Protestors marched the streets, rallying against the Vietnam War; an earthquake rattled Turkey killing 1,000; the Manson Family was found guilty and sentenced for the Tate-LaBianca murders; 10,000 people died when a cyclone hit the Bay of Bengal, and in England, former-Beatle John Lennon penned “Imagine.”
The widely successful 1971 recording was an anthem of peace and unity. Without war, religion, politics or greed tearing the world apart, humanity could live in harmony. Using Lennon’s lyrics as inspiration, 10 local artists interpret the meaning of the song at the Triton Museum of Art’s new exhibit, “Imagine.”
Upon entering the gallery, viewers are met with a blue-hued painting of Lennon by Ron Garcia. Next to Garcia’s representation, Eric Victorino’s “Keep Imagining,” with the lyrics to “Imagine” written out run-on sentence style in a floor-to-ceiling, ink on paper piece, is hung. From there, artist translations of one of the best-selling and most re-recorded songs of the 20th century become much more conceptual.
A bit of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling is creatively portrayed in Jojo Perea’s “Looking for Eve.” “I believe in evolution,” says Perea’s statement, “the evolution of change, not that the strongest survive, but the unity and coexistence of life.”
Miguel Machuca’s “Orchestrated Religion” tackles the notion of heaven and hell with his pair of large Masonite board submissions. Eyes peer out from tree branches as two demonic-looking figures, one representing heaven and the other hell – each a reflection of the other – stare intensely at its nemesis. “…When man forces religion on the human soul,” reads Machuca’s statement, “instead of unifying it, it separates one from another … We all believe in a greater power, no matter what system of belief you were forced or born into. If we all just paid attention better, we could all reach that destination without killing or separating one another, but rather giving each other the chance to live, grow and die together in peace, preparing us into the next state of life.”
To truly understand what the artists are saying, sit in the gallery, soak in the artwork and read artist statements. Lennon’s message is clearly portrayed in both the literal and abstract artworks throughout the museum’s Permanent Collection Gallery.
Elizabeth Jimenez Montelongo, Patrick “WaDL” Hofmeister, Mei-Ying Dell’Aquila, Sarah Ratchye, Kelly Detweiler and LAuruS Myth also exhibit.
“Imagine,” sponsored in part by the Borgenicht Foundation, runs through August 3 at 1505 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara. An artist reception is scheduled for Friday, May 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. Visit http://tritonmuseum.org/exhibitions_Imagine.php for more information.