September 13 - December 14, 2008
Artist’s Reception:  Saturday, September 13, 5-7 pm

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art
Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263
General information: (310) 506-4851
Museum Contact: Michael Zakian, Director
(310) 506-7257
Group Tours Contact: Carol Kmiec, ARTSReach Coordinator and Museum Assistant
(310) 506-4766
Web site,
Museum Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 A.M. - 5 P.M.; Closed Mondays and major holidays
No admission fee

Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, Celestial Mountain, 2006, mixed media on canvas, 36 x 36 inches.

(Malibu, CA) -- The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University is proud to announce a retrospective of paintings and drawings by California artist Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, titled "Visions from Big Sur," from September 13 through December 14, 2008. This is her first major museum exhibition and it covers 25 years of her work.

There will be a reception to meet the artist on Saturday, September 13, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Kleefeld works as an "outsider" artist, producing art in relative seclusion in Big Sur. She discovered her creative potential in the 1970s, inspired by the Women's Movement that encouraged women to discover their true selves.

She was also influenced by two important cultural phenomena of the time--the rise of Humanistic psychology and a growing interest in Eastern religions. Embracing concepts of Zen, flow, and the holistic individual, she created art as an act of personal and cultural liberation. The principles of the Human Potential Movement provided a model for using individual discovery and growth as the basis for a healthy, balanced society.

Raised in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, Kleefeld rejected society's expectations and moved to rural Big Sur in 1980. She discovered the region after visiting Esalen, the famed institute devoted to spiritual growth. Her small home on an isolated ridge offered panoramic views of the Pacific but was also exposed to howling winds and fierce winter storms. Her daily experience of nature as a raw, primal force inspired her poetry and art.

She began painting in the early 1980s. Her techniques are informed by American Action painting, Surrealist Fantasy, and Zen ink drawing. She employs accident and improvisation. Her imagery derives from myths and archetypes, universal symbols of cultural meaning. Her subjects center on eternal human themes--love, fear, hope, redemption. An early series, "Cosmic Abstractions," uses flowing fields of poured pigment to explore the fluid dynamics of water and our relation to the cosmos. "Trees" and "Imaginary Landscapes" emphasize the vital spirit in nature. "Portraits" are fanciful depictions that record the poetic presence of memorable personalities.

"The art of Carolyn Mary Kleefeld defines an era and a distinctly Californian approach to life," said Michael Zakian, the exhibition curator and director of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art. "Her colorful, exuberant paintings combine spiritual insights of the East with psychological knowledge of the West--all to further expand our self-awareness. At a time when the materialist direction of Western society seems to be in crisis, Kleefeld's art provides a positive example of ways to find personal harmony and to live in balance with the world."

This exhibition features over 75 paintings and drawings made between 1983 and 2008, covering 25 years. It was organized by the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art and is accompanied by an exhibition catalog with an extensive essay on the art by Zakian.

The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art was dedicated in 1992 and offers an exhibition program focusing on recent and historic art of the United States with a special emphasis on California art since 1960. Previous exhibitions have featured the work of such artists as Dale Chihuly, Jim Dine, Sam Francis, Claes Oldenburg, Agnes Pelton, and Wayne Thiebaud. It is named for its benefactor, the late Frederick R. Weisman, who was regarded as one of the country's leading collectors of 20th-century art.

Works are on view at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in the Gregg G. Juarez Gallery, West Gallery, and Ron Wilson-Designer Gallery. Exhibitions and dates are subject to change.

The museum, located on Pepperdine's main campus at 24255 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, CA, is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed on Mondays and major holidays. There is no admission charge.

For more information, call 310.506.4851, or visit


Family Art Day:
Saturday, October 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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