The Artist

  Statement and
  Career Summary


  Museum Collections

  Solo Exhibitions

  Exhibition Record

  Art Publication References

  Television References

  Statement and Career Summary

The realism in my work is oriented toward the sensuous consumption and reinterpretation of the world I see. I am not interested in how closely I can mimic physical images in paint, but rather in how I can change and distort them to suit my personal aesthetic. When I paint an image, I break it down in my mind and put it back together in the second dimension as if it were a puzzle. The pieces of the puzzle are the compositional elements of shape, texture, light, value, hue, line, etc. If the elements are assembled harmoniously, the painting will function well as both an abstract composition and a realistic image.

I have been working as a professional fine artist since 1971. My REALIST oils, watercolors, aquatint etchings, and drawings have been widely exhibited nationally and internationally. Many of my artworks are housed in the permanent collections of American Museums.

I am best known for my photo-based realism, though working from life is still an active part of my creative process. My imagery has centered on “everyday” America; shifting over the years from trucks, to railways, to amusement parks, to waterfronts, to fireworks booths, to deserted drive-in theatres, to coastal landscapes. Through these shifts in subject matter, related architecture has been a steadily repeated motif.

Recently, my creation of realist images has been interlaced with explorations into video production, computer generated imagery, experiments with a more graphic surrealist style, and the digital recording of my own songs and musical compositions.

If you have any questions or would like to arrange to see slides of available works please contact me via email.

Thank you,
James Torlakson


Back to Top of Page


 
Museum Collections
  • SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART; San Francisco, CA

  • OAKLAND MUSEUM; Oakland, CA

  • ACHENBACH FOUNDATION FOR THE GRAPHIC ARTS,
     CALIFORNIA PALACE OF THE LEGION OF HONOR
    ; San Francisco, CA

  • BROOKLYN MUSEUM; Brooklyn, NY

  • ALBRIGHT KNOX MUSEUM; Buffalo, NY

  • MUSEUM OF ART, CARNEGIE INSTITUTE; Pittsburgh, PA

  • MUSEUM OF ART, RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN; Providence, RI

  • NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, PRINT COLLECTION; New York, NY

  • CHICAGO ART INSTITUTE; Chicago, IL

  • LIBRARY OF CONGRESS; Washington D.C.

  • DELAWARE ART MUSEUM; Wilmington, DE

  • DENVER ART MUSEUM; Denver, CO

  • SANTA BARBARA MUSEUM OF ART; Santa Barbara, CA

  • DETROIT ART INSTITUTE; Detroit, MI

  • STANFORD UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART; Stanford, CA

  • UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY; New Jersey, NJ

  • DE CORDOVA MUSEUM; Lincoln, MA

  • JANE VOORHEES ZIMMERLI ART MUSEUM; New Brunswick, NJ

  • BOISE ART MUSEUM; Boise, ID

  • UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM; U.C.Berkeley; Berkeley, CA

  • ARKANAS ART CENTER; Little Rock, Arkansas

  • HEARST ART GALLERY; Saint Maryıs College; Moraga, CA


Back to Top of Page


 
Solo Exhibitions
  • 2001 33 GOUGH STREET SHOWCASE, San Francisco, CA

  • 2000 POWELL STREET GALLERY, San Francisco, CA

  • 1999 SANCHEZ ART CENTER; Pacifica, CA

  • 1997 FOG CITY JAVA; Pacifica, CA
       (funded by grant from Philanthropic Ventures Foundation)

  • 1997 SAN MATEO COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM, San Mateo, CA

  • 1996 ERIKSEN GALLERY, Half Moon Bay, CA

  • 1994 ART FORMS UNLIMITED; Pacifica, CA

  • 1993 HORVATH GALLERY; Sacramento, CA

  • 1992 CUDAHY'S GALLERY; New York, NY

  • 1991 JOHN BERGGRUEN GALLERY; San Francisco, CA

  • 1988 JOHN BERGGRUEN GALLERY; San Francisco, CA

  • 1987 CONCEPT ART GALLERY; Pittsburgh, PA

  • 1986 JOHN BERGGRUEN GALLERY; San Francisco, CA

  • 1984 DUBINS GALLERY; Los Angeles, CA

  • 1983 GRAPHICS 1 and GRAPHICS 2; Boston, MA

  • 1983 JOHN BERGGRUEN GALLERY; San Francisco, CA

  • 1982 MUSEUM OF ART, CARNEGIE INSTITUTE; Pittsburgh, PA

  • 1981 GELTER/PALL; New York, NY

  • 1980 GRAPHICS 1 and GRAPHICS 2; Boston, MA

  • 1980 JOHN BERGGRUEN GALLERY; San Francisco, CA

  • 1980 RICHMOND ART CENTER; Richmond, CA

  • 1979 SAN JOSE MUSEUM OF ART; San Jose, CA

  • 1978 VAN STRAATEN GALLERY; Chicago, IL

  • 1978 JOHN BERGGRUEN GALLERY; San Francisco, CA

  • 1977 GALERIE JURKA; Amsterdam, NL

  • 1976 ACHENBACH FOUNDATION FOR THE GRAPHIC ARTS,
       CALIFORNIA PALACE OF THE LEGION OF HONOR
    ; San Francisco, CA

  • 1975 CONTEMPORARY GRAPHICS CENTER,
       SANTA BARBARA MUSEUM OF ART
    ; Santa Barbara, CA

  • 1975 NANCY HOFFMAN GALLERY; New York, NY

  • 1974 JOHN BERGGRUEN GALLERY; San Francisco, CA

  • 1973 GUMP'S GALLERY; San Francisco, CA

  • 1972 REISINGER GALLERIES; San Francisco, CA

  • 1972 ALMOND ROD GALLERY; San Francisco, CA


Back to Top of Page


 
Exhibition Record

2001
Faculty Show; City Arts Gallery, C.C.S.F.; San Francisco, CA
Comix/Cartoons Show; Rosenberg Library, C.C.S.F.; San Francisco, CA


2000
Faculty Show; City Arts Gallery, C.C.S.F.; San Francisco, CA
Creative Roots; Rosenberg Library, C.C.S.F.; San Francisco, CA


1999
Watercolor: City Arts Gallery, C.C.S.F.; San Francisco, CA
Spirit of the Coast; Impact Zone Productions; Cotanoa Lodge; Pescadero, CA
Millennium: City Arts Gallery, C.C.S.F.; San Francisco, CA
Internet gallery exhibition: www.PowellStreetGallery.com
Internet gallery exhibition: www.NextMonet.com


1998
10: San Francisco State University Art Alumni; Sanchez Art Center Gallery; Pacifica, CA

1997
Structures: Buildings in American Art 1900-1997; John Berggruen Gallery; San Francisco, CA

1996
Art From The Driver's Seat: Americans and Their Cars: Kalamazoo Institute of Arts; Kalamazoo, MI
Art From The Driver's Seat: Americans and Their Cars: Hudson River Museum; Yonkers, NY
Seventh Annual-All Creatures Great and Small: John Natsoulas Gallery; Davis, CA
Surf's Up: Bolinas Museum; Bolinas, CA


1995
Art From The Driver's Seat: Americans and Their Cars: Boise Art Museum; Boise, ID
Art From The Driver's Seat: Americans and Their Cars: Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois State University: Charleston, IL
Faculty Exhibition: Skyline College; San Bruno, CA
Henrik Ibsen Park (private three person exhibition): Kings Mountain; Woodside, CA


1994
Group Exhibition: Magidson Gallery; New York, NY
Group Exhibition: Art Forms Unlimited; Pacifica, CA


1993
American Paintings: Museum of Our National Heritage; Lexington MA

1992
New Horizons in American Realism: Knoxville Museum of Art; Knoxville, TN
Local Landscape: PacTel Corporation; Walnut Creek, CA
Oakland: Oakland Museum Collector's Gallery; Oakland, CA
Artists of Skyline College: Peninsula Art Association; Belmont CA
Summer Show: Cudahy's Fine Art Gallery; New York, NY


1991
New Horizons in American Realism: Flint Institute of Arts; Flint, MI and Philharmonic Center for the Arts; Naples, FL
Selections from the Permanent Collection: Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, Palace of the Legion of Honor; San Francisco, CA
Large Scale Works on Paper: John Berggruen Gallery; San Francisco, CA
Summer Show: Cudahyıs Fine Art Gallery; New York, NY


1990
Group Show: Cudahy's Fine Art Gallery; New York, NY
Contemporary Realist Painting: Perception and Experience: Oliver Art Center, California College of Arts and Crafts; Oakland, CA
Concord Collectors: Walnut Creek Art Center; Walnut Creek, CA
College of San Mateo Faculty Art Exhibition: San Mateo County Arts Council; San Mateo, CA


1989
Collector's Choice-Contemporary Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Ron and Cherie Petersen: Pence Gallery; Davis, CA
Capitol a'la cARTe (food images): State Capitol Building (presented by Natsoulas/Novelozo Gallery); Sacramento, CA
Faculty Art Exhibition: Skyline College; San Bruno, CA


1988
Waterworks (three artists): Sierra Nevada Museum of Art; Reno, NV
Torlakson Watercolors and Prints: Natsoulas/Novelozo Gallery; Davis, CA
Torlakson Prints: Wenniger Graphics; Boston, MA
Billboards: Littlejohn-Smith Gallery; New York, NY


1987
Realism: Art Museum of Santa Cruz County; Santa Cruz, CA
Drawings By Contemporary Masters: Himovitz - Jensen Gallery; Sacramento, CA
Two Realists: Concept Art Gallery; Pittsburgh, PA
31st National Print Exhibition: Hunterdon Art Center; Clinton, NJ
Parkside National Small Print Exhibition: Communication Arts Gallery; Kenosha, WI
Mainstream America: The Collection of Phil Desind: The Butler Institute of American Art; Youngstown, OH
Prints In Motion: Associated American Artists; New York, NY


1986
James Torlakson, Watercolors and Graphics: Bechtel International Center, Stanford University; Palo Alto, CA

1985
The 20th Century: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Collection: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco, CA
American Realism: Twentieth-Century Drawings and Watercolors: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco, CA


1984
Recent Acquisitions: Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, California Palace of the Legion of Honor; San Francisco, CA
The Twenty-Third National Print Exhibition: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, NY


1983
Gene Baro Collects: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, NY
West Coast Realism: Laguna Beach Museum of Art; Laguna Beach, CA
The American Artist as Printmaker, 23rd National Print Exhibition: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, NY
Contemporary American Realism, since 1960: Chicago Art Institute; Chicago, IL


1982
Contemporary American Realism, since 1960: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Philadelphia, PA and The Oakland Museum; Oakland, CA
Perspectives on Contemporary American Realism; Works of Art on Paper from the Collection of Jalane and Richard Davidson: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Philadelphia, PA


1981
Twenty-Second National Print Exhibition: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, NY
100 New Acquisitions: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, NY
Recent Acquisitions in Prints and Drawings: Rhode Island School of Design; Providence, RI


1980
Realism: Civics Arts Gallery; Walnut Creek, CA
The Light is Different in California: Pratt Manhattan Center Gallery; New York, NY
American Drawings in Black and White: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn NY


1979
Recent Acquisitions: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, NY
Recent Acquisitions: Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, California Palace of the Legion of Honor; San Francisco, CA
Recent Acquisitions: The Oakland Museum; Oakland, CA
VX International Soa Paulo Biennial, courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum and the International Communications Agency; Washington, D. C. This exhibition traveled throughout Latin America.


1978
Eight West Coast Printmakers: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, NY
Leading Realists and Current Abstract Art: Madison Gallery; Madison, NJ


1977
Prints of the 1970's: Museum of Fine Arts; Boston, MA

1976
20th Annual Brooklyn Museum Print Exhibition: The Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, NY
Contemporary Images in Watercolors: Akron Art Institute; Akron, OH


1975
Permanent Collection, Recent Graphic Acquisitions: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco, CA
Photography and Hyper-Realism: M. Knoedler & Company; New York, NY
Realist Painting in California: John Berggruen Gallery; San Francisco, CA
California Graphics Exhibition: Three Dimensions Gallery; Berkeley, CA and Printmakers Council of Great Britain; London, England
Hyper-Realism: Liliane Francois Galerie; Paris, France


1974
Selections in Contemporary Realism: Akron Art Institute; Akron, OH
Fourth British International Print Biennial: Bradford Art Galleries and Museums; Yorkshire, England
Works on Paper: Virginia Museum of Art; VA
Variations on the Camera's Eye: Smithsonian Institute; Washington D.C. and Occidental College; CA; Traveling Exhibition throughout South America
Three Printmakers Who Work From Watercolors: The Oakland Museum; Oakland, CA


1973
Young Talent: John Berggruen Gallery; San Francisco, CA


Back to Top of Page


 
Art Publication References

NALU Longboard Surfing Discovery #192000: An 8 page interview in this Japanese magazine explores the artwork and life views of artist/surfer, James Torlakson; includes many photographs of Torlakson's studio, and his oil paintings, watercolors, graphics, and cartoons.

THE MANY FACETS OF THE ART OF SAMSON LAW 1998: Preface by James Torlakson for a book published by the Government of Macau.

ART WEEK 1997: Article (and reproduction of painting) by James Torlakson on “Painting Water” relating to the publication's theme: The Elements of Water.

THE SURFER'S JOURNAL 1993: Volume Two, Number Four, Page 20; reproductions of MAVERICK'S/CLARK, 18" x 56" oil on canvas (big wave surfing image) and photo of artist with canvas.

THE ARTIST'S MAGAZINE, April 1989: “Deepening the Third Dimension” by James Torlakson with Judith Gordon; pages 50 -55; Article on oil painting and illusionary devices, numerous reproductions of paintings and instructional illustrations.

AMERICAN REALISM, Twentieth-Century Drawings and Watercolors 1986: Abrams; by Alvin Martin; pages 161, 225; figure 211: watercolor reproduction.

MENDELOWITZ'S GUIDE TO DRAWING, 1982: Holt, Rinehart and Winston; revised by Duane A. Wakeham; page 13, figure 20: drawing reproduction.

CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN REALISM since 1960, 1981: New York Graphics Society; by Frank H. Goodyear, Jr.; pages 153, 200, 201; figure 119: watercolor reproduction.

ARTnews, October 1975: by Peter Frank; Review of solo exhibition with Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York and watercolor reproduction


Back to Top of Page


 
Television References

Pacifica Community Television, 2002; James Torlakson was interviewed in his studio by Sparky Parker, host of Breakers (a program on surfing and surfers). This television interview focused on his relationship to surfing and the sea and its influence on his artwork. Episode, Breakers #17, airs periodically on Pacifica Community Television.

Pacifica Community Television, 1998; 15 minute video, ROCKAWAY BEACH-the lighter side of El Niño, filmed and produced by James Torlakson; featuring spectators and surfers playing with huge storm surf.

Pacifica Community Television, 1994; 1/2 hour program interviewing James Torlakson featuring images relating to the design and development of the 1994 FOG FESTIVAL poster.

KQED, San Francisco, 1988; A short appearance by James Torlakson discussing his art work donated for auction.

KQED, San Francisco, 1985; A short program featuring James Torlakson working in his studio, images of art works, and slides revealing development of watercolors and etchings.

Pacifica Community Television, 1985; A 1/2 hour program interviewing James Torlakson and featuring images of his art works and slides revealing the development of art works.

ABC Sunday Night National News, 1981; An interview with Torlakson relating to his art works reproduced on full scale billboards as part of a promotion for The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.



Back to Top of Page