As a student, Helen Lundeberg (1908–1999) thought she might become a “minor poet,” as she put it. Fortunately, fate had other plans. By the time she graduated with a major in English from California’s Pasadena Junior College in 1930, the Great Depression had set in, leaving no extant funds for young Lundeberg to continue her education at a four-year university. Instead, a sympathetic family friend, noting her talent for drawing, offered to send her to art school. Yet the surreal paintings in Lundeberg’s exhibition “Enigma of Reality” made clear that her literary inclinations never went away, as she sublimated them into her art with an emotional poetic force.
After decades of restoring master paintings for museums, the artist delves into his own creativity with original paintings.
As a contemporary complement to the historical exhibition “Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group, 1938-1945” that independent curator Michael Duncan organized with the Crocker Art Museum (and which can be seen at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through June 19), Duncan has assembled together this smart and lustrous exhibition that explores how the goals of the Transcendental Painting Group (TPG) have continued to thrive in a variety of ways through the present day. Like the TPG artists, whose stated mission was “to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, through new concepts of space, color, light and design to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual,” the three generations of mostly West Coast artists in “Transcendent” share many of the same concerns. Some observe the natural world through a spiritual lens, others create abstract mandalas, and most approach art making as a form of meditation.