Langson IMCA launches interactive digital experience of California impressionist landscape paintings
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Langson IMCA launches interactive digital experience of California impressionist landscape paintings
Beyond the Frame: Impressions of California, a virtual exhibition commissioned by UC Irvine Langson Institute and Museum of California Art, 2022. Image courtesy of Imaginary Places.

IRVINE, CALIF.- UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art (Langson IMCA) announced the launch of Beyond the Frame: Impressions of California, an interactive, digital experience showcasing a selection of Langson IMCA’s collection of California Impressionist paintings. Images of 28 paintings by 25 artists are accompanied by new insights about the genre, background information about each of the artists and their times, art historical context, and environmental history. Archival images, audio files, and literary texts from a variety of sources enliven visitors’ explorations.

Langson IMCA commissioned Imaginary Places Studio to create the digital presentation to tell varied stories of the depicted landscapes—incorporating updated research and alternative narratives that bridge the 19th century to present day. Set in a stylized digital landscape, selected works are organized in four virtual galleries that transition from dawn to night, conveying the effects of light at different times of the day. Among the featured artists are Maurice Braun, Elanor Colburn, Edgar Payne, Charles Rollo Peters, Granville Redmond, Guy Rose, Elmer Wachtel, and Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel.

Kim Kanatani, Langson IMCA museum director said, “A guiding principle for this project was to innovate creative ways to make our collection more accessible to the many audiences we serve. Challenged by the limitations for in-person experiences during the pandemic, like many of our colleagues in the art world, we explored opportunities for virtual engagements. Following rich discussions and extensive research, our partners at Imaginary Places developed this multi-leveled experience that activates these sublime artworks and deepens our appreciation of them. We are delighted to share Beyond the Frame with art lovers everywhere.”

Within the four virtual galleries, visitors encounter a selection of paintings accompanied by information about the artists. Highlighted works in each gallery offer additional perspectives through related literature, archival materials, and environmental sounds. Visitors have the opportunity to inspect the paintings closely. They can linger on each image, zoom in on details to examine the artist’s use of color and brushwork, and learn how these artists depicted the beauty of California’s distinctive landscapes.

“Guided by their own curiosity, visitors are invited to reconsider their initial impression of these paintings—what they see and do not see initially,” said Imaginary Places’ partner Itamar Kubovy. “We aimed to capture the particular sense of place these artists were drawn to and inspired by in the Golden State—the panoramic design intentionally echoes the tone, palette, and splendor of these luminous canvases—but we also encourage looking at these paintings beyond the frame and outside museum walls. We hope visitors enjoy exploring this ‘work-of-works’ and that it serves to deepen engagement with Langson IMCA’s collection.”

Imaginary Places partners include Juan Diaz Bohorquez, a filmmaker and designer in Berlin; Sherry Huss, an entrepreneurial community builder in Northern California; Itamar Kubovy, a culture and live events producer in New York City; Stefanie Sobelle, a critic, editor, writer, professor, and dramaturg from Los Angeles and based in Brooklyn; and Josef Szuecs, a maker, coder, programmer, engineer, and musician in Northern California.

Beyond the Frame remains on view on Langson IMCA’s website through September 12, 2025.

Langson IMCA’s two current in-person exhibitions are Dissolve (on view at UCI University Art Gallery, 712 Arts Plaza through December 10, 2022), and Echoes of Perception: Peter Alexander and California Impressionism (presented at Langson IMCA’s interim museum location, 18881 Von Karman Avenue through January 14, 2023.)

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