Galerie Thomas Zander is delighted to announce its twentieth anniversary, which we will celebrate with a series of special exhibitions this year.

The first show in this series is a group exhibition presenting works by five artists whose artistic roots can essentially be traced to California. On view is a selection of pieces by Lewis Baltz, Don Dudley, Anthony Hernandez, John McLaughlin, and Robert Irwin. Each of these artists has in his own way shaped the style of the art on the US-American West Coast. Their artistic developments and impulses helped Southern California gain significance as an art centre since the 1960s and 1970s, so it was able to gradually step out of New York’s shadow. Having developed their own, new ways of thinking about art and their distinct artistic perspectives, they represent an ongoing influence on contemporary artists. With the works of these five artists, the exhibition crosses genre boundaries and highlights various crucial aspects of 20th and 21st century art in California.

The work of Lewis Baltz and Anthony Hernandez represent important positions in contemporary photography. Lewis Baltz (1945–2014) is one of the main representatives of the New Topographics-movement and his art has been groundbreaking for conceptual photography. The exhibition focuses on rarely exhibited works of the 1990s from the group Generic Night Cities, an example par excellence of his critical reflection on the spaces of human civilisation in photography that positions his photographic oeuvre in contemporary art.

This group exhibition is also the first presentation of works by Anthony Hernandez (born 1947) at the gallery. The social landscape in an urban environment has been the main focus of Hernandez’s work. He began to take black and white images of everyday life in his native Los Angeles in the 1970s, acknowledging its implied cultural differences of class and race. His series of Rodeo Drive (1984), for example, shows daydreaming shoppers on Beverly Hills’ famed shopping street and marks the artist’s shift to colour photography. His interest in urban deconstruction and redevelopment is present throughout his oeuvre. Hernandez’s extensive work ranges from street portraiture to landscape and architectural details verging on the abstract. On view are abstract colour photographs from his series BCAMEverywhere, and Forever, created between 1996 and 2008.

The exhibition also features John McLaughlin (1898-1976), one of the most influential painters of the American West Coast of the 20th century. McLaughlin holds a central and singular position among the so-called Hard Edge painters in that his artistic vision is grounded in Zen Buddhist philosophy, which becomes visible in his aesthetic concept. His abstract images are characterized by strictly geometric compositions of few colour sections. With this artistic position McLaughlin has had a lasting impact on the development of the art scene on the American West Coast. Especially Lewis Baltz and Robert Irwin have explored his work intensely and sought inspiration in it.

Don Dudley and Robert Irwin are two artists of the gallery whose works do not fit into clear-cut genre categories. Don Dudley’s oeuvre spans painting as well as installations and drawings. Currently on view are his painterly wall installations of the 1970s and drawings. The colours and textures of his works are always connected to the time and place of their origin and bear references to Californian culture and the environment of the American West Coast. They visualise the specific kind of light over the Pacific Ocean, the desert and the glamour of Hollywood.

Another highlight of the exhibition is the light installation The Jazz Man by the renowned Light and Space artist Robert Irwin, which will be presented for the first time here. In this installation Irwin orchestrates the chromatic relation and colour intervals in a composition of fluorescent tubes. In addition to light, it is above all the shadows, which figure as symmetrical counterpoints in Irwin’s work. Together light and shadow form his central creative means and they are able to achieve a certain independence from the space they are in. Thus his works fulfil a wish for a pure colour of light that exists independently of a vehicle.

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