Bay Area Focus host, Michelle Griego talks with Lisa Coscino, the director of the New Museum, Los Gatos about the Circle of Truth Exhibition curated by Laura Hipke & Shane Guffogg.
Co-curators Laura Hipke and Shane Guffogg asked participating artists to play a painterly version of the surrealist game exquisite corpse—a.k.a. the Telephone Game. The rules were detailed but fairly loose. The first artist in the chain, Guffogg himself, started the project with his painting, a Rothko-esque take on a blurred, madras plaid. Without signing the work, he then sent it to the second artist in the chain along with a blank linen canvas. Keeping the theme of truth in mind, each artist then had two weeks to come up with a painted response before sending their piece on to the next artist in the circle.
Curated by Guffogg, this exhibition has a little of everything, including a delightfully unlikely number of connections to the culture high and low: A Beatles connection; blue chip notoriety in the form of Ed Ruscha; the work of a successful actor who moonlights as a painter; a variety of art-making impulses spanning a four-decade period; and of course, Shane Guffogg himself, whose work he included as well, a gambit that is perhaps itself a very L.A. thing.
....Images of the human face have served as a vessel to carry ideas of who we were — and are — throughout the centuries, ranging from the idealized forms of the Sumerians and Egyptians, to the naturalized images of Greeks and Romans and back again to stylized images of the Byzantine era, only to find a new idealized form of realism in the 1400s, now commonly known as the Renaissance.
In the 16th century, Italian humanist and scholar Agostino Steuco developed Perennial Philosophy, which postulates that all of the world’s religious traditions are essentially based on the one single universal truth, an idea popularized by Aldous Huxley in his 1945 book The Perennial Philosophy. Hipke explores these universal questions of humankind, spirituality and truth in her practice by considering the anonymous subjects she paints from old photographs and finds that these answer reveal themselves in her paintings.