Los Angeles Artist Pursues Happiness Through Paintings in Response
to Sept. 11 –
Los Angeles, CA-- (8/21/2001) --Artist Gregory John
McIlvaine opens his solo gallery show entitled "The Pursuit of
Happiness" at the LA River Lil' Frogtown Gallery this Saturday,
August 31 with a reception from 6-9PM. McIlvaine, who received an
MFA from Otis School of Art in 1994, was inspired by the tragedy of
Sept. 11 to create a series of portraits of friends, loved ones, heroes,
and other inspirations. McIlvaine says, "In thinking about what
I personally could do to fight the fundamentalism and intolerance
that this terrorism represents, I tried to make a series of paintings
which express a love of life and creative individualism.
I chose to portray friends and heroes in an attempt to celebrate
the joy that comes from community, scholarship, inquiry, and creative
work. There's also an element of humor which is always
present in my work and hopefully makes it more accessible."
McIlvaine says that though the work was inspired
by the tragedy, it's a coincidence that his show will be open on the
anniversary of Sept. 11. "As we grieve, we also remember and
celebrate the spirit of freedom and individuality that our enemies
are trying to destroy. Hopefully my show can be part of that process."
McIlvaine has also taken the unique step of creating
a running commentary about the series on his website, http://www.mcilvanity.com/blogs/. In this weblog, or "blog," he documents
the progress of the series. "I
did the blog for several reasons. Mainly, having my project public
spurs me on. Also, I'm passionate
about art technically and conceptually, and I figure that if I'm interested
in this, others must be as well.
It's a combination teaching tool and journal."
McIlvaine's relatively traditional work flies in
the face of much of the conceptual art, which is trendy in the art
world today. "I like some conceptual art, and I think
that all great art must be intellectual, but I'm not a fan of art
that's purposefully impenetrable or that relies on explanatory wall
texts to be meaningful."
Painted in acrylic on panel, the series was created
using a digital camera and computer projector.
McIlvaine first traced the projected image using pencil and
then painted. "I wanted
to use whatever technology available to make these paintings as powerful
as they could be. The projector is simply a timesaving tool.
I spent hours and hours painting each picture, but the drawing
stage was simplified." The use of projected images is a hot topic
in the art world these days due to David Hockney’s recently published
book, Secret Knowledge. Hockney argues that artists since the 14th
century have been using optical aids for their work. His book has initiated vigorous debate among artists and art historians.
Gregory McIlvaine's show "The Pursuit of Happiness"
will be on display at the LA River Lil' Frogtown Gallery, 1625
Blake Avenue, Los Angeles (323.226.0356) from August 31 to September
L.A. River Lil’ Frogtown Gallery
Phone: 323.226.0356, 323.906.0854