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  • MaximillianGroup 3:17 PM on 26 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , art residency, art residency in LA, , , artist in residence, , , , , , , , francisco alvarado, , , , , , painting, Robert Soffian, shoebox pr, , Shoebox Projects. Brewery, , The Brewery artist lofts   

    Francisco Alvarado and Robert Soffian at Shoebox Projects 

    Francisco Alvarado and Robert Soffian at Shoebox Projects. Photo credit: Kristine Schomaker.

    Francisco Alvarado and Robert Soffian: Two Artists Riff at Shoebox Projects

    By Genie Davis

    Like two jazz musicians riffing off each other’s guitar licks, artists Francisco Alvarado and Robert Soffian created Coexistence, one terrific show at Shoebox Projects.

    Shaping an installation from solo works and one insightful shared work, the two artists said they’d planned a conversation and exploration of new materials and techniques. That they accomplished that is a given, but Alvarado and Soffian provided something more, an insight into the work of two masters of their form. They created their work on site, inviting visitors and viewers in to watch them shaping works that defy the short weeks it took to make them. In their statement about the show, they say “meaning is in meeting.” Both artists are prolific on their own, but working in tandem, they were even more inspired.

    At the closing reception, the artists invited viewers to use some of the same tools they did to create art, such as stamps, symbols, and an iPad. The inclusiveness of the show was not simply a literal interactive process, but one in which viewers wandered the tightly filled exhibition space taking in the plethora of color and form, absorbing the vivid images the way one lies on the beach in the sun – or used to, before we knew how terrible that was for us – enjoying the heat and the light.

    Born in Ecuador, Alvarado says his work reflects “life experiences through…colorful abstractions.” Inspired by nature, travel, and flora and fauna, he uses vibrant colors and well-shaped patterns, working in a variety of mediums from acrylic paint to digital imaging. Some of the works on display at Shoebox Projects included pieces that combined painting and digital art. Alvarado works primarily in acrylic, and has said that he inserts texture in his work “by adding dots and lines…” noting that in his work he often creates “happy pieces,” some of which have the qualities of Matisse. His works are powerful and even daring.

    Like Alvarado, Soffian uses bright colors and bold shapes, but his are perhaps more amorphous. He says he sees his art as a mythology and he creates his paintings as “psychic landscapes.” A former incarnation found Soffian working as a theater and lighting director for 40 years, and he finds himself still influenced by the idea of telling stories and visual improvisation, as well as a “negotiation between the formal qualities of paint and the conceptual.” The artist says that he wants to “paint things we all know or dream.” He works in a variety of formats, and has recently begun to incorporate elements of collage as well as oil, dye, and gouache.

    The single shared work that Alvarado and Soffian created together for the show was accomplished in a true collaborative fashion: they each were allowed “15 minutes of work, no less, no more” on the piece, Alvarado says. The end result was an amalgam of colors and shapes, Soffian’s more swirled, delicate, almost transitional; Alvarado’s more fully formed and bright. It was a beautiful concoction, swirling with motion and overlapping forms. A rich peach color seems to grow, unruly, from a more stylized burgundy shape dotted with small golden circles; it is a gestation, a just-this-side of tumultuous universe being born.

    Francisco Alvarado and Robert Soffian at Shoebox Projects. Photo credit: Kristine Schomaker.

    An almost-mural sized work by Soffian dominated one wall of the exhibition, with figurative shapes emerging from the passionate and colorful disarray: a skinny black cat, a large reaching white hand. Every inch of this large-scale piece was crammed with motion and pattern, a quilt bursting with life.

    On the adjoining wall, Alvarado hung a series of works, a green tree ripe with light and dotted with what could be fruit; works that looked like close-ups of cacti and more alien plants, the green tongue of one plant, circled in rich midnight blue, covered with small pink circles, blazed against a yellow and hot-pink background. Above these images were hung a series of smaller digital works, formed using similar patterns, but more diminutive.

    Opposite walls alternated the works of both artists; geometric patterns in predominantly gold and rose from Alvarado looked as if jazz rhythms were manifesting themselves on paper. Next to it, a piece by Soffian gave us alien life forms in grey and rich blue, while a curvy peach nude figure emerges near shapes that could be hieroglyphics.

    This was a joyous show, and a complex one, with images that vibrated and pulsed with energy. Two very different artists, both visually depicting the music of life in their heads and hearts. A blissful duet.

    Watch for the work of both these artists ahead, and don’t miss a show at Shoebox Projects, where transformations and collaborations – coexistences, perhaps –regularly take place.

    https://shoeboxprojects.com






































     
  • MaximillianGroup 8:38 AM on 25 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alexandra grant, , , , , , , , , , art success, , , , , , , , , Dan Callis, Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, Diane Rosenstein Gallery, , , , Gisela Colon, , , Jason Vass Gallery, , , , , Man Graves, multi media art, , painting, , Rachel Lachowicz, , , shoshana wayne, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, , , succesful artists, success, success in art, , , what is success   

    Six Artists Define Success 

    Alexandra Grant, Antigone is you and me. Photo courtesy of the artist.

    Why am I Doing This Again? Six Artists Define Success

    By Sydney Walters

    Every day an artist chooses to renegotiate societal structures in order to make their creative habit a profession. Because this kind of exercise drastically differs from the reliability of structured professions which grant dependable income, artists must also calibrate what it means to be personally successful. As every artist has a different studio practice, likewise his or her means of measuring success is different. Below, six seasoned artists weigh in on what success means for them.

    Alexandra Grant:

    While I was in graduate school I looked around me at the other artists and art students. I wanted to answer to the following questions: “What do I care about when no one is here? What do I care about when everyone is here?” As a graduate student, now 20 years ago, I realized that the response to each needed to be the same thing. It seemed to me that people who had long-lasting careers had aligned their inner and outer lives in a way that was authentic. In graduate school, my answer to what I cared about privately and publicly was reading and literature. Those two activities are still at the heart of what I do.”

    So I would recommend to any young or young-at-heart artist to ask themselves what they care about, both when nobody is there, and when everyone is there, and do their best to align these answers.

    Alexandra Grant is a Los Angeles based painter, draftswomen, and sculptor specializing in collaborations. She received her MFA from California College of Arts in 2000 and has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), the 2010 California Biennial of Art at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) and many more. Additional information and portfolio at http://www.alexandragrant.com


    Mab Graves:

    Success has never really been a motivator for me…I create for personal happiness. It’s an amazing feeling knowing others also like what I do, but I’d be doing the same things I do now even if no one liked them and I needed to work a second job to pay bills. I live a pretty quiet life and I only leave the house a few times a month, so I think success is probably still the same for me: success is a feeling. It’s like an inner glee- a bubbling inside when I know I’m creating something “right”. When a piece comes together perfectly and I get a huge sense of peace. I’m always striving to elevate my craft and get better, so the success bar raises each year, but the feeling is still the same.

    Mab Graves is a Contemporary Pop-Surrealist artist and illustrator based in Indiana. She is a self-taught artist and has been shown in galleries nationally and internationally and published her first book in 2013. Additional information, portfolio and online shop at http://www.mabgraves.com



    Rachel Lachowicz:

    I was very young when I first started showing.  Looking back I was trying to stay alive so selling work, getting a review or an exhibition was success.

    Now I am more invested intellectually and what amounts to success is far more simple.

    Rachel Lachowicz is a Los Angeles based artist whose professional career has spanned over thirty years of work that has been featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many more. She received her BFA from California Institute of the Arts and is currently the chair of the Art Department at Claremont Graduate University. www.lachowicz.com



    Camilla Taylor :

    Initially, success meant making your income entirely from art. I’ve revisited this definition as I know few in the LA area who are able to live off of art alone–nearly all the artists I look up to also have day jobs of some kind.  I make art that is frankly depressing to many people, and I don’t know that I’ll ever sell enough to live on it alone.

    At the graduate school I attended, there was a sign up in the print shop that just said, “Do a better job.”  I’ve replicated it in my own studio, as it is the best advice. So, success, am I doing a better job than I was before?  Have I improved my exhibitions, personal discipline, studio output, conceptual frameworks? If not, then “do a better job.”

    Camilla Taylor received her MFA from California State University at Long Beach with an emphasis in printmaking. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and when she is not in the studio, she teaches people the art of printmaking at colleges and schools. For additional information, visit http://www.Camilla-taylor.com



    Dan Callis:

    It has become far more expansive and simple. It is so much bigger then the way it is talked about in Art School. Those conversations are wonderful and so very necessary. Success does have to do with those things but it is so much more.

    Success is your continued excitement (and occasional dread)  and sense of necessity to make your work. It is the delight to be the first viewer and the impulse to share it with another. It is the realization that it is all a profound gift. And it is a lot of fucking hard work. It is being in a community where who you are and the work you do matters and that the community in turn matters to you. To know and be known, in your work and outside your work. It is the realization that you are part of something much bigger then you and the work you do. Success is the urge to stop writing and get back to making.

    After receiving his MFA from Claremont Graduate School, now Claremont Graduate University, Dan Callis has gone on to have shows in the United States and abroad. Besides teaching at Biola University, Callis maintains an art studio in Orange County and has recently exhibited his paintings at Jason Vass Gallery in Los Angeles. www.dancallisart.com



    Gisela Colon:

    Success is a state of mind…mind over matter.

    Gisela Colon is a Los Angeles based artist who has developed an art practice of “organic minimalism.” Her unique Pods, Slabs, and Monoliths are in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio and many more. To see her portfolio and for additional information, visit http://www.giselacolon.com



     

     
  • 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, , , , 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, painting, 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 8:13 AM on 20 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , eastside international, Eastside International / ESXLA, , , HIlando Relaciones, , , , , , , painting, , , , Teresita de la Torre   

    Teresita de la Torre at Eastside International 

    Teresita de la Torre, Eastside International, Hilando Relaciones. Photo credit: Lara Salmon.

    Teresita de la Torre: Hilando Relaciones at Eastside International

    Through May 26

     

    By Lara Salmon

    Upon arrival at Teresita de la Torre’s opening at Eastside International, it was immediately clear that this was not the typical art show opening affair. Cumbia music played loudly as people danced around the gallery. On a side table sat bowls once full of jicama, cucumber, and fruit and bags of spicy chips. An empty tequila bottle and chewed lime wedges, remnants of shots enjoyed, were left alongside a bucket still full of less-popular beverages. Merriment rung through the space—everyone was having fun. It is not uncommon to see alternatives to the clean sterility of the commercial gallery opening or its beer-fueled artist-run counterpart, but this was something different. It felt like we were at a neighborhood party. Teresita said she wanted to make her friends and family who are not in the art world comfortable, so she created a familiar environment for them. Yet, upon reflection, it was they who created this Mexican-American style celebration for her. She thinks of it as a performance that they all did together for the show.

    Teresita’s show is formed around a fantasy she has—the fantasy of coming out to her mother. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico, Teresita was the sixth of seven children. As a child her parents moved to Laredo, Texas where she grew up. She describes her family and their community as conservative and Catholic. While they may know she is gay, it is not a permissible household conversation topic. She makes art to believe that it is.

    The first part of the show is a line of handkerchiefs embroidered with Spanish words in blue and pink thread. The handkerchiefs are presents from Teresita’s grandmother, gifts given to her over the years. And “embroidered” may be too generous of a descriptive for the uneven stitching and obtuse dangling threads. Teresita is clearly not an aspiring seamstress. And yet, this lack of technique lends determination to her desire in communicating these words. “yo le rompi el corazon a la otra muchacha,” “pero volvi con mi ex novia,” “mi novia termino conmigo otravez,” “Ama soy Lesbiana”—they are all things Teresita wanted to tell her mother after a painful break-up with an ex-girlfriend. The old handkerchiefs, the girl baby verses boy baby colored threads, and the untranslated phrases are mysterious for someone who does not speak Spanish or know the artist. Without backstory, the relationship of their cultural and social signifiers is harder to decipher.

    On the other side of the gallery at Eastside International is an installation. The scene is meant to be reminiscent of Teresita’s childhood house and bedroom. The twin size bed, whose sheet she used until recently, is stitched with the red-thread words “esta bien ser gay pero so actuar gay” (“it’s okay to be gay but don’t act gay”). Under the pillow is a collection of rosaries and religious items, because her Grandma said they would keep her safe. Some of the items in the installation are from her family’s house and others are meant to represent a more general Latinx home setting. One piece, the golden depiction of the Last Super which hangs on the wall, is almost a duplicate of the one Teresita grew up with. She scoured the internet and drove many miles to obtain this replica.

    The most affecting piece in the show is the table that sits center stage. The decorative placemats declare (in pink stitches) “Ama,” “soy,” and “Lesbiana.” This table is the place where Teresita envisions telling her mother she is gay. The fantasy is simple, to sit around the table for a heart-to-heart between mother and daughter. Teresita’s steadfast adherence to the manifestation of this fantasy is beautiful. The tension of desire verses reality throughout the show gives it the sense of broken delusion.

    At the center of Teresita’s table is a bright doily with “marimacha” stitched in baby blue thread. Marimacha is a derogatory term for lesbian, a word that intimidates Teresita. She has, in fact, stitched a number of derogatory terms for lesbian in Spanish on kitchen towels. They hang in a line on the wall next to the table. By crafting these words onto common towels, she hopes to take away their power over herself. If she looks at them everyday then the fear of hearing them, from family or strangers, will not be so scary.

    Teresita’s show functions upon her belief in a reality that is seemingly just out of grasp. She attempts to fill the gap between personal fantasy and actuality with art.

    Teresita de la Torre’s solo show Hilando Relaciones is on view at Eastside International until May 26.

    You can see Teresita’s artist website at http://todoslosdias-365.com/

    Eastside International
    Gallery hours: Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm
     http://www.eastsideinternational.com

     
























     

     
  • MaximillianGroup 10:14 AM on 19 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Alana Reibstein, Alexsa Durrans, Amelia Charter, , , , , Bapari, , Cameron Taylor, , , , Gracie Winston, , Jasmine Nyende, Jose&Carolina&magi&allie, , Leanna Bremond, , , , Maddy Inez Lesser, Miles Brenninkmeijer, , Nicole Cooke, , outdoor performances, painting, , , 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 11:30 AM on 17 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Altadena, ARK Gallery, , , , , , , , , , , , Echo Enigma, , , , , , Kira Vollman, , , , , , painting, , 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , MAF, , , Olafur Eliasson, painting, , , 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

     







     
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