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2015 Exhibitions


September 13–December 6, 2015

Descanso Gardens is frequently described as an “oasis.” This exhibition explored through artists’ eyes and sensibilities the many meanings and connotations of “oasis” — refuge, mirage, an island of human activity in a parched surrounding landscape.

The exhibition spilled out of the gallery into hidden spots throughout the Gardens where artists who specialize in creating site-specific sculptures and environments created installations. In another first for the gallery, the exhibition included the work of poets whose words and ideas left the printed page and entered into the nooks and crannies of Descanso Gardens itself. Oasis featured the work of 21 contemporary artists and four poets.

Featured artists and curator

Carlos Almaraz, Molly Bendall, Bryant Elizabeth & Patrick Nickell, Margaret Griffith & Jamison Carter, Nick Taggart & Laura Cooper, Michael Davis, Donna Frazier Glynn, Carrie Paterson, Sandra Haeuplik-Meusburger & Verena Holzgethan, Deborah Hede, Flora Kao, Douglas Kearney, Helen Lessick, Won Ju Lim, Thomas Muller, Lucas Reiner, Rebecca Ripple, Melanie Schiff,  Kyungmi Shin, Hataya Tubtim, Alexandra Wiesenfeld, Terry Wolverton.

Curated by John David O’Brien.

All photos © Robert Wedemeyer

California Light

May 3–August 2, 2015

In the fall of every other year, Pasadena becomes the stage for the AxS Festival, a celebration of the arts and sciences. As part of the Festival, Descanso Gardens presented Signs of Life, with curatorial coordination by John David O’Brien. The exhibit featured artworks that celebrate water in all its moods and states — literal, symbolic, poetic, and metaphorical — and reminds us that, in the words of naturalist Loren Eisley, “If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in the water.”

Featured artists

Peter Alexander, Laurie Brown, Margaret Caldwell, Darlene Campbell, Todd Carpenter, Roi Clarkson Colman, Leland Curtis, James Doolin, Aaron Giesel, Paul Grimm, Heather Sturt Haaga, D.J. Hall, Ann Lofquist, Theodore Lukits, Albert Marshall, Julius Shulman and Juergen Nogai, Grafton Tanquary, and Robert Weingarten.

All photos © Robert Wedemeyer