Hackett Mill is pleased to present Frank Lobdell, A Celebratory Exhibition to commemorate the life and work of Bay Area painter, sculptor, printmaker and teacher, Frank Lobdell, who died in December 2013 at the age of 92. Our exhibition will focus on Lobdell’s contemporary paintings, drawings and sculptures, themselves a whimsical celebration of color and form. 

On view for the first time will be a series of progression drawings from Lobdell’s sketchbooks, which helped to inform the final paintings. Art critic Anthony Torres explains, “The sketchbooks demonstrate how Lobdell works out his ideas, and they bear witness to his interaction with materials ... used to construct and traverse a historically informed aesthetic landscape, and thus they provide a clue into intellectual and artistic processes that inform the way he works, through a strategy of appropriating, ingesting, and transforming a range of experiential encounters to create his visual statements.” These drawings serve as a visual diary of his practice, a place to experiment freely with complex formal devices that eventually evolved into the paintings.

Lobdell’s contemporary paintings are the culmination of decades of experimentation. Beginning in the 1940s, Lobdell developed a pictorial language that he continued to explore, assess and hone. His interest in surrealism, totemic symbols, fertility icons and archetypes informed his lexicon and over time his painting underwent what San Francisco critic Thomas Albright described as “a constant evolution from a somber, sometimes tragic sense of elemental conflict to a lyrical and exalted liberation, from darkness into light.” The paintings on exhibit are bright, clear, refined and playful. According to Bruce Guenther, Chief Curator at the Portland Art Museum, “Frank Lobdell has succeeded in creating a new and meaningful paradigm for his painting in breathtakingly beautiful works of both high seriousness and play...he depicts a world full of movement, activity, joy, and boundless emotion. To encounter a Lobdell painting today is to engage at the highest level in a complex dance between structure and symbolism, form and meaning.”

In 1988 Frank Lobdell received the Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Painting from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters. A retrospective exhibition of Lobdell's career was organized in 2003 by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and traveled to the Portland Art Museum, Oregon. A major monograph, Frank Lobdell: The Art of Making and Meaning accompanied the exhibition. Lobdell's works are held in many American museums including the De Young Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; the Los Angeles County Museum; the Menil Collection, Houston; the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.