Education in LA, April – Pomona and La Verne

Fifteen PAA members explored two campus art galleries for Education in LA outing on April 7th. Our first stop was the Kellogg University Art Gallery for a private tour with curator Michele Cairella Fillmore, to view the exhibition, “Abstract Mystique.”  This exhibit features work from seven of Southern California’s top female artists working in Abstraction.  Their work involves mixed media, sculpture and installation that pays homage to Betty Friedan’s legendary book, The Feminine Mystique, 1963.

With little doubt, the artist that captivated us the most was our very own Gretel Stevens. Her paintings involve the use of dry-brushing multiple layers of oil paint (usually many different colors) on linen. It was a true satisfying treat to be able to stand in front of several of her paintings to experience the warmth that radiates from texture of the linen, the luminous blending and surprise use of color, delicate structure and the boundaries.

Next we visited the University of La Verne Harris Gallery for a private tour with Dion Johnson, Galleries Director and curator of ‘Scientific Magic.’  This two-person exhibition features recent works by Sarah Cromarty and Christopher Russell.  While taking a close look at one of Russell’s paintings, we were delighted to have a surprise visit with the artist who had flown in from Portland for the weekend.  He walked us through the process he uses to create his high contrast photographs, with spray–applied paint and delicately scratched images. Sarah Cromarty work stood out for it’s “impolite” elaborate mixed media paintings that portray portals to magical realms.

Our outing concluded with a lunch hosted by the University of La Verne and Devorah Lieberman.  Devorah is first female President in the institution’s 123-year history and she shared her mission to promote diversity, deeply engage students and serve the community.

Many thanks to Gretel Stephens and Francine Cooper for helping make this day possible.


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