“Out Of Line”
Through October 7, 2006
Reception: Saturday, September 23, 5:00 p.m.

Parks Exhibition Center
Idyllwild Arts Campus
52500 Temecula Rd, Idyllwild, CA 92549
Contact: Heather Companiott
(951) 659 2171 x. 2365
Web site,

Michael Salerno “Correlate” 1992, ink on paper, 9” x 12”.

Exhibiting artists: Dawn Arrowsmith, Daniel Brice, Alexander Couwenberg, Wess Dahlberg, Tony DeLap, Barbara Kerwin, Robert Kingston, Andy Moses, Jane Park-Wells, Roland Reiss, Michael Salerno, Danny Shain, Samantha Thomas, Mark Zimmerman

“Out Of Line” was conceived of and curated by Andi Campognone, Exhibition Curator, Riverside Art Museum. This exhibition focuses on fourteen primarily mid-career Southern California abstract painters addressing fundamental, often minimalist questions about abstraction and utility of the “line.” Out Of Line is a traveling exhibition, accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Traveling Out Of Line

Line plays a central role in abstract art – indeed, in all art, but especially in abstraction. In painting where the subject is form itself, artists allow their minds and hands to wander and to contemplate trails and pathways, and in doing so, as Paul Klee put it, they take us “for a walk with a line.” Inheriting and maintaining – and often combining – the crisp contours of geometric abstraction and the vigorous, dramatic streaks and dashes of gestural abstraction, today’s painters exploit and conflate many different types of line. Line can be image, line can be texture, line can be boundary, line can be notation – line proves to be the very basis for today’s abstract thinking, for the abstract painter’s whole vocabulary of form. Cartoon or calligraphy, lightning bolt or border, the line is the powerful and versatile servant of any artist willing and able to master it with a little imagination and, as usual, a lot of perspiration.

The recent surge in abstract painting among southern California artists comes at a time when abstract artists are thinking with line at least as much as, say, color. Furthermore, line has always played an especially prominent role in southern California art, abstract and otherwise – indeed, painting and otherwise. The finish/fetish sculptors and their light-and-space compeers always thought in terms of the finely etched line or the precisely determined – if imprecisely perceived – border (between things and no-thing.) For them, Klee’s walk with a line was a meander into the desert or the sea. For the abstract painters who succeed them in the Los Angeles region, that meander leads back into town (streets, signs, buildings, maps) but also into the sky (vapor trails, power lines.)

Klee’s friend Vasily Kandinsky called his treatise on abstraction Point and Line to Plane. Against the plane of the picture, today’s painters find that not only the shortest distance, but all possible distances, between points are lines, each of them inventing a (different) kind of writing, a writing not lingual so much as manual and visual.

In other words, when an artist hands you a line, don’t read it – see it.

--Peter Frank, Senior Curator, Riverside Art Museum

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