will be on view July 13 through September 16, 2018 at the Claremont Museum of Art, located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m. and on Art Walk August 4 and September 1, 6-9:00 p.m

In 1959 Karl Benjamin was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Four Abstract Classicists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Art critic Jules Langsner, who wrote for the catalogue, is credited with coining the term “Hard-edge” painting. While New York based abstract painters were making expressive canvases with gestural brushstrokes, stains or drips, California artists like Benjamin were synthesizing geometry and color by painting sharp edges, smooth surfaces and solid hues.

Like the California hard-edge painters, contemporary works by Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt embrace lyrical forms and chromatic sensations. The spatial explorations in Martin’s oil on linen paintings employ vivid colors and crisp graphic elements to produce lively activity and unexpected situations. Comprised of precisely assembled bands of colored plexiglas, Zammitt’s pristine surfaces shimmer and glow.

About the Artists

A dazzling practitioner of hard-edge painting, Karl Benjamin fills each canvas with meticulously orchestrated color. His intuitive sensitivity to the peculiar union of form and color produces works that defy reason and return the viewer to the purely sensual delight of seeing.

Karl Benjamin (1925 – 2012)
Born in Chicago, Benjamin graduated in 1949 from Southern California’s University of Redlands with a B.A. degree in English literature, history and philosophy. He began his career as a teacher with no intention of becoming an artist. However, his relocation to Claremont, California in 1952, shortly after he began “playing” with paint in 1951, galvanized his sense of his career path. Benjamin was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Visual Arts in both 1983 and 1989. His work has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions and is included in the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, Israel; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, among others. Louis Stern Fine Arts is the exclusive representative of the estate of Karl Benjamin.

Heather Gwen Martin, Source Code, 2016, oil on linen

Dancing is too polite a term to describe the kinetic energy in Heather Gwen Martin’s oil paintings; it’s more like choreographed turbulence where weightless color formations blossom and flutter in crosswind currents. Her use of dramatic scale shifts amplifies the chromatic choreography and also allows for quiet moments where smaller slender shapes gently tip-toe around the vast swells of flowing space.

Born in 1977 in Saskatchewan, Canada, Martin studied at the University of California, San Diego and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been seen in museum and gallery exhibitions as far afield as Italy, New York, Detroit and Houston. Her work will also be featured in the forthcoming exhibition Chaos and Awe Painting for the 21st Century at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN, and traveling to the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA. Martin lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by L.A. Louver.

Eric Zammitt, Triangular Straight, 2015, Plexiglas

Eric Zammitt’s carefully placed color juxtapositions often produce curvilinear waveform compositions that appear to be the visual equivalent of a tremolo sound with progressively changing notes and volume. His work feels both natural with its radiant glow and digital with its planned structure. His sculptural pieces are towering stacks of horizontal color that fit perfectly together like a cross-section of an architectural prism.

Born in 1960 in Los Angeles, California, Zammitt creates paintings and sculptures in the medium of colored plexiglas. His intricately composed and assembled paintings and sculptures are often associated with light, music, mosaics, energy fields, and concepts of quantum theory. He has shown in the U.S. and internationally, and his work is part of many private and public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, California, and the Gerald E. Buck Collection.

More Information About the Artists

Karl Benjamin on Color Theory video – http://claremontmuseum.org/wordpress_1181796124/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/KB_colorTheory_Quick_high.mp4

Heather Gwen Martin video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFtORDXQPXc

Eric Zammitt video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25684zuxWNY

About the Exhibition

Curated by Dion Johnson, Intersecting at the Edge reveals the rich interplay between chromatic space and pictorial motion that unites these artists’ works. In Benjamin’s Black and Gray Curves with Purple (1960), a breeze seems to gently animate planes of color; similarly, the shapes and hues in Martin’s Cue (2017) appear airborne like sails and streamers. Benjamin’s #1 (1992) feels like a party where curvy shapes dance to color rather than music, and in Zammitt’s Grey Spectral Nocturne II (2014), the party confetti rhythmically forms colorful trajectories.

 

Intersecting at the Edge: Karl Benjamin, Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt

For Immediate Release

May 17, 2018

Karl Benjamin, #8, 1972, oil on canvas.

Intersecting at the Edge: Karl Benjamin, Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt 
July 13 – September 16, 2018

The Claremont Museum of Art presents Intersecting at the Edge, an exhibition that juxtaposes recent works by Los Angeles artists Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt with paintings and sculptures by seminal Claremont artist, Karl Benjamin. Using bold colors and clean edges each artist expresses a distinct sensibility that may allude to the refinement of architectural structure, the mesmerizing dazzle of echoing shapes, or the vastness of atmospheric luminosity. The exhibition is curated by Los Angeles-based artist Dion Johnson and sponsored by Louis Stern Fine Arts.

Intersecting at the Edge: Karl Benjamin, Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt will be on view July 13 through September 16, 2018 at the Claremont Museum of Art, located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

In 1959 Karl Benjamin was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Four Abstract Classicists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Art critic Jules Langsner, who wrote for the catalogue, is credited with coining the term “Hard-edge” painting. While New York based abstract painters were making expressive canvases with gestural brushstrokes, stains or drips, California artists like Benjamin were synthesizing geometry and color by painting sharp edges, smooth surfaces and solid hues.

Like the California hard-edge painters, contemporary works by Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt embrace lyrical forms and chromatic sensations. The spatial explorations in Martin’s oil on linen paintings employ vivid colors and crisp graphic elements to produce lively activity and unexpected situations. Comprised of precisely assembled bands of colored plexiglas, Zammitt’s pristine surfaces shimmer and glow.

About the Artists

A dazzling practitioner of hard-edge painting, Karl Benjamin fills each canvas with meticulously orchestrated color. His intuitive sensitivity to the peculiar union of form and color produces works that defy reason and return the viewer to the purely sensual delight of seeing.

Karl Benjamin (1925 – 2012)
Born in Chicago, Benjamin graduated in 1949 from Southern California’s University of Redlands with a B.A. degree in English literature, history and philosophy. He began his career as a teacher with no intention of becoming an artist. However, his relocation to Claremont, California in 1952, shortly after he began “playing” with paint in 1951, galvanized his sense of his career path. Benjamin was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Visual Arts in both 1983 and 1989. His work has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions and is included in the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, Israel; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, among others. Louis Stern Fine Arts is the exclusive representative of the estate of Karl Benjamin.

Heather Gwen Martin, Source Code, 2016, oil on linen

Dancing is too polite a term to describe the kinetic energy in Heather Gwen Martin’s oil paintings; it’s more like choreographed turbulence where weightless color formations blossom and flutter in crosswind currents. Her use of dramatic scale shifts amplifies the chromatic choreography and also allows for quiet moments where smaller slender shapes gently tip-toe around the vast swells of flowing space.

Born in 1977 in Saskatchewan, Canada, Martin studied at the University of California, San Diego and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been seen in museum and gallery exhibitions as far afield as Italy, New York, Detroit and Houston. Her work will also be featured in the forthcoming exhibition Chaos and Awe Painting for the 21st Century at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN, and traveling to the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA. Martin lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by L.A. Louver.

Eric Zammitt, Triangular Straight, 2015, Plexiglas

Eric Zammitt’s carefully placed color juxtapositions often produce curvilinear waveform compositions that appear to be the visual equivalent of a tremolo sound with progressively changing notes and volume. His work feels both natural with its radiant glow and digital with its planned structure. His sculptural pieces are towering stacks of horizontal color that fit perfectly together like a cross-section of an architectural prism.

Born in 1960 in Los Angeles, California, Zammitt creates paintings and sculptures in the medium of colored plexiglas. His intricately composed and assembled paintings and sculptures are often associated with light, music, mosaics, energy fields, and concepts of quantum theory. He has shown in the U.S. and internationally, and his work is part of many private and public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, California, and the Gerald E. Buck Collection.

More Information About the Artists

Karl Benjamin on Color Theory video – http://claremontmuseum.org/wordpress_1181796124/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/KB_colorTheory_Quick_high.mp4

Heather Gwen Martin video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFtORDXQPXc

Eric Zammitt video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25684zuxWNY

About the Exhibition

Curated by Dion Johnson, Intersecting at the Edge reveals the rich interplay between chromatic space and pictorial motion that unites these artists’ works. In Benjamin’s Black and Gray Curves with Purple (1960), a breeze seems to gently animate planes of color; similarly, the shapes and hues in Martin’s Cue (2017) appear airborne like sails and streamers. Benjamin’s #1 (1992) feels like a party where curvy shapes dance to color rather than music, and in Zammitt’s Grey Spectral Nocturne II (2014), the party confetti rhythmically forms colorful trajectories.

About the Museum

The Claremont Museum of Art is located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street in Claremont just steps away from the Metrolink Station. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 and free for CMA members and children under 18. The museum is also open from 6 to 9 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month for the Art Walk.The first Sunday of the every month is Free Family Day with free admission and ARTStation, a place for children to experience art and engage with local culture. High school students in CMA’s Project ARTstART lead visitors in an art activity related to the current exhibition. ARTStation is generously sponsored by Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Broadview Mortgage.

ARTstART Presents StART It Up with ART in the Park

Project ArtStart at Mountain View ElementaryFor the culmination of year seven, high school members of the Claremont Museum of Art’s Project ARTstART will plan, curate, and install ARTstART: StART It Up, an overview exhibition that includes works on paper, collage, sculptures, and paintings from each of the art units presented to 4-6th grade classes at Mountain View, Oakmont, Sumner, Sycamore and Vista del Valle elementary schools.

As part of this year’s exhibition, ARTstARTers will host art-making activities for visitors of all ages at ART in the Park on Friday afternoon 27 April from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in Memorial Park at 840 N. Indian Hill Blvd., Claremont. The StART It Up exhibition will be on view in the nearby Claremont Heritage Ginger Elliott Exhibition Center. The exhibition will also be open on Saturday, 28 April and Sunday, 29 April from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Project ARTstART, a Claremont Museum of Art education program, trains high school students, working with college mentors, to provide exhibit-based art lessons for elementary school students. The program brings high-quality, art appreciation classes and art marking activities to the Claremont school system to inspire, promote understanding of art and highlight Claremont’s rich artistic history.

ART in the Park

What: Project ARTstART high school students will lead art-making activities for all ages. The StART It Up exhibition, presented by the Claremont Museum of Art, will be on view in the nearby Claremont Heritage Ginger Elliott Exhibition Center.

When: Friday April 27, from 3:30-5 p.m. The exhibition will also be open on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Memorial Park, 840 N. Indian Hill Blvd., Claremont

Project ARTstART is completing its seventh year under the direction of Rich Deely, who first conceived of the program and remains its Project Director. During this academic year, seven undergraduate members of The Claremont Colleges mentored 60 high school ARTstART students, who then presented multi visit exhibit-based art lessons to upper grade students from Mountain View, Oakmont, Sumner, Sycamore and Vista del Valle elementary schools. Activities to date have included exhibition visits, field trips and classroom art-making.

In addition, ARTstARTers served BLAST, ACES, and AVID aftercare students at all seven CUSD main elementary campuses each month with our AfterARTs Series of art-making workshops and hundreds more through its community festivals and the monthly ARTStation drop in workshops at its depot location.

Project ARTstART is produced solely by the Claremont Museum of Art (CMA) in partnership with the Claremont Unified School District (CUSD); and serves students from six participating schools — Mountain View, Oakmont, Sumner, Sycamore and Vista del Valle Elementary Schools and Claremont High School; and is funded by generous donations from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Claremont Lincoln University; the Claremont Educational Foundation Partnership Grant (CEF); funds from the City of Claremont Community-Based Organization (CBO); Kiwanis Club Of Claremont; Scripps College Fine Arts Foundation; and two CMA member major donors.

More information on Project ARTstART.

Project ARTstART is produced solely by the Claremont Museum of Art (CMA) in partnership with the Claremont Unified School District (CUSD); and serves students from six participating schools — Mountain View, Oakmont, Sumner, Sycamore and Vista del Valle Elementary Schools and Claremont High School; and is funded by generous donations from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Claremont Lincoln University; the Claremont Educational Foundation Partnership Grant (CEF); funds from the City of Claremont Community-Based Organization (CBO); Kiwanis Club Of Claremont; Scripps College Fine Arts Foundation; and two CMA member major donors.

Roland Reiss: Unapologetic Flowers and Small Stories

April 6 – July 8, 2018
Claremont Museum of Art
200 W. 1st St., Claremont

The Claremont Museum of Art’s exhibition Roland Reiss: Unapologetic Flowers and Small Stories will focus on the work of acclaimed Los Angeles artist Roland Reiss who devoted much of his teaching career to the Claremont community. On view will be selections from two of Reiss’s best-known bodies of work: the “miniatures,” sculptural tableaux suggesting human dramas in familiar settings (1970s-90s), and recent floral paintings that vastly expand the expressive potential of one of the most conventional subjects in the history of painting.

Roland Reiss, Fleur du Mal II, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 68 x 52 in.

Roland Reiss holds an honored role in Claremont. As Chair of the Claremont Graduate University Art Department from 1971 to 2001, he taught and mentored generations of students in an innovative program that he developed and that set a standard for graduate art education. An artist of international stature and wide acclaim, Reiss has maintained an extraordinarily successful career that has extended for more than 60 years. Long known for his warmth, generosity and professionalism, he has been characteristically helpful in the organization of this exhibition.

About the Exhibition

The exhibition, generously sponsored by Peggy Phelps, Jane Park Wells and Bill Wells, will include a selection of “miniatures” dating from the mid-1970s-90s. Among the artist’s best-known works, these boxed, sculptural tableaux are simultaneously familiar, mysterious, and provocative. Also on view will be a selection of Reiss’s floral paintings drawn from a series begun in 2007 that continues to this day. The decision to focus on flowers, a subject generally undervalued in the history of painting, reflects the artist’s ongoing determination to challenge himself, to push limits, to employ the breadth of his experience in compositions far more complicated than they first appear. Taken together, these examples of two of Reiss’s signature bodies of work convey a sense of the artistic and intellectual breadth of his remarkable career and, in so doing, honor an individual who has contributed profoundly to the development of the arts in Claremont.

Roland Reiss, The Dancing Lessons: Reconciliation, of Yes and No, 1977, mixed media, 14 x 24 x 24 in.

About the Artist

Born in Chicago in 1929, Roland Reiss has been making art continuously since 1956 and teaching for almost that long. After earning BA and MA degrees at UCLA (1952-56), he taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and, in 1971, was named Chair of the Art Department at Claremont Graduate University. At CGU he held the Benezet Chair in the Humanities; in 2010, an endowed chair in art was established in his name.

During his long tenure in Claremont, Reiss taught and mentored generations of students in the innovative, widely acclaimed program he developed, enabling them to enter the art world prepared to launch successful careers. When Reiss won the prestigious College Art Association Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009, the citation noted: “An exceptional teacher can connect with the current generation of students and lead them into the future. It is a rare educator who can do this generation after generation, deeply penetrating the pulse of the times. “Many of his student’s grace Claremont’s art community today.

In light of Reiss’s long commitment to teaching and administration, the extraordinary career he has maintained as an artist seems all the more remarkable. His work has been exhibited internationally, recognized by no fewer than four NEA Visual Arts Fellowships, among many other honors, and is to be found in major museums and private collections in this country and abroad.

Kindred Natures: Aldo Casanova and James Fuller

December 2, 2017 – March 31, 2018
Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. 1st St, Claremont

This exhibition reintroduces two highly respected and revered local artists, Aldo Casanova and James Fuller. For over 30 years, each artist influenced generations of students while teaching at Scripps College, as well as maintaining active careers as exhibiting artists throughout the country. Sharing an affinity for the beauty of nature, this exhibition will highlight the kindred links between the sculptures of Aldo Casanova and the paintings of James Fuller.

Organized by Steve Comba in collaboration with Casanova and Fuller family members, the exhibition is generously sponsored by Jill Fulton, Joe and Georgette Unis, and Fritz and Mary Weis.

Aldo Casanova

Aldo Casanova, Torso I, 1963. Cast bronze on travertine base. Claremont Museum of Art collection. Gift of the artist in honor of Felice and Teresa Casanova

Aldo Casanova, Torso I, 1963. Cast bronze on travertine base. Claremont Museum of Art collection. Gift of the artist in honor of Felice and Teresa Casanova

Aldo Casanova was born in San Francisco in 1929, the son of Italian immigrant parents. He received both BA and MA degrees from San Francisco State University, and the PhD from Ohio State University. While still completing his doctorate, Aldo was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome, becoming artist in residence at the American Academy for eight full years. The experience remained a point of pride for him.

In 1992, Aldo was elected to the National Academy of Design, and in 1994, designated a fellow of the National Sculpture Society. His work can be found in numerous collections including the Franklin Murphy Sculpture Garden, UCLA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The National Academy of Design; and Scripps College.

Inspired by nature, Aldo was acutely aware of its splendor and equally of our obligation to protect it. “I comment on the condition of the planet, political and environmentally, though my work,” he once said.  His oeuvre includes both naturalistic portrayals, of animals for example, and abstract organic forms that evoke the generative power of the earth. He also cited Picasso as a source, motivated particularly by the renowned artist’s intent to be “inquisitive, inventive, and productive to no end.”

Aldo was a model of the dedicated artist teacher—one committed equally to his students and his own work. Over the years, he taught at Antioch University, San Francisco State, Temple, SUNY Albany, the renowned Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and, from 1966-1999, Scripps College. To students he communicated his passion for sculpture, once commenting that, “The most wonderful medium in the world is the young person.”

Aldo passed away on September 10, 2014

James (Jim) Fuller

James Fuller, Untitled (from the Zion series), 1998, watercolor on paper. Collection of Steve Comba.

James Fuller, Untitled (from the Zion series), 1998, watercolor on paper. Collection of Steve Comba.

Born in Pierre, South Dakota in 1927, Jim Fuller exemplifies a generation of artists who, in the years following World War II, looked west for inspiration and education. He found California and ultimately Claremont, maturing here as an artist, educator, and enthusiastic advocate for the arts of this community.

He earned his A.A. degree at Chaffey College in 1949, and continued at U.C. Berkeley, where he earned both the B.A. and M.F.A. An accomplished printmaker, sculptor, and painter, he accepted a position at Cal State Los Angeles in 1955, teaching there until 1967.

In 1967, Jim joined the faculty at Scripps College where he would serve for nearly 30 years, retiring in 1996. His wise, always gentle, guidance would influence generations of artists, not only at Scripps and the other undergraduate Claremont colleges, but also at Claremont Graduate University. A devoted teacher, Jim also maintained an active career as an exhibiting artist, with numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the country to his credit. His works are to be found in prominent private and public collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Pasadena Art Museum (Norton Simon); Cal State Chico; U.C. Davis; Scripps College; and the City of Claremont.

Awards and honors span his career, from a Junior Art Council award from LACMA in 1957, to a six-month residency in Brittany under the auspices of the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation in 1993. In 2008, Jim was honored by the Claremont Museum of Art for his many contributions to the arts in Claremont and, specifically, to the founding of the museum.

Jim passed away on November 28, 2017.

Milford Zornes: The Claremont Years

Milford Zornes painting at Claremont Colleges circa 1958. Photo: Collection of Maria (Zornes) Baker.

November 10 – February 25, 2018
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 N. College Ave., Claremont. Exhibition is open Daily 10am-4pm
Garden admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children and free for CMA and RSABG members.

Milford Zornes: The Claremont Years presents watercolor landscapes from the years the artist lived and worked in Claremont: as a young man in 1930s; 1948-66 when he served as the director of the Padua Hills Art Institute; and his final years 1998-2008. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Curtis Real Estate.

Milford Zornes, Mt San Antonio, 2003 Watercolor. Collection of Richard Martinez.Photo by Gene Sasse.

Milford Zornes, Mt San Antonio, 2003 Watercolor. Collection of Richard Martinez.Photo by Gene Sasse.

Born in the panhandle of Oklahoma, Milford Zornes was known early on as “the kid who could draw.” After moving to California, Zornes attended Pomona College and began his career in watercolor and during the Depression painted a large number of works for the WPA. Locally his most famous work is the mural in the Claremont Post Office produced in the 1930s. He became President of the California Watercolor Society and in 1943 was drafted into the Army/Air Force as a war artist in China, Burma and India until 1945. He became an art professor at Pomona College and then worked for the Air Force in Thule, Greenland where he produced a collection of paintings.

Back in Claremont, he became the Art Director of the Padua Hills Art Institute, where he arranged shows of regional art in the lobby of the Theatre. He had become a leader of the California watercolor movement and mentor to dozens of younger artists.

In 1963 Milford and his wife Pat bought artist Maynard Dixon’s estate in Southern Utah but maintained an apartment at an adobe in Pomona. Through these years he held workshops and led painting trips all over the world. During the 1980s he developed macular degeneration but continued to paint full time even with limited vision. In 1998 the couple moved back to Claremont where he died in 2008 at the age of 100. His work is in countless collections and museums and had a painting selected by Eleanor Roosevelt for the White House.

Curtis Real Estate - Claremont's longest established real estate firm

Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Feature Milford Zornes

Milford Zornes, Mt San Antonio, 2003 Watercolor. Collection of Richard Martinez.Photo by Gene Sasse.

Milford Zornes, Mt San Antonio, 2003 Watercolor. Collection of Richard Martinez.Photo by Gene Sasse.

Claremont, CA (June 14, 2017) – The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 14th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 5 with an outdoor art show, exhibition and film, craft demonstrations, music and festive foods.  Visitors can shop for unique original artwork as they stroll through the beautiful olive groves of the Padua Hills Theatre. The exhibition will feature artist Milford Zornes along with the premiere of a new film Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection.

  • Sunday, November 5, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for Claremont Museum of Art members. Children under 18 are free. A free shuttle is available from Padua Park.
  • Twenty five area artists will display and sell their original artwork. New artwork this year will include paintings by Athena Hahn, Paul Kittlaus and Annie Marquis; jewelry by Meisha Barbee, Elizabeth Carr and Lynda Pasztor; fiber arts by Amber Calderilla and Cindy Rinne; ceramics by Kim Hau and woodworking by Jeremy Sullivan. And you will find many favorite returning Claremont artists: Paul Brayton, Sumi Foley, Rebecca Hamm, Kathryn Herrman, Patricia Hinds, Aleta Jacobson, Sherry Marger, Richard Martinez, Kathleen McCall, Jerry Owens, Gaby Tepper, Barry Vantiger, Ahlene Welsh, Jan Wheatcroft and Maureen Wheeler. In addition, area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations.
  • This year’s exhibition will feature artist Milford Zornes, a longtime Claremont watercolor painter and the director of the Padua Hills Art Institute in the late 1950s. To compliment the exhibition, generously sponsored by Curtis Real Estate, a new documentary film Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection will be shown throughout the day.
  • ARTstART students will lead families in creative Art Activities. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch and fresh lemonade.

The Padua Hills Art Fiesta originated in 1953 for local artists to bring art into the community. The studio art movement that flourished here in the 1950s centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities. Visitors came from miles around to meet the artists and watch “art in action” at the popular festival. In 2011, the Claremont Museum of Art revived this tradition with a new generation of artists sharing their talents.

Go to www.claremontmuseum.org for information about the museum and current programs.

THE EXHIBITION + FILM

The Exhibition

Milford Zornes: The Claremont Years will present watercolor landscapes from the years the artist lived and worked in Claremont: as a young man in 1930s; 1948-66 when he served as the director of the Padua Hills Art Institute; and his final years 1998-2008. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Curtis Real Estate.

Born in the panhandle of Oklahoma, Milford Zornes was known early on as “the kid who could draw.”  After moving to California, Zornes attended Pomona College and began his career in watercolor and during the Depression painted a large number of works for the WPA.  Locally his most famous work is the mural in the Claremont Post Office produced in the 1930s.  He became President of the California Watercolor Society and in 1943 was drafted into the Army/Air Force as a war artist in China, Burma and India until 1945.  He became an art professor at Pomona College and then worked for the Air Force in Thule, Greenland where he produced a collection of paintings.  Back in Claremont, he became the Art Director of the Padua Hills Art Institute, where he arranged shows of regional art in the lobby of the Theatre. He had become a leader of the California watercolor movement and mentor to dozens of younger artists.

In 1963 Milford and his wife Pat bought artist Maynard Dixon’s estate in Southern Utah but maintained an apartment at an adobe in Pomona. Through these years he held workshops and led painting trips all over the world.  During the 1980s he developed macular degeneration but continued to paint full time even with limited vision. In 1998 the couple moved back to Claremont where he died in 2008 at the age of 100. His work is in countless collections and museums and had a painting selected by Eleanor Roosevelt for the White House.

The Film

A new documentary film Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection will premiere at the Art Fiesta. The 30-minute film will be shown throughout the day.

The iconic master of watercolor landscapes, Milford Zornes N.A., was known for his international scenes. From an early age he wanted to travel and his work is known around the world. However, throughout most of his 100 years of life and a career that spanned the 20th century from the Great Depression into the next, Zornes found inspiration, comfort and support in a little village east of Los Angeles. Claremont California, where he started his professional life studying with Millard Sheets, became an important touchstone for the itinerant artist. The Claremont area was the base from which he would travel and create for decades.  Besides his artwork, this new film explores the major events of the artist’s formation, early success as a member of the school California Scene Painting and struggles through different eras with his singular dedication to painting. His story is told by friends and colleagues from the Claremont art colony who knew him best and were the reason he returned to the area again and again.

Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection is produced by John Coleman, Grace McKay and Art Kirsch, who met and filmed the artist on the occasion of his 97th birthday in 2005. Subsequently they interviewed him many times, capturing Zornes at work in his studio, lecturing at museums and elsewhere. Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection will also touch on a few of his Claremont friends and contemporaries including fellow artists.

PDF of the Art Fiesta 2017 Press Release

Dee Marcellus Cole to Transform the Claremont Depot into a Carnival of Color

Dee Marcellus Cole, a self-proclaimed faux-folk artist, creates vibrant sculptures constructed of wood and layered paper at her home in Upland in 2017.

Claremont, CA (June 13, 2017) – The Claremont Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, Dee Marcellus Cole and Carnival Seekers, will present the work of eight local folk artists driven, not by the art world, but by the instinctive need to create. The exhibition, generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC, will open on Saturday, August 5 with a reception from 6-9 p.m. during Art Walk and remain on view through November 26, 2017.

Dee Marcellus Cole, a self-proclaimed faux-folk artist living in Upland, creates vibrant sculptures constructed of wood and layered paper. These colorful creatures, whimsical in movement and spiritual in nature, are reminiscent of Latin American culture.

Inspired by her many travels to Mexico, Guatemala and throughout South America, Dee will transform the Claremont Depot into a carnival of bright colors, iconic images, and spiritual messages.  She has chosen to collaborate with some of Claremont and Pomona’s most distinctive artists for this exhibition including Johnnie Dominguez, Cathy Garcia, Sandy Garcia, Karen and John Neiuber, Christian Ornelas and Dan Romero to highlight celebration, in all shapes and forms.

Dee Marcellus Cole earned an MA in art from the Claremont Graduate School in 1984 and taught at La Verne University for twelve years. Known as the Goddess of the Pomona Art Colony she has inspired generations of artists, hosted studio tours, presented workshops and been exhibited in numerous solo shows.

The Claremont Museum of Art is located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street in Claremont just steps away from the Metrolink Station. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 and free for CMA members and children under 18. The museum is also open from 6 to 9 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month for the Art Walk.

The first Sunday of the every month is Free Family Day with free admission and ARTStation, a place for children to experience art and engage with local culture. High school students in CMA’s Project ARTstART lead visitors in an art activity related to the current exhibition. ARTStation is generously sponsored by Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Broadview Mortgage.

Go to www.claremontmuseum.org for more information about the museum, its history and current programs.

PDF of the Carnival Seekers Press Release

Dee Marcellus Cole and Carnival Seekers

Dee Marcellus Cole and Carnival Seekers
Friday, August 4 – November 26, 2017
Claremont Museum of Art at the Depot

Dee Marcellus Cole, a self-proclaimed faux-folk artist, creates vibrant sculptures constructed of wood and layered paper at her home in Upland in 2017.

Known as the “Goddess of Pomona,” Dee is an artist focused primarily on papier-mâché sculpture. She was an instructor at the University of La Verne and an Artist in Residence for San Bernardino County. She has led many workshops at venues ranging from the Maloof Foundation to the California State Woman’s Prison, and has received much acclaim for her pieces. Most recently, she was awarded Artist of the Year at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario.

Inspired by her many travels to Mexico, Guatemala and throughout South America, Dee will transform the Claremont Depot into a carnival of bright colors, iconic images, and spiritual messages.  She has chosen to collaborate with some of Claremont and Pomona’s most distinctive artists for this exhibition including Johnnie Dominguez, Cathy Garcia, Sandy Garcia, Karen and John Neiuber, Christian Ornelas and Dan Romero to highlight celebration, in all shapes and forms.

Dee Marcellus Cole earned an MA in art from the Claremont Graduate School in 1984 and taught at La Verne University for twelve years. Known as the Goddess of the Pomona Art Colony she has inspired generations of artists, hosted studio tours, presented workshops and been exhibited in numerous solo shows.

Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. 1st St, Claremont
August 4 – November 26, 2017

The exhibition, generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC.

Gould Asset Management

About the Artists

Dee Marcellus Cole

Known as the Goddess of Pomona, Dee is an artist focused primarily on papier-mâché sculpture. She was a professor at the University of La Verne, Chaffey College, and a Partner of Art in San Bernardino County Ontario. She has led many workshops ranging from the Maloof Foundation to the California State Woman’s Prison, and has received much acclaim for her pieces. Most recently, she was awarded Artist of the Year at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario.

Many travels to visit folk artists in Mexico, Central and South America have influenced my work. I observed folk artists using influences, colors and designs.

Paper is my primary material. The pieces are constructed on a wooden armature. I then apply the paper to lightweight cardboard to give the pieces form. In order to give the piece strength, it is stuffed with newspaper.

The textiles and potter I have collected from Latin American countries inspire the colors, designs, and textures used in my art.

I see the work as whimsical and containing the best of life.

Johnnie Dominguez

Johnnie Dominguez is a fine art surreal illustrator.

Using primarily a Papermate ballpoint pen as the weapon of choice, I use personal experiences throughout my life from private school and foster care all the way to stab wounds and frozen yogurt to put bullet holes in the hypocrisy of the popular narrative. With a keen eye to spot the ugliness in a loving man’s heart, I reveal the dangers of diversity without law served up on a smorgasbord of degeneracy.

His newest work is visually representative of a positive alternative to his aforementioned series of works, sprinkled with hits of order and discipline, with a dash of proud Western chauvinism.

Cathy Garcia

Cathy is a self-taught mosaic artist who has worked in this medium for over 12 years. A psychotherapist by training she graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona and received her Masters at Phillips Graduate Institute in Encino, California. She maintained both a private practice and was employed by the County of San Bernardino as a Marriage and Family Therapist until she retired in 2007. Her mosaic work has been displayed in over 40 art shows and she was featured in 5 one- woman shows.

I love color and enjoy combining textures and shapes to bring vibrancy, movement and life to my pieces. A key component is to reinvent the old and unused into a thing of beauty. A “treasure hunt” for my supplies takes me to yard sales, thrift shops and friend’s garages. The mosaic process is similar to building a jigsaw puzzle without a map. The pieces unfold themselves. My current passion is creating human busts and animal figures which seem to have personalities of their own.

Sandy Garcia

Born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in East Los Angeles, exposure to Latino Chicano art inspired Sandy to pursue colorful and simple works of art.

As she paints, her attraction to Mexico’s bright colors become her pallet. Her expressions on faces, spirits of birds and nature are a few deep connections of her interpretation of Folk Art. She shares her passion with others with Folk Art Painting workshops.

My goal is to eliminate barriers that divide people from each other by focusing on the passion, emotion, and humanity we all share. In order to do this, I prefer the free, bold expressions of strong brush strokes and the vibrant colors associated with traditional folk art, these are elements that appeal more directly to the senses. I consider my art to be spiritual because I want to reflect a notion of freedom of the soul. My form of communication is to write with a paintbrush so that others can read it.

My desires are my paintings to become beautiful things in one’s private surroundings. Enjoy as you encounter my beautiful culture with the love of Folk Art.

John Neiuber

John was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Southern California. He did his undergraduate and graduate studies at California State University San Bernardino. He has worked in the music industry, public education and is currently a chief executive officer for a nonprofit children’s agency, in addition to his volunteer work with community groups.

John creates custom, one-of-a-kind, artistic light fixtures, using recycled materials and found objects. He currently resides in the Claremont Village where he shares a studio with his wife, Karen.

When I was a child I would collect any small electric appliance, light fixture or gadget that anyone was throwing away. I would combine elements from my various finds and create something new. I was often told that the things I created did not serve a purpose. But they did; they all provided light in some way.

Years later when I wanted a light fixture that was unique or to serve a certain purpose, I would make it, because what I envisioned could not be purchased. Today, I still take found pieces and combine them into light fixtures. I may make a pair of table lamps or floor lamps, but otherwise I don’t mass produce pieces; they are always hand painted and decorated—they are all one of a kind.

I have had no formal art training. I have experimented with painting, collage and assemblages, all of which have found their way into the illumination pieces I create. I suppose the lack of formal training makes my pieces folk art, along with the use of found objects. I like to inject humor and social commentary into my pieces, typically with the decoration or the title of the piece.

My inspiration, however, is derived from functional art and design. The various light fixture and other parts in my studio are sorted by purpose, and as I work, the parts just seem to find one another. I make them to light, create mood and have function. If someone then likes the combination of light, design and color, the piece has found a home.

Karen Neiuber

Karen was born in San Francisco. She has a BA in art from Cal State Fullerton. After retiring from 40 years in public education as an elementary teacher and District Curriculum Administrator she is using her art background to delve into colors and textures by producing monoprints and ceramic assemblages. She currently resides in the Claremont Village where she shares a studio with her husband, John.

My art is about texture – mixing various textures to form a cohesive whole. Using mosaic, I explore themes ranging from religion to the power of nature by way of the icon. By placing famous symbols next to everyday objects, I transform the well-known images into something wholly unique. It’s not that I’m deeply religious or spiritual; it is by combining prints, tile, ceramics, everyday objects, textiles and metal I create an inventive, sometimes defiant new perspective. Because these altered symbols are approached in new ways, I don’t take them seriously. If there is meaning to be derived from my work, I leave that up to the viewer – since meaning is arrived at differently for every individual.

Neighbor Kid

My name is Christian “Neighbor Kid” Ornelas. I am a 20-year-old artist that resides in Pomona, California. I began to learn to make sculptures when I was 14 under renowned sculptor Dan Romero. Since then I have accomplished many things to better my craft. I graduated from The Fab School in Rancho Cucamonga in 2016, where I became a certified welder and fabricator. I consider myself to be an artist for I am working to better myself and my work. As a creator you are able to do more. You can use your power to build something tremendous.

Dan Romero

Dan Romero is a metal sculptor who primarily works in large public sculptures. These are often kinetic.

What I like about sculpture is that it escapes no form of physics. I mean, it has to stand there all on its own and be art from all sides and all angles. Everything has to actually work if it is a kinetic. It has a purpose for being there, with a job to do. It’s a real thing that should last for centuries in this way.

This work of sculpture requires the full time involvement of Dan and Dina Romero. Their work can be seen at the Google Campus in Venice Beach, Calnetics Corp. (a Mitsubishi subsidiary), Ontario City Hall, Ed Hales Park in Redlands, Ordruff Germany, the Maloof Foundation in Alta Loma, La Verne, and the Orange County Fair.

Exhibition Speaks from Claremont’s Urban Forest

March 20, 2017 (Claremont, CA) – The Claremont Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, Tree Speak: Interpretations of the Rustlings will present visual interpretations, by artists working in the area, which ascend from the concept or image of trees and leaves in nature. The exhibition organized by Rebecca Hamm will open on April 1 with a reception from 6-9:00pm during Art Walk and remain on view through July 23, 2017.

A survey of Claremont’s long history as the City of Trees will be presented by Claremont Heritage.  The city’s tree-planting tradition began in 1907 and many of the Heritage Groves and Landscapes remain today. With trees threatened by drought and disease, the City is seeking ways to preserve our Urban Forest for future generations.

The exhibition will feature artists living in Claremont’s urban forest who have found their voice in nature: Steve Comba, Jeff Faust, Athena H Hahn, Amy Maloof, Barbara Schenck, Steve Schenck, Christopher Toovey, Georgette Unis, Dan Van Clapp and Jane Park Wells plus poetry by Beth Benjamin. Major support is provided by West Coast Arborists with generous additional support from Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP) and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

The Claremont Museum of Art is located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street, just steps away from the Metrolink Station. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4:00pm. Admission is $5 and free for Claremont Museum of Art members and children under 18. The museum is also open from 6 to 8pm on the first Saturday of every month for the Art Walk.

The first Sunday of the every month is Free Family Day with free admission and ARTStation, a place for children to experience art and engage with local culture. High school students in CMA’s Project ARTstART will lead visitors in an art activity related to the current exhibition and the work of local Claremont artists.

More About the Museum

The Claremont Museum of Art was created to celebrate our community’s rich artistic legacy and to promote the cultural vitality of the region. With high hopes, the museum was incorporated in 2004 and was located in the Packing House for two years.

Since 2010, the museum successfully operated as a “museum without walls.” With over 300 members, the volunteer organization continued to hold numerous events and programs and presented ten exhibitions in borrowed spaces. The Padua Hills Art Fiesta has become a popular annual event held every November. Funds raised have supported Project ARTstART, a successful art education program now in its sixth year serving Claremont schools.

Go to www.claremontmuseum.org for more information about the museum, its history and current programs.

Tree Speak Exhibit Press Release [PDF]