California Lutheran University’s largest-ever exhibit features two centuries of international psychedelic art ranging from famous album covers to religious paintings.
“The Otherworld,” curated by Cal Lutheran art professor Michael Pearce of Thousand Oaks, is on display in the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art through Feb. 3.
All of the art depicts alternative visions of the world. Some of the visions were brought on by drugs like peyote, marijuana and LSD; others were spiritual or religious visualizations.
Included are a Japanese woodblock print from the 1800s, hallucinogenic-influenced art from the mid-20th century, and digital prints representing a new frontier for contemporary artists. While links to drugs once stifled appreciation for psychedelic art, changing laws and societal norms have increased interest today.
“Visionary art has come of age,” Pearce said.
The exhibit offers visitors a rare opportunity to see many of these pieces. While the fantasy landscapes like “Relayer” by Roger Dean are the most well-known because they were used for popular 1970s album covers, the last time his original painting “Blue Desert” went on display was a decade ago in Seoul.
A 2016 collaborative painting, “Bicycle Day” by Mars-1 and Alex Grey, leaders of a new chapter in the movement called psy-fi, has never been exhibited before.
The artists work in a variety of mediums. Huichol artist Gonzalo Hernandez presses colored yarn to wooden surfaces covered in beeswax to create images inspired by his participation in traditional ceremonies and pilgrimages as a temple official.
The late Thomas Akawie, a member of the California visionary artists group of the 1970s, produced otherworldly spaces in airbrushed acrylics. The late Rick Griffin designed many of the iconic images of the hippie era for his rock concert posters. Featured digital artists include Cal Lutheran multimedia professor and alumnus Tim Hengst of Thousand Oaks; and Kirsten Zirngibl, a San Diego resident who makes prints on smooth cloth.
Other featured artists include Mandy Cao, David Choong Lee, Chang Dai-chien, Uriél Danā, Jeff Echevarria, NoMe Edonna, Dawid Figielek, Utagawa Hiroshige I, Jacaeber Kastor, Guy Kinnear, Bill Martin, Brian Mashburn, Cliff McReynolds, Scott Prior, Damon Soule, Daniel Sprick, John August Swanson, Gage Taylor, Graham Toms, Oliver Vernon, Charles Francis Winans and 2021 Cal Lutheran graduate Jasmine Alexandra O of Thousand Oaks.
Carnegie Art Cornerstones, HomeLight and Cal Lutheran’s Artists and Speakers Series and Visual Arts Department are sponsoring the free exhibit.
Located in William Rolland Stadium, the gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, visit RollandGallery.CalLutheran.edu or contact Rachel Schmid at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (805) 493-3697.