• Tuesday Art ATTACK- John McLaughlin "Total Abstraction at LACMA"

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    by Alex Seastrom

    

    By Christian Franzen

    John McLaughlin was a highly influential abstract artist in postwar American art scene. His paintings stream from the Japanese concept of the void and things unknown. Working primarily in Southern California, McLaughlin’s hard edge forms and subject matter laid the footwork for the future Los Angeles based Light and Space movement. This spring, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosted a solo exhibition of McLaughlin’s work titled, Total Abstraction. Containing fifty-two his paintings, the exhibition strives to indicate McLaughlin’s leading role in the painting worlds search to achieve total abstraction.

    At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Total Abstraction commanded nearly the entire top floor of the Broad Building. The larger area allowed all the works lots of breathing room from one another. In my opinion, this was one of the shows main strengths because it enabled viewers a greater personal experience with each individual piece. I also enjoyed the placement of chairs throughout the exhibition so that someone might sit down to spend an even longer time engaging with the paintings. As a whole, all of the paintings in the show had a feeling of unity. The works were further divided into groups by division of the rooms in the building; being grouped by similarities in structure and color.

    McLaughlin’s paintings are all very geometrically structured. They are made up of hard edge rectangles and squares that seem to have no correlation with anything but themselves. Both shapes are often mimicked throughout the paintings, but vary in scale. The simple structure in these paintings creates an interesting viewing effect. It establishes a reassuring sense of stability for the viewer. Allowing a slower, focused, and more earnest examination of each painting. In some of the works, the structure McLaughlin assembles through scale shifts seems to create depth of space. The illusion of space through scale shifts juxtaposed with McLaughlin’s flatness of form initiates an interesting conversation between the viewers optic sense and the flat plain of the canvas; which for me, is the most engaging aspect of McLaughlin’s work.

    During my investigation of the show, I became increasingly enthralled with McLaughlin’s use of muted colors. These colors do not blatantly scream Los Angeles. They are not reminiscent of the city’s bustle. I found familiarity in these colors with my experiences of daily life in a small California beach town. McLaughlin’s choice to isolate himself from Los Angeles and work solely in Dana Point California can be heavily felt in his work. Everything in these works feels intentional. The subdued colors paired with the minimal structure creates a self contained existence behind the work. The painting relies on nothing but itself to function, which is a key concept in achieving total abstraction.  

    My only criticism to the Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art in regards to the Total Abstraction exhibition is that they did not let me get close enough to the paintings. Besides that minute complaint, I thought that it was a beautiful executed exhibition of McLaughlin’s work. Looking at the show in it entirety really declares McLaughlin’s work as a leader in total abstraction amidst the painting world in the mid 20th century.
  • Christian Franzen. Orange County, CA.

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    by Alex Seastrom

    Photos Thomas Green
  • Wednesday Art ATTACK- John Englehart "Fishing"

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    by Christian Franzen



    By Christian Franzen

    John Englehart was an important 19th century West Coast landscape painter. Born and raised in Chicago, he possessed a romanticized love of the American West since childhood. In the 1880s, Englehart moved to Northern California to paint the grand landscapes of the West. He maintained a studio in San Francisco but constantly took trips to Yosemite and other scenic Northern California locations.

    Englehart found success in landscape painting, but was never looked at as a great landscape artist by the canon of the time. Many landscape painters did not like Englehart’s approach to landscape painting because it was a realistic rather than an idealized depiction of what the artist saw in the landscape. This idea was contradictory to the times leading landscape style of the Hudson River School. Englehart’s dedication to realism made him an outsider in the circles of 19th century landscape painters, but was later looked upon for inspiration in later landscape movements. Englehart continued to work in California in his San Francisco studio until his death in 1915.

  • Tuesday Art ATTACK- Cornelius David Krieghoff "The New Year's Day-Parade"

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    by Christian Franzen



    By Christian Franzen

    Cornelius David Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam on June 19th, 1815. As a child, Krieghoff's father began to instruct him in drawing patterns and shapes so that he could participate in the family's wallpaper business. In his adolescent years he moved with his family to Germany. It is there where he began his formal artistic training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Germany.

    In 1836, Krieghoff decided to move to America and settled in New York. He had a hard time making money as an artist so he enlisted in the United States Army. Consequently, Krieghoff spent the next three years fighting in the Indian Wars for the Westward expansion of the United States. While in the Army he found time to draw and paint; creating pieces that depicted the hard life of people living in the Western frontier.

    After he was discharged, Krieghoff moved to Montreal, Canada. He became a painter of everyday rural Canadian life and was exhibited at the Salon de la Sociéte des Artists de Montréal. Ironically, he friended several groups of Native American peoples and they became popular subjects for him to paint. Throughout this period of time in the mid 19th century, Krieghoff was frequently traveling back and forth to Europe. When in Europe he would study master works at the various museums and engage in what art scene he could as an outside.

    Krieghoff returned to the American continent for good in 1855, settling in Quebec. His paintings became very popular among the upper class as well as the blue collar people of Canada, so he began to sell a lot of work. Towards the end of his life , in 1868, Krieghoff moved to Chicago and retired from painting until his death in 1872.
  • Christian Franzen. Huntington Beach, Ca. Film Photos By Thomas Green

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    by Alex Seastrom

    Photos Thomas Green

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