A throwback to this rainbow of raised fists on boards in front of the windows of the Hard Rock Cafe on a deserted Hollywood Blvd.
Work by Vyal Reyes (@vyalone) in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
From the press release–
Steve Turner is pleased to present Midday Demon, a solo exhibition of new paintings by London-based Francisco Rodriguez, most of which feature an isolated male figure within a desolate urban landscape. In some, the figure is upright and smoking a cigarette. In others, he appears to have passed out. The artist describes the bleak setting as one that fosters exhaustion, listlessness, sadness, dejection, restlessness, anxiety and depression. Rodriguez observed the phenomena of the “midday demon” while growing up in Santiago, one of the largest cities in South America; again in London where he has lived for the last five years; and also during a recent residencies in Poland and Ukraine. He ponders the effects of the oppressive midday sun and wonders if such “spirits” actually do appear at that hour. Are his figures victims of some “midday demon”; or are they the demons themselves?
In the second gallery are Rebecca Shippee’s paintings for The Creators, featuring four portraits that are scaled to life and painted from observation.
From the press release–
Her subjects are queer, their bodies altered medically or through wardrobe choices. One figure bears top-surgery scars and whimsical tattoos, while another wears emerald green silk pajamas and a nameplate reading Boyland. The show’s title refers to self-fashioning, the art of inventing oneself, a pursuit particularly vital to queer life as well as to the fact that all the sitters are cultural creators–artists, writers and activists. In choosing to portray individuals with whom she has close personal relationships, Shippee rejects the traditional notions of “active artist” and “passive muse.” Instead, she portrays the sitters as creators of their own images.
In the third gallery are Jon Key’s paintings for Violet Alabama, a solo exhibition “inspired by the artist’s personal history and memories of growing up in rural Seale, Alabama”.
From the press release–
Through self-portraiture, Key explores the lineage and history of his identity through four themes–southern-ness, blackness, queerness, and family–each of which he represents chromatically with green, black, violet and red. He will also exhibit portraits of his father and grandfather to highlight the friction between the generations and the challenges of being a queer Black man in the Deep South.
All three of these exhibitions close 10/12/19.
Wendy White’s exhibition Racetrack Playa, at Shulamit Nazarian, is a very American show. Her collages of old car ads ,and their often blatant sexism, combined with the use of denim as a sculptural medium, play with the iconography of America’s past to force us to think about America today. How do you reconcile a love of the open road and exploring natural landscapes with the environmental destruction caused by using cars fueled with oil to get there? How much of the past perception of women as objects still informs thinking today? Will America get out of its wood paneled basement to move into a better place- or will its longing for the past continue to slow its progress?
From the press release-
Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to announce representation of New York-based artist Wendy White. The artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Racetrack Playa, will feature new paintings, sculptures, pigment prints, and a site-specific installation.
The exhibition takes its name from a three-mile dry lakebed in Death Valley National Park where sliding rocks or “sailing stones” have inscribed mysterious linear imprints on the landscape. Using this scarred landscape as a metaphor for our current times, the works in Racetrack Playa explore power, entitlement, and imperialism via the aesthetics and evolution of American car culture.
In pieces that function as both homage and critique, White collapses signs of racing and car culture with references to 20th-century American painting. Multiple-canvas works such as Posi Track and Burnout (both 2019) take cues from James Rosenquist’s famous Vietnam War-era painting F-111 (1964–65). In White’s versions, images of mangled engines, worn tire treads, and damaged landscapes suggest a trampling of both philosophical ideals and the natural environment. In addition, the works make reference to Andy Warhol’s Death and Disasters series and Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings.
The exhibition also includes new works from the artist’s ongoing Jeans series. These pieces make use of worn denim, a quintessentially American fabric associated with labor and a sense of rugged individualism. Co-opting the material and its cultural connotations as a substrate for painting, White makes marks with dripped and splattered bleach before garnishing each piece with flat cut-out rainbows, beer bottles, and energy drinks.
A site-specific installation complete with wood paneled walls, carpet, and one of White’s signature denim sofas creates a quasi-automotive shop backdrop for a new suite of unique pigment prints. Carving directly into the paneling, White references the DIY aesthetic of the 70s muscle car era by way of hand-drawn symbols, slogans and logos.
Taken together, the works in Racetrack Playa riff on the visual cues of car culture, the resilient materiality of denim, and the sexiness of commercial graphics to examine a society long drawn to speed and dominance. Reexamining this typically male-dominated arena, White pushes back on advertising’s false promise that perhaps all of your desires are for the taking, if you just smoke the right cigarettes and drive the right car.
This exhibition closes 5/25/19.
People, the current sculpture exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch’s Los Angeles gallery in Hollywood, fills the large room with work in a variety of media but all representing human beings in some way.
From the press release-
More than fifty standing, sitting and hanging figurative sculptures will fill Jeffrey Deitch’s new Los Angeles gallery. The artists in the show span several generations from the 1980s to the present, with an emphasis on emerging talent.
All of the works in the exhibition reflect a contemporary approach to sculpture inspired by the innovations of Dada, Surrealism, Assemblage and by the influence of non- or meta- art sources like department store mannequins.
Only one work in the show is carved or modeled in the traditional way. Some are made from body casts, others are constructed with found objects and only a few use conventional sculptural materials like bronze.
The works in the exhibition reflect the diversity of the artists who created them and the diversity of the people who the sculptures represent. The styles range from hyperrealism to allegory. The subjects range from ordinary individuals to creatures of fantasy. The works explore the uncanny confrontation of the artificial and the real while simultaneously responding to the multiple approaches to human identity in the contemporary world.
One of the sculptures, Totem, by Narcissister even incorporates live women. This adds to the unsettling feeling that some of the other sculptures, like Nobody, by Karon Davis (who founded The Underground Museum with her late husband Noah Davis), might have included real people as well (they don’t).
One of the strongest pieces in the exhibition is David Altmejd’s Pyramid in which a human/dog hybrid figure sits smoking while its back opens to expose insides composed of quartz, a hand, and several ears protrude from its sides. The little details are fascinating. He’s even painted one of the figure’s fingers purple, perhaps a reference to Human, the Ibizan hound with one purple leg that was included in Pierre Huyghe’s exhibition at LACMA.
People was inspired by Mike Kelley’s exhibition and book project The Uncanny, from 1993, and that’s definitely an accurate description of how it feels to wander around in this particular room of sculptures.
This exhibition closes 4/6/19.
While we are living in a time where anxiety is prevalent, it’s nice to imagine being as calm as Superchill, the title character of Hannah Epstein’s comic strip, and star of her exhibition Do You Want A Free Trip To Outer Space? at Steve Turner gallery. The show combines hooked rugs, video animation, and a video game that you can play, all creating a fun little world to inhabit for awhile.
All three exhibitions close 2/16/19.
Nearby at Regen Projects is Glenn Ligon’s exhibition of new work, Untitled (America)/Debris Field/Synecdoche/Notes for a Poem on the Third World.
From the press release–
Over the years, Ligon has created neon sculptures that illuminate various phrases or words in charged and animated ways. Notes for a Poem on the Third World, Ligon’s first figurative sculpture, is comprised of a large neon based on a tracing of the artist’s hands that takes its inspiration from an unrealized film project by Pier Paolo Pasolini that was to be shot in India, Africa, the Arab countries, Latin America, and the “black ghettoes of the United States.” Pasolini claimed that it was the “discovery of the elsewhere” that drove his identification with the struggles of non-Western peoples and people on the margins of the West. Ligon’s neon, with its ambiguous gesture of greeting, protest, or surrender, is the first of a series of works inspired by Pasolini’s project.
Also featured in the exhibition is Untitled (America), 2018, a black-painted red neon in which the word “America” is displayed upside down, and Synecdoche (For Byron Kim), a neon showing the date of the next presidential election that will be lit on that day.
This exhibition closes 2/17/19.
For more of Thomas Allen’s work- check out his Instagram- thomasallen_nyc