Los Angeles

Frederick Wight

Ankrum Gallery

Frederick Wight is the Chairman of the Department of Art at UCLA and Director of UCLA’s Art Gallery. He has written and traveled extensively; the current exhibition, his “Roman series,” is a result of his sabbatical in Rome last summer. His large canvases are filled with historical and mythological figures, gods, animals, frenzied lovers, with symbolic literary references. Wight seems to be re-evaluating ancient Greek and Roman attitudes in terms of modern morality. Two of his most common contrivances, breaking the large canvases up into smaller framed sections, and arbitrarily tearing or burning the canvases, aid in shifting the focus from the whole poetic idea to smaller sections to intensify the statement. The second device has been employed by painters before but rarely In figurative paintings.

Wight’s trip to Rome last summer was originally made to explore Baroque ideas of “vortex composition,” but he became absorbed with Michelangelo and, “It replaced my absorption with Baroque.” Of the series he says, “These are echoes of all I’ve seen.” “Creation of Man,” a two-section canvas, depicts Michelangelo lying on a scaffold, painting colossal murals on the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel. Wight’s colors are predominantly rustic; green landscapes, with human figures and animals emerging as a part of the total landscape. His Sacred Wood series relates to Pompeii (“Nero in the Golden Age”) and his Wounded Fountain Series depicts Roman gods, many with dismembered bodies (“Mercury” and “Neptune”).

––Michael Brawne

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