Taking and viewing photos has increasingly become an important part of people’s lives, especially with the introduction of Instagram and the ability to use your phone as a camera. We are looking at more and more images than ever before. But when you are looking at a photo, how much of what you are seeing is real?
Chris Engman’s show Refraction at Luis de Jesus Gallery challenges these perceptions through his creation of photographic environments. When you enter the gallery you walk into the site-specific work Containment, which took over 300 individual prints to create. It’s an immersive piece that gives the viewer the chance to see how Engman’s final images are created.
The second room of the gallery houses several photos of different recreated natural environments, including sand dunes and a cloudy sky. On one wall there is a book shelf (pictured above) where the center is a photograph of a bookshelf and to the left and right are actual objects, furthering the challenge to question everything you are looking at. Looking at a photo of books on a shelf, next to real books on a shelf, what makes more of an impression to your eye? What is the difference between looking at a photo of the sky and a photo of a construction made of photos of the sky?
From the press release–
Refraction explores the relationship between illusion and reality by exposing the deceit inherent in photographic image-making while engaging in philosophical and material play around slips in translation. Refraction refers to the change in matter or information as it passes through one medium to another. Refraction occurs when our experience of the world is mediated through photographic images. Engman states: “We see more than we would have, and there is value in that. But the thing, person, or place that is imaged is also irrevocably changed. Photographs resemble and seem somehow in proximity to places and moments we cannot access in ways we wish we could. This produces a continuous and oblique kind of yearning for what we wish could be present or more fully understood,” resulting in a mental projection through which we fill in the gaps, adding detail or meaning.
This exhibition closes 3/23/19.
Blum & Poe’s current exhibition Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s, is a selected survey exhibition of Japanese art of the 1980s and ‘90s, curated by Mika Yoshitake. It includes the work of over twenty-five visual artists in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, video, and photography.
From the press release–
The exhibition title makes reference to the gallery in Tokyo (Gallery Parergon, 1981-1987) that introduced many artists associated with the New Wave phenomenon, its name attributed to Jacques Derrida’s essay from 1978 which questioned the “framework” of art, influential to artists and critics during the period. Parergon brings together some of the most enigmatic works that were first generated during a rich two-decade period that are pivotal to the way we perceive and understand contemporary Japanese art today. In the aftermath of the conceptual reconsideration of the object and relationality spearheaded by Mono-ha in the 1970s, this era opened up new critical engagements with language and medium where artists explored expansions in installation, performance, and experimental multi-genre practices.
When the U.S. and Europe were witnessing a return to Expressionism alongside a postmodern aesthetic of simulacra and deconstruction characterized by the Pictures generation, this zeitgeist of cultural capitalism was instead manifest under Japan’s unique social and geo-political conditions resulting from the rise and burst of the bubble economy. Artists began to explore subversive artistic languages and integrate underground subcultures into their practice using a variety of media, ranging from experimentations in electro-acoustic music, geopolitical and conceptual photography, and appropriations of advertisement culture. Others addressed the internalization of historical avant-garde and modernist aesthetics that were filtered through a new poetics of form, space, and language.
In the post-1989 Hirohito era, politics of gender, nuclear crisis, and critique of nationalism are especially poignant among artists from the Kansai region. This period also witnesses the rise of art collectives in the mid-90s and their darkly humorous performances and conceptual practices that reevaluated the history of Japan’s postwar avant-garde. These events reflect on a subculture generated out of a profoundly unique “infantile capitalism,” anticipating the explosive rise of the Neo-Pop generation.
This exhibition is presented on the occasion of Blum & Poe’s 25-year anniversary. Parergon commemorates a special facet of the gallery’s history rooted in this very timeframe in Japan—with Tim Blum’s early years as an art dealer and curator spent in Tokyo in the early ‘90s—and charts a bridge between the Japanese art historical territories the gallery has long championed. Parergon pursues the creative significance of the years between the milestones of Mono-ha and the Neo-Pop generation now synonymous with Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara.
This exhibition closes 3/23/19. Part II will open 4/6/19.
For his first exhibition, Viewing Room, at Anat Ebgi, Alec Egan has created bright and colorful paintings that capture the viewer’s attention immediately, drawing you into his world.
From the press release-
Fragmented and yet fully whole, Egan tackles the psychology of the domestic interior through a maze of lushly wallpapered rooms. Tulips, a window, a rug, a painting-within-the-painting; these are the clues presented in Egan’s blueprint-key, allowing the viewer to map this imaginary home. The indulgent use of oil paint create textures imbued with a cognitive power, the flatness of the patterns complemented by raised brushstrokes seemingly pushing and pulling one’s gaze. Thick impasto accentuate the dapples found in the floorboards or drywall of this home, the overwhelming quality of Egan’s playful patterns bordering on abstraction through Rococo-esque embellishment.
A pair of socks, boots, glasses; these discarded items wait to be used again, frozen against the wild landscape of the wallpaper, or the duvet-cover, a literal flowerbed. A camouflaging ensues – an upholstered chair all but disappears into the adjacent wall. For all the objects, the absence of the figure is palpable, yet each still-life insists on a haunting human presence and the viewer as witness. There is a sense of escapism throughout, books are featured prominently, and the air is rife with the nostalgia of adolescence and Americana. Swatches on swatches, Egan’s canvases produce an infinite number of windows, chambers and corridors, blending the internal with the external, relishing in their own lurid pattern-making and the comfort of déjà vu.
This exhibition closes 4/28/18.
Currently at Walter Maciel Gallery is Katherine Sherwood’s solo exhibition, The Interior of the Yelling Clinic. The title, according to the press release, takes its name from an organized group of six artists, including Sherwood, “who have an interest in the intersections between war and disability. The Yelling Clinic was created to mix artistic practice with community outreach, art instruction and activism.”
Sherwood’s paintings are influenced by famous European works but also include evidence of physical disabilities (like the cane in Blind Venus, pictured above) and her own brain scans. After a cerebral hemorrhage at 44, the artist lost the use of her right arm and hand and was forced to learn to paint with her left. The nudes mix the personal with the traditional while also challenging notions of beauty and the idealized female form. Adding another dimension to the paintings, they are created on the backs of old art history painting reproductions that she saved from being thrown away by the UC Berkeley Art Department where she taught. The gallery has hung one of her flower paintings (pictured below) from the ceiling so that you can see an example of what is on the other side of the work.
This exhibition closes 4/28/18.
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).
Rodeo 10, 2016 (Photo credit Jeff McLane)
Hillary Clinton, 2016 (Photo credit Robert Wedemeyer)
Karl Haendel’s solo exhibition BY AND BY at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, is a collection of highly detailed drawings mixed with earlier work made in 2000, and a new video piece. Included in the earlier work is State Motto Map, a colorful map of the United States, with each state’s motto labeled on it. Washington State’s motto is Alki, or Al-ki, a Native American word meaning bye and bye, and is where the title of this exhibition is drawn from.
From the press release–
In this exhibition, Haendel uses the idea of the portrait to explore contemporary definitions of masculinity, power, and public identity. He undertakes the challenging task of drawing a portrait of what it is to be a man, or perhaps what is expected of men, in images that span a broad range of representations from the heroic to the abject, from the depiction of male achievement in the highest ranks of power to a raw and unsympathetic examination of a middle-aged convicted sex offender. An inquiry into what represents masculinity also requires a look at the conventions of gender representation, as masculinity and femininity have so long been defined, particularly in images, as a codependent set of complimentary traits. In “By and By” Haendel both reasserts and undermines these conventions in heroic portraits of teenage girls riding rodeo, reproductions of murals depicting black civil rights leaders, and a monumental portrait of Hillary Clinton. His drawings and his video work against a tradition of portraiture that collapses individuals into ciphers and symbols that read as shorthand for historical legacies and narrative tropes.
This show closes 2/11/17.
(images via Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects)
Bettina Hubby’s exhibition, THE SEXUAL BRONZE SHOW at Klowden Mann presents several pairs of common objects cast in bronze that take on sexual relationships . This is made even more clear in the back room of the gallery where there are photos of the objects interacting.
And it is definitely meant to be funny, as this quote from Hubby indicates (taken from the press release)-
“I take my humor seriously. I focused intently and took a survey, then plunged deeply and engrossed myself into the grocery aisles to find these pairings and made monuments to my match-made couples’ various proclivities. I honor their diversity and their freedom of expression. I bronzed their essence and photographed them in a white bed of light to reveal their true natures; they gleam with a confident appreciative post-coital sigh.” – Hubby
This show closes 2/27/16 and there is a closing reception from 6-8pm.
Art Culver City, the group exhibition currently at Mark Moore Gallery was created in response to the current state of art fairs which have become more about celebrity and parties than the art itself. The focus here is on the art. Standouts include Zemer Peled’s sculptures created from hand-crafted shards of porcelain (pictured above), Kim Rugg’s maps recreated using only city names and regions and Christopher Russell’s photo prints that have images scratched into them with a razor. This show closes 12/19/15.
While in Culver City make sure to stop by Maloney Fine Art to see Jeff Colson’s incredibly realistic sculpture, Stacks (pictured above), created from carved wood. This show closes 12/19.
Also closing 12/19 in Culver City and worth checking out-
Rosson Crow’s multimedia exhibition at Honor Fraser Gallery Madame Psychosis Holds a Séance, “explores the fictional world of Madame Psychosis, an aging showgirl obsessed with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.” The center piece is Crow’s first film, which stars Kelly Lynch as Madame Psychosis in outfits designed by Jeremy Scott.
At Anat Egbi Gallery is Jen Denike’ show ‘If She Hollers” which consists of three films and still images from them. “The show’s three protaganists feature “The Boxer”,“The Cat” and “The Pimp” interweave elements adapted from references ranging from Joe Lewis to Alice in Wonderland and RuPaul’s Drag Race”.
Cheryl Louise Humphreys’ embossed paper images at her premier solo exhibition “I Just Have This Feeling…” explore visual communication in a digital age at Paul Loya Gallery
James Hyde’s exhibition “Ground” at Luis de Jesus Los Angeles combines photography and painting to form strong graphic images.
From the press release–
The title “Ground” resonates with the descriptive photography of western landscapes. In the painting context, the ground is the active place on which painting occurs. Hyde uses a home brewed paint for these works, consisting of pigment dispersed in acrylic mediums, and in most cases that pigment is a form of ground earth. In turn, Hyde’s photographs follow a “light-room” process developed in the computer, distorting and adjusting it and challenging the notion of any factual naturalism.
Resisting genres and traversing mediums, Hyde investigates the abstract gesture in relationship to photography. His opposition to the “realism” of digital photography, placed against the colors of abstracted shapes, snaps photography into place, making it a site, a location, and naturalizing it as a pictorial fact while reframing the question of the truthfulness of photography.
This exhibition closes 12/19/15.
(images via Luis de Jesus Los Angeles)