Chrissy Angliker and Ann Lofquist at Craig Krull Gallery
By Molly Enholm
Through August 19
French artist Eugene Boudin may not be a household name today, but reverberations of the 19th-century artist’s legacy as both artist and teacher clearly linger through today, as evidenced in the sun-drenched compositions of Swiss-American painter Chrissy Angliker. Boudin’s depictions of tranquil beach scenes and sea-bathing sessions were among the earliest to capture this new, and increasingly doctor-prescribed, activity of the burgeoning upper class. These paintings of sun-filled afternoons were also quite influential to his far more famous mentee: Claude Monet. For both of these artists, painting en plein air and capturing the elegant nuance of light and leisurely activities of the modern world would remain a lifelong preoccupation.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, adding the gestural spontaneity of some mid-century Abstract Expressionism to the mix, the series of beach scenes by Swiss-American artist Chrissy Angliker are heir to this tradition. The artist’s recent paintings (all works on view 2016-2017) are compelling, drawing the viewer in to visually trace the chromatic harmonies of dripping colors, pooling together as they descend down the surface of the canvas. The Brooklyn-based artist’s depictions of summer beach throngs blur the boundaries of abstraction and representation, with regions of thickly applied paint juxtaposed to nearly raw canvas with rudimentary figures scratched in ink across the surface.
The expansive shorelines scenes are absolutely packed with human activity in nearly all of the works. Viewed as if flying overhead, one can nearly hear the soundtrack of canicule: ocean waves nearly muffled by a cacophony of conversation, laughter, a parental screech and child’s cry, a distance dog’s bark and overlapping styles of popular music. Though hardly the peaceful scenes of yore with such a crowded ménage of characters, these scenes of contemporary leisure remain somewhat idyllic. Angliker depicts no signs of trash, pollution, conflicts, traffic jams or crowded parking lots.
The bright summer sun of Angliker’s compositions is offset with a series of paintings set at dusk by Los Angeles-based Ann Lofquist. The artist, who grew up and later taught on the East Coast, relocated to the West Coast nearly a decade ago, draws on the legacy of the California “Eucalyptus Painters” fused with notes of Corot, Tonalism and the Hudson River School. Though clearly tied with these historic tendencies, Lofquist’s faithful views of the landscape also capture the tendrils of urban sprawl as paved streets, traffic lights, office buildings and other effects of human activity disrupt the otherwise tranquil coastal views. As with Angliker, Lofquist’s subject has a distinct historic legacy that the artist manipulates to betray its contemporary origin. With the latter, however, the signs of change evoke a sense of nostalgia for a time with a little less asphalt and a little more dirt.
Craig Krull Gallery
2525 Michigan Avenue, Building B-3
Santa Monica, California 90404