Different Strokes

A teacher affects eternity,” Hans Hoffman (1880-1966) once said. “He can never tell where his influence stops.” For Hoffman’s part, his lessons endure. The legendary teacher and catalyst of the Abstract Expressionist movement influenced generations of U.S. and European artists and left an estate that operates a nonprofit foundation to promote and exhibit his work. In 1963, he donated 45 paintings and $250,000 to help open the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, which holds what might be the largest collection of Hoffman’s work in any museum internationally.

Imago Galleries (45-450 Highway 74, Palm Desert; 776-9890) opens the season Nov. 26 with a small group of Hoffman paintings, selected from the estate by gallery owner/director Leisa Austin. She says the exhibition is a response to increased interest in the German artist’s work and an opportunity for enthusiasts to experience the work of an icon who declared that form comes from color and not the other way around.

The works in this exhibition range from $250,000 to $450,000.

Mel Ramos — the Pop artist known for his photorealistic nude pinup girls plunked in martini glasses, draped in candy wrappers, and otherwise connected to retro-culture detritus — rounds out Imago’s season opener with a fun, provocative (if not exploitative) twist.

The Hart Gallery (73-111 El Paseo, Palm Desert; 346-4243) opens a retrospective of paintings by David Schneuer, the Polish-born Expressionist who worked mostly in Germany. His paintings of figures socializing in bars and cafés — typically executed in muted and subtle tones — recall Munich and Paris in the 1920s. Schneuer (1905-1984) became known worldwide in the 1970s, and his work continues to draw appreciable interest. The exhibition opens Nov. 26 with a 100th birthday celebration from 5 to 9 p.m. and continues through Dec. 31.

Also opening Nov. 26, at Adagio Galleries (193 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 320-2230), is a show of gourd art by Robert Rivera and watercolors by Michael Atkinson. An artist reception is set for 4 to 6 p.m.

South Africa-born Deon Venter, who immigrated to Vancouver, B.C., in 1989, is among several artists at Buschlen Mowatt Galleries (45-188 Portola Ave., Palm Desert; 837-9668) in November. Venter, 53, creates daring paintings that refer to personal and universal experiences — particularly relating to immigration, nationalism, and group violence (one of his most challenging pieces, Ground Zero, recalls the World Trade Center buildings following Sept. 11, 2001). He deftly uses metaphors and symbolism to express himself in coagulated paint (stressed to crack) that mimics more of the enduring matter than the transitory subject itself. His textured surfaces create dimensions that have a sculptural quality. Buschlen Mowatt also will exhibit works by Ricardo Mazal, Udo Noger, and Robert Kelly in November.

Other highlights this month include:

  • Primal paintings by Spanish artist Francesc Genoves highlight a group show of international contemporary art at Eleonore Austerer Gallery (73-660 El Paseo, Palm Desert; 346-3695). The exhibition opens Nov. 3 and continues through Nov. 29.
  • Animators Chris Reccardi and Lynne Naylor present “Galaxie,” a series of space-aged mod-fantasy paintings, at M Modern Gallery (448 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 774-8474).
  • CODA Gallery (73-151 El Paseo, Palm Desert; 346-4661) opens a solo show of figurative and landscape paintings by Bye Bitney, with an artist reception on Nov. 26. The exhibition continues through Dec. 9.
  • “Elixirs for the Senses,” a show of mixed-media works by San Francisco master printmaker Torrie Groening, opens Nov. 3 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. that includes an artist lecture and demonstration of how she makes monotypes on her etching press. The exhibition continues through Nov. 27 at Steve Webster Studios (73-111 El Paseo, Suite 106A, Palm Desert; 340-3707).
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