For over half a century, Frank Lobdell's work has immeasurably enriched the local and national cultural landscape. His stature is reflected in the acclaim of art critics, in the respect of fellow artists, and in the admiration of his students, regardless of their personal artistic philosophies. To state that Lobdell is "an artist's artist" is to acknowledge that he has pursued his calling with passion, discipline, and integrity, and that he has elevated the creation of art above its reception in the art world.
Lobdell's diverse body of work is linked by its shared sense of humanity. In the 1940s, he was among the pioneers of the San Francisco Bay Area school of abstract expressionism. During the 1950s, he gradually reintroduced the human figure into his work, thus expanding conventional conceptions of both abstraction and figuration. Drawing inspiration from the vision of Francisco Goya, these works presented a dark, existential worldview shaped by the cumulative horrors of World War II, the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, and the Korean War.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Lobdell expanded the scale and scope of his figures, which now actively asserted their humanity in opposition to the threat posed by the war in Vietnam. From the 1980s to the present, he has developed a resonant new language of signs, one that suggests the primordial and the mythic are not relegated to the past, but still alive and vital in the present. Equating art and life on the most fundamental level, these recent works reconnect contemporary viewers with the eternal physical and spiritual struggle of the artistand of humankindfor making and meaning.