In 2019, Langson IMCA Museum Director Kim Kanatani invited artist Peter Alexander to curate an exhibition of California Impressionism from the museum’s collections. Prior to his untimely death in 2020, Alexander had begun identifying works in the permanent collection with which he felt a kinship and exemplified the California Impressionists’ profound connection to the light, space, and natural phenomena of the state and their influences on his own artistic practice.
Co-curators include: Kevin Appel, professor and chair of Art at UC Irvine and Langson IMCA interim associate director; Julianne Gavino, former assistant curator, Langson IMCA; Kim Kanatani, Langson IMCA museum director; Curt Klebaum, consulting curator; Claudia Parducci, artist and trustee of the Peter Alexander Art Estate; and Bruce Richards, artist.
To honor Alexander’s commitment to the project, the co-curators expanded the exhibition into a dialogue between the early modernist painters and Alexander’s own work, forming a fluid exchange among generations equally influenced by the atmospheric light of the Golden State.
With pieces spanning from 1896 to 2020, Echoes of Perception includes 14 Impressionist works from Langson IMCA’s collection along with 11 of Alexander’s resin sculptures, canvases, works on paper, and a painting on velvet. The latter offer an alternative way to engage with California Impressionism through the eyes of this pioneering artist.
The exhibition is organized to enable visitors to experience light and its absence over the course of a day, from dawn, to dusk, to the depths of night. From mountain peaks to the ocean floor, Alexander and these California Impressionist painters echo one another in their pursuit of capturing the ineffable sensibility of place and space.
Visitors will encounter works in dialogue and color relationships dynamically in sync. For example, Sunset in Monument Valley (c. 1928), a luminous landscape by James Swinnerton, is in discourse with Alexander’s 1/24/20 Pink Orange Block. The angular verticality of the monumental cliffs is repeated in essence in the shape chosen by Alexander. The way in which Alexander’s urethane block fades in color as it reaches its apex is analogous in affect with the rising transition from dark to light caused by a sunset reflected in Swinnerton’s painting.
Accompanying the exhibition is an 8-minute film developed by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Adam Leier that serves as an homage to Alexander and his kinship with California Impressionism and connection to the art and environment of the region. The video seeks to capture Alexander in his element—responding to his surroundings through his restless and relentless exploration of materiality in search of methods to harness the visceral enchantment he felt in the state he called home.
Echoes of Perception: Peter Alexander and California Impressionism
September 24, 2022 – January 14, 2023
UCI Langson Institute and Museum of California Art’s interim museum space on the main level of the Airport Tower building at 18881 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100, Irvine, CA
Open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 4 pm
About UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art
UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art (Langson IMCA) is home to two foundational collections of California Art—The Irvine Museum Collection of more than 1,300 works includes California Impressionist and plein air paintings, and The Buck Collection, which includes 3,200-plus works with a concentration in California modern, Post-War, and contemporary art. In addition, the permanent collection continues to grow, augmented by acquisitions and gifts. The university is planning to construct a permanent museum and research institute to serve as a global magnet for the exhibition and study of California Art within its social, historical, environmental, and cultural frameworks. Langson IMCA is located in an interim museum space at 18881 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100, and admission is free. For more information, visit imca.uci.edu.
About the University of California, Irvine
Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It is located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu