Posts Tagged ‘ Joshua Tree ’

Eric Merrell: Bringing the California Desert to NYC

Most Manhattan gallery-goers don’t know the names Jimmy Swinnerton or John Hilton; they can’t tell a smoketree from a cholla. While desert art is expanding its geographic appeal, it hasn’t reached the east coast yet. That transcontinental link may finally be forged, though, with Eric Merrell’s show “No Man is an Island”, opening July 14th at the Forbes Gallery in the lobby of Forbes Magazine headquarters in New York City. The exhibit is a collection of Merrell’s paintings made during an artist’s residency at Joshua Tree National Park in 2009. Will east coast viewers take to the yuccas and boulders?…

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Michael Gordon’s Portraits of Joshua Trees

Michael Gordon’s Portraits of Joshua Trees

Long Beach photographer Michael E. Gordon is a champion of overlooked deserts, preferring the quiet corners of the Mojave to the more obvious drama of places like the Grand Canyon. Now he takes on a similarly ignored and yet most deserving desert resident–the Joshua tree–in an exhibit opening November 5, 2011, at the historic Kelso Depot in Mojave National Preserve. While spending time amongst the trees Gordon says he began to realize each was as “wholly distinct as humans. Each specimen seems infused with individual form, character and stories.” The tree was named by Mormon settlers who noted the prayerful…

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Eric Merrell Workshop in Joshua Tree Sept. 19-23rd

Eric Merrell Workshop in Joshua Tree Sept. 19-23rd

Born too late to study with Sam Hyde Harris or Edgar Payne? Now you have another chance to learn from a traditional California master, when Eric Merrell teaches a painting workshop in Joshua Tree Sept. 19-23, 2011. Limited to just ten students, the class costs $500 for five full days of painting. Students are responsible for their own accommodations and supplies. While Merrell is only 33, he has the soul and drive of an early landscape artist. As the historian for the venerable California Art Club, he also knows a lot about the famous painters and will undoubtedly entertain his…

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Captain Beefheart, Desert Artist, Dies

Captain Beefheart, Desert Artist, Dies

Captain Beefheart was a rock-n-roll wildman, too avant garde—if that’s possible–for the likes of his friend Frank Zappa. But Don Van Vliet (his real name), who died on December 17, 2010, was also a visionary painter of the desert. Van Vliet grew up in Glendale and turned to art before he found music–sculpting animal figures at the Griffith Park Zoo as a boy. He was imprinted with the scent and space of the desert while attending Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster. The allure of psychedelic rock took precedence over art for a time in the 1960s, as giants like…

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Kevin Wong: Documenting the Desert’s “Mother Road”

Kevin Wong: Documenting the Desert’s “Mother Road”

Kevin Wong, a photographer and adventurer based in Joshua Tree, is embarking on a project to document lives lived along the Mother Road (Route 66) in the remote desert towns of the Mojave Desert. While Route 66 gets a lot of attention, this particular stretch of highway is often overlooked. You can help Kevin on his way by donating as little as $1 via the website Kickstarter.com. But don’t wait because he has to raise $3,000 by August 14th. Here is Kevin’s introduction to his project: Dear Route 66 Enthusiast: My name is Kevin Wong and I am a professional…

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Katherine McKay: California Roaming

Katherine McKay: California Roaming

Ed. Update–We are sorry to report that Katherine McKay died of cancer, in Richmond, Calif., on October 12, 2011.   Editor’s Note—We’ve been telling you about the early desert painters; with this essay by Katherine McKay we shift into the present. This is the first of an ongoing series about (and sometimes by) artists who are now exploring the deserts. Although I am based in the San Francisco Bay area, the entire state of California has become my home. Since 1989 I have been traveling for part of every year to the deserts, mountains and seacoasts of California.  I live…

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