Lawrence Halprin (1916–2009) is renowned for his landscape architecture; but 28 drawings currently on view at Edward Cella indicate that he might just as adeptly have applied his creativity towards fine art. Executed between 1943–2006, these drawings, which seem almost like pages of a visual diary, offer intimate glimpses into Halprin’s mind unfettered by architecture’s practical exigencies. He drew nearly daily, often from life but frequently adding fanciful twists that heighten his pictures’ charm, such as mask-like monster forms above forested cliffs. His diversiform drawing practice included a wide array of methods and media, ranging from refined renderings to washy abstractions to arabesque doodles. Expectedly, his primary subjects are figures, landscapes and combinations thereof. Merging of man and land appears most strikingly in the conjoined countenances of VI, Fruits of Peace series (1946, pictured above). Embodying aspects of vegetation and landscape, perhaps these faces represent some kind of struggle between personified forces of nature. In acrid dreamlike colors, a 1944 watercolor portrays people playing pool; the table appears lawn-like. Several cubist rock studies from his master-planned Sea Ranch community artificialize nature. Other pieces envisage plants as mystical characters, suggesting his penchant for parks. Ephemera and a video describing collaborations with his avant-garde dancer wife, Anna, further exemplify cross-disciplinary fruitfulness.
Edward Cella Art + Architecture
2754 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Show runs through Oct. 28