Saturday, December 30, 2017


There is no doubt I have been on the road lately and sometimes art can be found in unexpected places. While not a car buff, the beauty and art of cars shown at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles created a real appreciation for the artistic talents of car designers and those who simply love cars.

One cannot deny how cool and happy this car looks.The bright yellows, blues, and oranges just attract attention.

 "El Muertorider" 2006. Dog and human skeletons, dollar signs, oil reference and more make statements on this vehicle. Love the "We are the defenders of the cheeseburger" statement.

While there were cars galore (racing cars, vintage cars, future designs and cars from movies) I was attracted to the artwork that was on display:

"One Last Ride"  Levi Ponce. I viewed this work as a bit eerie with the shade of the blue sky, shadows, black car out front and light from the mortuary window, then the hand with flowers on the left brought on feelings of sadness and sympathy.

 "Toxic Cruiser"  El Moises  Chili peppers and flames cover the vehicle driving by the Taco Shop.

   "Chicana's Sunday Cruise"  El Moises. This work was part of an exhibit on the Politics of Gender. Though women seem to be so often on display shown next to cars and in advertising, low riders are owned by many heterosexual women and members of the LGBTQ community.

 "Varrio Boogie Woogie"  Ruben Ortiz-Torrez. This is like a neighborhood block or a building surrounding by various colors. Wondering if the colors refer to groups of people.

 "Low God"  Lalo Alcaraz. Loved this small work. Where is this little guy driving to?

"The Obsidian Ranfla Series"  #1,9,8 and 6 clockwise.  Carlos Fresquez.  A ranfla is a smooth ride which refers to lowriders but can refer to most any car that is cool. The colors and depictions in these works made me think about how cars are used in society and depicted in films.

A surprising find for me were the many artists in the Bugatti family, known for sports cars. Carlo and Rembrandt Bugatti were well-known artists in their time. Family members art included painting, sculpting, woodworking, jewelry making, masonry etc. in addition to car design.

 Carlo Bugatti's work in woodcraft. The attention to detail stands out. His work drew attention at the Exposition of Turin in 1902. Click on the link of his name to view some of his work for sale.

 Rembrandt Bugatti's sculpture work.

 Drawings of animals by Lydia Bugatti. Lydia was the daughter of Ettore, a car designer. She also sculpted and painted. In the link the article spells her name as Lidia, though most other sites and the museum used Lydia.

Paintings by Carlo Bugatti

Saturday, December 23, 2017


"A-Frame"   10" X 10"  Lori LaBerge  2017

I opened the paint tubes again this week. To keep with my architectural work I started by painting a triangle and built from there, which led to the feeling of an A-Frame home. The architecture of the hooked background shows through creating structure. There is quite a bit of mystery as one looks inside the blue areas with what appears to be a figure near the center. I enjoy doing these in the moment and finding the mystery later.

We made a trip over to Durham to tour the Nasher Museum of Art. The museum is on the Duke University Campus and always shows work beautifully. Various rooms had paper available for those who would like to create sketches from the works on display. There were classes in progress throughout the museum. Just great to see so many people participating in what the museum offers.

Pete knew exactly what room I was headed for when we arrived. Enjoy the following works from the exhibit "Disorderly Conduct: American Painting and Sculpture 1960-1990".

 "Myrtle Beach"  Dan Christensen

 "Winter Light"  Maud Gatewood

 "Hurricane"  Silvia Heyden

 Close-up of "Hurricane"   Silvia Heyden

 "East End"  Valerie Jaudon

 "After the Dance"  Robert Kushner

"Times Light"  Kenneth Noland

 "Modesty Under Construction"  Thomas Leo Blackwell

 "Green Volkswagen"  Don Eddy

"Bashir (Robert Gowans)"  Barkley Hendricks

Saturday, December 16, 2017


As yet untitled work in progress,  48" X 48"  Lori LaBerge  2017

I have been working on the latest piece in between travels to art museums. Ideas for the background were worked out with the decision to repeat the center square designs, leading to a shadow effect. These areas will be filled with dark grays so they do not stand out.

Closer look at background plan

In a continuation of last week's information on a visit to The Huntington Art Gallery, I reveled in the exhibit of Frederick Hammersley's work. Unfortunately, photos of the work were not allowed.

Hammersley is known for his hard-edge geometric paintings. He was a meticulous recorder of his work which led to the exhibit including sketches and notes he had made. He had painted portraits and began to look at blocks of color, leading to a whole new way of painting his future works.

Notes of his color formulas have been studied by the Getty Conservation Institute where many of Hammersley's information is stored. From studies with colored pencils, to large oil on canvas works, the exhibit was a peek into the artistic process.

"Frederick Hammersley: To Paint without Thinking" by The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA

The book is beautifully laid out including photos of work, notes and sketches

"Frederick Hammersley: Organics and Cut-ups 1963-1965" by L A Louver, Venice, CA
Note:  I purchased this at the Huntington Shop, but have not been able to find it available online.

Hammersley reordered previous works on canvas by cutting them up into squares and placing the squares to form a new composition. He titled his first work of this kind "Cut-Up" and the phrase stuck so that future works of this type were called by this term.

The Frederick Hammersley Foundation has a website dedicated to his work. There are also videos and research information. A good look into how an artist works. A discussion (about an hour long) of the cut-ups exhibit on video is available to watch on L.A. Louver website

Saturday, December 9, 2017


"Jerusalem Stabile" Alexander Calder 

Calder's work is the perfect entrance to the grounds of The Huntington. The piece itself consists of archways and entrances to walk through. The bright red adds an energetic feel. Yes, Huntington, you've got me. I'm ready to go view some art.

"Global Loft (Spread)"  Robert Rauschenberg

Interestingly, it was during a visit to The Huntington that Rauschenberg decided he could make a living as an artist. The work consists of fabric, paper, metal objects, acrylic paint and solvent transfer on canvas. It takes some time to digest with multiple photo transfers referencing various people and objects. I'm still trying to make associations between photos of skiers, reptiles, the earth, cows and windmills. 

"Zenobia in Chains"  Harriet Goodhue Hosmer

Hosmer's sculpture is quite stunning and a bit intimidating in stature. Zenobia, a queen of what is now Syria, is depicted in chains during her capture by the Romans. Some male art critics at the time (1862 when Hosmer's work was shown in London) did not believe she had the ability to complete such a piece. A group of American sculptors stepped up and told the press that she had done all the work on the piece on her own. Hey guys, women can sculpt, too.

"Leaves Fluttering in the Breeze"  Alma Thomas

In 1972, Alma Thomas had a solo show at the Whitney Museum. She was the first African-American women to do so. This work brings me back to the many walks I've taken through Autumn woods. The leaves are painted in varying directions lending the feel of movement.

"24,000 BCE-1992 CE"  Soyoung Shin

It is always interesting to find out how artists get their ideas. Soyoung Shin referenced the history of tapestries and a photo from 1946 which showed eight men alongside of one of the earliest computers, ENIAC. Shin placed women as the focus referencing: Two computer programmers (Betty Holberton and Jean Bartik), a textile artist (Anni Albers), a mathematician (Ada Lovelace) and a computer scientist (Grace Hopper). 

I spent quite a while looking at the work. There are fabric layers, stitches and threads hanging. The photo below shows a close-up of these features.

"24,000 CBE-1992 CE"  close-up,  Soyoung Shin

"Yankee Driver"  Thomas Hart Benton

Benton's work is easily recognized. His painting technique is highly sculptural, curvy and bold. He typically portrayed the everyday American and areas he knew. He also taught Jackson Pollock. Out of curiosity of their differing styles, I ordered "Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock" for my ipad.

"Peyote Candle"  Lee Mullican

This work is highly textured with a beautiful glow. Mullican created what seemed to be thousands of short lines of paint with the edge of a palette knife. One can also see layers of various yellows.

"Flower Basket", "Pictorial Hearth", and "Austine W. Phillips Rug"

One of the last rooms we viewed had a small collection of rugs. The top left rug was bias shirred, the bottom left was yarn-sewn and the larger work was yarn-sewn and chenille-shirred. All are on linen backings. The bottom left rug dates at 1824 and is one of the oldest sewn rugs of its type.