Valley Edition, September 16, 1988


CalArts Alumni Put On a Little Art Show

The art in this month’s CalArts alurnni show is bigger than a breadbox, but not by much.  Submissions for the exhibit, titled "Small Works", were limited to pieces no more than 24 inches in height, width or depth. "That way artists in London, or wherever, could simply send the art in the mail," said Jim Starrett, who chose the work for this year's show.

Seventy-one artists, all former students of either CalArts or Chouinard Art Institute (CalArts' predecessor) participated in the third annual alumni show, end they didn't just send paintings. Seashells, sequins, playing cards and a light bulb are some of the more imaginative elements included in the exhibit's two- and three-dimensional pieces. "There's a good cross section of work this year," said Starrett, a former CalArts faculty member end recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award for his own work.

It was Starrett's goal to bring a greater variety of artists into this year's show. "It upset me that a lot of people who'd gone to CalArts and had careers in the arts were not participating," he said.

According to Starrett, the reasons for the lack of past alumni participation might be rooted in the school's 10th-anniversary art show in 1981. That exhibit was a showcase for the work of CalArts alumni, but Starrett said it spotlighted only those artists who had become famous in New York on an international scale—David Salle and Eric Fischl, for example.

"People still talk about that show," said Starrett. "What happened was that a lot of artists in the L.A. area felt alienated.

"(Painter) Tom Knechtel is a good example of an artist who should have participated in those other shows." Starrett continued. This year Knechtel, who has a one-man show corning up in December at Santa Monica's Pence Gallery. Works exhibit, contributed two pieces to the Small Works exhibit. "He's very
committed to his work and very talented." But he represents what Starrett calls "another point of
view," one that is away from the mainstream.

Among the other CalArts graduates whose work will be on display are Gordon Pollack (whose "Boat on Water" Knechtel calls the single most beautiful painting in the Exhibit), Robin Mitchell, David Chow, Jon Hudson, Ray Price, Suzanne Kuffler and Victor Herstein.

“There’s an incredible mix in this show that ranges from what may appear to be very formal concerns to more personal statements," Starrett said. "I think there are some amazing things to be seen."

The Small Works exhibit is on display through Sept. 23in gallery rooms D300 and D301at CalArts, 24700McBean Parkway. Gallery Hours: 11 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Muchof the work is for sale. Call (818) 367-5507or (805) 253-7833for information.

- Laurie Ochoa

On display as part of the “Small Works” alumni exhibit are “Farewell to Andrei Tarkovsky”, by Laura Lasworth, class of ’79, above, and “Over/Played”, by R. Bret Price, class of ’75, right foreground.