THE ART OF SURF CULTURE
Palos Verdes Art Center, in partnership with DANIELLE and Paul Smith Los Angeles, is pleased to announce CHROMIUM US 101, new paintings and sculptures by artist Ivan Wong. Wong’s works represent his experience of California during postwar America and embody the spirit of the region’s cultural identity.
The exhibition will be on view at Palos Verdes Art Center from August 13 through September 25, 2016. A joint exhibition featuring Wong’s sculpture will run concurrently at Paul Smith Los Angeles. CHROMIUM US 101 is curated by Joe Baker, Executive Director of PVAC, and Danielle Sweet, founder of DANIELLE.
Through his chromium paintings and surfboard sculptures, Wong recognizes the dichotomy of his youth: a bright landscape of hope and freedom shadowed by the pervasive fear of imminent nuclear war. Made of flake chromium, mica and urethane, Wong’s surfaces mimic the shimmering light of the Pacific Ocean, a world of pure presence.
Growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, Wong was part of the uniquely Californian surf culture that arose through its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and negotiations between mainstream and alternative forces. While Californiabuilt new defense plants and freeway systems, surfers melded Native Hawaiian cultural influences with state-of-the-art aerospace techniques and materials to establish a way of life that affirmed the ocean as a source of personal identity and symbolic freedom.
For his sculptures, Wong uses hand-shaped surfboard blanks by iconic surfer and shaper Mike Hynson, known for his signature red fins and for appearing in Bruce Brown’s 1966 surf documentary The Endless Summer. Wong’s chromium paintings have a luminescent quality that recalls the work of Southern California’s light and space artists, such as Robert Irwin and James Turrell, who experimented with perceptual concerns. Likewise, his use of innovative materials and fabrication processes borrowed from the industrial world comments on the concerns of John McCracken and Billy Al Bengston, finish fetish artists who were inspired by California’s car culture and landscape to create seamless objects that blurred the line between painting and sculpture. Through his CHROMIUM US 101 series, Wong transforms memory into a manifestation of the history and energy that forms California’s cachet.
Ivan Wong was born in San Diego, California in 1955 and lives and works in New York City. As a student at theUniversity of California, Los Angeles, Wong was the bassist in L.A.’s first homegrown ska band, The Boxboys, which became an integral part of the city’s punk new wave scene. Wong studied under artists George Herms, Laddie John Dill, Vito Acconci and Alexis Smith, and in 1981 received a degree in painting from UCLA before moving to New York to study painting at Columbia University and play bass in bands Little Shining Man and Voodoo X.
Wong has produced hundreds of books with renowned artists and designers, including Irving Penn, Madonna,David LaChapelle and Fabien Baron, and has worked with such companies as Apple, Callaway Arts & Entertainment, Knopf, The New York Times, Vanity Fair and Vogue.
Palos Verdes Art Center / Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education, a nonprofit community visual arts school and gallery founded in 1931, inspires individuals to create, appreciate and celebrate art through its exhibition, education and outreach programs.
In business for over 40 years, Paul Smith has established himself as the pre-eminent British designer, anticipating trends in the wider context of popular culture. Paul Smith has more than 300 shops worldwide.
DANIELLE is an atelier founded in 2015 by American art dealer Danielle Sweet. DANIELLE creates and produces fine art projects with contemporary artists and luminaries, representing and developing their careers.