The Museum of Neon Art will host an artist talk on Saturday, July 15, with Oliver Nowlin in conjunction with his solo exhibition, “Lightning’s Lung,” which will be on display at MONA through Sunday, Aug. 27.
The artist talk, which will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., will also feature a conversation with MONA Executive Director Corrie Siegel. Nowlin, an 81-year-old Los Angeles-based artist, will discuss his body of work which spans over three decades. Attendees will also have the opportunity to walk away with an original artwork by Nowlin.
“Nowlin is a remarkable artist who has been developing his singular approach to painting and sculpture over the last six decades,” said Siegel. “His work conjures maximalism and neo-expressionism while also presaging the painting of Mary Weatherford.
“While his place as a California icon was established in the 1970s when he was featured in a towering mural by Kent Twitchell, his work continues to grow in relevance,” he added. “It’s an honor to work with this artist who has such a longstanding commitment to advancing neon art.”
Nowlin’s work mines his personal narrative and diverse interests. He abstracts stories from his life by conveying them through geometric forms, texture, color, mark-making and light. The found objects that Nowlin occasionally integrates into his sculptural form — cardboard packaging and beer can decals — are transformed through sculptural and painterly interventions.
Inspirations for his works range from his time in the Navy during the Vietnam War, his family, when he witnessed lightning hitting the ground while camping as a child, his time fishing along the L.A. River and his son.
While working toward his master’s degree from Otis Art Institute, Nowlin began examining what he calls “how light affects what we see and how we see it.” He explored many forms of lighting, settling on neon due to its connection to line, as well as its ease of installation.
Nowlin was an early exhibitor at MONA in the 1980s and has continued to show his work in group exhibitions. This is his first solo exhibition at the museum.
“It’s been a pleasure to sit with Oliver and hear his stories,” Siegel said. “It is moving and inspiring to spend time with someone who has lived such a rich life and has dedicated his life to making and working through images. I am very excited that others will get the opportunity to experience this as well.”
First published in the July 8 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.