Watercolor paintings based on Julius Shulman photos
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If the famed architectural photographs of Julius Shulman sketched a story about California, then New York artist Amy Park has added her own chapter, painting color into images that many of us have seen over and over again.
Park creates large-scale watercolors from architectural photographs, and Shulman’s images of California homes and other buildings were inspiration for a show that opens Saturday at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles.
“His photographs capture such an idyllic time in California,” Park said by phone from her studio. “The landscape, the light. It is magical for someone like me who grew up in the Midwest and now lives in New York.”
The painter, originally inspired by the documentary “Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman,” did not work on site or even visit the buildings. She worked exclusively from Shulman’s black-and-white photographs, on loan from the Getty Research Institute. Though Shulman’s archive does include color photography, Park chose black-and-white images as a challenge. The colors in her paintings of the Eames House in Pacific Palisades, for instance, are based on her recollection.
The Kopeikin show, “California Experimental Architecture,” features 20 works that explore the relationship between architecture and landscape. Included in the mix: John Lautner’s Chemosphere and Jacobsen houses in L.A., a John Howard Gamble house in Carmel and a John Nash Anderson house in Silver Lake. Park said she avoided some of Shulman’s most famous images, including a photo of Case Study House No. 22 that was “beyond iconic,” but she was drawn to how the photographer had a way of capturing a point in time. His images, and now Park’s paintings, convey an idyllic mood that is much changed, even if the homes have not.
An opening reception will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Kopeikin Gallery, 2766 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. The show runs through July 7.
-- Lisa Boone
Painting, top: Charles and Ray Eames House No. 1, Pacific Palisades, 1950; 2012 watercolor on paper, 30 inches by 22 inches, by Amy Park
Painting, above left: Charles and Ray Eames House No. 3 , Pacific Palisades, 1950; 2012 watercolor on paper, 30 inches by 22 inches
Painting, above right: John Lautner’s Jacobsen House, Los Angeles, 1948; 2012 watercolor on paper, 30 inches by 22 inches