“Homegrown”: the painter returns to his native landscape with a new exhibition at La Jolla
Longtime artist Jeffrey Carr, former dean of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, returns to his roots in La Jolla and elsewhere in San Diego with a new show that reveals his affinity for particular colors and shapes in the Southern Californian Coastline.
Carr will showcase her love for the San Diego beaches in “Homegrown: Paintings of Southern California” starting Wednesday, November 17 at the St. James Gallery by-the-Sea at 743 Prospect St., La Jolla.
The exhibit, Carr’s first since retiring to Spring Valley in eastern San Diego County, will feature 18 paintings, many of which feature Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, her favorite.
Carr will attend a reception at the gallery at 4 p.m. on Thursday, November 18. The exhibition will run until Saturday, November 27.
Carr said his paintings belonged to a genre “based on East Coast paintings which have its roots in European Modernist painting.”
He said he would have prints of the paintings available at the exhibition to make the art more accessible, because “people tend to think of paintings as spectator sports.”
“I want people to think of a painting as an expensive novel,” Carr said.
“People are really intimidated by works of art,” he added. “They feel like they shouldn’t have an opinion on it, or don’t know what to think about it. They should be able to judge paintings as they judge music.
“I really like the idea of an informed audience.”
Carr’s career has included art studies at UC Santa Cruz, New York Studio School, and Yale School of Art and has taught at several art schools and universities across the country and in Italy. But he spent a lot of time “dreaming about California,” he said.
“I’m crazy about this [California] landscape because I grew up here, ”Carr said. “I have been thinking about this landscape since I left here.
After his retirement and his wife, who died in 2018, Carr began painting landscapes he didn’t have time to work on.
“It’s hard to make art when you’re a university professor,” he said. “When I became dean of the [Pennsylvania] academy, I had the illusion that I was going to continue my artistic work.
Carr enrolled in his first oil painting class “in the basement of the old museum of contemporary art in La Jolla” while attending high school in La Jolla in the late 1960s , did he declare. “I discovered that, to my amazement, I could draw perfectly well.”
He said he remembered his first painting “vividly”, realizing “this is what I was supposed to do”.
From there, Carr said, he became “addicted” to painting, launching a decades-long pursuit of his passion.
He says he is drawn to landscapes because they have “moods”, and that he is particularly drawn to the colors and light they contain.
“I think people these days think that art is all about being crazy, outrageous or upsetting or that you are meant to be shocked,” Carr said. But “painting is like going to the concert of a musician that you really admire. … You should go and understand that painting is an art form. …
“There is nothing remarkable about my subject. It all depends on how it is painted.
‘Homegrown: Paintings of Southern California’
When: From noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment from Wednesday Nov. 17 to Saturday Nov. 27. Reception with artist Jeffrey Carr from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday Nov. 18.
Or: St. James by-the-Sea Gallery, 743 Prospect Street, La Jolla
Information: Or to view the exhibition virtually, jeffreycarrart.com/expositions ??