Dec 022017
 

Today, December 1st, is Day With(out) Art, a national day of action and mourning organized by Visual AIDS with arts organizations and institutions in response to the AIDS crisis. It is also World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the disease.

In 2014, on the 25th anniversary of Day With(out) Art, Visual AIDS commissioned seven artists/collaboratives to create short videos for a program titled ALTERNATE ENDINGS, which are now available to watch online.  This year Visual AIDS has created another video program –ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, previewed above.

From their Vimeo channel

Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, the video program prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, commissioning seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Brontez Purnell.

In spite of the impact of HIV/AIDS within Black communities, these stories and experiences are constantly excluded from larger artistic and historical narratives. In 2016 African Americans represented 44% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Given this context, it is increasingly urgent to feature a myriad of stories that consider and represent the lives of those housed within this statistic. ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS seeks to highlight the voices of those that are marginalized within broader Black communities nationwide, including queer and trans people.

The commissioned projects include intimate meditations of young HIV positive protagonists; a consideration of community-based HIV/AIDS activism in the South; explorations of the legacies and contemporary resonances within AIDS archives; a poetic journey through New York exploring historical traces of queer and trans life, and more. Together, the videos provide a platform centering voices deeply impacted by the ongoing epidemic.

Next week on 12/7 (Thursday), MOCA Grand Avenue in Los Angeles will be screening this program followed by a performance by Kia LaBeija and a discussion featuring Reina Gossett and Kia LaBeija in conversation with Day With(out) Art curators Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett. (this event is free)

In New York it will be screened on 12/4 (Monday) at Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture with a post-screening discussion featuring artists Cheryl Dunye, Ellen Spiro and Thomas Allen Harris in conversation with curators Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett. (free but make sure to register as the event at The Whitney filled up quickly)

 

Mar 042017
 

                                                                         (above work by Sandra Low, Steve Seleska, and Amy Kaps)

Currently at Walter Maciel Gallery is With Liberty and Justice for Some, for which the gallery invited artists from across the country to do 8×8 inch portraits of individuals who came to the United States as immigrants- including historic subjects, personal friends, relatives, strangers, and sometimes self portraits. The gallery is also donating a portion of each sale to various non-profit groups including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the LA and SF LGBT Centers. Also showing at the gallery is I.D. Please!, with works by artists Hung Liu, John Bankston, Lezley Saar, John Jurayi, Maria E. Piñeres, Nike Schröder, Dana Weiser and Monica Lundy, who have all developed studio practices based around notions of identity.

This exhibition closes 3/4/17.

Also closing this weekend in Culver City-

Egan Frantz’s The Oat Paintings at Roberts & Tilton

(image via Roberts & Tilton)

And at Kopeikin Gallery are Ardeshir Tabrizi’s Observations in Linear Time (palm tree), and Jason Engelund’s Meta-Landscapes and Visual Ambient Drones (blue).

(images via Kopeikin)

Apr 162016
 
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Mara De Luca, INDIO, 2015 (image courtesy Edward Cella Art & Architecture)

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Mara De Luca, INDUSTRY, 2014 (image courtesy Edward Cella Art & Architecture)

Today (4/16/16) is the last day to see Mara De Luca’s solo exhibition Driving Sunset at Edward Cella Art & Architecture.

From the press release

An MFA graduate of CalArts, De Luca explores the conceptual and expressive potential of process-driven abstract painting. Her works are informed by her study and re-appropriation of art historical conventions, her visual interpretation of literary sources, and the recurring visual tropes of contemporary high-end fashion advertising. Inspired by Los Angeles’ stark contrasts, a place where beautiful natural landscapes coexist alongside endless freeways and countless billboards, De Luca reveals a depth in the superficiality of surface, and an emotive complexity in formal concision.

The show’s title is a reference to Joan Didion’s novel Play It as It Lays, in which the main character drives around Los Angeles aimlessly while trying to clear her mind. There’s a sense of that sought after calm in these paintings whose colors and dark cloud-like shapes bring to mind the skies and sunsets of California.

Apr 162016
 
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© Eleanor Macnair (image courtesy Kopeikin Gallery)

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Untitled, 1975 © William Eggleston

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© Eleanor Macnair (image courtesy Kopeikin Gallery)

Nan one month after being battered 1984 Nan Goldin born 1953 Purchased 1997 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P78045

Nan one month after being battered, 1984 © Nan Goldin (image courtesy tate.org.uk)

Currently at Kopeikin Gallery are Eleanor Macnair’s delightful Play-Doh recreations of famous photographs (I’ve included the original photos for comparison, they are not in the show).  In the second part of the gallery is Michael Lange’s serene series Wald/Fluss (Forest/River).

WALD | Landscapes of Memory forest in Germany (image courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery)

This exhibition closes 4/16/16.

Mar 252016
 
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“4995” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)

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“4600” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)

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“0521” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)

For his current solo exhibition Choreograph at Regen Projects, James Welling combines his images of architecture and landscape (common in his previous work), with photographs of dancers to create beautiful dreamlike worlds. Welling once studied dance at the University of Pittsburgh before stopping after a year to go to CalArts, and his continued love of dance is evident in the work.

The process for the creation of these layered images is explained in the press release

To create these works Welling photographed over a dozen dance companies in New York, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Los Angeles. The dance photographs were then merged with photographs of architecture (buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, and Paul Rudolph) and landscape imagery (western Connecticut, southern Florida, and Switzerland) in Photoshop’s fundamental red, green, and blue color channels, which are basic to all color photographs. The resulting electronic files were altered by the artist using Photoshop’s Hue and Saturation layers to create complicated, multi-hued photographs, which were then printed on rag paper using a 10 color Epson Stylus Pro 9900 inkjet printer.

For more information on how he achieved the look of the photos in Photoshop, there is a booklet at the front desk that contains a breakdown of the color channels and a list of each color adjustment layer.

This show closes 3/26/16.

 

Mar 182016
 
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Doppelgangers (in foreground)

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Detail of Doppelgangers

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Home is Where You Are Happy, No.1

 

At Amy Yao’s solo exhibition at Various Small Fires, Bay of Smokes, fear of a polluted and harmfully modified environment play a central role. An industrial manufactured scent fills the gallery, lead blankets are on towel racks and a mountain of rice reveals on closer inspection that it has bits of plastic and pearls (real and fake) mixed in. In this time of GMO’s, toxic water in Flint, and the gas leak at Porter Ranch, it’s hard not to be paranoid about what is really happening to our natural surroundings and how poisonous our daily lives really are, especially in ways we cannot discern. Yao’s exhibition is a creative and at times playful examination of these issues, but the darkness of the theme, like the scent remains a constant presence.

This exhibition closes 3/18/16.

 

 

Mar 122016
 
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Mom Knows

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Black Flag

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Detail from Black Flag

The mixed media assemblage paintings in Aaron Fowler’s current solo exhibition, Blessings on Blessings, at Diane Rosenstein gallery, are large, highly detailed, and dense with imagery.

From the press release-

Aaron Fowler, who was born in St. Louis and currently lives and works in Harlem, creates mixed-media assemblage-paintings that depict his experiences and the lives of his family and friends in both a personal narrative and an epic journey through contemporary America. The title of this exhibition, which includes twelve portraits, tableaux, and medallions created in the past year, refers to lyrics from “Blessings”, a 2015 song by American rapper Big Sean.

In these sculptural tableaux, Fowler depicts himself as a “mirror character” called The Pilgrim. He employs oils, acrylics and collage – often pixilated ‘photo print-outs’ based on 18th C. American historical painting – alongside objects like Adidas sneakers, CDs, T-shirts, and plastic bags.  The dynamic, large-scale compositions are enacted on discarded domestic materials including shutters, mirrored doors, windows, and card tables.

This show closes 3/12/16.

 

Mar 122016
 

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Mark Dutcher’s solo exhibition, Time Machine, currently at the new Jason Vass Gallery, includes his complete Time Machine series of ten paintings as well as his Optimist Benches. The paintings, primarily in shades of white, are beautifully balanced by the brightly colored benches, which are meant to be used for contemplating the work on the walls.

From the press release-

Encouraged by the physical immediacy of painting and by its mnemonic capacity to invoke nostalgia, Dutcher began the Time Machine series in 2012 with a desire to capture and revisit enduring past impressions. The series began with an attempt to represent a pivotal moment in his development as an artist, when, in 1983, viewing an abstract painting by Susan Rothenberg at LACMA he experienced a profound shift and consolidation of purpose. Dutcher wanted to return to that specific moment in time, to capture the feeling of that day through an intuitive approach to abstraction. He went on to create nine additional paintings in the series, each in search of the conversion and representation of a fleeting memory. By revisiting these impressions, Dutcher literally recreates a personal history through emotive recall, visually incorporating fragments of text, (sometimes song lyrics or friends and lovers’ names specific to the time), painterly gestures, and physical remnants of time spent in the studio to convey sensorial memories. Dutcher’s tributes to the past are both celebratory and melancholic, as each commemoration inevitably carries its weight in loss.

Also included in the exhibition is a painting from Dutcher’s Hart Crane series and six smaller works on paper from the Time Machine series.

This show closes on 3/12/16.

 

Mar 052016
 

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There is an incredible quiet beauty to Chris Ballantyne’s exhibition Transcendental Divide/Transitory Space at Zevitas Marcus in Culver City.  The paintings, all on wood panels, contrast the tininess of the man made structures with the vastness of the natural landscapes.

From the press release-

Transcendental Divide/Transitory Space continues Chris Ballantyne’s exploration of the tensions that exist between nature and man’s ever-expanding imprint on the planet. Employing a dry sense of humor and architecturally precise draftsmanship, Ballantyne delicately renders familiar images of everyday life – a neglected swimming pool, an empty parking lot, a vacant home – and juxtaposes them with often vast expanses of nature. The overall effect is such that signs of civilization start to seem both absurd and obsolete. In this exhibition, a highway interchange becomes an infinity loop; a suburban ranch house is inexplicably perched on the edge of a massive canyon; and a ship, dwarfed in scale to the canvas on which it is rendered, floats into a serene white void.

Ballantyne says of his work, “I want to suggest that empty space or nothingness has real meaning, as do the everyday and overlooked.”

This show closes 3/5/16.

(images courtesy of Zevitas Marcus)

Mar 052016
 

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Currently at Gavlak Gallery are Bovey Lee’s amazingly detailed rice paper works for her solo exhibition Divertical.

From the press release-

Taking inspiration from the overwhelming nature of a cross-country move, the works are predominated by a motif of rollercoasters winding their way throughout the pieces and often forming the perimeter of the cuttings. The title of the exhibition itself takes its name from an actual rollercoaster, the world’s tallest water roller coaster located in Italy. Embedded within each work – contrasting with the chaos of the rollercoaster and the natural and urban elements that fill the work – is evidence of a small balancing act, depicted in the form of a tightrope walker, an acrobat, or a surfer carefully balanced on his board. Speaking to the motivation for her move, the works also feature imagery associated with romantic relationships – wedding bouquets, engagement rings, cakes, and eternity symbols populate the pieces.

In the front of the gallery is Amy Bessone’s In The Century of Women, a combination of sculptures and prints concerned with the female image. The large bronze and ceramic sculptures contrast the female torsos on pedestals with the large pipes on the floor that perhaps suggest the male onlooker. The prints on the wall are “based on discarded images of divorcées from newspaper archives, dating from the 1930’s-1970’s.” They invite viewers to imagine narratives for these women who in certain instances stare out at you from their moment in time.

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Both of these exhibitions close 3/5/16.

(images courtesy of Gavlak Gallery)