Art exhibit features grandmother and grandson
She was born in Washington, D.C., in 1907 to a military family of high standing. He was born in L.A. in 1968 to a Hollywood family of note.
East Coast, West Coast. Modern, contemporary. Grandmother, grandson.
Betty Lane, an artist first and foremost, but a diarist, too. Christopher Noxon, a writer first, but then an illustrator and now a painter.
Both are featured in “From One Generation to the Next,” an exhibition that opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Sullivan Goss: An American Gallery, 11 E. Anapamu St., during the monthly 1st Thursday event in downtown Santa Barbara.
“From one generation to the next, the world changed a great deal, but the creative drive pulsing within the family genes and culture asserted itself again and again,” said Jeremy Tessmer, gallery director. “Showing together for the first time, Christopher and Betty share just a few stylistic preferences — the merging of graphic clarity with painterly passages, for example.
“Both grandmother and grandson seem determined to find patterns, whether natural or invented. The landscape is recurrent, though hers are often upstate New York, southern Canada and Cape Cod, while Christopher largely paints his new surroundings in Ojai. Otherwise, they are artists of a different stripe. For both, however, it seems to be enough to look and to paint. Thoughts and feelings have to sneak in. They focus on the visuals.”
Ms. Lane came of age during the maturation of modern art. She learned the fundamentals of traditional drawing at the Corcoran School in Washington, D.C. She developed those ideas further at the Massachusetts Normal School (now MassArt, the oldest public art school in the U.S.).
Finally, she made it to Paris to study the new French painting under André L’Hôte. Her first exhibition was in 1931 at the Phillips Gallery in her hometown. She didn’t show again for 10 years, but her second exhibition was with the storied Galerie St. Etienne, New York’s major outpost for German expressionism and American folk art.
“Her ‘hero years’ were the 1940s, but owing to shifting tastes and her own stubborn refusal to adequately self-promote, the momentum subsided by the time she divorced in 1951. A long and lonely slog as a teacher at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn., followed,” said Mr. Tessmer.
After that, Ms. Lane retired to Cape Cod, where she painted landscapes, portraits and images from her travels. Over the course of her career, she explored primitive (or unacademic) painting, many modes of French modernism, American expressionism and surrealism, sometimes combining approaches in a single painting.
Sullivan Goss has represented the artist’s estate since 2006. This is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Today, her works are found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection and the Cape Cod Museum of Art, in addition to certain prestigious private collections like the Women Who Dared Collection.
“Mr. Noxon was born into a family of gifted filmmakers and writers, which pretty much doomed him to a creative career of one kind or another. After college, he pursued journalism, writing for national publications like The New Yorker, Details, The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Salon and Playboy,” said Mr. Tessmer.
Mr. Noxon is the author and illustrator of “Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook,” and he’s the author of “Plus One” and ”Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American Grown Up.”
After both a divorce and the premature death of his son, he moved to Ojai to regroup. He soon began painting and later took over the stewardship of his grandmother’s archive of paintings, drawings and watercolors. He already has a piece in the permanent collection of the Ojai Valley Museum. He has previously exhibited at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles, the Santa Paula Art Museum and the Beatrice Woods Center for the Arts.
This is his first exhibition with Sullivan Goss.