Archival News Release
This News Release is outdated and posted here for archival purposes only.​​​​​​​​​​

October 16, 2014

Art Gallery ‘Abides’ with Film-Inspired ‘Lebowski Cycle’ Oct. 28 to Dec. 10
"The Lebowski Cycle"The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will present a first-of-its-kind exhibition inspired by the cult classic film ‘The Big Lebowski,’ as Southern California artist Joe Forkan attempts to “really tie the room together” with his work entitled ‘The Lebowski Cycle.’
The Lebowski Cycle is a series of paintings and drawings exploring layered narratives, using masterpieces of European art and the 1998 Coen brothers’ film ‘The Big Lebowski’ as a starting point.
The exhibition is the result of the artist’s longstanding interest in narrative painting, particularly paintings from the Baroque and Neoclassical eras.
“I‘ve always been drawn to complex figurative paintings that depict dramatic story arcs, and compress many thoughts, ideas and emotions into a single image,” explained Forkan. “I wanted to explore a large, unified series, but I was looking for a way to mitigate the grand seriousness that historical and religious paintings often contain.
“In wondering how the old masters might have handled less lofty subject matter, I started thinking about ‘The Big Lebowski’ — a favorite film, obviously,” added Forkan. “It seemed that the characters, humor and the preposterous story arc of the film might be enlisted to explore multiple points of view, moods, and intentions, if combined with themes and titles from well-known narrative paintings.”
The combination led to a series of 15 Lebowski-inspired hybrid images that reference art history, film, and contemporary art.
Fans of ‘The Big Lebowski’ will find that the Forkan’s series depicts a number of famous scenes and memorable characters from the film — including Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, Walter Sobchak, Donny Kerabatsos, Maude Lebowski and of course the Dude’s bowling nemesis Jesus Quintana.
“Mr. Forkan has accomplished something remarkable with this series of paintings,” said Larry Hurst, director of the COC Art Gallery. “These images, inspired by the film ‘The Big Lebowski,’ seem comfortably familiar and yet the artist has a much more serious, academic intention with these paintings.
“By utilizing the narrative nature of the film Forkan has deliberately crafted images that directly reflect narrative masterpieces of European art,” added Hurst. “Whether you are simply a fan of the movie, or a fan of serious art, you will find this exhibition, to borrow a phrase from the film, completely abideable.”
  • The exhibition will open Tuesday, Oct. 28 and run through Wednesday, Dec. 10.
  • An artist’s reception will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28.
  • The gallery will also host a special exhibition ‘closing party’ from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.
 The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to contact the gallery to schedule a viewing appointment.
All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public. 

For more information, visit​.
About the Artist
Joe Forkan is a figurative and landscape painter who lives and works in Southern California.
He was born in Walden, New York, and grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where he received his BFA from the University of Arizona in 1989. He received an MFA in Painting from the University of Delaware in 2002.
Forkan typically works in series, which allows for the exploration of varied themes, ranging from an exploration of layered narrative as seen in the figurative paintings of ‘The Lebowski Cycle.’
Forkan is also a professor of aArt at California State University Fullerton.

For additional information about the artist, visit
Note to editors: Photos available upon request.