The last days to see this wonderful new show at 1969 Gallery, California Deserts, Aaron Zulpo’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Following his relocation to California, Zulpo’s interest in landscape painting has expanded and become a pivotal aspect of his studio practice. This change has inspired a new series of sensitively observed landscape paintings of the American West. He begins his work in plein air during exploratory hikes through rugged desert terrain. Zulpo’s connection to the land imbues his paintings with a sense of reverence.

In California Deserts, the artist presents a series of recent paintings whose subjects range from the canyons of the Santa Ana Mountains, to the peaks of Mount San Jacinto, to the boulders and century-old Yuccas of Joshua Tree National Park. Zulpo captures the changing atmospheric and lighting conditions of the desert sky, as exemplified in works such as Quail Mountain Dust Storm and Joshua Tree with a Red Sky, bathed in golden, peach, and auburn tones that evoke the allure of the desert at sunset. Other paintings, such as Looking at Maze Loop from Quail Springs, highlight the uniquely expressive quality of cloudforms, which appear, at times, to mirror the craggy rocks below.

Drawing inspiration from early twentieth-century landscape painters, such as Rockwell Kent and the Canadian Group of Seven, Zulpo presents a serious and sustained engagement with the natural world. At the same time, he brings a twenty-first century environmental consciousness to the landscape tradition, calling attention to the inherent virtue and beauty of wild spaces and the need to preserve them. 

In 2017, Aaron Zulpo and Johnny DeFeo co-founded The Guild of Adventure Painters. This non-profit organization aims to keep nature at the forefront of the arts by offering residency programs, community building initiatives, exhibitions and public events. Since its inception, The Guild of Adventure Painters has been dedicated to inspiring artists to immerse themselves in the outdoors, cultivating a deeper connection with nature and playing a vital role in its preservation.