Professor John Carlander was teaching at Westmont before there was a Westmont Art Center. It’s only fitting that the man credited with helping to create Westmont’s Art Department be the focus of the first exhibition in the Westmont Museum of Art.
“John Carlander: Highlights from a Thirty-Year Career” will be on display in the museum at Adams Center for the Visual Arts from Sept. 16 to Nov. 13. The public is invited to an opening reception Thursday, Sept. 16, from 4-6 p.m.
Construction of the Adams Center was completed ahead of schedule, and a grand opening of the new facility is scheduled for fall 2011. Carlander, who plans on teaching at Westmont for two more years, says the original plan wasn’t for him to be the first in the Westmont Museum. “We thought we’d close out Reynolds Gallery,” he says. “It’s my 30th year here and it seemed appropriate since I spent about 20 years at that gallery. But it’s great because my work will look even better over here.
“Any college would love to have this building on their campus. It has the right feeling with the concrete. Students are lucky to be able to study in it. It’s state of the art and fills the bill.”
The exhibit features many of Carlander’s traditional figurative and nonrepresentational paintings, as well as two prints.
“His ease of working in a variety of styles is one of Carlander’s strengths as an educator,” says Judy Larson, director of the Westmont Museum of Art. “He trusts the intelligence and creativity of his students. His philosophy of teaching is to excite students and encourage them to try new things.”
Carlander, who opened the original Westmont Art Center in 1985 with Professor Tony Askew, says he’s looking forward to the opening reception, seeing friends and people who’ve been supportive throughout his career.
Askew, who retired in 2008 after 26 years at Westmont, says Carlander’s dedication is easily recognizable in the outpouring of his creative work. “His strong exhibition record, numerous awards and discipline for spending time in the studio are admirable, and all accomplished while maintaining a busy teaching schedule,” Askew says.
A concurrent exhibition, “Paul Lindhard Sculpture Garden,” is Westmont’s sixth annual outdoor sculpture display by a local artist. Lindhard owns Art City in Ventura, the source for sculptural stone for artists across the region. He is best known for creating organic installations of cairns and towers, sometimes combining stones and electronics to create luminous rock lanterns.