Sunday, March 23, 2014




by Joshua Triliegi

O.K. So we got all excited about this exhibit, planned an interview with the Artist 
and no matter how serious we were, it, uhmm, just didn't happen, due to scheduling. 
So, here is one of those ART Essays that we are known for, you know the kind, 
rambling, searching, reaching for some form of truth telling through Art, etc ...

Gary Lang's Press kit tells us that he was born in Los Angeles in 1950, Lang attended 
the California Institute of the Arts. He received an MFA from Yale University in 1975, 
and a Fulbright/Hayes Travel & Research Grant to live in Barcelona for two years prior 
to settling in New York City. Lang has had more than seventy solo exhibitions in the US, 
Austria, France, Japan, The Netherlands, and Spain. 

Matt Gleason, One of L.A.'s Independent Art critics sites that, " Painter Gary Lang has 
enjoyed a celebrated career worthy of his keen talent. Free of the burden of conceptual 
angst that plagues most artists of our era, he penetrates optical space in his large circular 
paintings that defy the nihilism of both Duchamp's mechanical spinning wheels & Jasper 
Johns' targets. Far from mechanized, these are exercises in concentration & close inspection 
sees an ever-present hand in the almost precise brushstrokes." 

Ah yes, very well put my compadre. In other words, this is cool art! I like IT! Bravo!

" The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be 
surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory and to do something 
without knowing how or why; in short to draw a new circle. " 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson. (1803–1882). 

Yes, even Waldo agrees, that is, if you can find Waldo. We were looking to interview 
Mr. Lang, but like Waldo, he was unavailable for comment. 

" A circle is a simple shape of Euclidean geometry that is the set of all points in a plane 
that are at a given distance from a given point, the centre. " - Wikipedia 

I see, I see, o.k . Were getting somewhere.

circle  ˈsərkəl| (abbr.: cir. or circ. ) noun 1. a round plane figure whose boundary 
(the circumference) consists of points equidistant from a fixed point (the center). 
- Webster's Dictionary   

Yes, Yes, that's all true, but what about the art ?  

" You have noticed that everything an Indian does in a circle and that is because 
the Power of the World always works in circles and everything tries to be round. "  
- Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux 1863-1950

We have gathered that Gary Lang was born in 1950, the year that Black Elk 
moved past this world and yet, there is a small connection here, let's continue.

"When you are excited about something," Lang says, "I think you should take 
that very seriously." Mr Lang stated to Art Ltd Magazine in an interview from 
his Ojai Studio last year. I agree, that is why you will find his work & show at 
ACE Gallery in Beverly Hills on The Cover of this months BUREAU of ARTS + 
CULTURE Magazine on line. 

If you want to belong to the Art Mafia on the West Coast, You go to Cal Arts & 
indeed Gary Lang is a made man, so to speak. He's been in the game a very long 
time, working with lateral lines, triangles and circles for some amount of time. 
Visit the ACE Gallery and their site for visual examples. The Circle works are 
indeed powerful, inspiring, sometimes very exacting & other times loose, allowing 
for us to see the actual brushstrokes. As, Janet Koplos, my senior art critic from 
Art in America mentioned in 2010, "… each line is composed of pulses of color 
that reveal the depletion and reloading of his brush."  Yes, that too, is very true. 

Please Joshua, you say to yourself, tells us about the art, explain as you so often do 
what it means, think for us, please, pretty please. Tell us what to think, tells us what 
you think, ruminate on how and why it is important, give us something we can smile 
about. Help us sell this stuff. Contribute to the canon of great Art critics who all agree 
that Gary Lang is brilliant. We did that already, he's on the cover. And yes, of course 
he is brilliant, but so are you, so am I. We are brilliant and life is good. So, then why 
did Gary Lang get the cover ? And here is the part where I give in & describe his, my 
own and yours too: Brilliance. 

Because Gary Lang is focused, because he is disciplined, because he has been doing 
this thing we call ART for decades and mostly, to be honest, because I like the ART. 
This current work does have a relationship with those I have quoted & many I have 
not. Circles are what we live on, well, spheres anyway. Some believe that within each 
being, each human, you will find an area of energy commonly called a CHAKRA. 
A sort of zone or area that often correlates with an ephemeral energy within the person. 
I believe, without speaking in depth with Mr Lang, that he has tapped into a fine 
representation of what we might call a chakra with his ongoing CIRCLE Series. 
View the books by Leadbeater of the 1930's, to see what I mean. Standing alone in 
the gallery, in front of a Gary Lang Circle can seem dizzying. The works are alive, 
they throb, they orb, they breath in and out. Not like a silly optical art experiment, 
but organically, they move. The retina of ones eye [ not a reference to ONE the group, 
just 'one's' as in a person ] actually has to do some serious work to deal with the amount 
of color information that the viewer is dealing with. Mr. Lang has done this with lateral 
stripes and again with triangles, but the circles, take the cake, as it were. Years ago, 
I recall standing in front of a medium sized painting [8 foot] as compared to say his 
eleven foot paintings currently on view. The effect was nothing less than mesmerizing. 
His current works are iconic to the degree that, like the work of Artist Ron Riehel, they 
are so lovingly crafted, they could substitute for 'religious icons from another planet', 
to steal a line from my own description of Mr. Riehel's show from 1996. Artists today, 
must find something they are very serious about and be excited about it, to flip Lang's 
advice. He has done just that with this Art.

Which brings us back to circles. Native Americans, Mathematicians, Scientists, 
and if there is a god, which there might be & I don't want to turn off any readers 
that don't believe there is a god, whoever and whatever contributed to the great 
creation of this planet and indeed the universe, somehow, wether out of design or 
out of convenience or out of necessity, utilized the sphere/circle to make it happen. 

So did Gary Lang, Jasper Johns, Richard Long, Newell Harry and me and you and 
just about everyone that we know has drawn a circle and enjoyed doing it. Kepler 
obsessed over circles in his search to define the orbits of the planets, which led to 
Newton, which led to Einstein, its endless, the work we do, based on the work 
somebody else has done. So then, what is this thing called ART ? Why do we do it ? 
I cant answer for Gary Lang, he was unavailable for comment prior to my deadline.  

I will say this, Art: painting, sculpture printmaking, the application and craft of 
expressing ones self is something we humans need to do, it feels good to do it, 
and if we did it correctly, it makes others either feel good, or at least understand 
what it was we were feeling, and in some cases, the effect is sorrow, pain, sadness,
because that is the life's experience, that is the human experience, that is the gamut 
of emotions we go through on this planet, this very round planet that from a distance, 
looks like a circle. This particular example of creating Circles is much more than cool,
it is partially undefinable in text. In other words, I can't actually tell you how damn 
cool this stuff is, you have to visit the Art Gallery yourself, see it for yourself. 

The great New York Painter & World Class Filmmaker Julian Schnabel describes often,
the need to 'see the work in person', so true, so true, in this case especially true. Art is 
kinda weird like that, so are those that make the stuff, that's why we do it, because, we 
are never quite sure how it is going to end up upon completion. Not unlike this extremely 
weird and unorthodox art essay. Which is clearly not as pretty as a Gary Lang painting. 
Not as focused as a Richard Long Sculpture, Totally missed the bulls eye that Jasper Johns 
painted so vividly. Clearly, not nearly as funny as a Newell Harry piece of neon. Possibly, 
just as confusing as an Einstein Theory. Though, through it all, I took Mr Lang's advice, 
" When you are excited about something, I think you should take that very seriously."  
End of Discussion. End of Essay. As Shakespeare's King Lear might say, " The Wheel 
has turned full circle." Please See The Art Exhibit at ACE GALLERY by Mr Gary Lang 
on View through April.  " See you Around…"  

- Joshua TRILIEGI  for  BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE Magazine

ACE GALLERY 9430 Wilshire Blvd.  Beverly Hills, CA 90212  T: 310.858.9090

Link to The ACE Gallery   

Link to other related mentions:


 * [  INDICATES AN ENTIRE ORIGINAL BUREAU MAGAZINE AUDIO and SLIDE PRESENTATION ]