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 Gene Gill  (1933 - )

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Lived/Active: Oregon/California/Tennessee      Known for: mixed-media architectural miniatures-sculpture

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Gene Gill
An example of work by Gene Gill
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted October 2005, is from the artist.

Gene Gill was born in Memphis, Tennessee and received his BFA (1962) from Los Angeles’s Chouinard Art School (Now the California Institute of the Arts).   His formal training at Chouinard, with an emphasis on “individual development”, would predict his interest in going his own way.  But he credits Chouinard’s master teachers, Donald Graham in Drawing and Composition, Bill Moore in Design, Herb Jepson in Drawing, and Robert Chuey in Painting, as great influences on his development.

Gill’s intention was always to have a dual-career as an artist/art educator.  Getting established in art education took more time and energy that had been anticipated, and he didn’t begin to exhibit his own work until 1968, with his first one-person show at a Los Angeles gallery in 1970.  His signature work at this time was characterized by linear abstract designs on several layers of clear plastic.  Each layer was set into a frame and spaced 1” apart.  The background was a sheet of polished aluminum, also spaced 1” from the sheets of plastic.  All this was set into a polished aluminum frame.  The effect was a “moire pattern” where the image constantly changed as the viewer moved around and as the lighting changed. 

During the next five years Gill became well established in the Los Angeles area with two more one-person gallery shows, and with his works being acquired by some major museums and collectors, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Northrop Corporation, and Container Corporation of America.

In addition to painting during this period, Gill has begun to make his own screen prints which incorporate his 3-D concepts on a 2 dimensional surface.  At this same time, prominent Los Angeles painters Lorser Feitelson and his wife Helen Lundeberg were being pressured by the two internationally known Los Angeles “print houses” to work with them and go into print making.  Instead they chose Gene Gill to turn their works into prints and serve as the master printer for a series of serigraphs they did in 1971-72.  Gill practically took a one-year sabbatical from his own work and worked closely with the two artists during the next year.

1975 marked a turning point in Gene’s life.  He had a disastrous fire, which destroyed his hillside home and studio.  For some time after this he did not paint.  Instead, he concentrated on teaching and on his love of travel.  That love of travel would lead to a gradual progression from painting to making personal miniatures in 1985.  These miniatures were literally 3-D scrapbooks, which represented famous landmarks that the artist had visited.  In 1992, the miniatures went “public” as a new approach in presenting important architectural structures of the world.  Today each of these miniatures is one-of-a-kind, and is handcrafted using a composite of styrene and any other material “which works”.  Many of the models contain over 3,000 individual pieces and require weeks of work.  Every miniature is entirely hand-painted by the artist to emphasize the intricate architectural details.  The artist is only able to make an average of 12 models per year.

Since 1992, Gill has continued making his Landmark miniatures and has had a one-person show at a Gallery in 1995, and another at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in 2000. 

Travel has become a way of life for the artist.  He has personally visited all the landmark sites represented in his miniatures, and counts over 38 visits to Europe alone.  During his travels, he locates a potential Landmark and then spends hours making sketches and photographing the Landmark from all angles.

In addition to his career as an artist, Gene Gill was an art teacher with the Los Angeles Valley College for 4 years and the Los Angeles School District for 25 years.  He continues to live and work in the Los Angeles area, now making his home/studio in Pasadena, California.

Miniature Collector – Jul 2004 – “Famous Dwellings” – Pg 19
Historic Preservation – Nov/Dec 94 – “Notes” by Kim Keister.  Pg 10

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum –2000 (One Person Show)
Laguna Beach Art Museum – 1977 “California 100”
Municipal Art Gallery – 1976 “Home Savings Collection”
Los Angeles County Museum Art – 1973 “Dimensional Prints”
Palm Springs Desert Museum – 1973 “Selections from the Permanent Collection”
San Diego Fine Arts Gallery – 1972 “California-Hawaii Regional”
Laguna Beach Art Museum – 1971 “Exhibition 10”

Los Angeles Art Association

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Watercolorist Gene Gill, a commercial illustrator for 35 years, now paints cityscapes of his hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Gene Gill is a member of the Oregon Watercolor Society and a signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society.  He attended Portland State University, the Museum Art School in Portland and the Art Center in Los Angeles.

Watercolor, Winter 2002

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