Artist's Eye, Collector's Taste: Paintings by Phil Dike from the Collection of E. Gene Crain
Since 1964, E. Gene Crain '55 has been collecting the work of Southern California artists. Particularly attracted to a group of painters who focused on images of the land and sea near Laguna Beach, he came to know many of them well, selecting works for his collection out of an intimate knowledge of their lives and concerns. Of the artists collected in depth by Crain, Phil Dike (1906-1990) stands out. A painter of great consistency and skill, his paintings simultaneously picture and evoke the sea and the life lived at its shores. A native of Claremont, Dike taught for many years at Scripps College where he was a key player in the development of a regional art style. The oil and watercolor paintings in this exhibition are from two related series- The Malibu Set and The Wave Series (1960's-70's); they exemplify Dike's mature style and powerfully express his passion for the sea. "The days I walk on the beach," he said, "are not just a search for a subject to paint, or to fill a notebook of facts and ideas, but to somehow reawaken the sensations of pleasure and wonder that I have felt for the sea in the years I have been painting. There is a deep satisfaction in the rhythm of the waves, the light, the smells, the sand and rock pieces that change from day to day..."
Phil Dike's paintings are his legacy and an invitation to share his experience of a landscape he loved. Those on view here reveal both the artist's eye and the discriminating taste of a great collector.