May 092019
 

Various Small Fires (VSF) is currently showing unholy ghost, Diedrick Brackens’ first solo exhibition at the gallery.

From the press release-

Employing the loom to explore intricate weaving techniques from West Africa, Kente textiles, and European tapestries, Brackens stitches together narratives of the American South, rebirth, and the changing of seasons for his new body of work. The titles and themes for this exhibition take inspiration from Essex Hemphill’s poem The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts.

For Brackens, who identifies as a black queer person, the act of naming and birthing oneself is a radical gesture. Drawing from his personal life, ancestry, American history, and folklore, Brackens’ weavings are encoded with symbolic animals and materials that tease the knotted threads of American identity and sociopolitics. A bloodhound sniffs the ground for a subterranean figure in hiding, alluding to the terrorization of black bodies through the omnipresence of state-sanctioned violence. Catfish, on the other hand, occupy the space of spirits; swimming parallel to a levitating body, inside the heart of an aquatic being, or by hands outstretched to the sky, they are both ancestor and sustenance, the origin of human life. The silhouetted figures are born from Brackens’ projected shadow, a mirror of the self sewn with jet black yarns.

Brackens was included in Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. 2018, their biennial exhibition of artists from the greater Los Angeles area. Below is a video made for that show that shows the artist creating and discussing his work.

Also on view are Anna Sew Hoy’s sculptures (pictured below) and a sound program by Dawn Kasper that plays in the entrance to the courtyard of the gallery space.

These exhibitions will close 5/11/19.

Aug 312018
 

Lauren Halsey- The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture) 2018

Lauren Halsey- The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture) 2018

Currently at the Hammer Museum is Made in L.A. 2018, the museum’s fourth biennial exhibition of artists working in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. The diverse group of artists included range in age from 29 to 97.  With so many excellent works in the exhibition, it was very hard to choose which of them to highlight. The following are just a few selections from the exhibition that stood out.

Lauren Halsey’s sculptures (pictured above), won the Mohn Award, a jury award which honors artistic excellence. You can also see another one of her sculptures at MOCA, until September 3.

Selection of works by Luchita Hurtado

The paintings above are from the oldest artist showing in the exhibition, Luchita Hurtado. At 97, she is just starting to get recognition for a lifetime of work.

The youngest artist in the show is Diedrick Brackens (shown below) who uses weaving and textile making to tell stories that reflect on cultural and personal narratives from his childhood in Mexla,Texas.

Diedrick Brackens

The most entertaining of the works in the exhibition is OURCHETYPES, created by Jade Gordon and Megan Whitmarsh. Taking up an entire room, it consists of videos, sculptures, and a publication all dealing with issues of self discovery, adulthood, womanhood, happiness, and success all from a tongue in cheek, retro New Age perspective.

Jade Gordon & Megan Whitmarsh, OURCHETYPES

There are also other video installations that are well worth spending time with.  Gelare Khoshgozaran’s Medina Wasi: Connecting Town, was shot mainly in Mecca and Thermal in the Coachella Valley, along with footage from US military bases in the desert that have created towns meant to simulate Middle Eastern towns for troops to have simulated battles in. She combines this with interviews with US veterans who discuss their memories of the landscape when they were in the Middle East. Neha Choksi’s multichannel video installation Everything sunbright, examines our relationship to the sun and includes images from nature, a dance performance, and children making drawings of the sun all tying together themes of birth, life, and death.

This weekend Hammer Museum has programming to accompany the exhibition. On Saturday, taisha paggett will present a series of solo and duet dance performances and on Sunday, composer/performer Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs is assembling a group of mothers to explore the tropes and meanings of motherhood and Von Doog is offering empathic musical readings in the gallery prior to the performance.

This exhibition closes on Sunday 9/2.