Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ron Tomlinson: The Language of Abstraction

August 7 - September 30, 2009

(There is nothing quite like getting up close to one of these paintings.)

The work of Ron Tomlinson has come to San Diego, and we could not be more excited to host him and his paintings at The Andrews Gallery beginning the first week of August.

Do not miss the opening reception at the gallery on Saturday August 8, 2009 7 PM.

We will also present a showcase of Tomlinson's works at Brushworks Studio, located in the Arts Complex at 2400 Kettner Street in Little Italy, just north of downtown San Diego. This event will take place on Thursday August 6, 2009 at 7 PM.


Ron Tomlinson was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1945. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts from City University of New York, Brooklyn College, where he studied under the tutelage of Philip Pearlstein. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University, majoring in painting as well as minoring in sculpture and psychology. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he studied also with Philip Pearlstein, as well as other illustrious figures such as Alex Katz, Ben Shahn, and John Cage. He has lectured on his work at various museums and universities, and was a professor of painting, sculpture, and film aesthetics at Texas Wesleyan University. His work is held in both public and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. Tomlinson currently lives and works in Forth Worth, Texas.

We have also published a beautiful catalogue of Tomlinson's work, subtitled The Language of Abstraction, which you can browse and purchase online here.

Here is a reproduction of the catalogue's forword:

They are perhaps not the most obvious things to put together, language and abstraction. After all, language is often construed as the most powerful means we have of lifting ourselves out of abstraction. It is the tool we use to represent, express, and clarify our experience. It is the shining star of our reason. However, the ruse is in the representation. If the function of language is to represent the things of our world, then our words must necessarily be distinct from that which they are meant to describe. Simply put, the word is not the thing; it is merely a description of the thing generated by our reason. In order for language to operate, words must obliterate the uniqueness of things for the sake of categories. In other words, our ability to clarify the world depends upon our ability to abstract it. Ron Tomlinson understands this principle, and deploys it throughout his paintings in an earnest mission to understand the nature of both art and human experience.

Tomlinson’s paintings are neither abstract nor realistic; instead they straddle the two realms. Thanks to his immense technical skill, validated, for example, through his decade-long series of chair paintings, his works all succeed in giving us glimpses of something “real”, be it a pan, a cigar, a motorcycle, or a human being. They all on some level speak the language of recognizable images. However, the means by which he attains such clarity is unequivocally abstract. This is seen through such trademark qualities as his vivid and painterly brushstrokes, his enthralling use of color, and his oft-fractured picture planes. The power of his perspective is rooted in his ability to embrace the true abstraction of our world, and in turn employ it towards a dependable representation of our experience. His vision can be categorically trusted because it is stylistically honest to the nature of art as the practice of putting forth images, i.e. things that, by being representations of real things, are necessarily other than those real things, and thus abstract. Tomlinson’s paintings never force reality upon the viewer. By embracing the abstraction of the world, Tomlinson’s work wears its falseness on its sleeve. In this way does his vision become incorruptible, as opposed to the so-called “real world”, which will always be saturated in doubt because it claims to be real. By representing the real world in its honest and abstract form, Tomlinson’s work offers us a world far more authentic than anything realism could ever offer, while simultaneously surpassing the visual capacity of purely abstract painting. Through Tomlinson’s vision, we are shown that faces are no longer made up universally applicable words stripped of any singularity (i.e., eyes, ears, cheeks, brows), but rather by an intricate combination of contrast, color, line, and form. Tomlinson trades in truth, not symbols. He does not overlook the fact that these physical components are the fundamental building blocks of our experience. These components are the language of abstraction, a language that Ron Tomlinson speaks with the utmost fluency.

Someone could, and I expect will in the future, devote volumes to the life and work of Ron Tomlinson. Just as the majesty of his visual representation breaths life into his paintings, so too has his own magnetic personality ignited wonderment and discovery in countless people throughout the five decades of his career. The well of information that springs from Tomlinson’s brush is deep, and will never run dry. It is in and of itself an inspiration, the consistency with which so many different people have been moved by him and his work, and yet in a way it surprises me little, for the vigor of Tomlinson’s honest and learned vision is there for you to share, for you to make your own.

We are particularly excited that the artist will be joining us both for the opening reception and the downtown showcase. Do not miss the opportunity to view these works and meet this living master. We look forward to seeing you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Little and Large, In Motion Trio

Our Little and Large reception at the gallery was a great night. Sander Rosenberg's light installation and complementing bracelet were glowing in the Gallery Room along with a great mix of Andrews Gallery artists. It was the first time we have exhibited multiple artists in the Gallery Room and it all flowed together very nicely, if I do say so myself. In curating the show, we stuck with the Little and Large theme, and it was nice to have a diversity of size among the pieces displayed. As a little bonus, I was excited to preview just a few paintings by our upcoming featured artist Ron Tomlinson.

A serious treat of the night was the In Motion Trio. This is a group of incredibly talented young musicians who played five original improvised jazz compositions in the Studio Room. We have a recording of the night which I will post soon. The group came back and did a show the next week with artist Jeremey Wright doing live painting. Stay tuned for pictures of that night as well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mañanaland's San Diego Debut w/ Joanie Mendenhall and Jesse Bowen

In addition to working at the gallery, I've also been working with some amazing friends on a little musical project we've named mañanaland (not to be confused with some Jimmy Buffet wannabe dude). Come check out the show Thursday with Jesse Bowen and the lovely Joanie Mendenhall.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sander Rosenberg: Little & Large

Event Details: Saturday July 18, 2009 7:00 PM at The Andrews Gallery.

In conjunction with the San Diego Visual Arts Network and over 40 other exhibition venues throughout San Diego County, The Andrews Gallery is pleased to welcome sculptor Sander Rosenberg to the gallery room in the promotional exhibition for the San Diego Museum of Art, Little and Large.

The show, inspired by the Calder Jewelry show at the SDMA which opens July 25, calls for sculptors to make one piece of jewelry and a corresponding piece of sculpture. Rosenberg, exhibiting his trademark inclination towards an innovative and technologically savvy aesthetic, has designed a bracelet adorned with beads in which he implanted LEDs, and has forged a sleek chandelier with similar materials to accompany it. We are particularly proud that Rosenberg's piece has been selected for use during the Little and Large Launch Party and Fashion Show at the Sīrĕn 4th Floor pool deck of the Hotel in downtown San Diego on July 8. The event will be MC'ed by Radio Host Philly Joe Swendoza and will feature runway models displaying a selection of jewelery made for Little and Large.

The Andrews Gallery will host its own reception for Sander Rosenberg at the gallery on Saturday July 18th, 2009. The event will kick off at 7pm and will feature not only Rosenberg's bracelet and chandelier, but also select Andrews Gallery artists and live jazz music by the In Motion Trio. This event, as always, is free and open to the public. See you there!

Visit the SDVAN Website for more information on Little and Large.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Oh July...

Ron Tomlinson, Still Life with Red Cup

Long overdue post.

Erwin Dazelle's exhibition is getting ready to enter its last week of display, and thus far I've been impressed and pleased with the give and take between members of our community and Mr. Dazelle's works. He came from a region of France that is, as I have written below, very much like our own, and spent a nice sejour in our area. His stay here only reinforced my conviction of the similarity between the French Basque Country and San Diego, for he reiterated to me many times how at home he felt here, and how much he loved our city. Likewise, it's been a pleasure to bring someone from far away to San Diego County for the benefit of everyone in our community.

Ron Tomlinson, Veronese with Harley

With June behind us we are busy getting ready for our very special upcoming featured artist Ron Tomlinson. Tomlinson, a verteran artist and alumni of New York City during the sixties, creates works of a caliber that is difficult to do justice in words (although you will undoubtedly see me try in the coming weeks). Suffice it for now to say that the paintings are here, they are alive, and they will be on display very soon. Look for the official public opening to happen on Saturday August 8th at the gallery, as well as a satellite exhibit at the Brushworks Studio in Little Italy. The images in this post are just a few of Mr. Tomlinson's the paintings that we will be exhibiting in the weeks and months ahead.

Ron Tomlinson, Cigars

I look forward to all the goings on this summer, and remind you all to swing by the gallery and say hello. There are still Banjukes to be had, and so many wonderful paintings of all ranges by our talented selection of artists. Also, there are a few slots available for painting sessions in the studio room, so if you feel like tapping into your creativity this summer, The Andrews Gallery is the place to do it.