"Kirsten Everberg: In a Grove" will be on view January 22 through April 14, 2013, at the Pomona College Museum of Art. The exhibition is the 45th in the Museum's Project Series and consists of a new suite of four paintings and four drawings based on Everberg's exploration of the Japanese crime drama Rashomon (1950) by filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.
"Kirsten Everberg: In a Grove" will have a public reception on Saturday, January 26, 2013, from 4-6 p.m. Also opening on the same date are the exhibits "Nuance of Sky: Edgar Heap of Birds Invites Spirit Objects to Join His Practice" and "Art and Activism in the U.S.: Selections from the Permanent Collection." On Wednesday, February 6, at 10 a.m. Everberg will present an artist lecture at the Pomona College Museum of Art.
Based loosely on Ryunosuke Akutagawa's 1922 short story In a Grove, the classic film Rashomon uses a fragmented, nonlinear and visually hallucinatory narrative to show the shifting nature of truth. The tale centers around a rape and murder told from four different and contradictory points of view. Everberg's four paintings are titled after the four characters: Bandit, Ghost, Wife and Woodcutter. Says Everberg: "Kurosawa's film speaks to my interest in memory, multiple histories, and the construction and resonance of space. The shimmering moments of light and the glaring shots into the sun all contribute to an abstraction I relate to in my own work, where distortion of space and time forces questions on the nature of perception."
For more than 10 years, Everberg has explored these issues of meaning, memory,and history through fluid and strikingly beautiful abstractions that have multiple narrative and painterly frames and layers. Kurasawa famously experimented with filming directly into the sky and then incorporating the resulting light flares in Rashomon. Everberg's "In a Grove" paintings echo this perceptual disjunction, making the location and viewing position mysterious by removing visual cues and dropping the viewer directly into the lushness of a forest scene. In contrast, the four related drawings present the perspective of looking up directly into the dappled sky.
Everberg's imagery is based on multiple sources. The spaces in her paintings reflect combinations and alterations of fragments of source material, creating artificial spaces that blur truth and fiction. While forest scenes from Rashomon inspired the structure of each work, the specific elements come from a range of different sources, including Rashomon film stills, travel photos, found botanical photographs of Japanese plants (including black pines, cedars, cypresses, cryptomerias and junipers), early 20th-century photographs by E. H. Wilson of the Komyoji Temple Forest and the Nara Forest in Japan (where the film was shot), and photographs shot by the artist at local botanical gardens.
Everberg's remarkable new paintings meld the fluid and sublime pictorial languages of 19th-century painting and Kurosawa's symbolic use of light and sky. With vibrant color and shimmering light, the images shift and change as the viewer moves around the work. Everberg creates an almost hallucinatory environment as the four large paintings, which almost cover the walls, wrap the viewer in an immersive atmosphere. Her lush canvases fuse surface and symbol, representation and abstraction, and subjectivity and authenticity.
The exhibition of Kirsten Everberg's work is the 45th exhibition in the Pomona College Museum of Art's Project Series. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes an essay by art historian Gloria Sutton and an introduction by curator Rebecca McGrew.
The Project Series, organized by Museum Senior Curator Rebecca McGrew, presents Southern California artists in focused exhibitions. A catalogue accompanies each exhibition. The Project Series is supported in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance.
The Pomona College Museum of Art is located at 330 N. College Avenue, Claremont. The Museum is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m., and Thursday, from noon to 11 p.m. For more information, call (909) 621-8283 or visit the Museum's website.