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Color has long served as a catalyst for Southern California artists’ imaginations. High-Key presents a group of San Diego artists whose work engages the region’s distinctive color tradition. During the early twentieth century, the verdant greens and crystal blues of the natural landscape drew early plein air painters to set up their canvases under the bright sun. In the 1940s, artists applied flattened hues to canvas in hard-edge abstraction, while in the 1960s they looked to the aesthetics of vernacular culture, from neon signs to surfboards. Southern California color is amped-up—whether opaque or sheer, bold or soft, it exudes a tangible energy.  The term “key” refers to a color’s brightness and saturation, and “high-key” speaks of warmth and punch, a precise descriptor for the region’s distinctive natural and cultural landscape.

Like those before them, contemporary artists dive into a realm of Southern California color, yet their materials and interests range far wider than their predecessors. In a diverse array of mediums—from painting, to assemblage, to video, to installation—they create vibrant sensorial encounters that speak to the experience of our time.  These artists employ color to mine the state of the natural and built environment; the particularities of the region’s popular culture; technology, memory, and the human body; and the relationship between color and form itself. The work in High-Key both builds upon history and carves a new path for our understanding of this fundamental facet of artistic making.

Artists in the exhibition include Michael James Armstrong, Jennifer Anne Bennett, Claudia Cano, Max Daily, Sarah Farnsworth, Victoria Fu, John Brinton Hogan, Audrey Hope, John Oliver Lewis, Carolina Montejo, Joshua Moreno, Han Nguyen, Scott Polach, Matt Rich, Brianna Rigg, Eva Struble, Maya VanderSchuit, Allison Wiese, and Tessie Salcido Whitmore.

Curated by: Elizabeth Rooklidge.

Image by John Brinton Hogan Title:  Hikers Resting Under Boulders, near Tinajas Altas, Camino del Diablo, Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona, March, 2014 (magenta/red with light blue pearl, glass beads, and light blue glitter blisters) Courtesy of: the Artist 

Open June 23-August 12

Member Preview June 23 5-6pm

Opening Reception June 23 6-8pm



Earlier Event: June 7
Later Event: August 15
to reach for another (Touch Points)