An Inner Dialogue: The Artistic Vision of Margarette Lawson (1921-2005)

May 31 - July 5, 2008

Reception: June 7, 2008, 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

The Riverside Art Museum is proud to spotlight one of the region’s more historically important artists, Margarette Lawson.   Her artistic talent and contributions to the “dialog” within art communities in the region for several decades were very significant, in addition to the larger California art world context.

“An Inner Dialog: The Artistic Vision of Margarette Lawson (1921-2005)” displays Lawson’s wide range of skills and attention to some of the most important art movements of her time, such as Pop art and non-objective/hard-edge abstraction.  At the other end of the spectrum, Lawson also passionately pursued her interests in representational approaches to painting that had been much more established within this region.  With either approach, Lawson clearly establishes her talents and contributions to the Southern California arts scene during her career.

The Riverside Art Museum’s core mission is to serve as the premier visual arts museum and cultural center for one of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan regions, the Inland Empire.   The Museum offers a diverse array of contemporary and historical fine art exhibitions (25 exhibits in 2007) and quality educational and community outreach programs.   Currently experiencing tremendous growth, the Museum has initiated many new projects and an ambitious agenda of catalogues, publications, and traveling loan exhibition productions – partially funded by grants from the James Irvine Foundation.  

Housed in a National Historic 1929 building designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan, the Riverside Art Museum is a 50-year-old, private, non-profit cultural arts institution.  The Museum’s three-story Spanish Revival structure now accommodates six different exhibition spaces, atrium restaurant, conference room, classroom, museum store, arts reference library, administrative offices, and rooftop courtyard.  There are nearly 900 objects in the permanent collection; the works of greatest historical/cultural value are graphic arts, works on paper, and regional artists. 

In presenting “An Inner Dialog:  The Artistic Vision of Margarette Lawson (1921-2005)” the Riverside Art Museum continues its dedication to showcasing the finest artists that have contributed significantly to the quality of the arts in the region.  This exhibition continues the Museum commitment to spotlighting the best artists within the Inland Empire and Southern California region.

Realization of this exhibition and catalogue is largely due to the vision and contributions of Lawson’s daughter, Julia Candace Corliss – in addition to her poetry that adds significantly to this project.  Additional support was provided by family and friends of Ms. Corliss and the artist – in addition to a grant by the James Irvine Foundation.  We owe particular thanks to the Museum’s Senior Curator, Peter Frank, for his outstanding essay.  Additionally, we thank Ms. Corliss for her contribution of poetry that adds a more intimate and personal interpretation to Lawson’s artwork and this catalog.   And, as ever, the Museum owes its gratitude to its dedicated preparatory staff and volunteers.