https://laartinfo.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/special-wendell-dayton-pioneer-of-8r-art-and-national-treasure-on-show-at-blum-poe-la-from-june-30-to-august-18-2018/ or as a shortlink https://wp.me/p8gGTo-PN
WENDELL DAYTON, pioneer of “8R Art” and National Treasure, on show at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles from June 30 to August 18, 2018.
Wendell Dayton, arguably a “National Treasure” for his pioneering work in “8R Art” (where each “R” stands for “Re-Using, Re-purposing, Recycling, etc) was born in Spokane, WA in 1938. He lives and works in the San Fernando Valley, just outside of Los Angeles, CA. His comprehensive 80th Anniversary exhibition from June 30 to August 18, 2018 at Blum and Poe – Los Angeles, one of the topmost leading gallery in Contemporary Art in the country, follows the recent acquisition of his work by LACMA [Los Angeles County Museum of Art]. In other words, Wendell Dayton “made it” as much as any artist can “make it”.
The stainless steel sculptures in the exhibition span six decades of the artist’s opus. They populate the entirety of the downstairs and upstairs galleries at Blum and Poe, and spread into the outdoor gardens.
The Blum and Poe press release shares the following details: “Upon completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Indiana University in 1960, Dayton hitchhiked his way to New York City to embark on his life as an artist. Living in a series of lofts on Bleecker and the Bowery, he met and worked alongside artists associated with the Park Place Group, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop, among them James Rosenquist, Robert Grosvenor, Claes Oldenburg, and Mark di Suvero. Beginning with painting and street rubbings, he soon graduated to larger constructions, eventually incorporating welding and materials such as steel, painted wood, and found items. Dayton made a living as a guard at the Whitney Museum and as a maintenance painter at the Museum of Modern Art, eventually relocating in 1972 to Los Angeles, all the while developing a growing body of large-scale sculptural work.
For the past two decades, Dayton’s studio has resided on a two-acre plot at the far edge of the San Fernando Valley [that reminds anyone knowing the two of some of the aspects of Jirayr Zorthian’s ranch]. Amidst a sprawling rural landscape, the property is a dusty field peppered with twelve-foot shimmering sculptures, some resting in the dry bed of a pale blue swimming pool nested in the center of the plot. His works range from small-scale pieces detailed with bright splashes of auto retouching paint to stark, monumental stainless steel structures that nod to David Smith, Alexander Calder, and John Chamberlain. These industrial materials are hard and severe—each work manipulated by Dayton for months on end by gantries, plasma cutters, pipe benders, and welding machines—meant to endure the elements and time. Shapes cut from steel, spliced curling metal pipes, and the parts of a dismembered drill press meet in these totemic compositions and seem to effortlessly rise from the ground toward the sky. Dayton transmutes these crude mediums into graceful abstracted forms, welded gestures representing the birth of a child, lovers lost, and the celestial bodies above.”
It is truly a pleasure to see so seminal a work in “8R Art” finally fully recognized by authorities as incontestable as LACMA and Blum and Poe. What is important, however, is that Wendell Dayton’s exemplary work does not remain an isolated peak, like, arguably, the one Jirayr Zorthian once produced, but gives birth to a following, a “school”. Our world produces innumerable materials that can be transcended into Art, and this is precisely what Wendell Dayton demonstrated and illustrated in the most magisterial of ways.
In any event, if you want to experience by yourself what can be done with recycled and repurposed metals, you need to swing by Blum and Poe before August 18th, 2018. The gallery is located 2727 S. La Cienega, Los Angeles CA 90034, and open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM.
For reference, our listing on L.A. Art Parties, Receptions, Openings, Events – 2018week31 – 180730-180805 to be found at https://laartinfo.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/l-a-art-parties-receptions-openings-events-2018week31-180730-180805/ or as a shortlink: https://wp.me/p8gGTo-OF
Wendell Dayton – Stainless steel sculptures spanning six decades of the artist’s oeuvre populate the entirety of the downstairs and upstairs galleries along with the outdoor gardens.
On view: June 30 – August 18, 2018
Blum & Poe
2727 S. La Cienega, Los Angeles CA 90034