King Dogs Never Grow Old

King Dogs Never Grow Old

Diane Rosenstein Gallery, Los Angeles

4 January – February 1, 2020

Diane Rosenstein Gallery announces King Dogs Never Grow Old, a group exhibition curated by Brooke Wise. The show will include paintings, sculpture, ceramics, works on paper, and tufted wall hangings by Ginny Casey, Sam Crow, Tom of Finland, Haley Josephs, Jillian Mayer, Haley Mellin, Robert Moreland, Rose Nestler, Scott Reeder, Matthew Sweesy, Chris Wolston and Bri Williams. The show’s title is borrowed from André Breton and Philippe Soupault’s surrealist text Les Champs Magnétiques (The Magnetic Fields). It alludes to exploring the nonsensical and the dreamlike unconscious. The work on view will share a common dialogue and aim to explore these surrealist notions in a contemporary manner.

Rose Nestler, “Gym Shorts,” 2019

Jillian Mayer and Haley Josephs use color and whimsy to address these surrealist concepts. Mayer’s interactive Slumpies invite the viewer to sprawl out and engage with their smart phones while laying on “deformed rock[s], repeatedly vandalized with paint.” Josephs employs bright and fantastical elements in her paintings, suggesting a world that may never be realized. Ginny Casey draws inspiration from classic Walt Disney cartoons and welcomes the spectator with distorted, absurd and disproportioned objects, which play with our restrictions of logic and time.

Rose Nestler, “Deep Pockets,” 2019

Exploring anatomical surrealism, Tom of Finland celebrates sexuality, fantasy, and the body in all areas of human endeavor. Scott Reeder and Matthew Sweesy both use comedy and rhetoric in their paintings. Reeder, known for his ceramic work and text- based paintings, represents everyday objects, reimagined as fine art. Paintings that exist as mundane and hand drawn lists allow the unconscious to express itself in a permanent state. Sweesy, who paints dreamlike sequences, uses humor to promote cultural critique, as seen in Hunter, where the artist himself is seen as both the hunter and the hunted.

Scott Reeder, “Band Names,” 2014

Chris Wolston’s Nalgona chairs are humanized by his addition of wicker body parts. Sam Crow’s tufted wall works skew our sense of reality and attempt to destroy our sense of stability in her usage of geometric shapes and dimension. Rose Nestler’s soft sculptures explore the body as the subconscious mind. Her unsettling and dreamlike sculptures are informed by the notion of shame, the classic childhood fears of showing up to class naked or menstruating through one’s pants. Bri Williams uses found objectsoften with personal associations, to evoke a potent, psychic mood. Through crafting and composition, Williams allows her objects to embody the the abstract: the incommunicability of pain and our inherited mythical figures.

Matt Sweesy, “Daphne In Repose,” 2019

Minimalist artist Robert Moreland reinvents his canvas into the space between painting and sculpture, while Haley Mellin’s small paintings reinvent mundane objects such as a Warholian banana floating in space. Through comedy, rhetoric, sarcasm and the uncanny, these works all share a common discourse about surrealism, the unexpected and the unconventional.

All images > Courtesy Diane Rosenstein Gallery, Los Angeles

Adam Silverman / Punctum

Adam Silverman / Punctum

Philip Martin Gallery , Los Angeles

9 November 2019 – 4 January 2020

Adam Silverman’s pots reveal the directness and energy with which they are made. A 25-pound block of clay is laid on a spinning potter’s wheel, then “pulled” upwards by Silverman in a gesture that has sustained and fascinated humans for thousands of years. Silverman’s gesture is one that has historically provided the means by which we store the items we need; at the same time, it is a gesture that through its simple beauty, and the elegance of its product, expresses who we are. 

Adam Silverman’s pots reflect the basic questions that continually draw us back to art-making. How are art objects made? Who makes them? Why? In Silverman’s work, we see the evidence of the maker. His hands mold and push the clay during and after the throwing process. His tools – which are evident in the lines, forms and surfaces of these works – are picks and knives, sticks, and even baseball bats. His finishes are formed through multiple firings – with the pot in a range of orientations. Their colors are affixed in the molten heat of the kiln; their richly textured surfaces mark the path of the fire in that kiln chamber. Across these pots we see accretions of ash, and if we consider further, we see traces of the origin points of Silverman’s glaze materials – the beach clay, corn husks, seaweed and the other materials that Silverman finds on the streets of Los Angeles, on the shoreline or in the woods in Rhode Island where he works in the summer.

In addition to asking basic questions about human expression, Silverman’s pots reflect on Modernist ideas over a century old, such as truth-to-materials. The foot of each pot in the exhibition, for example, is the remnants of the 25-pound-block of clay from which it was made. Silverman is constantly experimenting with clay composition, form, kiln temperature, and finish. They sag and warp in unpredictable ways.

As the title of the exhibition suggests, before this show, Silverman thinks sometimes about the writing of French theorist Roland Barthes. After the death of his mother, Roland Barthes famously reflected on the unique power that artworks have – in his case a photograph – and how they strike viewers. Barthes comments that artworks have an intensely subjective effect, like a pinprick, or in his language, they have punctum. This deep connection between who we are, what we make and how we look at things is key to both the enjoyment and the critique within Silverman’s work. As dean Nader Tehrani writes in his forward to Silverman’s recent solo exhibition at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York, it is “a refreshing advent to witness the punishment and brutality of a process that can yield aesthetic reappraisal while tipping it into critical discourse.” Or, as Rose Slivka wrote in “The New Ceramic Presence” – her ground-breaking 1961 essay on ceramics in America – “Not unified by blood or national origin (everyone is from some place else)… we’re a restless people.” Slivka then goes on to say that, “By giving the inherent nature of the [ceramic] material greater freedom to assert its possibilities – possibilities generated by the individual, personal quality of the artist’s specific handling – the artist underscores the multiplicity of life (the life of materials and his own), the events and changes that take place during his creative act.”

Silverman’s exhibition features a series of raised platforms designed by the artist. Formally educated in architecture and with a deep interest in modern dance, Silverman has studied Le Corbusier, Tadao Ando, and Merce Cunningham as much as Hans Coper and Peter Voulkos. In asking us to move our bodies through space, and by moving his works to our eye level, Silverman creates a direct relationship between us and his pots, hopefully enabling that sense of punctum for viewers – a moment of connection, reflection and critique.

Adam SILVERMAN (b. 1963, New York, NY) received his BFA and B.Arch from the Rhode Island School of Design. Silverman’s work is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) and was recently the subject of solo exhibitions at Cooper Union (New York, NY) and Curator’s Cube (Tokyo, Japan). His work has been included in solo exhibitions at such museums and galleries as Friedman Benda (New York, NY); Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, TX); Laguna Art Museum (Laguna Beach, CA); Pierre Marie Giraud (Brussels, Belgium); and Tomio Koyama Gallery (Tokyo, Japan). Silverman’s two-person installation, Boolean Valley, a collaboration with Nader Tehrani, travelled from San Jose Museum of Art (San Jose, CA) to the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA), followed by the Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX). In 2013, a major monograph on his work, Adam Silverman Ceramics was published by Rizzoli. Silverman’s work is in the collections of such museums as Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA); Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX); Palm Springs Museum of Art (Palm Springs, CA); Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel); Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence, RI); and Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT). His work has been discussed in such publications as Artforum,WallpaperArchitectural DigestThe New York Times,and Los Angeles Times. Silverman lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

All images > Installation view Adam Silverman punctum, courtesy Philip Martin Gallery , Los Angeles

Harvey Quaytman at Blum&Poe

Harvey Quaytman

Blum&Poe, Los Angeles

November 9, 2019 – January 11, 2020

Blum & Poe presents a selected survey of work spanning three decades by the late artist Harvey Quaytman. This is the gallery’s first exhibition of work by this critical figure in late-20th century American abstraction following the announcement earlier this year of co-representation of the artist’s estate along with Van Doren Waxter.

Harvey Quaytman , Second Cupola Capella, 1969

Harvey Quaytman (b. 1937, Rockaway, NY; d. 2002, New York, NY) came of age in the downtown art scene of 1960s New York, living and working in SoHo studios first on Grand Street and later at 231 Bowery, where he would remain through the late ’90s. Long considered an artist’s artist, the painter enjoyed a close-knit and vibrant artistic and social milieu, over the years sharing studio addresses with Brice Marden, Ron Gorchov, and James Rosenquist, among others. Quaytman’s emerging career as a young painter began in the heyday of Ab Ex with a marked allegiance to Gorky and de Kooning. This approach was slowly shed as the decade unfolded, as his work began to lean towards sculpture—compositions with curvilinear shaped canvases and rectilinear U-shaped bases that inhabited a newfound objecthood. This was followed by a forty-year engagement with geometric abstraction, his approach to painting in contradistinction to the prevailing trends of the era—first with Pop Art and later Neo Expressionism. Despite painting being declared “dead” by Minimalist and Conceptual artists of the time, Quaytman maintained a commitment to the medium and to his vision throughout, helping to shape an alternate trajectory for American painting.

Harvey Quaytman , Stopwatch, 1969

The artist’s work in the ‘70s developed into shield-like forms that balance on curved platforms, conjuring a motion that would result in a critic calling them “rocking rectangles”—the body of work later known simply as “rocker” paintings. These eccentrically shaped works were hand-crafted (he would steam and bend the wooden stretchers himself), and inherently related to movement—inspired by Islamic calligraphy, rocking chairs, and the flight patterns of airplanes and birds. His experiments with shape continued in the late ‘70s, and through the manipulation of geometric intersections and overlapping forms that all the while imply motion, a unique group of paintings resembling anchors or pendulums emerged. In the 1980s, Quaytman began his cruciform paintings, investigations of the cross shape not as emblem but as two meeting vectors; Constructivist, perpendicular geometric compositions that focused on the reduced palette of black, white, red, rusted iron, and metallic gold. While these paintings represented a stark departure from his previous work, Quaytman continued to pursue visual movement as he conjured an interplay of symmetry and asymmetry.

Harvey Quaytman , Mirror to Damascus, 1971

As his paintings evolved in form and shape, variously touching upon Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Process Art, and Constructivism, Quaytman simultaneously developed a rigorous practice of experimentation with pigment. He was interested in the history, alchemy, and chromatic effects of color, seeking out unique tonalities at specialty stores at home and abroad, becoming a master of color and texture. He skillfully poured paint, spreading Rhoplex over canvas with broad wallpaper brushes after dusting it with pure pigment that settled in thick, unpredictable strata. He later flecked canvas with glass or iron filings and used additives such as marble dust in paint he always mixed himself. On this subject, he said: “It is very important to me to be reminded that I am not an alchemist but a man engaged in coded, layered conversation with my fellow man on what I hope to be (on another) level than words or music.” Quaytman was a self-professed “art soldier,” and as his artist daughter R.H. Quaytman has said, with “the daydream soul of an aesthete.” The works on view here span the initial thirty years of the artist’s career, a body of work committed to modernist abstractions despite continual pronouncements of obsolescence, concerning both Modernism and painting itself.

Tokyo Pop Underground at Jeffrey Deitch

Tokyo Pop Underground

Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles

November 23, 2019 – January 18, 2020

Until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Japanese language did not have a word for fine art. The word bijutsu was constructed, combining Chinese characters bi, for beauty, and jutsu, for craft. This hybrid term reveals the unique trajectory of Japanese contemporary art, different from the foundations of contemporary art in the West.

Tokyo Pop Underground, curated by Tokyo gallerist Shinji Nanzuka, explores the complex history of Japanese contemporary art from the 1960s to the present through the works of seventeen artists who emerged from pop and underground culture. 

Shinji Nanzuka explains that “originally in Japan, most of what is referred to as art are practical items, developed together and in integration with popular culture.” He cites examples from calligraphy to folding screens, paintings on sliding paper doors, lacquerware, netsuke, and the Ukiyo-e prints that served as posters and commercial portraits. He also mentions art historian Naoyuki Kinoshita’s study of intricately realistic handicrafts such as iki-ningyou, life-like dolls that were made for exhibitory performances. Nanzuka’s mission in this exhibition is to present contemporary artistic commentaries on this Japanese artistic heritage.

Deviating from the mainstream current of “art for art’s sake” when he opened his Tokyo gallery in 2005, Nanzuka decided to focus on artists whose works at the time were not considered to be art. Artists like Keiichi Tanaami, Harumi Yamaguchi, and Hajime Sorayama, whose works are now celebrated in the international art world, were looked down upon as producers of commercial and popular art. Nanzuka saw them as prime exponents of the idiosyncratic nature of Japan’s culture and history.

Another reason that Tanaami, Yamaguchi, Sorayama, and Toshio Saeki did not receive recognition until recently is the radical intensity of their practice. The expressions of sex and violence in their work are statements of anti-authority and anti-uniformity. The aggressive portraits of women painted by Harumi Yamaguchi show her engagement with the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s. Sorayama’s sexualized robots predict a dystopian future.

There are strong links between the underground Japanese culture from which many of these artists emerged and the American graffiti and skateboard subcultures that were embraced by Japanese youth. Haroshi, one of the younger artists in the show, constructs his works entirely from wood sliced from skateboards donated by friends and professional skateboarders to compose a collective portrait of his enlarged, international community.

The artists in Tokyo Pop Underground reflect the strains in contemporary Japanese culture as it rebuilt itself after the ruins of war and confronts numerous natural disasters. Their work reflects what Nanzuka describes as “the crazy cross-cultural exchange” between the West, the East, and the Far East, shaping a new international artistic language. Reckoning with these central themes for over six decades, legendary artist Keiichi Tanaami presents new works in conjunction with Tokyo Pop Underground. His work has recently featured in The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern, London, and International Pop at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. In the gallery, Tanaami’s recent production further articulates the artist’s relationship with the U.S. as both an invader of Japan during his youth and source of attractive pop culture.

The artists participating in Tokyo Pop Underground are:

Makoto Azuma
Namio Harukawa
Hiroh Kikai
Akiyoshi Mishima
Masato Mori
Tetsuya Nakamura
Yoshiro Nishi aka Yoshirotten
Toshio Saeki
Koichi Sato
Hajime Sorayama
Keiichi Tanaami
Makoto Taniguchi
Hiroki Tsukuda
Kazuki Umezawa
Harumi Yamaguchi
Yuichi Yokoyama

Installation photos Elon Schoenholz courtesy Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles

Hoard Inaugural

Hoard Inaugural

06SEP(SEP 6)0:0011OCT(OCT 11)0:00Hoard InauguralL.A.C.A, 709 N Hill Street Suite 104/8 (upstairs) 90012

Anonymous, Autonomous Oral History Group, Kelman Duran, Arshia Haq, Nick Kochornswasdi, Halldora Miyoko Magnusdottir, Olivia Mole, Misael Oquendo, Rapterotica/Cephalerotica Index, Hande Sever, Alan Tofighi, Adam Wand

Organized by Scott Benzel

Collier Mansion, New York, NY, 1947

Hoard Inaugural is the ‘inauguration’ of a collection of works whose subjects or creators tread the line between the indexical, rationalized modality of the archive, the aestheticized art collection, and the ‘hoard’, a term that has become synonymous with irrationality and psychological dysfunction as manifested in material accumulation.  The title begs the question- can a ‘hoard’ in fact be ‘inaugurated’ or does it necessarily arise spontaneously from repressed, subconscious forces- either in the interior psychological realm, the ‘real’ or objective realm, or in the ossification of the irrational within the otherwise ‘objective’ historical origins of much of the work?

The standard cultural interpretation of hoarding roots it in dysfunction, in OCD and the legacy of Freudian anality as it collides with the material world. Hoarding is often regarded as a malady affecting the lower tiers of the class spectrum, however, when value judgments regarding specific materiality are removed, it bears remarkable similarity to some of culture’s most highly regarded activities. Activities such as the accumulation and preservation of artifacts in museums, libraries, and archives, and the acquisition of wealth or money above levels necessary for survival.

Photographs of the homes of Modernist collectors like the Arensbergs, or Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, or of Andre Breton’s atelier, or of Freud’s office, betray similarities to scenes on the television show Hoarders, with the important difference that the objects piled into the collectors’ spaces are considered ‘culturally significant’. This significance is very much a phenomenon of external cultural agreement; the value of a given collection or ‘hoard’ is based almost entirely on externalist considerations. The hoard differs from the archive perhaps only in the degree of its subjective definition of value.  Erich Fromm defined hoarding as:

…the acquisition of, and failure to discard, possessions which appear to be useless or of limited value. 

The hoard is thus often a source of private meaning or pride and public shame. Hidden, occulted, a family secret, it’s meanings and connections are known to only one or a few, perhaps to an amour fou, perhaps to a ‘nuclear’ family, perhaps to a generation or two of descendants.

Social Psychologists Randy O. Frost And Rachel C. Gross’s landmark 1993 study The Hoarding Of Possessions was a detailed attempt to get beyond Freudian analysis and OCD and to address instead the psychocultural roots of the phenomenon. Frost and Gross cite Furby’s analysis as one sociocultural precursor:

Furby concluded that central to the meaning of possession is control. Possessions are meaningful because people have use of them, or control over the use of them. People need to feel in control of their environment, and possessions allow them to do so. 

Alan Tofighi’s TPLRDR Stereographically Reprocessed I VII incorporates seemingly polar extremes of the ontological axis – hoarding and VR  – opposing the overactualized to the purely virtual. Tofighi’s photographic VR reproduction of an actual hoarder’s home suggests that the two phenomena are linked existentially and epistemically. The hoard which renders a home uninhabitable appears here tied to mounting terror around the crisis of homelessness which removes the body from the home entirely, exposing it to the ‘outside’, the violence of the street, and tying it to virtuality, the disappearance of ‘actual’ objects and enclosed space. Fullness and alienation, the fullness of terror in Freud’s ‘unheimlich’ (unhomely), and the ‘uncanny’ emptiness of VR are linked. The piece also suggests the ongoing critique of materiality in art rooted in twin exhibitions by Arman and Yves Klein, ‘Full’ and ‘The Void’, one filling, the other emptying the space of Iris Clert’s Paris gallery.

Hande Sever’s video works reveal the mechanisms of the index and collecting in the process of ‘othering’ political dissidents and immigrants, a methodology born in the 19th Century with the Hollerith tabulator, a punchcard based protocomputer for sorting populations. Günler Yürüdüğünde (As Days Started Walking) chronicles her mother’s experiences, told through vintage Turkish television footage and objects, following the aftermath of the 1980 Turkish coup d’état.

Olivia Mole’s VR and video work upsets cultural agreements on the values and meanings embodied by mainstays of popular and children’s culture. Across a wider project, Mole reinvents the figures of Bambi and the medieval unicorn as cultural fugitives who have rejected the work of cuteness and availability. Bambi Holes presents a Bambi unmoved by a barrage of casting agent pitches, in a state of emotional inertia brought on by an excess of manipulation. 

Misael Oquendo’s video Ladrón vertiginously accumulates AI and CGI imagery, obscure subcultures, and peculiar narratives, piling a story about a family’s multigenerational oyster addiction onto a narrative about an archive of samizdat maintained by a ‘master’ incel. The result is something like a hallucination of the contemporary through the skewed lenses of Reddit and 4chan, the fog of Youtube and Gab aesthetics, and outrageous but weirdly personal narratives.

Halldora Miyoko Magnusdottir’s ongoing Serendipity Pattern of Geomyths traces the global spread of myth. In collections of artifacts, artist’s books, and videos documenting her online and IRL explorations mapping tangled subterranean connections, she links disparate contemporary sites of myth to ancient global roots.

In Use By ۸۷ (Use by 87), Arshia Haq memorializes the television and advertising culture of the SWANA region (a region that she reimagines in her ongoing project Discostan) from the period of her youth, to create a catalog of personal and cultural ‘expired’ desires.

Kabbalah scholar and Walter Benjamin associate Gershom Scholem’s speech at the inauguration of the Golem Aleph, the first Israeli supercomputer, linked the retributive folk legend of the Golem and the alphanumerical mysteries of Kabbalah to the birth of technoscience. Adam Wand’s video The Golem of Rehovoth integrates Scholem’s speech, ephemera and publicity related to the unveiling of the supercomputer, and scenes from the early 20th Century Golem film subgenre.

Works by Kelman Duran, the Autonomous Oral History Group, and Nick Kochornswasdi raise questions of presentation, distribution, and facticity. Each incorporates the aesthetic and distributive elements of ‘entertainment’ to deliver information and data most often reserved for the sociological database or the activist meeting. Duran’s underground dance music and videos incorporate documentary sound and footage from the Dakota Water Protectors and other contemporary indigineous protection and liberation movements, bringing these movements into conversation with international youth culture. The Autonomous Oral History Group counterveils diverse individual’s relationships to power in the form of recorded oral histories with danceable music and indexical, gridlike videos. Nick Kochornswasdi’s online game Please come over, featuring a friendly yet disturbing avatar of the artist showing the player around his virtual home, drove Markiplier, a Youtube gamer with 24 million followers, to near insanity and in the process exposed 3.2 million viewers to the artwork.

Several works explore the vast world obscured by Nondisclosure Agreements, other forms of hidden information, and what could be characterized as the archival equivalent of Bataille’s ‘accursed share’. This type of illicit archive is well known to legal scholars and tabloid journalists and the viewing of it, sometimes the mere knowledge of it, can invoke a sense of rapturous disoccultation, of ‘scales falling from the eyes’. Alternatively, it can trigger one’s sense of ‘never being able to unsee’ unethical, specious, or fetishistic information. The Bibliotheque Nationale’s archive of the Marquis de Sade, the Vatican library’s collection of grimoires and other ‘opposition’ literature are but two examples of how the abject and tentacles of irrationality can be indexed, rationalized, and recuperated by the archive.

In their work with smuggled footage, Anonymous explore the subject of their own NDA’s, a Malibu based narcissist intent on turning her life into a reality television show. Another anonymous suppressed film tracks the descent into drug abuse and madness and the eventual demise of a pharmaceutical heiress. The Rapterotica/Cephalerotica Index catalogs the products of several fetish subcultures, in the case of Rapterotica a parodic fetish subculture with roots in the ‘real world’, in the case of Cephalerotica, a subculture with roots in Hosukai’s infamous 18th Century print The Fisherman’s Wife culminating in the ‘accursed’ Overfiend films of 1990’s Japan. 

A collection is a tricky thing. Somewhat akin to the creation of the Winchester house, with its chaos of useless spaces and deadend staircases (following a psychic’s suggestion, the owner, heiress to the Winchester armaments fortune, continuously added to the home as a means of placating the hungry ghosts of victims of gun violence), a rational, organized collection can devolve into chaos much as valuable artifacts can devolve into uselessness. More prosaic than the vaults of unseen artworks that termite the mountains surrounding Zurich are the overstocked vintage record and book stores of the San Fernando Valley, stores like Atomic Records and Ulysses’ Voyage,  with aisles rendered impassable by unexamined cardboard boxes full of unknown pleasures and their abject neighbors, prop houses and FX shops like Dapper Cadaver that overflow with polyfoam severed heads and limbs. Famous cultural institutions are similarly results of this process, the Watts Monument, the chaotic bookshelves of the Warburg Institute, or artistic and literary works, Benjamin’s Arcades project, Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, Noah Purifoy’s 66 Signs, Harold Szeeman’s Museum of Obsessions…

Hoard Inaugural’s works function on a vector divorced from the model of the standardized, refined index or ‘complete’ artwork. They are works and collections that tarry with the hoard and sometimes succumb. The works suggest the possibility of endless conjugation and the impossibility of final categorization, they contain evidence of digging, of obsession, and in some cases unresolvable moral quandaries. If the index, the archive, and the collection are tools and signs of power, the hoard is itself a form of power, prerational, preconcious; transcending categorization, ‘information’, and knowledge; occasionally eclipsing human understanding itself.




JUNE 15 – JULY 20, 2019

Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles

Charlie James Gallery presents In a Manner of Speaking, Gabriella Sanchez’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, opening Saturday, June 15th and running through July 20th, 2019. The show will present eight new paintings, four at large scale, all of which incorporate Gabriella’s demonstrated range of graphic media including acrylic, graphite, sharpie and oil stick, but which newly integrate archival pigment printing and photo collage onto the surface of the canvases. Gabriella’s work at its core explores the space between cultures – between the Mexican and the American, between the noble and ignoble, between the main and the margins. To give form to these threshold spaces, Gabriella creates composite portraits of people and of ideas of people, which are assembled using oppositional binaries expressed through language and in form. Gabriella employs repetition both to establish and to deconstruct her signifiers. Every painted figure has an oppositional printed counterpart, the images of which derive from Gabriella’s archive of family photographs. The photographs are exclusively of men, and those selected emphasize the physical poses struck by her male family members, poses that can evoke a stereotyped form of hyper-masculinity. As in past work, the paintings in this series contain language that can be interpreted multiple ways. Some of the words included are: Form/ From, SA LUTE, Suit(able), and Gabriella frequently contraposes the hegemonic Helvetica font with the Latinx-associated Gothic font. The style of the paintings evokes collage but is organized by a design sensibility, and thus suggests another dualism – that of design and fine art. The paintings undo the process by which meaning gets assigned – they disassemble the process into steps, component parts, making visible the mechanics of representation.

Suitable, Acrylic, oil stick, oil pastel, graphite and archival pigment prints on canvas, 72 x 48 inches, 2019

Gabriella Sanchez (b. 1988, Pasadena, CA) received her BFA in 2011 from PLNU in San Diego, CA. She worked for several years as a full time graphic designer, executing projects with Nike, Toyota and other significant clients. She began exhibiting her paintings and works on paper in 2016, and her work has been exhibited in spaces such as Jeffrey Deitch (New York), Charlie James Gallery (LA), Páramo Galeria (Guadalajara), the Crocker Art Museum, LMAK Gallery NYC, and ltdla. She has shown at numerous art fairs including Zona Maco, EXPO Chicago, and the Seattle Art Fair. Her work is in notable collections including the Crocker Art Museum, the JP Morgan & Chase Collection, and numerous private collections. Gabriella lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and is represented by Charlie James Gallery.

SPECIFIC ABSTRACTIONS at Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles

SPECIFIC ABSTRACTIONS at Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles


Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles

JUNE 15 – JULY 20, 2019

Charlie James Gallery presents Specific Abstractions, a group exhibition curated by Los Angeles-based arts writer Matt Stromberg featuring work by Tanya Aguiñiga, Rachid Bouhamidi, Leonardo Bravo, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, John Knuth, Dan Levenson, Rubén Ortiz Torres, and Brenna Youngblood. The show challenges the understanding of abstraction as a universal language, a “pure” exploration of form, color, and material. This premise was informed by the Guggenheim Museum show Josef Albers in Mexico which traces the connection between the modernist master’s geometric abstractions and his love of pre-Columbian art and architecture that he encountered while traveling throughout Mexico. “The Homage to the Square paintings are sometimes caricatured as the epitome of detached, cerebral art, a manifestation of a singular faith in geometry. Yet the works have also been connected to specific locations in Mexico,” writes curator Lauren Hinkson in her catalogue essay, arguing that they stem from Albers’s paintings of Mexican house facades. Specific Abstractions brings together eight contemporary artists who work in abstract and geometric modes, but whose paintings, textiles, and sculptures draw on a wide range of influences and references, representing a heterogeneous, tangled, and often witty rejoinder to the notion of abstraction’s aloof objectivity. Some of these artists like Tanya Aguiñiga, Leonardo Bravo, and Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia draw on traditional Latin American artforms and techniques, fusing them with strains of modernism and popular culture. Similarly, Rachid Bouhamidi incorporates Moroccan design motifs and imagery in his paintings, prints, and installations which serve as sites for tea ceremonies. Other artists like John Knuth, Dan Levenson, and Rubén Ortiz Torres interrogate the history of abstraction, contesting the genre’s associations with timelessness or spirituality. Brenna Youngblood offers a refutation of abstraction’s discreet purity, with hybrid objects that are unmistakably of this world.

Leonardo Bravo, Olmeca 4, acrylic on birch panel, 16 x 16 inches, 2019

Matt Stromberg is a freelance arts writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (CARLA), the Guardian, Hyperallergic, Artnet, KCET Artbound, Artsy, Frieze, Terremoto, and Daily Serving

AUGUSTUS THOMPSON, Our Unity is a Business / Praz-Delavallade, Los Angeles

AUGUSTUS THOMPSON, Our Unity is a Business / Praz-Delavallade, Los Angeles

AUGUSTUS THOMPSON, Our Unity is a Business
18 May – 6 July 2019
Praz-Delavallade, LA

Praz-Delavallade announces Our Unity is a Business, Augustus Thompson’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Thompson’s diverse practice includes sculpture, printmaking, photography, painting and sound. For this exhibition he returns to oil paintings and works on paper made over the course of the last three years, during which he travelled considerably, spending time in Budapest, Germany, Spain and Belgium.

Oscillating between representations of interior spaces and voyeuristic imagery, in Our Unity is a Business Thompson enters into ideas about death, cultural histories, commerce, language, matrimony, sleep, car rides and ultimately, time. Multiple points of view hover together in a single picture, while elements from one painting may appear in another. Seen together, with their reduced palette and depictions of visceral moments, his works appear cognizant of their temporal conditions.

Augustus Thompson (born 1985, Richlands, Virginia) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. His work has been exhibited internationally at the Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK and Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali, Polignano A Mare, IT. He has had solo exhibitions with Almine Rech, London UK; Night Gallery, Los Angeles, US; Lock Up International, Los Angeles, US; and White Cube, London, UK amongst others. In 2017 he was a resident at the House Van Wassenhove, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Sint-Martens-Latem, BE.

All images > Exhibition View @ Praz-Delavallade, LA / Documentation: Marten Elder

Liz Larner As Below, So Above / Regen Projects, LA

Liz Larner As Below, So Above / Regen Projects, LA

Liz Larner
As Below, So Above
May 17 – June 22, 2019
Regen Projects, Los Angeles

Regen Projects announces As Below, So Above, the seventh solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Liz Larner. On view will be a selection of new works that demonstrate her ongoing examination into sculpture, painting, drawing, and ceramics. The environment – the personal and the entrenched – are set together in these artworks that reach for an understanding of vulnerability through what is and has been considered low and directed, made capital of, and endangered.

Illusion and reality are intricately intertwined in Larner’s work. At first glance Firestoneappears as a large enigmatic composition of stone placed in the center of the gallery. Upon closer inspection the corporeal structure of the three dimensional form reveals its construction through numerous ceramic pieces in the shape of tessellated hematite crystals. Referencing the art historical trope of the Odalisque, this is an eco-feminist interpretation of the supine figure and the hexagonal crystal always found with iron.  Larner’s interest in fragility and nature in the anthropocene is further manifest in Reef, an open ended, cay-shaped large format sculpture that snakes along the gallery floor. Free formed around and with deposits of stone and mineral, the work appears to float just above or slightly below the surface of the imaginary water that surrounds it. The illusory perception of its totality engages the viewer to circumambulate its contours and navigate the constantly shifting movements of light and color imbued on its craggy surfaces. Completing the axiological triad of low lying sculptures in this exhibition are a group of multi-scaled anthropomorphic floor works, Animal Vegetable, spreading out and over like a herd.

Hovering on opposing walls, two seemingly identical ceramic works both titled Horizon, feature bold swathes of blue glaze separating telluric registers from their empyrean skycapes. A wall mounted ceramic slab sculpture provides a recent example of an ongoing series that considers the poetic qualities of geological formations. The palette of its richly polychromatic surface is achieved through the application of epoxy mixed with pigment and arrived at in reference to a Pierre Bonnard self-portrait from 1889. Environmental factors implicit in the construction of the piece determine its final material state, and are physically rendered in the work, resulting in fissures, ruptures, and breaks along its textured expanse. Further references to cultural history appear in a graphite drawing on paper of two women reclining on opposing armchairs, depicting a domestic interior scene from Marguerite Duras’s film Nathalie Granger (1972). While another ceramic wall work Volitant Solids’ color and form reference a graphic from Michelangelo Antonioni’s first color film Red Desert(1964), set during the rapid industrialization of post war Italy.

All images > Installation view of Liz Larner As Below, So Above Regen Projects, Los Angeles, May 17 – June 22, 2019

Yann Houri solo exhibition “Intuition” at Joseph Gross Gallery, Los Angeles

Yann Houri solo exhibition “Intuition” at Joseph Gross Gallery, Los Angeles

Yann Houri / Intuition
February 16 ‒ April 20, 2019
Joseph Gross Gallery, Los Angeles

Joseph Gross Gallery presents “Intuition”, the first solo show of French artist Yann Houri in Los Angeles, curated by Casey Gleghorn, with a selection of new grand scale works conceived specifically for the space of the gallery in the historic Chinatown location.

Recognized for his unique style and his mixed media pieces which merge balance and discontinuity in a visual explosion through the use of color, Yann Houri summarizes and extends, with his peculiar figurative rendition, the concepts of fluidity and movement derived from the analysis of the complexity of the human condition, his vital energy and the implications which affect him as a man of our time. Yann focuses his artistic research on the unavoidable flowing of time in which the human being is immersed as a vital part of the frantic contemporary society in the digital era, the manner in which the subject is influenced, and practically involved, in this incessant and overwhelming process and the relationship between representation and abstraction of the emotional stages that engage it.

How humans live in their environment and the temporality of their condition are key concepts of Houri’s research, he investigates the mechanisms and the possible variants of these relationships and the way in which these elements combine, explode, interfere and merge with each other, influencing and transforming one another. The movement, the fast pace of flowing time and the desperate attempt of mankind to contrast its force, visually find a metaphysical quality here and display a collection and a variety of sensations and behaviors to which the human being is subordinate in the act of everyday living. This condition is skillfully translated into the works on display, composed by the lively and swirling mass of colors which like energetic vectors, with motifs that at times can be undulating or linear, embody the fluctuating and invisible nature of the vast and contrasting range of human emotions.

In an oxymoronic explosion Houri tries to capture the instantaneous through the movement, the flowing of emotions through the static nature of a color that erupts and blends into the potentially infinite plurality of vivid shades present (like feelings) in a whirl of movement and pigment, symbolizing mankind fighting itself, its own existence, its own presence in the world as a sentient entity with its own sentiments. The ambitious project of eternalizing time, human behavior and emotions in a body of work implies a critic of modern society and its constant fight against the uncontrollable dynamism of the events and the approach that society itself has when it reacts to negative situations. The artist accomplishes this by focusing on positivity, on that feeling of hope that is innate and instinctively intrinsic in the human nature and that guides the will to live.

All images > Installation view Yann Houri solo exhibition “Intuition” at Joseph Gross Gallery, courtesy  Joseph Gross Gallery, Los Angeles





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