StudioEleven Reflects on Lockdown with New On-Campus Art Installation

Triptych of paintings of trees next to lake

Sarah Steinberg’s The Lakehead (2021) will be on display on the lower level of the Grand building as part of this year’s StudioEleven exhibit.

As campus returns to life this season, students, parents, faculty, staff, and visitors can enjoy the newest on-campus art installation from StudioEleven, titled LOCKDOWN ART: Reflections of StudioEleven Practices, on exhibit in both Olive and Grand buildings. Featuring the work of nineteen visual artists, the exhibit showcases intimate work reflecting a more socially isolated period in the pandemic.

As the world around us was forced to slow down in 2020, so too did the artists: they had more time to observe their surroundings, discover found materials from their homes, and sit with emotions ranging from fear to panic to acceptance. The result was more personal, contemplative, and meditative works.

StudioEleven’s fourth exhibition at Colburn is an organic evolution of a tradition that began when the Grand Avenue building opened in 1998, helmed by Toby Mayman, former executive director and honorary life director of the board. “The concept of integrating visual art in a space built specifically for the performing arts seemed felicitous and natural to me, especially with MOCA next door,” she explained. It started with the revolving chandelier by LA based and internationally exhibited artist Peter Shire, still on display in the Olive building, and developed as numerous individual artists generously loaned their works on a yearly basis, including former LA County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, whose donated black and white photographs are also exhibited in the Grand Building.

When Wendy Kelman, former Board Chairman, joined the School, she introduced the Colburn community to StudioEleven artists, and thus formed the mutual partnership that has evolved to what is now an annual installation of remarkable drawings, paintings and mixed media works each fall.

As an artist collective, StudioEleven offers the kind of support to visual artists that the Colburn community experiences. Studio artists are able to see each other work, discuss their processes, and get feedback while working. StudioEleven artist Jennifer Diener, a longtime performing arts advocate and dedicated Colburn supporter describes, “All the artists show respect to the other artists, even though we are completely different in our visions and works of art.” Jennifer’s painting, Violations 2, is featured in the above photo gallery.

As with the performing arts practiced at the School, visual art requires an audience for it to be fully appreciated. As Jennifer Diener expressed, “All art is a form of individual expression which seeks to be experienced by another human being. Art is, after all, a form of communication, and having the Colburn community of faculty, students, parents, staff and even the public, viewing our work is like completing a circle. Art expresses the individual making it, but also hopefully affects the viewer.”

To have her works shown to other living artists grappling with the world is particularly significant to Jennifer and other StudioEleven artists: “The School is open and welcoming; the art enlivens the space and promotes art from people actively making art today.”

StudioEleven is a group of independent artists working and studying at Tom Wudl’s downtown LA studio. Learn more about the artists, view the exhibition map, and see LOCKDOWN ART: Reflections of StudioEleven Practices on display through June 2022.