The dual visions of Christensen and Moevs

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be involved in the middle of a crime scene that captivates emotional tension? What about being able to experience the eerie aftermath of a devastating disaster? “White Nights, Double Vision: the Fictive Worlds of Wes Christensen and Marina Moevs” at the Santa Monica College Barrett Art Gallery is featuring a total of 58 paintings that enable the viewer to become involved in completing the story of the “fictive worlds” being presented in the paintings.

Christensen has been presenting his work for the last three and a half decades. Ruth Weisberg, artist, author, and professor of fine arts and former dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts said, “Wes Christensen’s tightly cropped images make us feel complicit, as if we were watching his protagonists via a hidden camera, or perhaps a keyhole.”

With 42 paintings on display, Christensen best explains his work by saying, “In my paintings and drawings, I have tried, using representational methods, to fix moments in time and freeze the suggestive attitudes that figures show to each other. Within these designs I have searched for the storytelling qualities embedded in everyday objects, the memories of meaning that linger in accidental, mundane settings and the atmospheric associations of essential gestures.”

Moevs makes natural disasters, such as storms, hurricanes, fires, and tsunamis, one of her main focuses, suggesting the quiet after a terrible catastrophe.

As Moevs said in a released statement, “A natural disaster is the thematic link for many of the paintings, as is the recurring image of a house, either threatened or in various stages of destruction. Nonetheless, like the calm after a storm, stillness and quietude pervade all the depicted scenes.”

With a total of 16 large 78”x48” and 50”x32” vertical paintings, Moevs’ art also emphasizes the environmental effects that are caused by climatic changes.

In order for the paintings to work as an extension of the viewer’s space, the larger paintings hang close to the floor and the horizon line is always placed at the viewer’s eye level.

The Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery is located at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center and entrance to the exhibit is completely free.

A special reception will be held on Friday, September 9th at 6p.m. The exhibit will remain available to the public until October 8, 2011.

Two gallery talks will also be held, one which Moevs will attend on Tuesday, September 20 at 1:30p.m., and one with Wes Christensen on Tuesday, September 27 at 1:30 pm.

Both gallery talks will take place in the Barrett Art Gallery, with lectures sponsored by the SMC Associates.