Over the course of his career Gregory Kondos has painted extensively in the American Southwest, Greece, and France, but he has found his most enduring inspiration in the richly varied landscape of California. In California, Kondos has portrayed the state’s incredible range. His plains and hillsides are both wild and cultivated; his settings include those that are urban as well as those that are undeveloped; his locales range from the supremely tranquil to the awe-inspiringly magnificent. This exhibition on view February 24 through May 19, 2013—held on the occasion of the artist’s 90th birthday—features approximately 70 of the artist’s signature works and surveys more than 50 years of his production.
“In depicting such a variety of terrain, Kondos has moved between abstraction and representation, and yet his commitment to the land has never wavered,” says Scott A. Shields, Ph.D., Chief Curator and Associate Director at the Crocker Art Museum. “His paintings simultaneously celebrate the terrain’s inherent formal, abstract properties, as well as the beautiful possibilities of the paint itself.”
Not only does Kondos typically include signs of humanity’s presence, but he frequently paints topography that has been shaped and altered by development. This is true of his agricultural paintings of cultivated vineyards and fields, and especially of his well-known paintings of the Sacramento region’s man-made levee system. In other works, particularly in his Yosemite images and those featuring the desert regions of Arizona and New Mexico, he uses the eternity and wonder that such places inspire as his elemental theme. In these paintings, humanity is dwarfed by comparison with nature.
Kondos aims to capture views of personal significance, believing that by rendering what he knows best he can perhaps capture and convey something universal. His ability to realize on canvas the land that he so uniquely envisions gives viewers the opportunity to see things differently and to find magnificence in places they may have forgotten to look.
“A Touch of Blue: Landscapes by Gregory Kondos” is accompanied by a 288-page, hardcover catalogue written by Shields, the exhibition’s curator.
The Crocker Art Museum was the first art museum in the Western U.S. and is one of the leading art museums in California today. Established in 1885, the Museum features one of the country’s finest collections of Californian art, exceptional holdings of master drawings, a comprehensive collection of international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in Downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Thursdays. Every third Sunday of the month is “Pay What You Wish Sunday” sponsored by Western Health Advantage. For more information, call (916) 808-7000 or visit crockerartmuseum.org.