First Independent Gallery
Bergamot Station G6
2525 Michigan Avenue Santa Monica, CA  90404
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The Gardens

November 17 - December 24, 2010

 

CURTIS HOEKZEMA

The Gardens

Gardens are about paradise.  Art is, in essence, about joy.

The opportunity of my being able to draw and paint in the Huntington Library's Gardens presented itself last year through the kind auspices of the Huntington Library Garden Artist's Guild. As an Artist's Guild member I was permitted to work during non-public hours, early in the mornings, and all day Tuesday.  I wish to express my gratitude to the Huntington Library and its staff for their generous hospitality.   

I was initially most attracted toward working in the desert gardens, with its rich and diverse forms of cacti and succulents, whose sculptural forms already suggest the product of some wildly eccentric and visionary imagination. There was also the rose garden, the tropical garden, the palm garden, the Japanese garden and the recently developed Chinese garden. In exploring the grounds I was able to select those motifs which presented the most evocative possibilities and the greatest painterly challenges.  I did numerous sketches and followed then with a series of oils on canvas, most of which were painted on site but then further developed in the studio. 

The cactus garden is amazing.  To make a painting there is to indulge in a vocabulary of the surreal.  This, together with my amateur standing as a cactus and succulent collector, made work in the desert gardens a real delight.  The color that one experiences there comes about as an almost daily shock and surprise and as the blooms present themselves in the changing light, it is a reminder that in painting color is the truest, and most direct instrument of the emotions.

The emotion I most value is unique - the aesthetic emotion, the one that might give you a bit of a shudder or maybe make you catch your breath.  If I can share anything like this with the viewer, I would be satisfied with the effort. 

The subjects have been chosen foremost for the opportunity they afford for me to make a richly evocative color statement.  They also have been chosen for their potential for the development of a complex interplay of space - foreground engaged with background and both ultimately joining to herald the surface of the painting itself.  While these paintings are primarily about the intuitive they also may function as a little bit of an intellectual puzzle - how do these shapes speak to each other, and what do they say?   The paintings are clearly about beauty but, not so obviously, a beauty that has in its nature some whiff of danger about it.

These works are consciously devoid of any sociological or political content.  They are conceptual in that they are conceived but do not require explanation.  They are interactive if the viewer allows them to be.  Enjoy.  
   

 

Rose GardenRose Garden, 2010, oil on canvas, 24x20"

 


Desert Garden #1
Desert Garden #1,
2010, oil on canvas, 24x20"

 

 

Palm Garden
Palm Garden, 2010, oil on canvas, 24x20"

 

 

Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden, 2010, oil on canvas, 24x20

 

Desert Garden #2, 2010, oil on canvas, 24x20"
Desert Garden #2, 2010, oil on canvas, 24x20"
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First Independent Gallery • Bergamot Station G6 • 2525 Michigan Avenue • Santa Monica, CA  90404
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