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  • MaximillianGroup 12:29 PM on 22 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Ada Brown, Alan Hiroshi Nakagawa, Ali Kheradyar, Alicia Vogl-Saenz., Allison Stewart, Ananda Mayi, Anita Bunn, Ann Isolde, Antonia Price, Arezoo Bharthania, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Babara Benish, Babara McCarren, Barbara Carrasco, Barbara T. Smith, Barbara Thomason, Beverly Lafontaine, , Catherine Ruane, Cathy Salser, Chelsea Dean, Christine Rasmussen, Colivia Sanches Brown, , connie samaras, , Danielle B Ashton, David Estrada, Doni Silver Simons, Douglas McCulloh, , Dwora Fried, Elizabeth Tinglof, Ellyn Maybe, Emma Jurgensen, exhibit, , , Flora White, Florence Rosen, Frances Hoffman, , Gloria Enedina Alvarez, Guadalupe Rodriquez, Hataya Tubtim, Holly Boruck, , Isabella Patino, , Janice BEa, Jessica Irish, Jill D'Agnenica, Jill Sykes, Joe Lewis, Joey Forsyte, José Lozano, Judy Fiskin, Karen Mack, Ken Marchionno, Ken Merfeld, keystone, , kim abeles, Kim Garrison, Kim Mack Golden, kimberly morris, , Lili Bernard, , , , Lynn Marchionno, Margaret Adachi, Mark Steven Greenfield, Mary Allan, Mary Anna Pomonis, May Sun, Meg Madison, Melanie Mandl, Michelle Ogilvie, Mika Cho, , Mona Kasra, , Nina Roder, Nono Olabisi, , Patricia Yossen, , Rachel X Hobreigh, Rosanna Albertini, Sally Beagle Price, Sandra Mueller, Sandra Rowe, Sandy Rodriguez, , Sergio Teran, Shannon Rose, Sheila Pinkel, , Steve Radosevich, Steve Seleska, Susan Feldman Tucker, , Suvan Geer, Sylvia Mihara, Thinh Nguyen, Tierney Gearon, United Catalysts, virginia katz, Vivian Metts, Yreina D Cervantez, Zavier Cazares Cortez, Zoe Abeles   

    Kim Abeles Curates Powerful Exhibition Focusing on the Mother/Child Dynamic 

    Mothers, Eggshells, and the People Who Birth Us. Keystone Art Space. Photo Credit Kristine Schomaker

    Mothers, Eggshells, and the People Who Birth Us

    Curated by Kim Abeles

    Closes Tuesday May 22nd at 5pm

     

    Written By Betty Ann Brown

    What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves–our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies.  ~Margaret Atwood

     

    I wanted my mother to be warm and supportive and insightful and forgiving. But she was not. I wanted her to love me unconditionally and to be on my side always. But she could not. Like most people, she did the best she could, but I ended up with a big mother wound anyway. As did almost all of my close friends.

    My mother’s generation grew up in the middle of the twentieth century, coming to age as the Rosie the Riveter generation was being forced back into the home by what Betty Friedan called the “Feminine Mystique”–the cultural concept that women really do belong in the home rather than the work place. Like many of her contemporaries, my mother filled with resentment as she chafed against the patriarchal constraints and excruciating monotony of housewifery. Although she never found the words for it, she was angry and horribly, tragically unhappy.

    My own generation responded to that historic repression by starting the Feminist Art Movement of the 1970s and 80s. I was an early and avid participant. (In spite of the fact that one of my most accomplished friends told me she assumed I would be giving up my career when I decided to become a mother.) (I kept working anyway.) The Feminist Art Movement produced institutions like the Los Angeles Woman’s Building and amazing artists like Judy Baca, Judy Chicago, Betye Saar, and June Wayne. It also made possible the burgeoning careers of a younger generation of artists like Cheri Gaulke, May Sun, and Kim Abeles.

    Abeles recently moved to a studio in Keystone Art Space. She curated an exhibition there that invited artists to create and display work about their mothers. Entitled “Mothers, Eggshells, and the People Who Birth Us,” the show features artworks by over 90 artists. I can only mention a few of them here, which is a shame since there is so much strong art included.



    Some of the work is a few years old, such as Mark Steven Greenfield’s house-shaped wall hanging that includes an old photograph of his mother on a tapestry that is suspended under a white triangular roof. At the bottom of the piece is a black disc etched with her words, “We’re never gonna survive unless we get a little…crazy.” I think of how women were declared crazy and incarcerated in insane asylums when they stepped outside their socially proscribed roles.

    On the wall opposite Greenfield’s piece is Joey Forsyte’s assemblage of neon, a photograph, glass teardrops, a pair of her mother’s eyeglasses, a video, and a stack of burned books. A framed white square encases the words, “When an elder dies, a library burns…African Proverb.” I think of the recipes and other wisdom lost when my grandmother died, and how much my own mother took with her.

    Many artists made new work for the show. Kristine Schomaker shredded stacks of letters written to her mother as well as entries from her journal. The resultant confetti was stuffed into glass cake stands. Arranged on a short white shelf, they imitate pastries as objective correlatives of the female knowledge shared between mother and daughter. (Exactly what did my mother do to those German Chocolate Cakes to make them so yummy?!!)

    Abeles’s exhibition has two distinct but related parts. The first involves the larger works in the main gallery, like those of Greenfield, Forsyte, and Schomaker. The second part is a group of 45 petri dish portraits on display in a narrow gallery carved out of Abeles’s own studio space. Some of the petri dish images are achingly beautiful, like Mary Allan’s painted heart and Jill Syke’s noir-ish depiction of her mother smoking. Others are sentimental, with wistful longing, like Barbara T. Smith’s portrait including her mother’s lace purse, a photograph, and a jeweled shoe buckle. Then there are the umbilical cords of Thinh Nguyen and his siblings, that the artist’s mother carefully preserved in tiny knitted bags.


    Still other petri dish examples are frankly disturbing. Like Susan Feldman Tucker’s portrait crossed by slivers of text representing fragments of conflicted thoughts: “toxic behavior,” “ill at ease,” “personal assaults,” and “angry.” (I’ve had all those thoughts about my own mother, so I can totally relate…)

    Margaret Atwood reminds us, ” No mother is ever, completely, a child’s idea of what a mother should be…” I suppose this is true. Kim Abeles’s powerful exhibition allows us to unpack the full panoply of children’s thoughts about their mothers. As it happens, all of the participants are adult children who are now artists. It is in their creative work that they have found the way to unpack and engage with such thoughts. Fair warning: Anyone who visits this visually appealing and emotionally intense exhibition will be compelled to consider their own ideas about motherhood. As I was forced to do.


















































































































     
  • MaximillianGroup 11:10 AM on 21 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Carl Berg, , , DENK Gallery, , , , exhibit, , , , , , , , , , , , Pace gallery, palo alto, , , , , Tim Hawkinson   

    Studio Visit: Tim Hawkinson, The Indices of the Unknown 

    Studio visit: Tim Hawkinson. Photo Credit Gary Brewer

    Studio Visit: Tim Hawkinson, The Indices of the Unknown

    “What is an idea? It is an image that paints itself in my brain.”
    Voltaire

    By Gary Brewer

    Art is a philosophical quest – it is a method of discovery – in the right hands one can use it to become a vehicle to question and search for how we think and feel. Our perceptual limitations are hidden from us and through the lens of art we can explore the secret aspects of our bodies, minds and the universe; the indices of the unknown.

    Tim Hawkinson is a protean artist. His work is driven by ideas. In the realization of the means to express these ideas, his work becomes an obsessive act of exploration and discovery. His work explores the space between self-perception and the hidden reaches of the body. “We carry a map of what we look like and how we appear to others but much of our bodies are hidden from our view, we cannot really know what we look like. We have these little brains that cannot quite understand the body. We cannot see much of it, be we feel confident that we know what we look like. I still feel like I am in the body of a child, but recently my daughter took a picture of my wife and I dressed up for an upscale event. When I saw the photo I looked like my grandfather; it was a shock”. The primal schism between what we think we know and the hard facts of reality is one of the avenues that Tim Hawkinson traverses in his varied, multi-tiered and imaginative approach to creation.

    “I focus on one part of the body, the rest of reality is a casualty of creation. I scavenge for odd logic, for the unexpected.” Years ago I saw a sculpture titled “Head”; it was a mold, for lack of a better term, that he had made by painting countless layers of latex on the inside of a bathroom. Sink, tub, toilet everything was captured. He pulled it free and hung it in the middle of the gallery and inflated it. It was a remarkable object that engaged but defied recognition. It took several moments to start to identify its component parts, “There is a toilet, that is a sink”. Slowly one came to realize what it was. The strangeness of the revelation of identifying it, and the raw power of its sculptural form was intoxicating. Like an object from another culture or world, it held one in its grasp, without knowing what it was or what it meant. Next to it, hanging and inflated, was a latex ‘skin’ of Tim’s naked body, seemingly floating in space. When I asked about these two pieces Tim replied, “It was a part of my inflatable series, I had already done my body and the bathroom was a logical correlation; it is a room where the bodily needs are taken care of. I had no idea of what it would look like, I was just following the odd logic of the idea.”

    Studio visit: Tim Hawkinson. Photo Courtesy Tim Hawkinson

    Our senses are limited, imagination fills in the blind spots. We have a collective faith in the conceptual maps that culture, belief and our limited understanding of the universe gives us. It informs and shapes the way we interpret our experiences. Tim Hawkinson has created works that explore the dark matter of our world. He searches and finds representations of the immaterial stuff that informs and shapes our consciousness. An idea becomes a methodology for mapping the contours of that which is just out of reach, around the corner from cognition. Many years ago he created a piece “Blind Spot”, in which he photographed all of the parts of his body that he could not see and then pieced them together to create a strange map of the unknown. The result is an astonishing work. It is in the realm of the grotesque but has the innocence of a child endlessly asking questions about the world. The piece reflects an existential curiosity combined with a remarkable ability to discover uncanny formal means to resolve the quest. It could be a map, or the hide of an unknown animal. From the anus, up the lower back following the spine and spreading wider from bottom to top; it is a continent of the unknown, the parts of the body that remain hidden to our eyes and to our closest ally; self.

    When I visited Tim in his studio he was working on a piece that was quite different. He was using his body to create an eccentric image of a twisting figure. The image was made by Tim standing on a base, which was slowly rotating while his wife, Patty was taking photographs, shooting approximately 1 frame every couple of seconds, resulting in about one hundred images per rotation. He then cut ¼ inch wide horizontal strips and collaged them together in descending order. Depending on where he started in the sequence, a different perspective of the figure was given, creating the appearance of a twisting figure. After he completed them he saw that the piece had a connection to the Baldachin, the spiral pillars by Bernini, over the high altar of St. Peters Basilica in Rome. The piece looks like a digital, 3-D scan of some kind. The four images of Tim’s body as spiraling columns of flesh with the strange distortions make it slightly grotesque. The body twisting maelstrom-like, suggests an image from Dante’s inferno, or of some mythic narrative of a genie emerging from a bottle. It also alludes to Hockney’s “Pear Blossom Highway” and Hockney’s efforts to articulate a challenge to the dominance of single point perspective. In Tim’s piece he is traveling through a wormhole of form and history, the contours of his body shape shifting into this classical masterpiece of religious art and architecture.

    Studio visit: Tim Hawkinson. Photo Credit Gary Brewer

    We spoke at length about how he “scavenges for odd logic”, searching for materials that suggest ideas to explore. “One piece may lead to another or something may come to my mind fully formed.” His studio is filled with an assortment of objects that he has collected. He is scavenging his studio for synthetic amber, the leftover artifacts of materials that have dried in their can or bottle, left unused for too many years. Resins, enamels, mold making materials that have solidified, have been pried from their containers and now adorn the shelves and ledges of his studio, awaiting the moment when an idea will give them formal and narrative purpose. He has many musical instruments in his home and studio, violins and instruments he has made. Indeed, sound has been a component in many of his works.

    A piece in the studio, “Tiara”, is a large tiara made from recycled silver plastic objects. It is on a structure that has a motor attached that slowly turns it round and round. In the middle are small metal tanks that once held oxygen or other gases. He has created a musical instrument of sorts with these recycled tanks. As the piece turns, balls tumble about inside the tanks, creating soft metallic sounds, not unlike a steel drum. “The patterns never repeat, it rotates on two axes, so that there is no discernable patterns. The piece is a reflection of my daughter who is fourteen. Somehow it is about growing up and the innocence of youth.”

    I was asking many questions trying to find a frame or structure through which to contain the tentacle-like imagination of this protean artist who seemingly discovers his formal inventions in the blind as it were; finding an idea first and then in episodic epiphanies, each step forward reveals the formal means to give shape to his ideas. In this subjective methodology Tim arrives at remarkable sculptural objects.
    As we spoke he said, “I have approached making my sculptures and images from many different ideas, using my body is just one of them. Recently I have wanted to use my body to tell stories. The piece over there is a representation of Moby Dick using my body parts to reenact the image of the whale, the ship and the men lost at sea. I am not sure of the title yet, whether I will include Moby Dick in the title or not.”

    The piece sat in the corner, a slightly comic hand-made bathtub that could have been designed by Robert Crumb contains casts of the knees, feet, and fingers of Tim’s body. Blue denim material from Levi’s pants, have been cut with holes in them, to allow these elements to protrude; the Levi’s are the water of the sea, a knee bent with the calf and thigh articulate the form of the great white whale, his two feet are the fluke, his fingers and hands become the ship and the men lost at sea. It is both comic and tragic, containing the pathos of the scene but with an element of comedy; humor and pathos have always been present in Tim’s work.

    To be an artist is to reflect a spiritual truth about the creative impetus, the mysterious force that forms our world. Many faiths ascribe different stories to creation, but the state of grace that has brought our world into being and our ability to think, feel, love, remember, and imagine is a mystery that art touches upon. We are part of a river of creation that from the beginning of time, has flowed through the universe. To create, to care, and to bring forth the fruits of our creativity is to be an agent of this mystery.

    Tim Hawkinson’s work touches upon some of the deepest quandaries of self and consciousness. He does so with a scale of imagination that bends the mind to consider the unknown, with a blend of humor and pathos. His materials are common objects from the world we know – that through alchemy – are transformed into conduits of his imagination. In this act of creative transubstantiation, the world we know is renewed, and our sense of the skin we live in is transformed.

    Pace Gallery, Palo Alto. Opens July 25th and on view through mid September 2018
    Denk Gallery, Los Angeles solo show 2019





















     
  • MaximillianGroup 10:14 AM on 19 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Alana Reibstein, Alexsa Durrans, Amelia Charter, , , , , Bapari, , Cameron Taylor, , , exhibit, Gracie Winston, , Jasmine Nyende, Jose&Carolina&magi&allie, , Leanna Bremond, , , , Maddy Inez Lesser, Miles Brenninkmeijer, , Nicole Cooke, , outdoor performances, , , , performance artists, Prima Jalichandra-Sakuntabhai, , , Sterling Hedges   

    Weekend at Berenice: Performance Art is Well and Alive in the Hillsides of Los Angeles 

    Magi, Carolina Montenegro, and Allie Wittner, JC Zepeda (from left to right), Weekend at Berenice. Photo credit: Sterling Hedges.

    Weekend at Berenice: Performance Art is well and alive in the Hillsides of Los Angeles

    By Lara Salmon

    On April 28th and 29th a group of young performers gathered at a mountainside home in East Los Angeles to create a weekend of live art. Titled ‘Weekend at Berenice’ in honor of the winding street it occurred on, the ten performances took place throughout the exterior of the house: on the stairs, under the balcony, in the garage, and on a bright yellow stage created by one of the participants. In addition to the ongoing performances was a collection of sculptural pieces to be found around the yard. The atmosphere was of peers supporting each other—a place for unfettered creative risk. Viewers soaked in the afternoon sun on outdoor sofas, blankets and pillows. The herbal-spliff bar “Qu” continually fueled a palpable sense of California chill.

    Alexsa Durrans and Miles Brenninkmeijer, two of the event organizers, kicked off the weekend with a dance piece on the bright yellow stage. Wearing roller shoes in which the wheels had been replaced by squeaky dog toys, their performance emanated a cacophony of squeaks. Their choreography was reminiscent of synchronized swimming, coordinated and yet never quite in sync. Perhaps the pinnacle of the dance came after its conclusion, as the duo squeakily bounced off the stage, up the stairs and out of the audience’s vision.

    This act was followed by immediate deconstruction of the yellow stage. On a mission unannounced to the audience, Amelia Charter began unscrewing the top yellow planks from the wooden pallets below them. Balancing planks on her back she separated and arranged the pieces of the stage to stand against each other. Upon completion Amelia announced that everyone was welcome to traverse the “tunnel.” For twenty minutes people crawled through the stage-turned-fort, until she announced again that with their help she would return it to its original form for the next performers to utilize.

    Not all the work, however, took place on the property. As the sun began to set visitors’ attention was drawn to the hill a couple hundred yards away where Sterling Hedges, the third organizer-cum-performer of the weekend, could be seen along the horizon. He engaged the landscape in various motions, eventually sliding through the brush to create a line upon the mountain. This trace remained, a remnant of an action turned geometric in its poetic intention.

    A highlight of the first day was the piece by Jasmine Nyende—a poet, musician, and model who merges these talents in her performance work. She stood on the stairs leading to the backyard, sound system at bay and books in hand. Speaking, “reading,” and almost singing, Jasmine shared segmented emotions of what it is to be her. By witnessing her thoughts and observations, we might decipher something about our own world. The piece ended with Jasmine’s riff upon an electric guitar.

    Day two of “Weekend at Berenice” was equally as ambitious and well attended as the first. Performances again took place on the yellow stage and throughout the property. The atmosphere of the event was refreshing in its objective to be a platform for uninhibited creativity, not to be judged by outdated art world critique. It was refreshing to see young performers bring their art form to life with curious fervor.

    Perhaps the best example of this was the closing performance of Prima Jalichandra-Sakuntabhai. Prima’s piece took place in the garage, where they used projectors to give a disjointed speech about horizons. It concluded as a window was opened to reveal five silver, shining figures ascending a neighboring mountain. Traversing the horizon, these metallic walkers majestically reflected the sun’s setting light. It was a hope-inspired end to an ambitious weekend of performance.

    “Weekend at Berenice” was organized by Alexsa Durrans, Sterling Hedges and Miles Brenninkmeijer. It occurred on April 28th and 29th.
    The participating artists were Bapari, Leanna Bremond, Miles Brenninkmeijer, Amelia Charter, Nicole Cooke, Alexsa Durrans, Sterling Hedges, Prima Jalichandra-Sakuntabhai, jose&carolina&magi&allie, Maddy Inez Lesser, Jasmine Nyende, Alana Reibstein, Cameron Taylor, and Gracie Winston.

     












     
  • MaximillianGroup 8:44 AM on 18 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Constance Mallinson, , , , exhibit, , , Francesca Gabbiani, , , , , , , , ,   

    Francesca Gabbiani at Gavlak Gallery 

    Francesca Gabbiani, One Eyed Jack, 2016-2017, Ink, gouache and colored paper on paper at Gavlak Gallery. Photo Courtesy of the gallery.

    Francesca Gabbiani at Gavlak Gallery

    Through May 26

    By Constance Mallinson

    In her current exhibition Francesca Gabbiani continues her longstanding practice of collaging evocative imagery intricately cut from multi-colored papers to create allegories of life and death. A “goth” aesthetic appropriately prevailed in her previous work as owls and skulls were intertwined with sensuous florals to evoke ornate funerary wreaths. In “Vague Terrains/Urban Fuckups”, however, the cut paper flora finds itself almost clinging to life among the brambles and weeds in large scale ink and gouache drawings of abandoned and decaying urban spaces. Working painstakingly from personal photographs, Gabbiani renders thousands of shards of crumbling concrete and tangled vegetation to form exquisite webs of intersecting contour lines punctuated with splashes of descriptive landscape colors. Alternating between abstraction and figuration, flatness and illusion, the drawings deftly employ the tensions to full effect, as viewers must negotiate between the aesthetic pleasures or “ruin porn” of her teeming surfaces and the dystopic nature of the scenes.

    The artist is finely attuned to the symbolisms afforded by these ruined sites and her compositional skills and manipulation of perspective are fully employed to conjure metaphors of pressing environmental, economic and sociological dilemmas. In “The Unresolved Story” a dilapidated outdoor stairway winds it way from the bottom of the picture almost reaching an opening in a wall at the top of a hillside landscape where blue sky awaits. This figurative up-or-down climb seems to signify choice over our collective fate.

    Overlapping deteriorating natural and human made materials suggest a mountainous landfill extending to a sky crisscrossed with droopy telephone wires in “Vague Terrain”. Perhaps the outdoor phone lines are meant to express an outmoded technology, a bygone era. Gabbiani’s favored territories are the disintegrating remnants of structures in deserted and desolate spots slowly being “reclaimed” by nature represented by colored swatches of cut paper foliage. She is drawn to refuse and the amorphous aftermath of the wrecking ball, an overly familiar sight in our cities today as the past is quickly erased for immediate commerce. Despite the human propensity to “fuck up” abundantly suggested by her images, the painter always provides optimistic glimmers of renewal and possibilities for a change in consciousness elicited by the brilliant sprouting leaves and limitless expanses of the upper atmosphere.

    Gabbiani is heir to a long tradition of picturing ruins beginning in the 18th century with the Italian Giovanni Battista Piranesi whose detailed etchings of fallen Roman structures and labyrinthine prison interiors began a centuries long examination of civilization’s hubris and a confrontation with narratives of progress. The Romantics perfected ruin worship as landscape painters and poets obsessed in states of melancholy over nature as an antidote to rampant Industrialism, hyper-rationalism and the impending dark side of Modernity. Locating viewers somewhere between nature and culture, the past and present, ruin depictions and sublime landscape imagery henceforth became imaginative spaces to meditate on transience, precarity, and mortality.

    Contemporary German artist Anselm Kiefer with his post-Nazi scorched earth and decaying grand architecture imagery or American painter Alexis Rockman with his post- apocalyptic underwater metropolises continue these critiques of utopian narratives. Like Kiefer whose blackened canvases are reminders that empires and isms built on easy ideologies inevitably collapse, Gabbiani’s fractured surfaces speak of the fragility of present empires built on a global capitalist machine, its denial of history’s lessons and rapacious reach into the future. She takes us to the overlooked places where trash is accumulating, infrastructure is deteriorating, and the environment is increasingly compromised.

    To borrow a phrase from landscape theorist J.B. Jackson, she embraces “the necessity for ruins” for keeping in play the compelling questions they raise. Gabbiani’s carefully placed intrusions of nature among the ruins, however, seem to inexorably point us toward poet Robinson Jeffers’ words: “the flower will fade to make fruit, and the fruit will rot to make earth.”

    Gavlak Gallery
    1034 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
    Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am – 6:00pm
    http://www.gavlakgallery.com





























     
  • MaximillianGroup 11:30 AM on 17 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Altadena, ARK Gallery, , , , , , , , , , , , Echo Enigma, exhibit, , , , , Kira Vollman, , , , , , , , Scott Froschauer, ,   

    Scott Froschauer’s New Solo Exhibition Confronts Divisiveness in America 

    Echo Enigma by Scott Froschauer at Ark Gallery. Photo courtesy of the artist.

    Echo Enigma at Ark Gallery: Portraits of Empathy

    Works by Scott Froschauer
    Through June 10, 2018

     

    By Genie Davis

    Scott Froschauer’s Echo Enigma at Ark Gallery in Altadena is a passionate and compassionate exhibition that is both visually riveting and emotionally affective. Froschauer says he’s shaping art to create more empathy in the world. That’s a tall order in our highly politicized and polarized time, when we tend to align ourselves on one “side” or another, loving and hating at the drop of a hat, or perhaps the drop of a headline.

    Froschauer is more than capable of taking on this challenge. The exhibition, which portrays 11 historical Americans with complex stories that defy easy categorization, is fascinating. Recognizing the diverseness in each person’s stories, the artist presents portraits of each person on distressed mirrors. The mirrors reflect the viewer as he or she studies the work, literally adding one’s personal perception of the subject of the portrait to the viewing experience.

    The center of the show is a model for a massively large-scale artwork, “The United Divider,” created of polished, curved, stainless steel etched with the American flag. The flag etching itself is created from lines of text that list names of historical American figures, each complex enough as a person to be named as either hero or villain depending on the viewer’s perspective. The scale of the piece is designed to represent a wall, separating those on either side; the mirrored quality of the work beautifully, mutely presents the idea that America itself is a reflection of everyone who observes it, and that the flag both unites and divides us, just as the title of the piece asserts.

    Curated by Kira Vollman, this is an epic show that presents insightful ideas about our present state of mind as individuals and as Americans. It is also a dazzling tour de force as art, from the mesmerizing quality of Froschauer’s reflective surfaces to his beautifully wrought etchings.

    Froschauer explains how this exhibition both continues and differs from his past work. “The through-line of my work here is a notion of empathy. It carries from the street sign work I created.” The artist has recently used the shapes of street signs to impart calming, kind messages – rather than traffic instructions – and placed them in a series of outdoor locations.

    “Both series are about fighting alienation and negativity,” he says. “The idea I am working with here is that the national dialog is pushing toward the fringes and evacuating the center, and by doing that, it is creating heroes and villains. That’s partially a product of our media, which is looking to enflame our emotional responses and in turn make us more attached to the media.”

    Froschauer says the purpose of his show is to “explore a deeper complexity about people we might have jumped to conclusion on.” He is encouraging his viewers to dig deeper, beyond an easy characterization of a person as hero or villain. He wants viewers to see each of the subjects of his portraits as “human beings. And as human beings they carry a complexity.” That is brought to the foreground with the distressed mirror element of each piece. “We see ourselves actually in these portraits, so we can handle our own complexity along with that of the individuals depicted,” he says.

    The beautiful, reflective material used in the exhibition is deeply entwined with its subject. “A lot of my work is about immediacy, and about the viewer kind of recognizing who they are in the moment they are interacting with the work,” Froschauer explains. “It is natural for me to use reflective surfaces and mirrors, since the work is about the preconceptions of the viewer.”

    The reflective quality also allows viewers seeing themselves literally in each portrait, to receive their own humanity. “I’m asking that you grant the same level of humanity you’d give to the people in each portrait to yourself. We have trouble doing that.”

    The artist most wants viewers to know that with these artworks, he himself is “working to make the world a better place.” The thoughtfulness that simply observing these works creates is very life affirming to the viewer, and that is an intentional outcome.

    “The whole goal is for immediacy, and slowing down, and self-care,” he attests. “The works here have the same through-line as my street signs. They’re just different mechanisms. The signs say things like ‘breathe’ and ‘relax,’ using the highest level of commanding visual language.” As an aside, the artist notes that street signs offer the highest level of reflexive action because these images are so powerfully ingrained as visual language in our culture. That ingrained familiarity is the perfect way to present and impress self-soothing words on viewers. “My goal is to create more empathy in the world, and the place to start with that is to be at ease with who you are, to be present and breathe. That’s a stepping stone toward empathy towards others,” he notes. “The mirrors in this show are a further step toward representing complex humanity and seeing that humanity and complexity in yourself.”

    Echo Enigma by Scott Froschauer at Ark Gallery. Photo credit: Kristine Schomaker.

    Ultimately, the final goal of the Echo and Enigma show is to take those portraits of individuals, the names of those in the portraits, and engrave them in the centerpiece of the show, “The United Divider.” According to Froschauer “The flag is also a mirror, a reflection of who we are and of the names of the people in the portraits in this show.”

    He adds that “I chose the subjects of the portraits to have one foot on both sides of the political narrative. Depending on which paragraph of their biography you choose to read, you could make –anyone could make – them into a hero or villain.”

    Many are older figures, only the last four in the series: Obama, Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton are current and essentially more polarizing.

    One of Froschauer’s true artistic loves is large scale work, he says, another is the seductive beauty that allows viewers an easy and accessible way to access his potent messages. “In one way, there’s just a level of beauty in these portraits that can be appreciated, just as the signs can be viewed as just fun. Then you go with deeper understanding beyond that.”

    The artist has included one older piece in the show, an image of the American flag that he created from gun powder, titled “Tattered Glory.” He explains “It was made as a discussion about gun violence in America, but it ended up as a kind of genesis for this whole narrative of complexity and the binary narrative of our culture right now.”

    When he posted the image of this work on Instagram, Froschauer gained followers who were gun shop owners in Florida, and for them, the flag entirely fit with their vision of America.

    “It was hard for me to embrace the idea that they were right, that this country was founded on the use of armed insurrection – that’s America. You can’t undo that. So, it was really my interaction with that piece that led to ‘The United Divider,’ with the complexity of the giant American flag that was a mirror, and imbedded within the piece are the names of these complex American figures in my portraits.”

    Asked for a favorite piece in his own show, Froschauer demurs. “I’m in love with every person I did a portrait of…” But he has a particular interest in his portrait of civil rights attorney William Kuntsler, who also represented a man who murdered a rabbi – and got him off. “The JDL would send people to their front door to scream at them 24/7 for a year. It is exactly what I am struggling with in this show. He was really putting the system on trial, and our preconceptions, that we would condemn someone without really giving them a trial,” he muses. “That’s really what my show is trying to do. I see myself in Kuntsler. He was doing through the legal system what I am trying to do through this artwork, showing how our system is really poorly equipped to represent the complexity in people.”

    Learn more about Froschauer’s powerful work Sunday May 20th, at an artist’s talk. There will also be a closing reception for the exhibition on Sunday June 10th. Both run from 3 to 5 p.m.

    Ark Gallery and Studios
    located at 2599 N. Fair Oaks in Altadena, CA.

     

    Echo Enigma, Works by Scott Froschauer
    Curated by Kira Vollman
    Sunday, May 20, 3-5PM • Artist’s Talk
    Sunday, June 3, 11AM-5PM • Open Studio Tour
    Sunday, June 10, 3-5PM • Closing Reception

     

















     
  • MaximillianGroup 10:06 AM on 16 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , exhibit, , , , , , , , MAF, , , Olafur Eliasson, , , , Reality Projector, , , , The Marciano Art Foundation   

    Olafur Eliasson’s Reality Projector at the Marciano Art Foundation 

    Olafur Eliasson’s “Reality Projector at Marciano Art Foundation. Photo credit: Lawrence Gipe.

    Olafur Eliasson’s “Reality Projector” and other works at the Marciano Art Foundation

    Through August 26

    By Lawrence Gipe

    After all these years, is it fair to ask if “site-specific” art has gotten a little stale? In the 1970’s, it was cutting-edge: the notion of the “expanded field” (often expressed through the burgeoning environmental art movement) extracted the static art object out of the museum and thrust it into the real world. Artists like Robert Irwin and Alice Aycock, to name but a few, responded to the topography of a given site; there they invented a new and seemingly boundless genre of sculptural practice that offered audiences the ability to view both the context, and the object, in a completely different conceptual light. Later, in the early 1990’s, political artists like Fred Wilson “mined the museum” for artifacts in another brand of site-specificity; he ruthlessly interrogated the historical objects found in museum archives, to make installations that turned the institution inside out, revealing the tawdry, racist foundations on which it was built.  

    Now we’re decades on – with many Documentas and Biennales under the bridge. It seems appropriate to ask whether this idea of interacting with a specific location has lost its provocative value. Today, curators continue to routinely employ this tactic – it’s basically the stock and trade of the international blockbuster show. It’s certainly no “shock of the new” to see an artist creating work that is dependent on a backstory, one based on the political environment of the institution, city, or landscape. Artists choosing to make more “autonomous” work, not tethered to the context in which it’s shown, are mainly excluded.  

    All this said, Olafur Eliasson has a track record of transcending the contemporary pack, by dint of his innovative imagination (and with the helpful assistance of multi-million dollar budgets.) One of the most successful pieces in this vein, “The Weather Project”, took over the great hall of the Tate Modern 15 years ago in 2003. Art critic Brian O’Doherty , interviewed in Frieze that year, memorably remarked that it was “the first time I’ve seen the enormously dismal space—like a coffin for a giant—socialized in an effective way.” The ceiling of the hall was converted into a huge mirror, and (in a manner similar to Anish Kapoor’s “Bean” sculpture in downtown Chicago) the interface with the public was immediate, narcissistically selfie-stimulating, and, in its spectacular way, enduring in the memory.

    Unfortunately, Eliasson’s latest installation at the Marciano Art Foundation, called “Reality Projector”, delivers very little in the way of even a memorable afternoon. Problem one is the nagging misstep that installation artists make: assuming that a soundtrack will heighten or mitigate an otherwise underwhelming experience. Here, Eliasson collaborates with a composer to fashion what can only be termed “the usual” – a pseudo-haunting, reverb-heavy sonic fabric of thuds and clanks that pretends to drench the room with a sense of portentous doom. We are, after all, watching patterns on the wall. This ever-shifting (but not entirely fascinating) light-work is produced by two, high-intensity stage lights on tracks that beam through colored gels arranged in the trusses that line the ceiling of a former theater in the Marciano. Eliasson allows this optic system to operate without any mystery, begging the instantaneous question: “Is that it?” It is, indeed. Although the resonance of the piece accrues slightly as one tromps around the space, and the natural mixing of colors that occurs as the light travels past different filters is interesting, “Reality Projector” seems like Much Ado About Nothing – a disappointing west coast outing for this often transformative artist.  

    A concurrent project upstairs at the Marciano offers another brand of site-specificity, albeit much less literal than “Reality Projector”. In the Marciano’s Lounge Gallery the work of two German painters, Albert Oehlen and Peppi Bottrop, are displayed in a collaborative installation called “Line Packers”. Like Eliasson, Bottrop was invited to make works in reaction to the architecture of the gallery (there is nothing intriguing about this particular gallery’s structure except a window, but rules are rules.) Albert Oehlen is arguably one of the best painters of the past 30 years, and has admirably balanced a mainstream career with adventurous chops. Even in the dreariest of art fairs he hits home runs, with epic canvasses that threaten to burst out of the booth. But, in “Line Packers”, Oehlen seems content to bunt; while his connection and rapport with Bottrop seems unforced, the final result on view is a clunky, and curiously sterile, pas-de-deux.       

    Bottrop starts with a promising premise, mooring the work within the context of his birthplace in the industrial Ruhr Valley of Western Germany. He uses charcoal as the media of choice, with the intent of connecting this material conceptually to coal – the substance that has historically fueled the region’s steel trade. While none of these details could possibly be gleaned without text to fill us in, the backstory is sound enough. How this information is manifested visually is the problem; Bottrop’s style is un-ironically “expressionistic” in the Twombly mode, and the results feel dated and familiar. Oehlen’s contributions are a tad passé as well. His “Computer Drawings” (1992-2008) are mounted on top of Bottrop’s gestural background. According to the PR, these are historically significant works, to the point of re-defining painting itself. The verbiage released on the website, painful though it may be, is worth citing in full:

    “Oehlen’s Computer Paintings, which will be affixed to Bottrop’s walls, made between 1992 and 2008, exemplify Oehlen’s pioneering role as one of the first contemporary painters to explore the nascent capabilities and limits of drawing and line-making through the use of a now-rudimentary Texas Instruments computer. The wall-drawings and supports by Bottrop juxtaposed with Oehlen’s Computer Paintings suggest new possibilities for the line in painting. This line, embedded materially into the…walls, offers a proposition for the medium of painting to re-define itself. The two autonomous, yet mutually-dependent works establish a place of intensive communication and self-exploration, supporting one another in this single, temporary unification that looks to Wilshire Blvd. and Los Angeles, a city that is just as easily defined by its own lines of interstate and highway infrastructure.”  While this text doesn’t set a new world record for obfuscating art-speak, the wild-eyed, hyperbolic delivery only serves to burden the piece with unrealistic expectations. The accompanying essay, which reads like a victim of “Google Translate”, only muddies the waters further.

    Regarded together, these two installations at the Marciano make a good case for artists making work outside of the institution. It may be harder to make a living that way, but art that arrives DOA isn’t authentic, or elucidating.

    Marciano Art Foundation
    4357 Wilshire Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA 90010
    marcianoartfoundation.org

     







     
  • MaximillianGroup 11:09 AM on 12 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Armory Arts, Armory PAsadena, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Diane Christiansen, exhibit, , , , , Jeanne Dunning, Jennifer Moon, , , , , , , , Pasadena art, Pasadena Arts Council, Pasadena California, , , , , , The Armory, The Armory Center for the Arts   

    Birth, Death, & Mr. Snuggles: Four Unique Shows at the Pasadena Armory Center For The Arts 

    Birth Death Breath, Diane Christiansen and
    Jeanne Dunning at the Armory. Photo Credit Patrick Quinn.

    Birth, Death, & Mr. Snuggles: Four Unique Shows at the Pasadena Armory Center For The Arts

     

    Through June 10th
    Armory Center for The Arts, Pasadena, CA. 

     

    By Patrick Quinn

    Over the past decade, the Pasadena Armory and Head Curator Irene Tsatsos has consistently mounted exhibitions that are both challenging and rewarding. The four shows currently on display continue that trend. Each exhibit explores aspects of birth and death in a darkly whimsical fashion that invokes a variety of emotions. The visitor who is able to spend some time with each of the four shows will be richly rewarded.

    The main exhibition hall is taken up with one large installation. Created by Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning, Birth Death Breath is an opera ‘performed’ by inflatable lawn decorations. The artists have stated that “as the various characters rise from ground and begin to sing they experience their inflation as a kind of coming back to life, prompting them to ponder great existential questions about life, death, purpose, and meaning through their songs.”

    There are three acts and the audience moves from one group of inflatable figures to the next. Small speakers inside the figures ‘sing’ the delicate choral music written and sung by the two artists. First one figure begins to inflate, than the others slowly follow. Once the song is done, the figures begin to slowly deflate. One can’t help but think of the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz, miserable as she slowly melts away. The overall effect of Birth Death Breath is charming, a little creepy, and rather sad.

    Up in the Mezzanine Gallery West is an exhibit of new work by the artist Laub. The show is ambitious, as is the show’s title: the act of dying upon one’s self and other remnants of a birth. It’s an eclectic mixture of sculpture, ceramics, found objects, and paintings. In this show, death is seen as “fragmented manifestations of loss”. There is a lot of work packed into a fairly small space which allows for moments of light humor and alongside the somber retrospection.

    Piano performances by Laub will accompany the show at 7:00pm on April 8, May 13, & June 3rd.

    Artist Jennifer Moon is in the Mezzanine Gallery West as part of the Armory’s year-long series entitled 3Rs: Reflection, Rejuvenation, Revolution. The artist is presenting a new video work that has an interesting inspiration, the animated Disney film Moana.

    A Breach, Jennifer Moon at The Armory. Photo Credit: Patrick Quinn.

    “A Breach in the Realm of Beliefs offers a sincere attempt to retrieve lost faith by re-orienting and repurposing Disney’s commodification of feel-good inspirations music to install an emotional call to revolution that cannot be silenced.”

    The staircase that leads to the Mezzanine offers a collaboration between artists Laub and Jennifer Moon. Mr. Snuggles FOREVER is a series of pictorial tapestries that line the two walls of the staircase. Mr. Snuggles was Jennifer Moon’s dog that passed away. The installation is a celebration of the life, death, and afterlife of Mr. Snuggles who makes his heavenly presence known as an articulated skeletal structure that hangs suspended above.

    Mr. Snuggles FOREVER as well as the other three shows are on view through till June 10th.

    Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts
    145 North Raymond Avenue
    Pasadena, California 91103
    Gallery Hours: 12 to 5pm (closed Tuesdays)
    Email: information@armoryarts.org

     






















    http://www.armoryarts.org/
     
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