Langson Institute and Museum of California Art announce new acquisitions

UC Irvine Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art (Langson IMCA) announced six new acquisitions that entered the museum’s growing collection in 2021. The gifts of artworks represent a range of genres and mediums by artists responding to the California experience, dating from the early 20th century to 2019. Langson IMCA’s holdings of over 4,500 works span 19th century California Impressionism and plein air painting to Post-War and contemporary art.

Langson IMCA Museum Director Kim Kanatani said, “These highly individual artworks greatly enhance and deepen our growing collection, enriching opportunities for dialogue, research, and presentation. John Paul Jones’s ethereal lithograph, Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s coastal scene, Helen Pashgian’s luminous canvas, Edgar Payne’s dynamic landscape, and Jan Stussy’s meticulous drawing broaden our holdings of their work and enable further appreciation for their distinctive practices. We are delighted that Jay Lynn Gomez, an artist new to our collection, is represented with a vibrant mixed-media work. We are profoundly grateful to our generous donors, who are helping us continue to expand and diversify our collection.”

The 2019 work by Ramiro Gomez (now Jay Lynn Gomez) (b. 1986) contains themes of landscape, labor, race, and representation. Her paintings highlight often unseen workers, in particular Latinx nannies, gardeners, construction workers, and valets. She inserts cardboard cutout figures into visual representations of landscapes where they are otherwise often omitted. Gomez places the cutout figures free standing around exhibitions of her work and collages them onto her paintings as she has in Sometimes I Daydream of Flying Away (2019). The work reveals the artist’s and subjects’ identities as well as features specific to Southern California.
Gift of Robert Hayden III and Richard Silver

Artist and educator John Paul Jones (1924–1999) was considered a leading American printmaker during the 1960s. His work has been associated with postwar New Figuration, a revival period of figurative painting in the 1960s by such artists as David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and Philip Guston. He taught at UCLA from 1953–1963, where he established the printmaking department, and UC Irvine from 1969–1990. Untitled (probably 1962-63) was produced at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, an important print shop in Los Angeles at the time. Inspired by European artists like Giacometti, Bacon, and Goya, shadowy figures emerging from dark backgrounds are a recurring motif in Jones’s work.
Gift of Theodore Barnett

Stanton Macdonald-Wright (1890–1973) launched the Synchromism movement in 1913 in Paris together with American artist Morgan Russell (1886–1953). Considered one of the first American modernist movements, Synchromism advanced the theory that light, space, and form could be evoked through the modulation of color alone. Macdonald-Wright was introduced to Chinese art while studying at the Sorbonne, in Paris, in 1907–1908. East Asian art would be an ongoing source of inspiration for the artist and educator throughout his life. Coastal Landscape (1950) demonstrates his engagement with Chinese and Japanese painting styles, here applied to California coastal scenes.
Gift of Maxine Stussy Frankel

In the 1960s, Helen Pashgian (b.1934) was an early pioneer of and central figure in the Light and Space movement in Southern California where she currently lives and works. She employs industrial materials to produce sculptural works that manipulate light, making light itself as a medium. S+T (1984) is one of a series of transitional works from the 1970s and 1980s during which she experimented with new materials and developed resin recipes. Langson IMCA’s collection includes five other works by Pashgian spanning the 1960s–2010s.
Gift of Huddie Ryland Behrens and Amy Behrens

Primarily self-taught, Edgar Payne (1883–1947) is widely recognized as one of the most prominent California Impressionist painters of the early to mid-20th century. An avid plein air artist, he produced dramatic coastal views and mountainous scenes of which the Sierra Nevada Mountains was a favorite. Snow in the High Sierras (early 20th century) showcases Payne’s modulation of color to produce atmospheric depth. Langson IMCA’s collection includes eight other paintings by Payne.
Donated in memory of Christian A. Gerola

Artist, film producer, and arts educator Jan Stussy (1921–1990) took an eclectic figurative approach that went against the grain of Post-War abstract expressionism, the dominant style of the period. His idiosyncratic paintings and drawings of contorted figures bring together cubist, surrealist, and expressionist characteristics. Landscape (1959), a graphite work on paper, illustrates the importance of Chinese and Japanese art for Stussy, an interest passed down to him from his mentor, Stanton Macdonald-Wright. It demonstrates Stussy’s commitment to draftsmanship, something he espoused as an educator as a core element of an arts curriculum.
Gift of Maxine Stussy Frankel

Website: https://imca.uci.edu/

Edgar Payne, Snow in the High Sierras, Early 20th century. Oil on canvas. 31 x 39 in.
UC Irvine Institute and Museum of California Art, Donated in Memory of Christian A. Gerola

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