Frank Lobdell: Wonderland

Saturday, March 10, 2012Sunday, August 5, 2012

Frank Lobdell
2.22.93–4.8.93 Bleeker, 1993
Oil on canvas; 84 × 120 inches
Gift of Morgan and Betty Flagg—The Morgan Flagg Administrative Trust
Photo: San Jose Museum of Art

Frank Lobdell
2-25-83, N.D.
Edition 29/33
22 1/2 × 30 inches
San Jose Museum of Art
Gift of David Devine

Frank Lobdell
Ascent (Red), 1962
Oil on canvas
73 × 49 inches
San Jose Museum of Art
Museum purchase with funds contributed by Tom and Polly Bredt

Frank Lobdell conjures dreamlike landscapes of mystery and longing. His images—vibrantly colored and fantastical—are simultaneously mechanical, yet anthropomorphic. Though best known for his intense, brooding paintings and personal symbology, Lobdell has in recent years given color primary importance in his work. 

Frank Lobdell: Wonderland will examine the evolution of the artist’s work and the ways in which he organizes his forms and figures in space. Ascension (the upward, often diagonal, movement of visual elements) is a common characteristic of Lobdell’s paintings. The rising forms generate a sense of uplifting movement from one part of the canvas to the next. Ascension is associated with other abstract expressionist artists, particularly Clyfford Still, whose work influenced Lobdell’s early paintings. Lobdell, however, made the concept  completely his own. His complex system of signs and symbols gives his work a uniquely personal quality of expression that defies easy definition. His paintings suggest a transcendent spirituality that reveals the reflective manner in which the artist worked.

Lobdell’s monumental painting 2.22.93-4.8.93 Bleeker, 1993, is the keystone of this exhibition. It is accompanied by a selection of his prints, drawings, and paintings from the 1960s to the 1990s that were recently given to the Museum from Morgan and Betty Flagg and the Morgan Flagg Administrative Trust.

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