At Bergamot Station…Lois Lambert Gallery presents two exhibitions – “Sacred / Mundane,” by Peter Wallis, and “Ceramics: Ruly & Unruly” by Joanne Jaffe. An opening reception was held on November 12, 2022, but the shows will remain on view through January 7, 2023.

For this new exhibition, Peter Wallis begins each work by recalling the walks he’s taken at dusk, through his past and present neighborhoods. He collects ideas from the surrounding environment, looking for scenes that might typically go unnoticed. Wallis sketches and collages together these images, both real and imagined. He brings places from different locations and periods of time into the same space, creating an entirely new landscape. These sketches later serve as references when Wallis creates the final paintings in gouache and charcoal. Wallis intends for this work to be thought-provoking. Each piece is built from fragments of memories or dreams that evoke feelings of nostalgia of an unfamiliar place. Many of the buildings present in Wallis’ paintings no longer exist. Wallis’ paintings use a visual language of abandoned buildings, figurines, dancers, and skeletons to convey the feeling of being in a dream. The negative space left in many of his works provides room for the viewer to draw personal connections, allowing their own memories to contextualize the stories within each scene. 

Peter Wallis Hurricane Irene, gouache on paper, 28″ x30″

Wallis approaches each painting as if it were a scene from a play with no end, seeking to create a unique landscape, in which the mundane is sacred. Wallis has collaborated with artist Jonathan Capone to create interactive versions of his work for this exhibition. On some of Wallis’ pieces, the pair have created animations that use the viewer’s body motions, gestures, and interactions to activate and engage with the work in live time. The viewer’s movement triggers different parts of the animations embedded in Wallis’ work. 

Ceramicist artist Joanne Jaffe credits Covid with spurring her current series, Ruly & Unruly. When the virus struck, Jaffe, like many others, became what she describes as “food-obsessed.” While her husband, Jon, took up baking, she turned her studio practice to dinnerware. “I was practically drowning us in soups and stews, and quickly began to feel a need for all manner of serving pieces,” she explains. Her previous series, Applied Geometry (at Lois Lambert Gallery, Jan-Mar 2019) had been an explosion of bright colors after years of more muted palettes. 

For that series she had developed a simplified vocabulary of forms and motifs— principally circles, triangles and checkerboards. It was exciting to discover their versatility—that she could deploy them in potentially endless combinations. “Once I got going, I was able to sublimate my Covid woes in clay,” she says. The outcome was a wide array of functional pieces, including a return to some of Jaffe’s perennial favorites, such as vases, pedestal pieces, and sake sets. But it was from making dinner plates and platters that Jaffe discovered that a large, blank plate could also serve as a canvas. 

November 12, 2022 – January 7, 2023

What: New Exhibitions, Peter Wallis, Joanne Jaffe
Where: Lois Lambert Gallery, Bergamot Station, E-3, 2525 Michigan Ave. Santa Monica, 90404