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Robert W. Jensen at Muckenthaler Cultural Center
October 9, 2005 - January 5, 2006
An exhibition of 90 works by Robert W. Jensen is on exhibit within the galleries of Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, California. While acrylic on canvas paintings dominate, Jensen, who enjoys working in many media, includes a number of drawings, watercolors, and original graphics, i.e. serigraphs, etchings, engravings and giclées, as well as some other experimental digital processes. The exhibition, which is actually two separate themed exhibits, will remain at Muckenthaler until January 5, 2006. The two themes are Jensen's interpretations of sports, titled Have You Come to Play? and his reminiscences of world travel, Collected Memories.
On October 9, a special event took place at Muckenthaler -- the annual USC Orange County Football Rally, which this year celebrates the 125th anniversary of the University of Southern California. Jensen's sports exhibition includes many of his paintings of the USC Trojan Marching Band, including one in which they are performing in front of the Muckenthaler from last year's rally. Dr. Arthur C. Bartner, musical director of the Trojan Marching Band for more than thirty years, has characterized Jensen as "the ofÞcial unofÞcial painter of the band." Jensen's paintings provided many of the illustrations in a book celebrating Bartner's 25th anniversary with the band. (right: Robert W. Jensen, USC Pep Rally, an acrylic on canvas, 36 X 36 inches)
Another book Þlled with Jensen's works on sports, titled The Young Athlete will be featured in the exhibition. One of those paintings titled The Diamond Belt Weigh-In, which is now in the collection of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, will be represented at Muckenthaler as a giclée image. International columnist and radio personality Bonnie Churchill, provided anecdotal celebrity material for that book, and will be included in the Muckenthaler's lecture program accompanying the exhibit.
Sport as Symbol: Images of the Athlete in Art, Literature and Song written by Mari Womack, a research scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, chose a number of Jensen's sports images to use as illustrations in her book along with those by Renoir, Curry, Archipenko, Goya, Stubbs, and many others from the world's Þnest museums. Churchill authored the text for another of Jensen's books on his travels in the People's Republic of China, titled The Waking Dragon Beckons. Paintings and drawings from that earlier publication were featured in a touring exhibit that concluded at the PaciÞc Asia Museum in Pasadena. Some of those works are included in the Muckenthaler exhibit, including one very large painting, measuring 75 X 89 inches, titled Walking the Great Wall.
Other works in the Collected Memories travel section of the exhibition include tulip Þelds in The Netherlands; the gardens of the Pavlovsk Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia; the roses of London's Hyde Park; the Luxembourg Gardens of Paris; scenes from Jerusalem and the desert of Israel; canal boats in Berlin; St. Peter's Cathedral; the Prado in Madrid; Switzerland; Singapore; a Memorial Day Parade in Chicago; the gardens of the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, and numerous southern California scenes. (left: Robert W. Jensen, Picking Tulips in Holland, acrylic on canvas, 38 X 30 inches)
The Huntington Library commissioned Jensen to reproduce a number of his paintings of their gardens for a series of note papers that were sold in their gift/book shop. Most recently, Jensen has hung six paintings in the Nixon Library and Birthplace, all renderings of their grounds, which will soon be available as note papers in their gift shop. The Muckenthaler gift shop will offer a number of note paper reproductions from this exhibition. The note papers are well known in charity circles since Jensen has donated them to Sonance, Los Angeles Beautiful Foundation, the Footlighters, the Los Angeles Philanthropic Foundation, the National Arts Association, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
Jensen, has often said, "If there are themes to my paintings, it is simply the natural beauty around me, including the people who inhabit that beauty. I've been accused of being a painter of 'happy' scenes. I confess to seeing the positive side of things." That seems a perfect Þt to the motto of the Muckenthaler which is: "We are a celebration of the human spirit through the arts."
TheDiscriminatingCollector.com provides further information about Robert W. Jensen, including a biography and pdf file of the media kit for this exhibition.
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