Jul 032021
 

This painting, Reverse Beach, 2019, is from Rob Thom’s exhibition at M+B Los Angeles, The Beast. Thom’s vision of American life takes on many forms, often focused on its more absurd qualities.

For more about his work, check out his interview at Interlocutor or his Instagram.

Jun 252021
 

Currently at the Spartanburg Museum of Art in South Carolina is fiber filled, an exhibition consisting of two art installations. The one pictured above is by artist Samuelle Green, titled Manifestation 8: Permutation 1.

Her statement about the work-

There is structure and design inherent in the natural world, which we constantly draw from and take for granted. We generally fail to acknowledge the skill, time, and detail required to manifest the intricate structures found in objects we encounter regularly- such as those found in bird and wasps nests, beehives, spiderwebs, rock formations, anthills, feathers, etc.

My work, especially the large scale installations like this one, reference these natural forms as they merge with human-made objects, inspiring contemplation.

Also check out the museum’s site for a short video from the artist going into more detail on her process.

The other installation is by Liz Miller, titled Alchemical Conundrum, part of which is seen below.

Her statement about the work-

My work explores the fallibility of infrastructure and the precariousness of perceptions, as seen through a materially-intensive process-based lens. I create elaborate site specific installations that are equal parts absurd, menacing, and poetic. Pattern and tactility confuse and complicate identification, camouflaging recognizable forms and evoking recognition when applied to non-objective forms. The tensions between fact/fiction and dimensionality/flatness are endlessly fascinating to me, playing out my work as a dialogue between reality and illusion.

More recently I have become fascinated with rope and knotting as a byproduct of my large-scale installations, where I utilize rope to achieve tension that gives volume to otherwise flat materials. The varied use of rope and knotting across cultures and history ranges from utilitarian to decorative, and even deadly. I create interdependent knotted topographies that allude to both structure and malleability. The repeated act of tying by hand integrates an emphatic sense of strength, while the flexibility and nuance of the textile material ensures structural permutations. The resulting works are only quasi-architectural providing metaphorical insight laced with humor as related to a variety of structural and systemic behavior.

This exhibition closes 6/30/21.

Jun 252021
 

Blackalicious- Make You Feel That Way

This has been such a terrible year for Gen X rappers. Rest in Peace Gift of Gab of the Sacramento duo Blackalicious, who passed away today at 50 years old of natural causes.

Make You Feel That Way is from Blackalicious’ 2002 studio album Blazing Arrow, and has been a long time feel good favorite of mine.

Jun 242021
 

 

From The High Line’s information page on this work-

Simone Leigh presents Brick House, a 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a Black woman with a torso that combines the forms of a skirt and a clay house. The sculpture’s head is crowned with an afro framed by cornrow braids, each ending in a cowrie shell. Brick House is the inaugural commission for the High Line Plinth, a new landmark destination for major public artworks in New York City. This is the first monumental sculpture in Leigh’s Anatomy of Architecture series, an ongoing body of work in which the artist combines architectural forms from regions as varied as West Africa and the Southern United States with the human body. The title comes from the term for a strong Black woman who stands with the strength, endurance, and integrity of a house made of bricks.

Brick House references numerous architectural styles: Batammaliba architecture from Benin and Togo, the teleuk dwellings of the Mousgoum people of Cameroon and Chad, and the restaurant Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi. The sculpture contrasts sharply against the landscape it inhabits, where glass-and-steel towers shoot up from among older industrial-era brick buildings, and where architectural and human scales are in constant negotiation. Resolutely facing down 10th Avenue, Leigh’s powerful Black female figure challenges us to consider the architecture around us, and how it reflects customs, values, priorities, and society as a whole.

Leigh works across sculpture, video, installation, and social practice, stitching together references from different historical periods and distant geographical locations. As a sculptor, Leigh works predominantly in ceramics—a medium that she mastered early in her career—continually pushing the boundaries of her chosen material by working in new methods and larger scales. In her intersectional practice, Leigh focuses on how the body, society, and architecture inform and reveal one another. She examines the construction of Black female subjectivity, both through specific historical figures such as Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham, and more generally through overlapping historical lineages across Europe, Africa, the US, and the Caribbean.

The High Line’s website also has some excellent videos and additional information on the making of the sculpture well worth checking out.  This work was on view until May of 2021.

Jun 232021
 

Quarantine, 2018

This painting is from Julie Curtiss’ exhibition Altered States at VSF gallery in Los Angeles in 2018.

From the press release from that show-

Depicting mostly female subjects in her works, Curtiss creates an undulating dreamscape where the depths of a woman’s psyche are as important and palpable as her body. Rife with swirling curvatures and oscillating lines that convey both physical movement as well as cognitive dissonance, Curtiss’ subjects are secretive and faceless, inhabiting uncanny narratives driven by the logic of dreams. Teetering between dichotomies of seduction and repulsion, feral and domestic, their countenances are strategically concealed with thick mounds of serpentine hair, clawed hands and razor-sharp nails that conjure the anatomy of cold-blooded beasts. For Curtiss’ latest series of paintings and gouaches on paper, marine imagery permeates the narratives: koi, lotuses, fishtails in lieu of feet, a lobster claw clasping a glossy manicured finger … a nod to the 1980s science-fiction film “Altered States,” whose protagonist descends into a bottomless search for the self by way of floatation tanks – sensory deprivation chambers filled with body-temperature saltwater (water being the Jungian dream symbol for the unconscious). While Curtiss invites us to dive deeper into the layered, mercurial mind of her subjects, we are inevitably faced with a reflection of our own subconscious.

She is currently showing her newer work, which includes sculptures, at White Cube Mason’s Yard, in an exhibition titled Monads and Dyads, closing 6/26/21.

Jun 222021
 

Cheval Sombre- Sunlight in My Room

The playlist below is made up of musical selections from bands and musicians who played in Los Angeles in May of 2021, and others who had or were part of concerts online. As always, the selection includes a variety of genres.

The song above was released as a single on May 7th.

Jun 222021
 

This mural, Play Her Voice, is by one of Afghanistan’s first female street artists, Shamsia Hassani and is located in Eugene, Oregon.

She was also one of Hammer Museum’s resident artists in 2016. While in Los Angeles she met with local artists, painted the mural seen below (image via her website) and showed her work in an exhibition at Seyhoun Gallery in West Hollywood.

Make sure to check out her Instagram for updates on her current work.

Jun 212021
 

Eye of the Storm, a mural by artist Ricky Watts, was created for 2015’s (and the first) SHINE Mural Festival. For more work by Ricky Watts check out his website and Instagram.