Jan 3 – Feb 23, 2020


On view in the Gray Wing this winter is Craig Griswold: 2020, the first museum solo exhibition for the Morro Bay-based artist.

Craig Griswold’s art is full of mystery and narrative. From references to his past experiences and family to religious symbolism, each artwork has its own deep story and personal meaning to the artist. This solo exhibition features copperplate etchings, drypoint prints, watercolors, and Griswold’s main focus: oil paintings.

As an artist with a B.A. in history, Griswold’s art is brimming with references to the ancient world and its artifacts. An example of this ancient inspiration is a hand-printed book that tells the story of the animals discovered along an expedition, with illustrations similar in style to the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Although made for Griswold’s twin grandsons, the book intrigues viewers of any age.

While studying at UC Berkeley, Griswold was heavily influenced by his course work in Egyptology. His studies of Arabic and art eventually brought him to Cairo, where he traveled up the Nile into Sudan, then on to Paris, France and the École du Louvre to study hieroglyphic, which influenced his pen and ink style and more importantly, gave him daily access to view the works of antiquity in the museum’s collection.

Griswold’s combination of relatable stories juxtaposed with the references to antiquity creates an aura of mystery. These artworks glimpse into an artist’s life that is rich in familial connections, worldly experiences, and a vivid imagination.

The public is invited to a special preview of the exhibition with the artist on Thursday, January 2 at 12 PM as part of Art at High Noon. Entry is free and open to the public.

One highlight of the exhibition is Journal of an Expedition to the Gobi Desert And the Great Sandstorm of 1833, a large-format pen, ink, and watercolor book that Craig Griswold made for his twin grandsons. The book records the journey of an English expedition through the Gobi Desert. Along the expedition were artists, who recorded the sightings of mysterious animals and the discoveries made from an ancient city that was uncovered after a sandstorm.

To view the full book, click here or visit the exhibition and scan the QR code on the label with your smartphone or tablet.

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