California exhibition surveys wallpaper from 1797 to present day

Wallpaper image courtesy of PVAC

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. – Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC)/Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education has announced the dates for its upcoming exhibition “On the Surface: Wallpaper from 1797 to the Present.” Organized by PVAC and Boston artist and collector Scott Dahill, the event will run from September 7 through October 26, 2019.

An opening reception on September 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. will be free and open to the public. On October 19 from 1-3 p.m., there will be a talk and book signing with Brian D. Coleman, M.D., author of Zuber: Two Centuries of Panoramic Wallpaper.

This survey of applied architectural surface design — wallpaper — presents historic samples from European, English, and American wallpaper designers and manufacturers, as well as reissues of classic patterns and explorations in contemporary design. Also included are sample books and antique tools of the trade, with feature walls suitable for portrait backdrops. Major contributors to this exhibition are Zuber & Cie, of Rixhiem, France, the oldest extant wallpaper manufacturer in the world; Bolling & Company of Portland, Oregon, who have loaned significant samples from their collection of 19th and early 20th-century American wallpapers; Red Disk, of Buffalo, New York, who have brought back patterns by visionary American artist Charles E. Burchfield; and Astek, award-winning wallcovering designers from Van Nuys, California, and favorites of the film industry. The exhibition includes original papers and designs by Boussac, Zuber & Cie, Abraham & Gustav Zumsteg, Morris & Co, Farrow & Ball, Sanderson, M. H. Birge and Sons, Gio Ponti, Fornasetti, Charles E. Burchfield, Astek, and others.

As humans, we seek to find or create order from our surroundings. The constellations and plant forms inspired geometry. Pattern (to most of us) is structure and order, and within its repetition is found comfort and a shared, communal vocabulary.

Wallpaper image courtesy of PVAC

The backdrops of portrait paintings remain and reappear long after the sitter has departed. The iconography of the background is more lasting than the names of many subjects occupying the foreground.

Throughout the history of art, the costumes, furniture, and wall coverings were either specially chosen or made for the majority of important portraits. And they, like the framed pictures, became luminous debris – heirlooms that remain as important, but more approachable, and more easily appreciated by a wider audience. – Scott Dahill

The opening reception on September 7 will be accompanied by the installation of the 2nd PVAC Building Wrap Exhibition, supported by the RLES Burke Artist Residency Program. The wrap will cover portions of the exterior facade of the PVAC campus. Chosen from nearly 200 international design proposals, the neo-baroque floral photography of Portland, Oregon artist Deb Stoner evokes the botanical stylings of historic repeat patterns, while presenting a contemporary imagining of the panoramic scenes masterfully pioneered by Zuber & Cie.

Since 1931, Palos Verdes Art Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 community visual arts organization, has inspired “adults and children to create, appreciate, and celebrate art.” We provide exhibition, education, and outreach programs that make the visual arts available, accessible and affordable.

Palos Verdes Art Center is located at 5504 Crestridge Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. Click to visit PVAC online.

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