"Crossroads: Recent Graduates From UCLA, Claremont and Yale"
September 6-October 11, 2008
Reception: Saturday, September 6, 5-7 PM

2525 Michigan Avenue #G2, Santa Monica, CA 90404
310-829-3300, fax 310-449-0070
Web site:
Gallery hours, Tuesday – Saturday 10:00am – 6:00pm

Clockwise From Top Left:
Michael van Straaten, Benjamin Britton, Beth Livensperger, Trang Le, Claire Baker.

Claire Baker, UCLA: This series is based on my experiences in Erongaricuaro, a small village in Michoacan, Mexico. In this plein air stage I directly represent natural light, while maintaining the ultimate intention to represent this light through more abstract and physical paint application. This follows the tradition in painting of abstraction as a mode of extraction, as I look to artists throughout history who simultaneously observed the structure of the landscape and abstractly interpreted it to communicate emotional, sensual, and enigmatic visual experiences.

Trang Le, Claremont: Forms and colors on my paintings reflect the constant search for the essence of mood, the spirit in nature and physical surroundings. Often embracing life in the moment, I rely on these moments for colorful memories that I then re-create on canvas. These moments are often as simple as listening to the sounds of raindrops, looking out the window at the early morning dew, or watching the horizon where the water meets the sky.

Beth Livensperger, Yale: I make paintings of familiar places which quietly become surprising. I am drawn to sites which are not quite new, which have been altered in unplanned ways over time. My aim is to create an alternate view of these environments. Tension between an observed space and an imagined one is furthered by a fluctuation between depth and flatness. The paintings suggest that prosaic settings can be reclaimed for non-productive meanderings or contemplation.

Benjamin Britton, UCLA
: I see each of the oil paintings as depicting the climax of an event. I’m interested in how the oil paintings reveal and veil what can be seen. I want to see specific information about an ambiguous situation. The allegory of the approach alludes to the brinksmanship I believe we play with chaos in our individual and collective experience. In these paintings I see a romantic impulse that bends inevitably towards self-destruction. The relationship to the sublime, a dramatic flare, the baroque desire to adorn, and a revelatory feeling are some of the indications of the romantic.

Michael van Straaten, UCLA: The visual aspect of my work is clearly influenced by the natural world that I am in constant awe of. My process includes a close observation into the laws, systems and structures present in nature. I use my discoveries to create new systems and structures that echo the harmony of the natural world. I have been prompted to inquire into the nature of this underlying harmony and this on-going enquiry plays a major role in my work.

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