Many of Raimonds Staprans’s paintings showcase the landscape and architecture of California as rooted equally in reality and in the artist’s imagination. Taut contours and bold hues define fields, marinas, lone trees, and architecture—all devoid of people—while scorching sunlight descends from skies of the deepest blue. His still lifes of fruit, artist’s materials, and chairs share a quality of light and rich color—sometimes a full prismatic spectrum—that imbue them with a pervasive loneliness. The assertive brushwork and traces of revision present in all his work remind the viewer that his chief reality is paint on canvas, his subjects formal elements in his process.
The Propeller Group anchors its ambitious projects in Vietnam’s history and its paradoxical present. Based in Vietnam and Los Angeles, the art collective extends its reach to address global phenomena, from street culture to international commerce to traditions shared across cultures. In multifaceted projects, The Propeller Group blurs the lines between modes of cultural production and embraces the formats of branding campaigns, television commercials, Hollywood movies, and music videos to explore the complex ideologies that drive global commerce, war, and cultural and historical memory. One highlight of the exhibition is The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music (2014), a visually lush film that follows funerary traditions of the Mekong Delta. It combines documentary footage, staged reenactments, and fantastical scenes to explore slippages between real and imagined rituals shared across cultures. The film is accompanied by sculptures inspired by traditional Vietnamese funerary objects: a carved jackfruit wood snake with gold fangs and an adorned water buffalo skull.
The interactive learning labs in the Koret Family Gallery are a place to make observations, ask questions, and participate in creative experimentation. This installation reflects the math-focused curriculum of SJMA’s award-winning education program Sowing Creativity and includes artworks by Ron Davis, David Pace, Clare Rojas, Lordy Rodriguez, and Shirley Shor.
Crossroads: American Scene Prints from Thomas Hart Benton to Grant Wood focuses on early twentieth-century American culture and society through lithographs, etchings, and wood engravings. The fifty-seven prints in this exhibition, produced between 1905 and 1955, encompass a broad range of art styles collectively known as “American Scene.”