Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Lee Mullican at LACMA

Lee Mullican
40" x 50" oil on canvas 1951
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

"Mullican, like many other artists of his generation, was consumed with the question of how spirituality could be effectively represented in art. He had been stationed with the Army in Guam when atomic bombs landed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and, with thousands of other American soldiers in the Pacific, he was sent to occupy Japan immediately after.

Faced with the unprecedented potential for nuclear annihilation, and soon given the emerging truth about the Holocaust in Europe, matters of life's sanctity were pressing in the years following the war. Creativity itself held profound intrinsic value — and in a measure unmatched in American culture before. History had brought the world to the brink. Artists, many of them returned from the battlefields, reasonably surmised that a reconsideration of prehistory might provide a platform from which to start over."
- Christopher Knight, LA Times

I studied with Lee Mullican at UCLA. As the years have progressed it has become evident within my own work how Mullican's deep spirituality and profound humanism provided glimpses of an artistic path to follow. Lee Mullican cherished each living organism. His first hand knowledge of humanity's propensity for destruction set him on a path to create artworks that spoke not just of his own personal psychology. Instead, Mullican throughout his career grappled with the problem of creating art that limns our place in a larger universe.

This is a must see exhibition.

Lee Mullican
"Zen Walk"
42" x 14" oil on canvas 1955
Collection of Betye Monell Burton © Estate of Lee Mullican

More on Mullican:

Postwar Painter Seeks the Spiritual, LA Times

Lee Mullican in the LA Weekly

Lee Mullican in Artdaily

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