BOB ZOELL • SPOTS
NOVEMBER 6 - DECEMBER 14, 2013
RECEPTION FOR THE ARTIST: Wednesday, November 6. 6 - 8 PM.
THE BOONE FAMILY ART GALLERY at the new Center for the Arts, Pasadena City College
Bob Zoell’s spot paintings, made in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, are dazzlingly meticulous formal variations on the motif of the spot. Yet, as the critic Peter Clothier writes, something else is going on: “Zoell’s spots convert disconcertingly into a pair of unblinking eyes, into dumb smiley faces, into blimp figures like the Michelin man. His paintings, often overwhelming in sheer scale, tend to leave us grinning with odd, discomfited amusement even while they speak to us as pure, hard-edged abstractions. […] Zoell’s paintings speak to us not only out of the quiet of pure aesthetic contemplation, but also out of the disquiet of our human being.”
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and now living in Pasadena, Bob Zoell has distinguished himself in the realms of illustration, painting and public art. At the age of 25, Zoell became an art director for the legendary graphic design firm Saul Bass and Associates. He opened his own design and illustration studio in 1967; his work became familiar to readers of counter-cultural publications of the time and he remains an important illustrator, with seven covers of The New Yorker to his credit. He began to investigate painting in 1970, and has produced several innovative bodies of work, including the “Spot” paintings that make up this exhibition. He has also completed many public art projects; his distinctive approach to public space and typographic design provoked the artist Ed Ruscha to remark, “CALTRANS should let Bob have complete artistic control over all public signage. Wouldn't we have a better life out here?"
The Pasadena City College exhibition includes a brochure featuring an essay on "The Art of Bob Zoell" by artist Gary Panter, written on the occasion of this exhibition.