On the Surface: Wallpaper from 1797 to the Present

August 21, 2019

On the Surface: Wallpaper from 1797 to the Present

September 7 – October 26, 2019 | Palos Verdes Art Center

OPENING RECEPTION Sept. 7, 6 – 9 pm. Free to the public.

SPECIAL EVENT Oct. 19, 1 – 3pm: Talk and Book Signing with Brian D. Coleman, MD, author of Zuber: Two Centuries of Panoramic Wallpaper

Palos Verdes Art Center / Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education is pleased to announce On the Surface: Wallpaper from 1797 to the Present, organized by PVAC and Boston artist and collector, Scott Dahill.

This survey of applied architectural surface design – wallpaper – presents historic samples from European, English, and American wallpaper designers and manufacturers, as well as reissues of classic patterns and explorations in contemporary design. Also included are sample books, antique tools of the trade, and feature walls suitable for portrait backdrops. Major contributors to this exhibition are Zuber & Cie, of Rixhiem, France – the oldest extant wallpaper manufacturer in the world; Bolling & Company of Portland, Oregon, who have loaned significant samples from their collection of 19th and early 20th century American wallpapers; Red Disk, of Buffalo, NY, who have brought back patterns by visionary American artist Charles E. Burchfield; and Astek, award-winning wallcovering designers from Van Nuys, CA, and favorites of the film industry. The exhibition includes original papers and designs by Boussac, Zuber & Cie, Abraham & Gustav Zumsteg, Morris & Co, Farrow & Ball, Sanderson, M. H. Birge and Sons, Gio Ponti, Fornasetti, Charles E. Burchfield, and others.

“As humans, we seek to find or create order from our surroundings.  The constellations and plant forms inspired geometry. Pattern (to most of us) is structure and order, and within its repetition is found comfort and a shared, communal vocabulary.

The backdrops of portrait paintings remain and reappear long after the sitter has departed.  The iconography of the background is more lasting than the names of many subjects occupying the foreground.

Throughout the history of art, the costumes, furniture, and wall coverings were either specially chosen or made for the majority of important portraits.  And they, like the framed pictures, became luminous debris – heirlooms that remain as important, but more approachable, and more easily appreciated by a wider audience.”  – Scott Dahill

The opening reception of On the Surface: Wallpaper from 1797 to the Present, to be held September 7 from six to nine in the evening, is accompanied by the installation of the 2nd PVAC Building Wrap Exhibition, supported by the RLES Burke Artist Residency Program. The wrap will cover portions of the exterior facade of the PVAC campus. Chosen from nearly 200 international design proposals, the neo-baroque floral photography of Portland, Oregon artist Deb Stoner evokes the botanical stylings of historic repeat patterns, while presenting a contemporary imagining of the panoramic scenes masterfully pioneered by Zuber & Cie.