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"Writ Large" art exhibition runs Sept. 6-Oct. 4 at Mount Saint Mary's Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery.

A new vision of abstraction: 'Writ Large' features new works at Drudis-Biada Gallery

Los Angeles, Sept. 4, 2015 — “Writ Large” presents new work by artists Andrew West, Kay Whitney and Hilary Baker at the Jose Drudis-Biada Gallery at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles. The reception is Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, from 3 to 5 pm.    

The show will remain up through Saturday, October 4. Starting September 7, the Gallery is open Monday–Thursday and Saturday, noon–5 p.m.     

In 2008, Doug Harvey observed that, “Painters in the contemporary art world, particularly those from L.A., have to maintain a chameleonesque indeterminacy about their artistic intentions — be all things to all people.” Each of the L.A.-based mid-career artists in this show has gravitated toward abstraction, creating large-scale works enriched by their titles.   

Andrew West paints voluptuous, lavish and viscous strokes of color, unbounded by the rectangle, which effectively dematerialize the canvas. He refers to the city, but aims to make his work self sufficient, imaginary. Some titles are in foreign languages. Existing outside the image, the text plays on meaning, like a winking prod urging the curious reader in.    

Kay Whitney may also be toying with her viewers with Enterprize Zone, using the archaic spelling of the word, perhaps to suggest the futility of enterprise. In this recent work, she joins industrial felt with grommets to create a collapsing soft ladder, evoking both Joseph Beuys and Claes Oldenberg. “I deliberately chose materials that are the conceptual opposite of the images they serve,” Whitney says. Her soft and flexible sculptures pay homage to past pioneers including Eva Hesse.   

Hilary Baker’s new work is pared down and stronger than earlier works that incorporated eyeballs and flower petals. The series of acrylic paintings of tessellated geometries, Bones of the City, calls to mind Bernd and Hilla Becher’s somber photographic series of water towers. In the painting Bell Gardens, Baker’s ironic use of color in her meticulously crafted, hard-edge image upends that mood. The Memorial series remembers massacres, but the works again depend on the titles to give the wispy forms a powerful context. In the Rubble series, some titles offer literary associations. Each color is expressed three or four times to create massive forms hurtling through tinted space.    

Taken as a whole, the exhibition “Writ Large” shows us that abstraction supported by text continues to be a vigorous means of expression and that in fact far from being exhausted, abstraction is enjoying an entirely new examination by artists and their viewers. The show closes Saturday, October 4.   

“Writ Large”

 Andrew West, Kay Whitney and Hilary Baker

Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery

Mount Saint Mary’s University

On View: Sept. 6 to Oct. 4, 2015

Artist Reception: Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015


About Mount Saint Mary’s University

Mount Saint Mary’s is the only women’s university in Los Angeles and one of the most diverse in the nation. The University is known nationally for its research on gender equity, its innovative health and science programs, and its commitment to community service. As a leading liberal arts institution, Mount Saint Mary’s provides year-round, flexible and online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Weekend, evening and graduate programs are offered to both women and men. Mount alums are engaged, active global citizens who use their knowledge and skills to better themselves, their communities and the world.     

About Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery

The José Drudis-Biada Art Gallery is located on Mount Saint Mary’s Chalon Campus, set in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, overlooking the L.A. basin and the Santa Monica shoreline. The exhibition program began in 1974 under the guidance of Sr. Ingatia Cordis in 1974. The Gallery program reflects the current cultural issues faced by artists, collectors, museum curators, students of the college, and the general public. Although the Gallery is located within the college grounds, much of its active audience participation and support is from the outside community. 

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