July 2, 2021

Matthew Rolston’s Solo Photography Exhibition Opens at Laguna Art Museum

Frishmuth, The Dancers. Photography courtesy of Matthew Rolston and Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles.

Photographer Matthew Rolston’s client roster is impressive. Mary J. Blige, L’Oreal, Vogue, Virgin Hotels—the list goes on. For the past decade, however, he has trained his lens on creating fine art. One series in particular is from 2016, although it originated from
when Rolston was a child. Raised in postwar Los Angeles, Rolston was exposed to both classical art and Hollywood imagery, around the city and at area cultural institutions and festivals, including the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. The 88-year-old annual event brings famous paintings to life—think Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks—in a live musical production otherwise known as tableau vivants, or living pictures. Five years ago, Rolston was granted unprecedented backstage access to the pageant, setting up a makeshift studio to shoot the fully costumed performers during dress rehearsals and intermissions. The result is “Matthew Rolston, Art People: The Pageant Portraits,” an 18-image exhibition at Laguna Art Museum that captures tableaus from that year’s theme, “Partners,” drawn from such artworks as Antoine-Louis Barye’s Roger and Angelica and Harriet Whitney Frishmuth’s The Dancers, all of which Rolston rendered in monumental format (Angelica is 8 feet tall). He says the project is “art about art about art.” 

After missing last summer’s performance due to COVID-19, the Pageant of the Masters returns to Laguna Beach July 7 to September 3, themed “Made in America.”

His Hittorff, La Fontaine des Mers (Paredrae of Neptune). Photography courtesy of Matthew Rolston and Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles.

Barye, Roger and Angelica (Angelica) is among Matthew Rolston’s solo photography exhibit shot during the 2016 Pageant of the Masters, at Laguna Art Museum in California, from June 27 to September 19. Photography courtesy of Matthew Rolston and Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles.
Da Vinci, The Last Supper (Jesus Christ) Pageant Makeup Template. Photography courtesy of Matthew Rolston and Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles.

Recent DesignWire