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OMA Presents 100 Artists, 100 Years Exhibition Opening Today

Oceanside CA— Throughout 2015, Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) exhibitions and events will continue to focus on the most important and interesting art created and collected in San Diego and Southern California. From April 18 – July 26, 2015, OMA will be hosting 100 Artists, 100 Years: The San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild, 1915-2015.

This exhibition will feature works by one hundred distinguished artists who lived and worked in San Diego during the last century and who were, or are currently, Artists Guild members. They range from historically significant Plein Air painters such as Maurice Braun, Charles Fries, Alfred Mitchell, and Charles Reiffel, to contemporary masters such as John Baldessari and Richard Allen Morris. Established in 1915, the Artists Guild was instrumental in founding The San Diego Museum of Art in 1926 and, to this day remains an integral part of San Diego’s visual arts scene.

The idea for the exhibit was formed several years ago when the Guild decided to put a book together celebrating 100 years. “There have been thousands of members in the guild during its one hundred years and we had very stringent qualifications for inclusion in the book.” said Exhibition curator Mark-Elliott Lugo.

Exhibition curator Mark-Elliott Lugo

Exhibition curator Mark-Elliott Lugo

One of the challenges the guild commission faced was finding the art work of lesser known artists “It was especially challenging for a curator because there is no single data base to find who owns what. You just couldn’t Google it and find this work is here and that work is there. It wasn’t like that at all.” explained Lugo. “We had to do some real detective work.”

100 Artist, 100 Years will occupy both of OMA’s first-floor galleries. Many major disciplines, including, painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, ceramics, furniture making, and architecture, will be represented. Borrowed from local museums, institutions, private collections, and artists, many of these works have never been publicly exhibited. Mark-Elliott Lugo stated, “This exhibition will be a rare opportunity for viewers to experience in one venue the diverse range of art created in San Diego over the past century. I believe San Diegans will be excited and proud to see the exceptional skill and creativity of the artists who have lived and worked in the area.”

“It’s amazing to see this exhibit coming together.” said Jody Abssy, Historian for the San Diego Museum of Art, Artists Guild. “I have been looking at this art work for four years but only as small thumbnail photographs while doing research for the exhibit. To see the actual pieces all coming together, it’s like a dream unfolding right in front of me.”

Jody Abssy, Historian, San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild.

Jody Abssy, Historian,
San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild.

Ms. Abssy said she was fascinated by the stories and history behind the art and artist while doing research for the exhibit. “The very first president of the Guild was an architect, Henry Lord Gay. He was a very proper architect.” explained Ms. Abssy. Gay was the builder of some elegant buildings including the oldest structure at Balboa Park and the only “Brown Stone” home in San Diego but probably the most well known is the iconic Western Metal Supply Company building incorporated into Petco Park. “He would be rolling over if he knew that this is was how he was going to be remembered, with this simple commercial building.” The building was declared a hisitoric site in 1978 and since it couldn’t be torn down, it was incorporated into the outfield wall at Petco.

Along with the art work, Ms. Abssy has put together a program for the museum docents explaining the history of what was occurring in and around San Diego each decade surrounding the art pieces. “Picture yourself in 1915. Perhaps you come to town by railroad and marveled at the brand new Santa Fe Depot which opened in March of 1915.” The stories for each decade are filled with fascinating details of the people and places around the area during the Guilds 100 years.

In addition to the local history, Ms Abbsy has compiled background information on 31 woman featured in the exhibit. Artists such as Renata Spiazzi, North County artist, Holly Weston, Belle Baranceanu, Ruth Hayward, Anna Valentien to name a few.

In partnership with OMA, The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) will celebrate the Guild Centennial by concurrently exhibiting more than a dozen works in various media by artists who belonged to the Guild during its early years. SDMA curator Dr. James Grebl selected these pieces from the permanent collection of this iconic Balboa Park institution.

The opening reception for 100 Artists, 100 Years is Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 6:00-8:00pm. OMA’s exhibition receptions are exciting events wherein guests and members have the opportunity to mingle with other artists and art lovers, while enjoying complimentary light appetizers and wine. Receptions are complimentary for OMA members, $10 for nonmembers.

Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054

  • 100 Artists, 100 Years Exhibition: April 18 – July 26, 2015
  • 100 Artists, 100 Years Opening Reception: Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 6:00- 8:00pm
  • 100 Artists, 100 Years Panel Discussion: Wednesday, May 27, 2015— Complimentary for OMA members, $10 for nonmembers

Oceanside Museum of Art is a contemporary art museum dedicated to exhibiting art from the 20th and 21st centuries. A leader of arts and culture in North County, San Diego, 2015 marks this institution’s twentieth year as a premier regional art museum for San Diego and Southern California. As host to more than fifteen exhibitions a year, OMA designs integrated exhibition, event and educational programming to reflect the Oceanside and surrounding community’s desires. For more information about Oceanside Museum of Art, visit www.oma-online.org.

Photos: Steve Marcotte/OsideNews