Winter is here but rather than white walkers, it brings a fiery new display at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Gustavo Godoy's vibrant red sculpture "The Prototype" is just part of the excitement for the museum's winter exhibition opening Thursday.
Unified by the color "Safety Red," Godoy's work combining lumber, metal, cement and accumulated or found objects takes over the museum's Chevron Gallery. Appearing ominous due to its size, it is also meant to entice, appearing playful, mysterious and engaging, according to museum curator Rachel Magnus.
Inspired by the "Interstitial” exhibition at the now-closed Pasadena Museum of California Art, Magnus reached out to Godoy for something similar in Bakersfield. She had collaborated with the artist in 2011 for a similar piece ("Empty Altar”) at the Todd Madigan Gallery at Cal State Bakersfield.
Magnus wrote of his style, "Godoy is interested in concepts of labor, construction, social systems and traditions of formal abstraction, and each of his fast-formal-objects take special concern with the environment which the object will be viewed. 'The Prototype’s' jagged geometries fill the Chevron Gallery in mass, formality and concept."
The artist planned the "fast-formal" piece in a studio at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles where he is the chair of the art department. Working in a space similar in size to BMoA's Chevron Gallery. he worked out much of the construction, then deconstructed the object to load in a U-Haul and bring to Bakersfield. The installation took three days, during which Godoy added new objects (including some found in Bakersfield) and completed the object.
Along with Godoy's work, the museum will present "Golden State: Selections from the BMoA Permanent Collection." This is the largest exhibition yet from the museum's collection, consisting of 43 pieces by 34 artists from throughout California including Roland Petersen, Dewy Garrett, Marion Osborn Cunningham and Larry Jason.
Magnus said the exhibition includes a variety of media such as painting, screen-printing, reductive lino-printing, glass, wood, photography, assemblage, serigraphy and watercolor.
"The exhibition started simply as a story about color and how 'golden' was a literal parallel to the depictions of the landscape, the weather, the opulence and beyond," Magnus said. "I quickly realized the show should encompass ideologies, social realties, themes and methods that and are unique to the California experience."
In addition to the new exhibitions, “The Society of Six, California Colorists" will remain up through April 20. The display features works from The Society of Six, Oakland-based early 20th century plein air painters who made a name for themselves through their association that lasted into the 1930s. The six — Seldon Gile, Louis Siegriest, Bernard von Eichman, August F. Gay, William H. Clapp and Maurice Logan — were known for their vibrant landscape works.
Considered the pioneers of modernism in Northern California, the sextet's work was resurrected by scholars, historians, and curators in the 1980s, including Nancy Boas, whose book on the group shares its title with the exhibition.