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Pasadena Museum of California Art Presents Roland Reiss Personal Politics: Sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s

Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) presents Roland Reiss Personal Politics: Sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s on view from September 18, 2011 to January 8, 2012. Roland Reiss has been a major presence in the Los Angeles art world both as an artist and teacher for several decades. During the 1970s and ‘80s, the artist created miniature sculptures of scenes from everyday life which are among his most famous and groundbreaking works, despite the fact that he works primarily as a painter.

Roland Reiss F/X: In Search of Truth, 1990. Mixed media, 14 x 24 x 24 inches. Collection of the artist.

In 1975, Reiss became the Dean of the Department of Art at Claremont Graduate School, and that same year, he was compelled by cinema and literature about contemporary life to turn his art from abstract paintings into figurative tableaus. Wanting to avoid the visual clichés that he felt accompanied most Realist painting, Reiss decided to cast his figures at an intimate scale, creating layered narratives that defy a singular interpretation.

Organized by the PMCA and guest curated by Kate Johnson, the exhibition features close to thirty of these miniature scenes from following series: Morality Plays which deals with how middle class families go about finding meaning in life; Adult Fairy Tales I and II which reflect on office and corporate culture; F/X, a mediation on popular culture and myths; Murder Mysteries; Philosophical Homilies and Dancing Lessons. Each series contains psychological references and the works occasionally reflect influences from Hollywood and the film industry. The tiny worlds suggest and evoke stress, panic, ambition, fear, insecurity, delight, and in each scene, Reiss examines our society’s semiotics, or codified signifiers of hidden meaning.

In addition to the tableaus, the exhibition will also include one of the artist’s most monumental works: a rarely seen life-size representation of a living room entitled, The Castle of Perseverance. This work is entirely made of MDF particleboard, and includes several large and small recreations of objects from a typical 1970’s living room. By distilling everyday objects to their essential forms, Reiss asks the viewer to reconsider their familiarity with these objects’ meanings, which in contrast to the tableaus, are presented at the scale of the viewer.

About the PMCA:
The Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) is dedicated to the exhibition of California art, architecture, and design from 1850 to the present. Informed by the state’s rich mixture of cultures and inspired by its impressive geography, California art has long been defined by a spirit of freedom and experimentation. PMCA exhibitions and educational programs explore the cultural dynamics and influences unique to California that have shaped and defined art in all media.

For information, the please call 626-568-3665 or visit the website:

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