Arts | Inland Empire Museum of Art
By: Ashley Solis
It should not be a surprise that Southern California’s Inland Empire is home to various creative individuals. Last weekend, we were able to view art from many of those artists. The Inland Empire Museum of Art’s most recent exhibit, “Art from California’s Inland Empire & Beyond” was the first time the museum had displayed their entire collection. The exhibit included over 175 works of contemporary art from more than 120 artists. The art included paintings, mixed media, photography, digital media, prints, etchings, drawings, sculptures and installations. The artwork was created by well-known artists from California and elsewhere.
The Inland Empire Museum of Art (IEMA) is a local non-profit focused on cultivating the enjoyment and appreciation of art for those who live in and nearby the Inland Empire. The IEMA recognizes the importance of art education and exposure for individuals from all walks of life. The IEMA’s collection was recently located within the Millard Sheets Art Center at the Pomona Fairplex. The Millard Sheets Art Center, formerly known as the Fine Arts Program of the Los Angeles County Fair, is home to year round art education and exhibitions. The center has been around since 1937 and has housed numerous works of art. Millard Sheets, for whom the center was named after, was born and raised in the Pomona Valley. The IEMA’s current collection includes art from the late artist, Sheets.
The first piece that caught our eyes was an installation titled “This Time” by Denise Kufus Weyhrich. A clock case is suspended from the ceiling with over 200 stopped wrist watches. Inside the face of the clock is burned-out light bulbs. The piece seemed to represent the passing of time by displaying items that eventually stop functioning.
As we entered into the main part of the exhibit, there was a large oil painting of an older man with his head on his hand. His face seemed to be distressed, and the swirling colors created an appealing look. The painting “Neil Sobelman” was done by a Southern California artist, Dan Joyce.
If you are local in the IE, then you may have heard of the Claremont Loop, a local hiking trail the stretches about five miles in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Another local artist, Jens Lerback, painted this hiking trail using oil on canvas. His use of colors seemed to capture the landscape of Southern California, giving you a unique perspective on what it’s like to be there.
This collection truly has a range of artwork vast enough to appeal to everyone. There is something very intriguing about viewing art from local artists, and focusing on individual representations of well-known local landmarks. Currently, the IEMA is in transition and seeking a more permanent location for their collection. Gene Sasse, a photographer and the founder of IEMA, typically displays pieces from the ever-growing collection in his studio located in Upland. Numerous artists have graciously donated to the museum, and the collection continues to grow. The artwork dates back to the 1950s and up to present day. To find out more about IEMA and how you can support the vision, please visit them here.
For more information about the Inland Empire Museum of Art you can visit their website or Facebook page. The Millard Sheets Arts Center is located at Gate 1 at the Fairplex 1101 West McKinley Ave. Pomona, CA