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Perspective offered on ‘Radius Abstractus’

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David Pagel, art theory and history professor at Claremont Graduate University, speaks with senior psychology major Mia Lee, CGU student Adrienne DeVine and senior art major John Lee at the “Radius Abstractus” exhibit in the Art and Communications Building following his lecture Oct. 27. Pagel is a for the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York. / photo by Megan Peralez

David Pagel, art theory and history professor at Claremont Graduate University, speaks with senior psychology major Mia Lee, CGU student Adrienne DeVine and senior art major John Lee at the “Radius Abstractus” exhibit in the Art and Communications Building following his lecture Oct. 27. Pagel is a for the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York. / photo by Megan Peralez

Alexandra Felton
Staff Writer

A piece of cardboard can be an essential tool, like a paintbrush, for an abstract artist. If you have ever thought otherwise, then David Pagel’s lecture last week would have made you think again.

On Thursday in the Campus Center Ballroom, students and faculty listened to David Pagel, an art critic, curator and professor at Claremont Graduate University.

The talk focused on the the installation “Radius Abstractus,” displayed on the Tall Wall in the Art and Communications Building, its creator Augusto Sandroni, and other abstract art and artists.

Pagel also showed the work of abstract artists Andrew Mussulo, Polly Apfelbaum, Sarah Cain, Allison Miller and John Mills.

He provided detailed explanations of art pieces that seemed to be indescribable. In one piece, he showed a two-toned dark blue and bright orange geometric painting. The audience anticipated his criticism.

“This piece reminds me of singing in the shower,” Pagel said.

The audience became visibly confused with his this, so Pagel followed up:

’“I feel this feeling of intimate, personal connection that’s anonymous, yet shared by all people through these pieces,” Pagel said. “It’s not about the materials, it’s the way that most ordinary materials are created that make stronger and more powerful meanings,” Pagel said.

“There is no fixed way of making a meaning. You have the freedom to make choices with this art,” Pagel said.

Damairis Lao, sophomore art and art history major called abstract art, “an acquired taste that is primarily psychological. I’m more into figurative art,” Lao said.

Jordan Nesbit, a University of La Verne alumnus and current art studio assistant said he loved the lecture.

“Abstract is an internal and external dialogue-oriented art form. You expose yourself to possibilities,” Nesbit said. “Art won’t die because there are so many ways to make art, even with technology.”

“I am happy Pagel is friends with Sandroni, the man who created this art here on large display,” said Dion Johnson, University of La Verne director of galleries, who coordinated the Thursday event. “It connects the artist with the school and is very rewarding,” Johnson said.

Alexandra Felton can be reached at alexandra.felton@laverne.edu.

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