Curated by Jean Stern
May 15 – August 14, 2021
From California Impressionism to the Light and Space movement, California artists have been celebrated for their skillful rendering of the perceptual effects of light. Focusing on painters working in California throughout the 20th century, Radiant Impressions considered the ways these artists have engaged with light not only for its optical qualities but also for its power to infuse ephemeral moments with meaning and emotion. Whether the warm golden tones of the California sun or the intense glow of electric bulbs, light in these paintings communicates a sense of anticipation, celebration, rest, and reflection.
Presenting over thirty works organized in thematic groupings, the exhibition brought together a diverse selection of landscapes and portraiture as well as genre scenes depicting people at work and at play. Well-known California Impressionist paintings, such as Guy Rose’s The Green Parasol, were accompanied by less familiar pieces by women artists, including rarely exhibited paintings by Elsie Palmer Payne and Burr Singer. Together, the works demonstrated how California painters have rendered light to convey the rich and varied meanings found in everyday experience.
Programs and Resources
Watch In Conversation: Jean Stern and Erin Stout. Jean Stern, former senior curator of California Impressionism at IMCA, joined Erin Stout, curatorial and research associate at IMCA, for a virtual curator’s look at four paintings in the exhibition including Laguna Eucalyptus (Guy Rose), Bathing Baby (Elanor Colburn), The Johnson Girl (Belle Baranceanu), and Sunday Breakfast (George K. Brandriff). Transcript available.
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