John Edward Svenson: California Sculptor


September 6–October 26, 2003

Curated by Skip Pahl

Oceanside Museum of Art is proud to present, John Edward Svenson: California Sculptor, an exhibition that celebrates Svenson's legacy as an architectural sculptor and artist of public art commissions.

Exhibition curator Skip Pahl said, 'John Svenson's sculpture clearly reveals his personal voice in sensitive stylizations that convey a mysterious spark of life - a hallmark of great realistic sculpture." Architectural sculpture has played a long and distinguished role in western culture. In the first half of the 20th century the Works Progress Administration advanced America's commitment to the concept that quality of life is enhanced by art and that it should be a part of public places.

John Edward Svenson has created much of Southern California's public art. His work is seen in parks, hospitals, hotels, cities, malls, airports, schools, museums and churches. Many know his "Sun Dancer" bronze porpoise fountain at the Laguna Niguel Ritz-Carlton and "George Chaffey" at the Ontario International Airport. He sculpted five larger than life bronze busts for Claremont University and U.C.L.A., and has twice received the American Institute of Architecture Award for Excellence in Sculpture.

Elected to the National Sculpture Society in 1965 and advanced to fellow in 1971, Svenson has received its coveted Gold Medal and twice received the American Institute of Architecture Award for Excellence in Sculpture. Svenson is also a member of the Society of Medalists and has struck many designs to commemorate historic events and characters. Notable examples include Northrup Corporation's Achievement in Space, Pitzer College's Twentieth Anniversary Medal, Pierce Life Insurance's California Beautiful Medal, the San Bernardino County Bicentennial Medal, and commemoratives for the California Wine Industry and the Alyeska Pipeline. Svenson was also commissioned to sculpt portrait medallions of the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Svenson's work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world. Selected exhibits have been at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; National Academy of Art, New York; Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles; Pasadena Art Museum; University of California, Riverside; and the Alaska State Museum.

John Edward Svenson: California Sculptor is being supported in part by a grant from Stirling Enterprises.

Catalog: John Edward Svenson: California Sculptor

John Edward Svenson, Bear and Salmon, 1960. Fiberglass.

John Edward Svenson, Sun Worshipper, 1960. Fiberglass.

John Edward Svenson, Refugees, 1965. Polychromed redwood.

John Edward Svenson, Drinking Fawn, 1985. Fiberglass.

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