Catalogue Articles

Ceeje Revisited: Introduction

by Faith Flam

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
April 10- May 13, 1984
Foreword and Acknowledgment

It is generally acknowledged that the decade of the 1960’s was a pivotal and particularly fertile field for contemporary art in Los Angeles. A singular aesthetic began to be associated with this regionally produced art which ultimately became known as the “L.A. Look.” The works utilized industrial materials such as metal, plastics and glass. They were lean, cool and extremely well crafted. This led to another euphemism otherwise known as the “Finish Fetish.”

The art produced here in Los Angeles during the Sixties was not only innovative, it was richly diverse and ultimately far reaching. In his book, Summer Muse, Peter Plagens states that during this time Los Angeles “established itself as the second city of American Art.” In 1981 when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art put on exhibit “Seventeen Artists in the Sixties,” director Earl Powell said, “To date, this most fascinating period in our history remains inadequately documented.” I couldn’t agree with him more! This is precisely the raison d’etre for the exhibit, “Ceeje Revisited.”

From their earliest art producing moments the Ceeje artists seemed to be marching to different drummers, while their brushes were most certainly painting different strokes. If there has been a lack of support for figurative painting over the last twenty years or so, until the emergence of “New Wave,” “Neo-Expressionism,” “New Figuration,” “Bad Painting,” “Punk Art,” etc., consider the neglect of those artists who were working in a highly personal, eccentric, irreverent, somewhat surreal, deliberately awkward and dynamic figurative style when abstract styles were considered au courant and mainstream.

Thus with this exhibition, the artists of the Ceeje add another thread woven into the colorful and intricate tapestry of L.A. contemporary art history.

The works selected for the exhibition belong to artists who on the whole showed at Ceeje on a consistent basis. It is impossible in any one exhibition to do justice to the activities of a gallery which functioned for an entire decade. The choices therefore focused on the artists whose work encompassed the predominant thrust of the gallery’s direction and the point of view it espoused. There were a great many other artists whose association with the gallery was of a more marginal nature. Selections also depended on availability of works from the period.

I am deeply grateful to the exhibiting artists, to Susan C. Larsen and Fidel Danieli for their insightful essays, to the lenders of the exhibition, to the supporters of this exhibition, to the supporters of this catalogue, to Jerry Jerome and Cecil Hedrick for their good humor and support, and finally to Josine Ianco-Starrels who made this exhibition possible.

Poem by Joni Gordon

POEM

YOU PAINT
LIKE A CONFESSION

PALEO DREAMS  SLIGHT OF SIGHT
ARTIFACT AS ARTFACT

EXHUMED.

YOU USE SPECULATIONS
ARBITRARY SIGNS AND SYMBOLS
ASTRONOMY BIOLOGY CHEMISTRY
MATHEMATICS MEDICINE PHYSICS
META THIS AND THAT

YOU EAT MIND MARROW.

IS IT YOU WHO
FLED TOPIARY GARDENS AND WHY AND GONE
WHERE?

TANGLED CLUES OF AMPUTATED STAIRS
CLEFT RAINBOWS  WONDER WALLS
SCI FI SKY AWEDEATH
STAMEN BEE MONKEY

MAS

– Joni Gordon

from

Edward Carrillo: Selected Works, 1960-1975
Fine Arts Gallery
California State University, Los Angeles
March 31 – April 24, 1975

Edward Carrillo: Selected Works, 1960-1975

Introduction
Aron Goldberg
Fine Arts Gallery
California State University, Los Angeles
March 31 – April 24, 1975

The art of Ed Carrillo is of two beauties: the earthly and the celestial. In olden times he would have been called born of the god of painting, so absolutely certain are his intuitions of its material requirements. For him, nothing is ever forced or arbitrary, nothing done for effect or in defense of a theory. His work is full of unceasing surprise of color or shape, his composition is always perfect, the final harmony absolute.

He has always been true to these gifts, and they have never failed him, Every Carrillo painting is an avatar, as though each incarnation of image brings him closer to that mystic synthesis of spirit and matter we sense beneath our categorized and rounded off lives.

Perhaps it was in the doctrines of his Catholic upbringing that he first understood that the mystery of trans-substantiation was central to his feelings for life. It is certainly the basis of all art– the making flesh of the spirit. Through his work as an artist and as a spiritual seeker, he is always drawn toward that ecstatic potential concealed in the so called inert and limited.
He has evolved from the need to create fantasies to being able to receive the fantastic which is always present in daily life. This loving interchange makes him the true brother of everyone who seeks spiritual unfoldment. After seeing a Carrillo painting we can recognize in a sunset or a tree what he has seen in them. We are brought that much closer to him, but he, in discovering these qualities, has also come close to us. His art thus becomes a unifying force in the world. If we are able to follow him in his search for the true vision, like that of the Spanish and Mexican mystics, even though his language may seem strange at first, we will come closer to our own possibility of ecstatic fulfillment.