The Art Gallery entrance hall is just one moving van away from becoming a white void room directing the visitor to enter the main room where Artist in Residence Tom LaDuke’s art pieces are displayed.
Artist LaDuke’s exhibit “ellipsis” opened in the Art Gallery on Feb. 20. During the week of Mar 18 through 22, LaDuke will present a public lecture in the Vosloh Forum followed by a reception in the Art Gallery on March 18.
“He had a great deal to do with the decisions about which pieces are in the exhibit and where they go in the gallery,” said Brian Tucker, director of the art gallery.
The minimalist and exceedingly clean style with all walls in featureless white evokes a sense of crossing over to another realm, inviting visitors to not only look at the art but also to fill in the blanks.
While working with students LaDuke will create a piece for the PCC art collection, according to Tucker.
“For [LaDuke] the process is as important as the work itself, and so he is an artist that I gravitate towards,” said Yolanda McKay, art instructor.
LaDuke’s painting “The Nobodies” is one of a collection of paintings composed of oil and acrylic on canvas over panel. The painting is a reproduction via airbrush of moments in films playing on a TV screen. In this piece, it is a scene from Star Wars. He adds a layer of imagery by heavily applied paint lifted from old-master paintings and overlaid atop the airbrushing.
“Part of what he does is to destroy expectations of what people think a painting is,” said McKay.
There is something intellectual about his paintings that combine the modern with the classical and historical, utilizing the dichotomy in both the idea and the materials.
LaDuke is like an alchemist because he makes the ideas through the materials, said McKay. “Using different materials is pretty indicative of an artist that is thinking,” she said.
In terms of the materials it is very typical of artists today to gravitate towards ideas that they are interested in and it is not necessarily based on materials, explained McKay, but maybe the materials help to inform the object. “I see him more interested in materials that we take for granted and he gives them sort of this new life,” she said.
McKay met LaDuke at CSU Fullerton where he received his BFA and she recalls they had like interests.
“When I saw him again I was impressed that he continued making objects along with his paintings,” McKay said. “He is more interested in residual things, trying to catch your attention with things you don’t really think about.”