The Triton Museum: A Must Visit

Entrance Lobby of the Triton Museum
with the work of Fan Lee Warren

One of my fellow Gearbox colleagues, Tamera Avery, told me about the Triton Museum in Santa Clara. Having lived in the Bay Area for the last twenty-seven years I was surprised not to have heard of it, my curiosity was piqued and I journeyed south for a visit. If you do not already know this small, wonderful art museum, I very much recommend a visit.

Currently there are exhibits of four artists, thoughtfully curated in the different gallery spaces of the museum. Some of the photos are of works under glass and I apologize for the reflections therefrom. I am also posting images of the works on the walls rather than cropping down to the image itself, so as to give a sense of scale.

Fan Lee Warren’s Shifting Messages series is displayed around the perimeter of the large entrance lobby of the museum. ” Fan Lee Warren is a contemporary African American artist. She lives, works and teaches drawing, painting and art history, at Laney Community College in Oakland, CA… … Warren’s art pays homage to historical memories, such as the great migration, the insightful wisdom of her elders and constant civil strife.” [edited from the museum website; go to the site for full detail]

Legacy C (Crib), acrylic, watercolor and fire on monoprint

Jeff Alan West’s Spellings of Gravitas series is displayed in a large gallery on one end of the museum with abundant natural light, illumination that adds to the vibrancy of his colorful compositions. “The works of art in “Jeff Alan West: Spellings of Gravitas” are inspired by and depart from the graphic forms of typography, calligraphy, and handwriting. The exhibit is made up of works that are abstractions of invented character forms and assembled into combinations of expressive languages we are not quite able to read, but speak nonetheless to our current personal, social, civil, cultural, and political contexts. The compositions refer to the contemporary structures and experiences of communication; our conversations, public pronouncements, blog posts, and tweets.” [edited from the museum website; go to the site for full detail]

Installation Photo
I See Through You, I Know What You Are, acrylic painting

Renee Billingslea’s Ten Japanese-American Concentration Camps series of photos with appliqué are what you might expect, however, with a twist. “Ten Japanese-American Concentration Camps is a photo documentation project by noted artist/documentarian Renee Billingslea that examines Executive Order 9066 and its impact on contemporary society and the environment. Through the artist’s photos, juxtaposing the current and mostly abandoned sites of the former Japanese incarceration camps, with stitched in photographs of the camps in use 75 years ago, she draws a connection between the history of “then” with the repeated violations of “now.” In this way, Billingslea hopes to remind us that this is a shared history that is often left at the margins of the American psyche in an effort to distance ourselves from it.” [edited from the museum website; go to the site for full detail]

Ten Japanese-American Concentration Camps, photo with appliqué
Ten Japanese-American Concentration Camps, photo with appliqué [detail]

Enrique Chagoya’s Aliens series is a tour de force of materials and techniques from small and intimate to large and imposing in scale. “Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 70’s, and also in Europe in the late 90’s, Enrique Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America and the world as well. He uses familiar pop icons to create deceptively friendly points of entry for the discussion of complex issues. Through these seemingly harmless characters Chagoya examines the recurring subject of colonialism and oppression that continues to riddle contemporary American foreign policy.” [edited from the museum website; go to the site for full detail]

Too Big, charcoal and pastel on paper
Border Patrol on Acid, intaglio in 1 color with etching and hand painted with acrylic
Installation Photo

Don’t miss a visit to the Triton. You will not be disappointed.