New Exhibition Gala MAR 4—JT-GOCA to feature the fine art of Spelman Downer and Steve Rieman

NOTE: The exhibition’s opening gala was originally scheduled for FEB 25, but it has now been postponed to MAR 4 due to severe weather.

CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES — The state-of-the-art Joshua Tree Gallery of Contemporary Art (JT-GOCA) opens its newest exhibition, ABSTRACTED DIRECTIONS, with a free public gala on Saturday, March 4, 2023 from 6-8pm where art patrons, buyers, enthusiasts, collectors, and aficionados, may celebrate the new and unique works. The exhibition features the artwork of abstract painter Spelman Downer and metal sculptor Steve Rieman—two internationally acclaimed artists who chose to create many of their works in the Joshua Tree area. The gala includes a no-host bar and snacks. Abstracted Directions will remain open through May 20, 2023.


Artist Spelman Downer
Artist Spelman Downer

Spelman Evans Downer has been painting the world from above since the late 1970s, working first from elevated viewpoints on the ground and from photographs he took as an airline passenger, then using both contemporary and historical maps, and finally satellite imagery. Both a celebrated visual artist and art educator, Downer has operated studios in New York City through San Francisco. In this new exhibition, art patrons will experience some of Downer’s newest works, including unique paintings of military battles, stock charts, scientific diagrams, and musically influenced abstractions. What they all have in common is that they use the natural propensity of visual artists to abstract from what they see and what they learn from the subjects that they investigate.

Roberta Smith of The New York Times, stated that Downer “replicates, or more accurately expands upon, existing maps to a highly refined degree…. the best of them fuse beauty and fact with dazzling efficiency.” Thelma Golden, formerly of The Whitney Museum at Philip Morris, stated that “when looked at close up, [it] really begins to show his interest in abstract painting technique; where as moving far away from it, you see his interest in topographical photography. It’s a real combination… an artist working with a lot of influences in a very interesting way.”


JT-GOCA’s ABSTRACTED DIRECTIONS exhibition will also feature never-before publicly available sculptures from the late artist, Steve Rieman’s, personal collection. Best known for his grandiose kinetic sculptures adorning prominent public gathering places throughout Southern California, Rieman’s sculptures bring a sense of awe and grace, many with their ever-changing movements from the forces of Earth around us. As Gapser Patrico once eloquently stated, Rieman was a “gentle-giant poet who wrote in steel, stone and wind,” and each one of his works inspired by the harsh desert landscape is about finding balance and harmony between advancing technology and the preservation of the natural environment. “In my search for the means to visually communicate my feelings, I combine methods, materials and ideas that express varying contrasts and relationships within my kinetic sculptures. My goal is to create a delicate balance, between competing influences, promising an ever-changing condition,” stated Rieman.

Considered one of the finest exhibition spaces in California, the cutting-edge Joshua Tree Gallery of Contemporary Art is located in the Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s new and expansive Yucca Valley Visual & Performing Arts Center. It recently opened an additional gallery wing and bookstore featuring unique tomes from around the world and artworks from Joshua Tree-based artisans. This new art complex is located at 58325 Highway 62, Yucca Valley—two minutes away from the Cultural Center’s main facilities in downtown Joshua Tree. The gallery’s scheduled hours and days of operation, art panels, and other special events are on its website, Private showings available by appointment by emailing or calling 760.853.5003.  JT-GOCA is an innovative partnership between multi-national art gallery, ARTCO, and Hi-Desert Cultural Center, the regional arts organization for the communities of Joshua Tree National Park.