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  • 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, , , , Rachel Lachowicz, , , shoshana wayne, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, solo show, , 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 11:10 AM on 21 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Carl Berg, , , DENK Gallery, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Pace gallery, palo alto, , solo show, , , 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 8:13 AM on 20 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , eastside international, Eastside International / ESXLA, , , HIlando Relaciones, , , , , , , , , solo show, , 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 11:30 AM on 17 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Altadena, ARK Gallery, , , , , , , , , , , , Echo Enigma, , , , , , Kira Vollman, , , , , , , , Scott Froschauer, solo show,   

    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, , , , Reality Projector, , solo show, , 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, , , , , , Jeanne Dunning, Jennifer Moon, , , , , , , , Pasadena art, Pasadena Arts Council, Pasadena California, , , , solo show, , 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/
     
  • MaximillianGroup 9:40 AM on 11 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Martin Cox, , , Museum of Ennui, , , , , solo show, , The Closet in Shoebox, The Shed Collective   

    Martin Cox’s Museum of Ennui in The Closet at Shoebox Projects 

    Martin Cox’s Museum of Ennui at The Closet in Shoebox Projects. Photo credit: Kristine Schomaker.

    Museum of Ennui: Nothing Existentially Boring Here

    Museum of Ennui by Martin Cox
    in The Closet in Shoebox Projects
    Presented by The Shed Collective
    Through June 2

     

    By Genie Davis

    At Shoebox Projects – in the closet – and closing June 2nd, is one of the most unique and diminutive art exhibitions in Los Angeles. That would be the Museum of Ennui, created by British-born and Los Angeles-based artist Martin Cox.

    The terrifically curated tiny space features the work of artists Anna Amethyst, Cynthia Minet, Douglas Hill, Gary Edward Jones, Jessie Rose Vala, Julie Murray, Katrina Alexy, Kim Abeles, Kirthana Devdas, Kristine Schomaker, Maggie Lowe Tennesen, Marina Rees, Martin Cox, Nataliya Petkova, Röðull Reyr Kárason, Rose Portillo, Ryan Hill, Sally O’Reilly, Sara Jane Boyers, Scott MacLeod, and Thora Solveig Bergsteinsdottir.

    Cox was inspired to create the walk-in, fits-maybe-two closet gallery while attending the Fjuk Art Center Residency in Iceland in 2016 and getting trapped in the house by a blizzard. “Out of nowhere the title ‘museum of ennui’ just came to me. I did not know what to think at first, but as other artists will recall, sometimes a buzzing excitement accompanies an idea, then you know you have to explore it. I felt like I was on to something.”

    Ennui is a French word with no true English equivalent, a kind of existential, melancholy boredom as Cox describes it, and what he recalls as “often the subject of lengthy introspective discussions as if we had discovered some alternative plane of existence” as a teen. While this sensation was an inspiration for the museum, so too was a visit to the quirky private Whitby Museum on England’s Yorkshire Coast, and the variety of offbeat museums in Iceland where Cox’s blizzard-bound art residency took place.

    “There are many small idiosyncratic museums like The Phallological Museum -penis museum, Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft, and the Icelandic Wonders Museum,” he explains. Additionally NuMu, the Nuevo Museo de Arte Contemporáne, arrived at LACMA from Guatemala. The small egg-shaped museum was another inspiration.

    Add to all these Cox’s thought that the idea of ennui itself might need a museum to avoid extinction, as the word is little used these days.

    “I see ennui as an ever more important ingredient in human survival, in an age of ultimate distraction. Devices, algorithms, news, fake and otherwise, and outrageous politics all fill our every waking moment. That all too rare moment where there’s the possibility of boredom or day dreaming is constantly snatched away. Without some internal silence and separation where we can experience dissatisfaction with the present, will the future be ever darker?” he says. “For artists particularly, I think creativity and ennui are closely entwined. Ennui is a starting point because discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.”

    Martin Cox’s Museum of Ennui at The Closet in Shoebox Projects. Photo credit: Genie Davis.

    And so, the Museum of Ennui was conceived, and born, initially through a series of audio interviews and recordings. “I asked people about their experience with ennui, and quickly the topic turned to ennui in art, and what it may become as a painting or object,” he relates.

    An initial iteration of objects made by artists he’d invited to contribute appeared in a display case within his solo exhibition at the Husavik Museum in Iceland. Headphones played the original interviews and sound tracks that included sounds of rigging creaking, eider ducks, and rain falling.

    The Los Angeles location came about when Kristine Schomaker of Shoebox Projects and The Shed Collective invited Cox to consider this former broom closet as his exhibit space.

    “I painted it white, added lighting, gave it a unique door and floor color and set about finding the work. The invitation and resulting dialogue with the artists felt very collaborative and exciting for me. They all had a fairly short timeframe to come up with something and responded swiftly,” he reports. “I asked many more artists in my network, some well-known, others intermittent with their output, the same question ‘What would ennui look like if it were an image or as a piece of work?’”

    Responses included unique objects which Cox placed in identical white frames and hung in the museum, as well as digital files, requested so he could control size in the small space. He’s done a terrific job of exhibiting the works.

    Viewers have the sensation of being closed inside a small, restrictive chamber of art, from which escape is not necessary. After a moment of realization – yes, it is small in here, isn’t it? – one has the sensation of having everything one needs to experience contemplation, imaginative connection, and a delightful sense of repose. Being “trapped,” a viewer can take in each small, perfect, disparate, and somehow poignant element; listen to the audio tracks Cox has programmed, and metaphorically at least, float away to another place to muse on what is being seen, or perhaps turn inward, to one’s own thoughts.

    “The scale of the museum became a draw of its own,” Cox states, “Having a small door and space for only one person was a wonderful device to give visitors their own private moment, to immerse them within the subject.”

    The use of an audio track further sustains the sense of being in a private, separate, cushioned world. “I was keen to include many different media into the collection,” Cox explains. “Photography dominates, but there are also mixed media pieces, sculpture, paintings, collage and literary works, even a poem in computer language, so it was natural that I invited a sound artist, too. I also decided to include the first interview I made initiating the original project.”

    As self-contained as the MoE project is, it also allowed Cox to engage in dialog with other artists, a welcome break from his solitary artistic practice. “I am usually engaged in examining mostly depopulated and far-flung locations through photography. In a sense, it would appear that this project bore no relationship to my previous work exhibited in galleries and museums.  If you go back far enough there are installations, and performances and collaborations in my past work. Looking at the themes in my photography, they actually all touch on ennui and entropy, and an ever-present theme of holding space.”

    Cox adds “I hope the jostle between humor and sincerity of the project comes through. For the visitor, the museum can serve as permission to detach, to look within while at the same time offering stimulation and nurture new ideas.”

    A new idea for Cox himself is the continuation of the project. “I feel that the Museum of Ennui is in a liminal phase and may pop up in a variety of guises.  Keeping the scale small affords me the luxury to try things out, and so long as the idea generates interest from artists to explore this realm with me, then it has a future.”

    He’s considering a mobile version towed to different locations, a gallery in an English red phone box, and website exhibitions of the project. For now, viewers have a chance to experience the space Saturday June 2 from 3 to 5 p.m., or by appointment.

    To view the exhibition by appointment between now and June 2nd
    contact Cox at photos@martincox.com
    Visit online at museumofennui.org  See an invitation to become paid “Bored Members” to support the next version of the project.

    The Shed Collective was created when four artists decided to host art events in their sheds and closets. Coined “the alternative to alternative galleries” a group of sister galleries emerged. Inspired by spaces like “Elevator Mondays” and Gallery 1993 and believing that artists have to create their own opportunities to exhibit and curate, the first show opened at “The Closet” an annex in the Shoebox Project space at the Brewery on March 17th.

    As an experience, The Shed Collective attempts to capture the imagination in its challenging of existing modes of presentation of contemporary art. It responds both to the artist’s need to experiment and curator’s need to stage exhibits in unconventional spaces in order to engage new dialogues. Seen together, The Shed Collective fluidly explores both artistic and curatorial conditions in its varied spaces. Formed by Kristine Schomaker, Cathy Immordino, Sheli Silverio, and Diane Williams, the group aims to more efficiently enact the presence of art in varied communities throughout Los Angeles and capture a unique sense of diversity and character within each of its spaces and projects.

    Closing reception Martin Cox’s Museum of Ennui at ‘The Closet in Shoebox Projects’ presented by The Shed Collective
    June 2, 3-5pm.
    May also be seen by appointment

     

    The Closet in Shoebox Projects
    660 South Avenue 21 #3
    Los Angeles Ca 90031
    https://shoeboxprojects.com/
    https://www.martincox.com/
    http://museumofennui.org/

     


































     
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