Wiegand Gallery

College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA




The Moment of Form: The Paintings and Monoprints of Don Weygandt


An exhibition of paintings and monoprints by the American artist Don Weygandt will be shown at the Wiegand Gallery on the College of Notre Dame campus in Belmont, from March 14 through April 20, 2000. The opening reception is Sunday, March 19th from 2 to 4 p.m.

Don Weygandt was born in 1926 in Belleville, Illinois. Completing his M.F.A. at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Weygandt became friends with Richard Diebenkorn who was then teaching at Urbana. He later moved to California and taught at the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1960s along with Diebenkorn, Nathan Oliveira, and Frank Lobdell. Though Weygandt associated with members of the Bay Area Figurative School, his approach to figurative painting had been established prior to the development of these friendships. A professor at University of California, Santa Cruz for 25 years, Weygandt has also been a visiting artist at Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Iowa.

Weygandt's figurative work represented in the show includes Half Nude with Gray Skirt and Girl Reading a Book, in which his sensitive handling of paint, his reworking of surfaces are superbly illustrated. As Robert Poplack, Curator, has stated, "Often what is important in the work is what is not there, what is left out, what is unspoken, and what is suggested. It is this economy of means that lends the work its power and can be found in his early paintings of women and landscapes."

Continuing the tradition of earlier artists like Morandi who worked from still lifes, Weygandt's paintings draw our attention to the everyday world, its lusciousness and its transitoriness. Still Life with Orange Flowers (1980s-90s) and Dark Peaches (1980s) convey the directness of his work as well as his attempt to capture the specificity of the light, the color, the composition. (left: Dark Peaches, 1980s, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches, Collection of Clara Weygandt)

A catalogue with 21 color reproductions and an insightful essay by Norman Locks, a photographer and Chair of the Art Department at UC Santa Cruz, is available.


Excerpts from catalogue essay by Norman Locks, Art Department Chair at UC Santa Cruz

"Don's prints and paintings appear to be traditional, but they are not. We find them to be beautiful, but there is an underlying tension. There is equilibrium, but we are off balance. They appear to be simple, but we can't figure them out. And if we look closely, they don't look like anything we have seen."
"(The paintings are) visual experiences rather than narrative communications; they are neither about the namable nor necessarily about the objects they include. They are about the experience of painting, the experience of looking, the experience of discovery and learning, and about creating within a visual language...The paintings don't "say" anything, but they are real experience--the real experience in and of the painting as well as of the ephemeral realities of life."
"Don doesn't need much to begin a print or painting--a pot against a drape, a little light to clarify the form, color and pattern to create the space. A minor relationship, gesture, or in the case of the pots, the clarity of a single form around which to build, is enough. The event is the process of painting and in the end the event is the painting. The process is a game of chess, with objects, light, and color, the pieces moved according to both prescribed and invented movements, or notation, to create sensation."
"He continues to seek the simplicity and essential form of objects or spatial relationships, yet he can't resist the challenge of complication, stepping in, marking with precision to challenge form, wreak havoc, and break comfort. Once the possibility of stopping is past, the painting will evolve until he has wrestled the canvas to discover something new, to create the rawness and openness in the end. This is most apparent in the recent paintings. And in the end, colors clash without apology; form is found with an unstable ground. The subject, space, becomes illusive and the nature of the objects becomes both heightened and inconsequential in the discovery of 'the moment of form'."

Read more about the Wiegand Gallery at College of Notre Dame in Resource Library Magazine.


rev. 12/27/10

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