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Trotter’s abstract paintings engage mind’s eye

The Historic Gas Company Lofts in Los Angeles hosted a reception for Ruth Trotter, professor of art, Saturday. Trotter’s exhibit, titled “Informal,” will be shown until Feb. 24. The work behind Ruth Trotter, left, and her friend Peggy Zask, right, is titled “Carcassonne.” / photo by Brittney Slater-Shew

Brian Velez
Staff Writer 

A selection of paintings by University of La Verne art professor Ruth Trotter hang in the lobby of the Historic Gas Company Lofts in Downtown Los Angeles.

The paintings and drawings are colorful and appear random, but their creation is not an accidental selection of pigments.

“She makes you think different, she pushes you,” senior art student Kayla Gex said about Trotter.

Thinking outside the box is definitely a quality in Trotter’s work.

“No one ever looks at a painting with pure eyes,” Trotter said.

She explains that psychology plays a large role in her process of creation.

By placing a base image, which she refers to as the cognitive, then covering it with the intuitive, Trotter presents art intended for individual interpretation.

Many of Trotter’s pieces contain portions of lines that have been hidden behind layers of paint. Those lines were once Trotter’s cognitive ideas influenced by Rorschach tests.

Similar to viewing a cloud in the sky and attempting to decipher its shape, Trotter’s paintings and drawings are open for interpretation.

Mariana Hazdovac, property manager and art curator of The Historic Gas Company Lofts, visited the Neuartig Gallery in San Pedro where Trotter’s work was exhibited. She then invited Trotter to exhibit selected pieces.

“Flammarion” is a landscape painted with acrylic and oil on linen. It was influenced by Camille Flammarion’s book “The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology.”

“I was painting and without noticing painted a man’s eyes on the horizon,” Trotter said. “I guess I was thinking about Flammarion.”

In the book by Flammarion, a man peeks through the separation of earth’s atmosphere and outer space to discover a world between them.

Another highlight is “Quercy,” named after the region in the south of France. It is a large painting on linen with a raw look since the unused linen around the painting can still be seen.

“In the way they were made, some other works are less daring than ‘Quercy’,” Dion Johnson, director of the university art galleries, said.

Although the viewer will never see the figures and random images that were painted over, Trotter knows they are there.

Colors and textures of the paintings may evoke a sense of wonder and independent interpretation, and Trotter said that is exactly what she wants.

The paintings will be available for viewing until Feb. 24.

Brian Velez can be reached at

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