Light & Space: Melissa Morgan Fine Art, Palm Desert, CA

Southern California has long been regarded as the less accomplished sibling in the art world when compared to its obviously proud brother in New York's Chelsea, Soho and Williamsburg scenes. The overshadowing of our regional artists has long been a point of debate in the art world - our identity often being swallowed into the more influential galleries and museums in the east coast and internationally. All of this is about to change.

Taking cues from the now internationally recognized heroes of West Coast abstraction, such as Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feidelston, Frederick Hammersly and Tony Delap, rise the new generation of contemporary abstractionists who have quickly become the toast of the regional, New York, and Western European scenes.

Represented in this group show are the mesmerizing works of Andy Moses, Terri Yarbrow and Max Almy, Gisela Colon, Greg Renfrow, Eric Johnson, Jesse Small, Trudy Montgomery and Patti Parsons. From shimmering pearlescent pigments to geometric patterns resurrected from Mid-Century Modernists, from painterly surfaces in ever shifting colors to light sensitive phosphorescents and flames projected on panels, from sublime works of pure abstraction and minimalism to hints of abstracted landscapes, a uniting theme relates these artists to each other. This is art that was born in Southern California. 

There is a nod to the original "finish fetish" movement of the 60's with its borrowing of materials and surface from the prevalent car and surf culture of the region; acrylics and pinstripes, thick resins and candy coated surfaces can be seen throughout the body of works. Clearly however this is a movement for the new generation. There is a sense of freshness to the work that looks like it took those 40 odd years to evolve, to fine tune, to reinvent and perfect. This is something that could only have been born from the region and an unintentional counter to the entrenched elitist art scene of New York. In a time when even the well respected conceptual works seem routine and contrived, a return to beauty is welcomed world wide.

This block-buster show opens at Melissa Morgan Fine Art in Palm Desert, CA on Saturday, February 19th 2011 from 5.30pm.  Six of Trudy's abstract colorfield oil paintings will be on display.