Yesterday I took the train down to Long Beach, and since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to stop in at the Long Beach Museum of Art (LBMA). It was well worth the trip.
After getting off the train I could’ve taken a bus, but I ended up just walking down Ocean Blvd. and checking out the neighborhood. I haven’t been to Long Beach for years, so I wanted to take in the sights. While there’s lots of new construction going on downtown, Ocean Blvd. offers a panorama of the city’s history. I saw low-rise apartment buildings from the post WWII era, grandiose structures that go back to the 20s, and a few homes that I imagine were among the first to be built to be built in the area. I didn’t realize the LBMA has been around since 1950. It’s been located in the historic Elizabeth Milbank Anderson House since 1957.
There were two shows on view. Most of the gallery space was devoted to works by Young-Il Ahn. His early canvasses were vaguely figurative, but over the course of his career he’s moved to total abstraction. Some of the most recent works were large horizontal paintings that seemed almost monochromatic.
I say “almost” because on looking closer you see how subtly he uses color. While the canvas is largely filled with countless small, precise strokes of red, you can find traces of other hues bleeding through.
Ahn is obsessed with water. Here’s an early painting called Harbor Mist, which is almost representational.
His later paintings are also inspired by water, but the end result is less pictorial than poetic.
Here’s a closer look.
There was also a small show of sculpture by Ann Weber. Something about her work grabbed me right away. She takes discarded cardboard and weaves it into suggestive forms. Like these.
Weber’s work is worth spending some time with. You can see that the finished product is the result of painstaking process.
I loved this one, titled Moon over San Pedro.
The Ahn show was over this weekend. Weber’s sculptures will be on view til February 4. To learn more about the museum, follow the link below.