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GEORGE HERMS (b.1935), WILLIAM DOLE (1917-1983), BASIL LANGTON (1912 - 2003)

November 18 - December 31, 2004
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 18. 6 to 8 pm

7321 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 933-5523, fax (323) 933-7618
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Hours, Tuesday - Saturday, 11am-5pm

Philosophically, George Herms, William Dole and Basil Langton share the art medium of Collage. That technique is the only thing they have in common.  Each artist applies his personal technique under this big ‘umbrella’ term that simply means: to create a  composition by pasting varied elements, usually paper, fabric or cardboard pieces, onto a support sheet.   Then the each artist’s individuality steps in with bits of typography, pieces of manuscript, photographic images, old book endpapers, Japanese tissues, disparate paper fragments, etc., etc., etc.

George Herms creates poetry, paints, makes assemblages and teaches; in addition, he draws, makes films, books and collages and is a jazz aficionado.   In the collages presented here, we can see that he likes typographical elements as motivating points in his compositions.  One of the youngest members of the legendary Beat generation, Herms often brings social content, commentary and moral concerns into series of works.  He combines appropriated imagery with monoprinting and rubberstamp printing to create insightful statements, as in New Crackdown  2002.  These intimate collages have great power to reveal poetic insights and an ‘inner’ eye, though not as dramatic as his large assemblages.

 Professor of Art at the University of California in Santa Barbara for many years, William Dole expressed quiet and confident aesthetic power through watercolor during his early career.  However, since the end of the 1950s, the technique of collage replaced watercolor as his primary art technique and watercolor began to serve collage.  He enjoys applying antique lettering from early manuscripts, watered endpapers from old books, strips and folds of fine tissues to his sheets, with judiciously added watercolor accents.  Citadel 1978, an elegant composition in muted tones of white, beige and grey, is an example of the formal and architectonic abstractions that resulted.   In Sneaky Pete 1975, a lively narrative uses bright colors and a dense structure.  Whatever the palette, Dole’s collages inspire appreciation.

Actor, director, writer, artist, photographer, teacher, Basil Langton reveals surreal depths in this collection of his collages (he called them ‘effacages’) of fragmented magazine ads, manipulated photographic imagery and added ‘touches’ of watercolors.  From his pen, simple but sensuous strokes enhance the ambiguous figuration, provocative abstractions and witty compositional devices, as in Seated Figure, Legs Apart of 2001.  The female body is one of his favorite subjects.

Collage is almost like Assemblage...but not.  The ‘found’ elements are precious bits in Collage that often relate to centuries earlier, as in 18th century snippets of handwriting or 16th century illuminated lettering.  On the other hand, these ‘found’ elements could have been transformed from last month’s fashion magazine or newspaper headline.  New meanings are injected into the rearrangement of words, images and textured papers.  The medium of collage challenges the row of paint tubes on an artist’s table; the imagination and creativity of these three artists challenge us all.

We will be pleased to have your request for digital images to illustrate these words.

Added Announcement:
In March/April 2005, Tobey C. Moss Gallery will mount a retrospective view of George Herms’s career as an assemblage artist -  a representative of the art historical California Assemblage Movement.

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