Group Show "(re)Examine: Pictorial Art Selections from the University Art Collection" at San José State University's Gallery 3

August 25, 2019
Gallery 3 at San José State University

proudly presents "(re)Examine: Pictorial Art Selections from the University Art Collection"

A Group Show Featuring Artwork by Roy De Forest, Jun Kaneko, James Thomas Mattingly, Georges Rouault, and unidentified artists, curated by Aaron Wilder

"Decorated Hero" by James Thomas Mattingly

James Thomas Mattingly
Decorated Hero, 1966
Mixed Media, Wood


August 26-29, 2019

Opening Reception: Tuesday August 27, 2019, 6:00pm-7:30pm


Gallery 3, Art Building

San José State University

One Washington Square

San José, CA 95192

In this display works from the University Art Collection, a group of pictorial art pieces by Roy De Forest, Jun Kaneko, James Thomas Mattingly, Georges Rouault, and unidentified artists were selected as an opportunity to (re)examine associations between works, artistic practices, pictorial mediums, and human conditions.

Best known for depictions of strange, fantastical scenes, Roy De Forest described his practice as an “obscure visual constructor of mechanical delights.” He served in the US Army as a sign painter before receiving his BA in 1953 from what is now the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA in 1958 from what is now San Francisco State University. De Forest rejected traditional pictorial styles and bilateral symmetry as can be seen in his lithograph on display here, which is part of the university’s Washington Square Press Collection. As you can see, his crowded compositional strategy pulls you into De Forest’s fantasy world to take a closer look and (re)examine associations between depicted figures and motifs.

Born in Japan in 1942, Jun Kaneko moved to the US in 1963 to continue his artistic studies. Early in his career, Kaneko studied painting and gravitated to working with clay after moving to California and becoming involved in the Contemporary Ceramics Movement. Kaneko was invited to SJSU as part of a printmaking residency working with Patrick Surgalski. As can be seen in his two works displayed here, Kaneko explored the effects of repeated abstract motifs. He has said about his work “Scale in nature presents a great challenge to all object-makers. Mountains, oceans, wind, and fire are all greater in scale than anything we could ever create.” In this display, Kaneko’s work is placed in dialogue with very different works in order to examine this human created scale in both art as well as war.

After graduating from Santa Cruz High School, James Thomas Mattingly served in the US Air Force from 1954 to 1957, stationed at Langley Field, Virginia. He then returned to California and came to SJSU and received his BA in Philosophy and Art in 1963 followed by an MFA in Painting, Drawing, and Printmaking, also at SJSU. During graduate school Mattingly’s work expressed deep criticism stemming from the socio-political climate of the 1960s as can be seen in his mixed media piece displayed here. After graduating from SJSU, Mattingly taught at Alberta College of Art in Canada and then at what is now Western Oregon University from 1968 to 1994 where he developed the Art Department’s printmaking program.

French artist Georges Rouault apprenticed with a stained glass artisan at the age of 14. This can be seen across Rouault’s oeuvre in his consistent use of heavy outlines. In the late 19th century, Rouault became a devout Roman Catholic and many of his works have been interpreted as moral and social criticism. About his work he has said “For me, painting is a way to forget life. It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh.” Rouault’s works displayed here are from his Miserere series highlighting the artist’s focus on the tension between life and death. This series reflects the impact of World War I on the artist. Since the series was not completed and publicly seen until the immediate aftermath of World War II, it also represents a (re)examining of the history of human suffering at the hands of other humans.

Also displayed are two works by unidentified artists. One is a large painting depicting either three military planes in a particular attack formation or three progressive views of the same plane as it moves toward what appears to be a target in the upper right. It is unclear as to whether this painting was left unfinished. The other work is a lithograph depicting what appear to be military officers as satirical caricatures. The piece appears to be critical of decisions of war that are likened to an arbitrary game played by silly children masquerading as rational adults in military costume.

Curated by Aaron Wilder