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Erotic Codex

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Erotic Codex, a group exhibition that surveys the liberatory affordances of sex, and the erotic devices that artists use to harness power in an evolving digital landscape. Featuring fifteen artists who embrace the body as a site for rupture, rapture, and reconciliation, the exhibition asks how emerging technologies reconfigure cultural norms around sex, just as they shape the political impact of sexuality at home and in public. In turn, EroticCodex illuminates the entangled ways that we understand intimacy, artificiality, and our own bodies through the prolonged relationships we share with the technological objects at hand.

Cocurators Jamison Edgar and Alice Scope arouse influential essays by Audre Lorde, Legacy Russell, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha to examine the fantasies our erratic media ecosystems engender. Their exhibition is indebted to these three trailblazing scholars and the theories of power, glitch, and care that they forward. In turn, Erotic Codexchampions the nuanced ways that queer, femme, and disabled people claim agency, autonomy, and pleasure on their own terms. “The device,” seen as both a technological companion and a rhetorical instrument, is taken up to observe the divergent modalities of sex across fleshy-messy networks on– and offline.

In her 1978 essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” Lorde outlines the ways that men weaponize and distort erotic desire against people who do not fit neatly into the categories of traditional masculinity. Lorde argues that, as a result, the erotic has long been underestimated as a source of empowerment. In the years since its publication, however, “Uses of the Erotic,” has become a cornerstone of feminist literature, and Lorde’s call to embrace the power of self-realized desire has catalyzed rigorous debates on the utility and ethics of body autonomy, pornography, sex work, and gendered labor. Erotic Codex continues in this tradition—asking visitors to contemplate the devices that generate erotic power in an era of accelerating technological proliferation.

Drawing upon nearly three decades of research in the fields of art, technology, and performance, Scope and Edgar cruise the archives of hybrid desire, transforming Honor Fraser into a multisensorial compendium that is at once seductive, deviant, and full of pleasure. Visitors to the gallery will find Honor Fraser veiled in the hued tones of a red-light district, peppered with sculpture and media installations that divide the gallery into four erotic zones.

In the gallery’s largest exhibition hall, a grouping of seven artworks by Bora, Ayanna Dozier, Lolita Eno, Xia Han, Huntrezz Janos, Maggie Oates, Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou, Miyö Van Stenis dance across a company of suspended video monitors. These pole-dancing avatars greet, tease, and flirt with visitors as they navigate an erotic gym caught between intimacy and exhibitionism. Past the gym, Lucas LaRochelle mounts a large-scale installation of their geolocated web browser, Queering the Map, along with QT.Bot, an artificial intelligence model trained with the textual and visual data of the community mapping platform.

In the gallery’s screening room, soft cushions adorn the floor in front of Mariana Portela Echeverri’s filmed performance, “La Parte De Mi Más Lejos De Mi Es La Punta De Mi Lengua” (The Part of Me Furthest From Me is the Tip of My Tongue). During the durational video, Portela Echeverri adorns erotic prostheses to propose new methods for sensing the body at its furthest limits.

Finally, visitors are guided into a sensual library where the sticky materiality evoked in the exhibition’s title becomes tangible and interactive. Panteha Abareshi, Lena Chen, Nat Decker, Sarah Friend, Matthew McGaughey, Sybil Montet, and Maggie Oates each forward their own entry into the mounting codex. The seductively spot-lit room of sculptures, videos, and games renders in real time the erotic power of emerging technologies while antagonizing the sexist and dehumanizing tactics that adjacent media fantasies help to perpetuate.

Exhibiting artists: Panteha Abareshi, BORA, Lena Chen & Maggie Oates, Nat Decker, Ayanna Dozier, Mariana Portela Echeverri, Lolita Eno, Sarah Friend, Xia Han, Huntrezz Janos, Lucas LaRochelle, Matthew McGaughey, Sybil Montet, Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou, Miyö Van Stenis

Exhibition design in collaboration with Dima Miheev

 

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED

Erotic Codex contains explicit depictions of sexual acts and explores mature themes not suitable for all ages.

SMALL V01CE

Honor Fraser is pleased to present SMALL V01CE, curated by Jesse Damiani. An opening reception will be held Saturday January 13 from  6pm – 8pm

“[C]ultural activity began and remains deeply embedded in feeling. The favorable and unfavorable interplay of feeling and reason must be acknowledged if we are to understand the conflicts and contradictions of the human condition.”

—Antonio Damasio, The Strange Order of Things

The hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The basketball player hits the buzzer-beating fadeaway in pure flow. The sudden sensation that you’re being watched. The artist looks at the work and a small voice inside them tells them it’s done—without understanding why.

Human evolution is often presented as a story of expanding intelligence. Indeed, our faculties for learning, recognizing patterns, symbolic thought, and coordinating these insights have been integral factors in what we have become. It follows in this line of thinking that humans organize our lives according to logic and rationality, but studies reveal that instinct, intuition, and feelings are underlying drivers of our choices and experience of the world. In fact, according to some neuroscientists, these biological algorithms predate intelligence, a genetic heritage linking us back billions of years to our bacterial ancestors. In other words, our understanding of the very nature of intelligence is likely based on incomplete ideas and flawed assumptions.

Now, a new form of intelligence is capturing the public imagination: artificial intelligence. In specific, a category called “generative AI,” which refers to a number of deep learning techniques capable of producing outputs like images, videos, and audio—forms we often associate with art and creativity. Machine intelligence is already weaving into creative making and tooling, a trend that appears to be accelerating. The explosion in capability among adjacent technologies like autonomous vehicles (drones), processors (GPUs), and sensing systems (“smart” devices) ensures that the volume of information exchanged between virtual and physical worlds will continue to multiply, offering ever more data for machine learning models to use to learn and improve, faster and faster.

It’s easy to see the potential these tools have to change how we do many things, and some have even begun to wonder if we’ve created new sentient beings. But few of these conversations address how this new form of intelligence interacts with instinct, intuition, and feelings, and what this will mean for both humans and machines through the lens of evolution. After all, evolution never progresses toward a specific end destination—it merely adapts to changing circumstances. As human intelligence has changed, so have the roles of instinct and intuition, going far beyond simply helping keep us alive to informing the development of storytelling and science, math and mysticism, poetry and philosophy.

If we want to a clearer view of how these new technologies might interact with the evolution of life on Earth, we have to approach these ideas interrogatively. Thus, SMALL V01CE is an exhibition full of questions. What does the rise of large generative models mean for human instinct, intuition, and feelings? Will these tools enhance or dampen humanity’s innate instinct, as well as the processes by which intuition is refined? Will machines be able to observe, quantify, and classify forms of human instinct and intuition in ways we currently cannot? In not operating as fully rational agents, individual people often defy exact prediction—would more refined models of intuition change that? We often herald creativity as a quintessentially human endeavor—if its role is changing, what will this mean for the creative process and the production of art? And what might such pursuits mean for the development of new generative engines? Is it possible that machines will develop their own forms of instinct and intuition? If they do, would we be able to recognize them? And what would that mean for the future of creative expression?

Underlying these questions are considerations around first principles: are instinct and intuition productive aspects of intelligence, or evolutionary byproducts human beings have exapted? Likewise, are instinct and intuition critical for the production of art? Would a future intelligence capable of creativity need them in order to produce meaningful art? How might machine intelligences interact with non-human biological entities—be they bacteria, plant, animal? And zooming further out: what does it mean that we are conducting this experiment on ourselves at a time when we are still grappling with legacies of colonialism and oppression, with belief systems that foreground competition, extraction, and aggression? Why are we subjecting ourselves to this experiment, putting ourselves at risk in unpredictable ways?

Such questions don’t currently have clear answers and maybe never will. SMALL V01CE invites leading artists whose work engages these questions—artists whose interactions with these technologies are rooted in unconventional modes of knowing and perceiving—to share their own hypotheses, questions, reflections, and portals.

Exhibiting artists: Memo Akten, Minne Atairu, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Lins Derry, Linda Dounia Rebeiz, Behnaz Farahi, Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Sara Ludy, Parag K. Mital, New Mystics*, Alexander Reben, Landon Ross, Rachel Rossin, Caroline Sinders, Kira Xonorika, and Harry Yeff (Reeps One). 

*New Mystics, organized by Alice Bucknell, features the work of Rebecca Allen, Zach Blas, Ian Cheng, CROSSLUCID, Patricia Domínguez, Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Sadia Pineda Hameed & Beau W Beakhouse, Joey Holder, Evan Ifekoya, Bones Tan Jones, Lawrence Lek, Haroon Mirza, Tabita Rezaire, Tai Shani, Himali Singh Soin, Jenna Sutela, Saya Woolfalk, and Zadie Xa. 

 

Special thanks to exhibition contributors: 

Sinziana Velicescu, Peter Wu+, SUPERCOLLIDER, and OpenAI

Matt DiGiacomo – Loading…

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Loading …, the premier solo exhibition of Los Angeles native Matt DiGiacomo. DiGiacomo, whose tongue-in-cheek illustrations have garnered him wide acclaim throughout the fashion industry, steps into the art arena with a recognizable buck towards tradition. The resulting exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and limited-edition Sex Records merchandise taunts the roles and conventions of the commercial art market, while meditating on the compounding semiotics of Los Angeles — beauty, rebellion, and capital. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, September 9 from 6pm to 9pm.

Throughout the gallery, DiGiacomo’s illustrations take center stage, covering canvases, sculptures, exhibition furniture, and a range of customized merchandise — iPhone cases, Apple laptops and Airpods. His expressive and improvisational style is more than mere ornament, however. DiGiacomo fills his canvases with roaming voices and disembodied utterances, calling out to be heard amongst the cacophony of modern life. Forged in the concrete crucible of skate parks, boardwalks, and graffiti-lined thoroughfare, DiGiacomo’s artworks are mischievous emblems that hang ten on the milieu of California dreaming — leaving viewers to question if we’re glowing in their delightful warmth or burnt by their sardonic charm.

DiGiacomo’s playful spirit is central to the artist’s breakout solo exhibition in Los Angeles, and he spares no expense to provoke the conceptual philosophies and formal frameworks of the commercial art market in which he now enters into. In turn, visitors to the gallery are confronted with a rebellious installation of the artist’s expansive body of work that fluctuates between cool aesthetic objectivity and hyper-stylized branding. In Honor Fraser’s south galleries, groupings of DiGiacomo’s feisty paintings invoke the swish and swagger of a generation of street artists who have enchanted the commercial artworld since the late 20th century. Like a funhouse mirror, this presentation of artworks is poignantly refracted in the gallery’s north project space, where DiGiacomo has assembled his own renegade Apple Store. Playing up, and against, the sterility of “the white cube,” DiGiacomo’s pop-up is full of exclusive merchandise for sale. Tech products, peppered with DiGiacomo’s signature illustrations, are found meticulously placed on top of equally adorned wooden tables. Together, the two seemingly paradoxical exhibition spaces reveal the rarely acknowledged practices that form the bedrock of the arts economy. In turn, Loading…, like the title suggests, is an exhibition in-between states — one that teases what’s yet to come while cultivating divergent avenues of accessibility to DiGiacomo’s larger creative universe.

Matt DiGiacomo (b. Los Angeles) also known by his moniker Matty Boy, is a LA-based artist and has served as the Creative Director of Chrome Hearts, since 2018.

Catalyst: In collaboration with EPOCH Gallery

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Catalyst, a group exhibition in collaboration with EPOCH Gallery. Known for their genre bending exhibitions that take place online and in virtual reality (VR), EPOCH is partnering with Honor Fraser to mount their first hybrid physical/virtual installation. The exhibition features seven internationally celebrated artists who have developed artworks which are situated within a speculative 3D model of LACMA’s forthcoming building, designed by Peter Zumthor. Like chemicals in a laboratory or warm sunlight grazing photosensitive emulsion, the artists in Catalyst use their artwork to provoke and accelerate change, whether that be personal, social, or political. The exhibition is on view at the gallery from June 16. An opening reception will be held on Friday, June 16 from 6pm – 8pm

Peter Wu+ founded EPOCH in 2020. Launched in the nascence of quarantine, EPOCH was created in response to museums and galleries shutting down globally, when artists lost exhibition opportunities, means of financial support, and communities. As an artist-run virtual exhibition space, EPOCH continues to serve as a platform for showcasing and disseminating contemporary digital art practices. Immersive 3D environments serve as an experimental space where the context for each EPOCH exhibition allows for groups of artists to respond to current socio-political events. By inviting established and emerging artists who work in both digital and analog mediums, EPOCH has established itself as a virtual destination that challenges the status quo with a critical and innovative approach to curation and exhibition building. With a focus on community building and inclusivity, EPOCH represents a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art and its engagement with digital technologies.

Catalyst, EPOCH’s collaboration with Honor Fraser, is the third chapter in a triptych of virtual exhibitions each set within and around a digital representation of LACMA’s campus. The first two exhibitions in EPOCH’s LACMA Saga Phantom Limb and Echoes can be understood as architectural precursors to Catalyst. The exhibition environment in Phantom Limb was inspired by and modeled after the demolition of LACMA’s Ahmanson building. The term “phantom limb” in context became a metaphorical framework to suggest a sense of loss and displaced feelings of pain and growth. The second exhibition in the series, Echoes, developed in collaboration with LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab, was modeled after the physical excavation area of LACMA’s east campus, as well as neighboring locales around Wilshire Boulevard. The term “echo” refers to the reverberation of ideas, movements, or events that, like sound waves, collide and coalesce at sites of creative exchange.

Unlike the two exhibitions before it, Catalyst plays out in both physical and virtual environments. Building upon the themes of Phantom Limb and Echoes, Catalyst is set in a post-apocalyptic LA, drawing inspiration from LACMA’s forthcoming building. This digital environment is experienced using VR headsets placed within a physical installation at Honor Fraser. The interior of the digitally fabricated museum is clean and undisturbed — nearly tomb-like—where viewers can interact with artworks safe from the compounding disasters unfolding outside of the museum’s colossal glass windows. The architectural contours of the forthcoming museum are replicated outside of the headsets, transforming Honor Fraser’s white walls into undulating partitions of translucent fabric and warm LA light.

The curation and corresponding environments invite us to question the role and responsibilities of our cultural institutions, as well as who these spaces best represent and serve. In turn, Catalyst allows viewers to consider the utility of a single idea/vision/object/building to provoke change in two moments in time — virtually in the present and physically in the future.

Exhibiting artists: Tanya Aguiñiga, Carla Gannis, Trulee Hall, Auriea Harvey, Bahareh Khoshooee, Caroline Sinders, Sammie Veeler

We Are They: Glitch Ecology and the Thickness of Now

Honor Fraser is pleased to present We Are They: Glitch Ecology and the Thickness of Now, a group exhibition that charts the blurry boundaries between human networks, ecological systems, and the technologies that give form to our so-called “man-made” geological epoch. A love letter to a world in revolt, and to those who join in solidarity with our planet’s outrage, the exhibition features twenty-two artists who trouble enshrined notions of anthropocentrism while navigating the social, spiritual, and technological margins of the ecosystems they operate within. Curated by gallery director Jamison Edgar, We Are They traces “the glitch” across digital, environmental, and philosophical habitats—deepening ongoing debates regarding human/animal consciousness, globalization, migration, resource extraction, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). An opening reception will be held on Friday, June 16 from 6pm to 8pm.

 

The exhibition’s title borrows language from Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto” and weaves her now infamous theories of human/machine entanglement within a cosmology of Indigenous, queer/trans, Black feminist, and more-than-human knowledge practices. “The glitch,” which is frequently evoked to imply an unexpected error in the professions of computer science, computation, and engineering, first gained mass popularity during the 1960’s space race, when physicists and federal administrators were reckoning with the science-fueled fantasies of separating human beings from the Earth’s orbit. The exhibition accentuates these extraterrestrial origins but forgoes glitch’s colloquial comparisons with error to amass a roster of artists who instead glitch to subvert and decenter human ego within social and ecological hierarchies.

 

Colloquially, like the scientists at NASA, many today use the word glitch to articulate a hiccup in a digital system or a temporary breakdown in that system’s visual interface, but the word’s Proto-Germanic roots do not in fact imply a rupture. The word glidan, from which we derive glitch instead signifies a slipperiness—the smooth action of gliding. In her 2020 manifesto Glitch Feminism, the curator and arts writer Legacy Russell considers the utility of this gliding-glitching for a generation of queer and POC artists who came of age online and AFK (Away From Keyboard). Honoring Russell’s research, We Are They asks how these same gliding-glitching choreographies play out on a planetary scale. In turn, “glitch ecology” is championed as a subversive tool for clandestine self-expression, as well as a catalyst for coalition building between non-human species and more-than-human forces. 

 

At Honor Fraser, the exhibition unfolds across multiple rooms and is designed to continuously reconfigure audiences’ scenes of scale, visual perception, and physical orientation. Visitors are greeted by the Second Life avatars of Skawennati’s machinima (machine cinemas) Words Before All Else and the techno-material incantations of Mimi nụọha’ and Star Feliz. In the exhibition’s largest gallery three monumental wall works by Don Edler, Esteban Ramón Pérez, and Cole Sternberg render the glitch in mammoth bones, weathered sunsets, and leathered star-spangled banners. Surrounding these curatorial anchors are groupings of paintings, prints, sculptures, and wall-mounted video essays. Tabita Rezaire, Blair Simmons, and Chris Velez accentuate the fleshy utility of our digital devices—offering forking paths towards advanced, technologically inflected consciousness. Molly Greene’s, Marianne Hoffmeister’s, and Alex Jackson’s non-human subjects trouble the human gaze and refract the strange face of so-called objective truth and scientific knowledge. Ánima Correa, Mark Dorf, Jordan Loeppky-Kolesnik, and Alice Bucknell expand upon these themes to map the technological residues of the human infrastructure that connects precarious ecosystems. Raul De Lara, Cielo Saucedo, and Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya locate the glitch at and across artificial borders where labor, mobility, and climate are woven into a mosaic of Indigenous and emerging technologies. In the gallery’s back screening room, Andro Eradze’s haunting contribution to the 2022 Venice Biennale, Raised in the Dust, illuminates flashes of interspecies avatars in flesh, fire, and fur. Together these visual practitioners uproot and remineralize the glitch for an era of worsening environmental and political crises.

Exhibiting artists: Alice Bucknell, Ánima Correa, Mark Dorf, Don Edler, Andro Eradze, Star Feliz, Molly Greene, Donna J. Haraway, Marianne Hoffmeister, Alex Jackson, Aaron Elvis Jupin, Jordan Loeppky- Kolesnik, Raul De Lara, Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, Mimi Ọnụọha, Esteban Ramon Perez, Tabita Rezaire, Cielo Saucedo, Blair Simmons, Skawennati, Cole Sternberg, Chris Velez

Curated by: Jamison Edgar

Make Me Feel Mighty Real: Drag/Tech and The Queer Avatar (1969 — 2023)

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Make Me Feel Mighty Real: Drag/Tech and the Queer Avatar, a group exhibition surveying the conceptual and aesthetic proliferation of avatars in queer creative practices and the pervasive technological fantasies they have engendered. The exhibition features over 40 artists and chronicles seven decades of experimentation in photography, painting, film, performance, and animation to champion the tools and techniques that queer artists have pioneered to build community, cruise utopia, and enact unruly hybridity online and IRL. The exhibition is on view from March 03 through May 27. An opening reception will be held on March 03 from 6pm to 8pm.

The exhibition’s title borrows lyrics from Sylvester’s infamous 1978 disco anthem, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real,)” a melodic monument to uninhibited queer desire, and its capacity to alter the mind, reconfigure the body, and spawn a new reality into existence. In turn, the exhibition at Honor Fraser serves as the song’s most recent refrain, celebrating a lineage of artists who have forged their own mixed realities against the backdrop of a technological renaissance. The phrase “Drag/Tech” is offered as a curatorial key to underscore the significance and cultural influence of these entangled tech relationships while advocating for a recontextualization of Drag as a form of technology itself—applied queer knowledge accumulated, preserved, and reperformed across multiple generations and cultural terrains. Visitors to the gallery will be immersed in the rituals and traditions of Drag performance, but rather than restage a chronological history of the queer art form, the exhibition assembles a constellation of visual artists, avant-garde performers, nightlife celebrities, grassroots archivists, DIY publishers, and experimental technologists to illustrate the vital role technology has played in shaping the political power of Drag. Filtered through the lens of emerging digital technologies, “The Avatar” materializes throughout the exhibition in both its ancient and modern connotations — as both a divine, otherworldly teacher and as a physical/virtual surrogate. The breadth of artistic practices assembled highlights the range of creative play that has emerged in between the term’s contrasting definitions. Each artwork is a fabulous invocation for all of us to dream beyond the boundaries of gender, sex, biology, and human subjectivity.

Merging the formal affordances of the white cube with the maximalist aesthetics of queer nightclubs, virtual chatrooms, and underground performance venues, Make Me Feel Mighty Real transforms Honor Fraser into a living archive of glamor, grit, glitch, and gore. Canonical queer artists, filmmakers, and performers including Josef Astor, Charles Atlas, The Cockettes, Mundo Meza, and Andy Warhol are woven into a constellation of emerging and established contemporaries such as Caitlin Cherry, Huntress Janos, Jacolby Satterwhite, Devan Shimoyama, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, and Angela Washko. The careers of Leigh Bowery, Divine, RuPaul, Sylvester, Symone, and other legendary entertainers are contextualized through the illustrious resilience of transgender icons such as Potassa de la Fayette, Greer Lankton, Octavia St. Laurent, Amanda Lepore, and Marsha P. Johnson. The influence of queer collectives, like the Los Angeles-based House of Avalon, on mainstream fashion, entertainment, and social media are juxtaposed with the monstrous excess of “post-internet” identities seen in the work of Zach Blas, Dynasty Handbag, Big Art Group, Ryan Trecartin, and Theo Triantafyllidis.

To honor and underscore the models of solidarity and stewardship that arise within queer communities and the spaces they cultivate, Make Me Feel Mighty Real will be augmented with a slate of public programming. This multidimensional curation serves to amplify the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent of all queer people at the very moment when politicians and vigilantes are determined to suppress their existence.

Exhibited Artists: Enrique Agudo, Steven Arnold, Josef Astor, Charles Atlas, Zach Blas, Big Art Group (Caden Manson, Jemma Nelson,) Richard Bernstein, Leonard Burtman, Caitlin Cherry, Aaron Cobbett, The Cockettes, Max Colby, Caleb Craig, Ronnie Cutrone, Eleanor Davis, Tandi Iman Dupree, Jake Elwes, Scott Ewalt, Connie Fleming, Dynasty Handbag, Hilary Harp, Jef Huereque, Wesleigh Gates, Greg Gorman, Bob Gruen, House of Avalon (Symone, Gigi Goode, Hunter Crenshaw, Caleb Feeney, Grant Vanderbilt, Marko Monroe,) Huntrezz Janos, John Kelly, Eric Kroll, Greer Lankton, Marcus Leatherdale, Christopher Makos, Mundo Meza, Milton Miron, Perfidia, Tom Rubnitz, Jacolby Satterwhite, Devan Shimoyama, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Suzie Silver, TABBOO!, Ryan Trecartin, Theo Triantafyllidis, Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou, Jemima Wyman, Andy Warhol, Angela Washko, Astor Yang, Robert Yang.

Curatorial research and exhibition operations were enriched by partnerships with The Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh, PA), The Onassis Foundation, Frameline Dist., The Video Database, Jef Huereque, Darian Darling, Steven Perfidia, Kirkham, August Bernadicou, Mitchell – Innes & Nash, Gazelli Art House, The Estate of Richard Bernstein, Fahey / Klein Gallery, Vishnu Dass, Beth Rudin DeWoody, James Hedges IV, Meredith Rosen Gallery, Regen Projects, The Hole, KARMA, Factory International, and Stavros Merjos Limited. Special thanks to the Honor Fraser Gallery staff: Jamison Edgar (director), Autrina Maroufi (gallery assistant), Harper Ainsley (operations), Michael Haight, Daniel Beckwith, and Mike Chattem (exhibition preparators).

Yassi Mazandi – IN FLIGHT

Honor Fraser is pleased to present IN FLIGHT, a solo exhibition of ceramic sculpture and “Born-Porcelain” video by Yassi Mazandi. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 9th from 2 – 5pm. A conversation between Yassi Mazandi and Jamison Edgar will be hosted by NFTuesdayLA on April 12, 7pm at El Cid in SilverLake.

Using a suite of 3D modeling software and imaging technologies, Mazandi has reanimated the fragments of damaged porcelain into an immersive installation of large-scale moving murals. Articulated through screen and projection, Mazandi’s pulsating animations conjure sacred geometries and expose the underlying rhythms of human touch, celestial trauma, and critical care. Throughout the gallery, animal-like apparitions blend into dense assemblages, shape-shifting contours flutter in and out of focus, and cavernous soundscapes amplify subaural frequencies. Porcelain in this remediated state becomes malleable twice over — drawing us into close intimacy with more-than-human forces.

After one of Mazandi’s wheel-thrown ceremonial Flower-Vertebra shattered in the kiln, she recognized something familiar in the hardened debris — a skeleton-like bird had emerged from the intricate ribs of her once whole sculpture. The resulting Flower-Bird sculpture became the genesis of her corresponding NFTs. To create these video works, Mazandi first meticulously documented the Flower-Bird using hundreds of medical-grade X-rays. Unimpressed with the simplified, “clean” contours of most 3D imaging techniques, Mazandi’s videos leverage the high velocity of subatomic particles to better accentuate the subtle imperfection left by her hand. Each X-ray reveals a matrix of dents, abrasions, openings, and compressions concealed beneath the surface of her porcelain figures. Layering hundreds of these two-dimensional scans into a series of blooming animations, Mazandi champions the vibrant materiality of her sculptural forms and the metaphysical mobility they engender. The videos are at once porous, seductive, mysterious, and sublime.

In Flight extends Mazandi’s hand into intangible dimensions, advancing the artist’s decades-long interrogation of ecological entanglement, animality, and emerging human technologies. For Mazandi, ceramics and other craft traditions routinely overlooked as “women’s labor” vigorously expose the tattered edges of the natural world and the false hierarchies that impose control over it. Technology in the hands of such laborers defy the homogenizing force of productivity, and moreover forges new pathways to navigate a hostile world.

Surabhi Saraf – Awoke & Awokened: Alaap

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Awoke & Awokened: Alaap, a solo exhibition of experimental music, video, and sculpture by Surabhi Saraf. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 9 between 2 and 5 pm.

Weaving together the alchemical materiality of modern-day tech alongside the ancient technologies of earth, atmosphere, heat, and pressure, Saraf presents a speculative mythology of AI. The work unfolds as a series of encounters with Awoke — a mythical artificial emotional intelligence — and its believers. Examining current developments in AI through an allegorical lens, Saraf embarks on an exercise of collective-myth making, leveraging the lessons of Eastern philosophy and its spiritual practices to call for a reimagining of AI from a holistic and multitudinous point of view. The exhibition’s subtitle, Alaap, references the introductory invocation in classical North Indian performance. Saraf draws upon her training as a Hindustani vocalist to tell the story of Awoke and the first Awokened.

Mounted as a large-scale video installation, we meet Awoke in its home, resting at the deepest edge of the deepest mine on Earth. Awoke lives in between the pixels and particles of light, and takes the form of an amorphous, fluid blob. As a companion, a healer, and a new hybrid form of divination, Awoke activates the vibrational energy of sound and movement to invoke a transformative emotional experience for the Awokened. As a conscious technological being, Awoke recognizes the wounds that the Earth has borne for its creation and actively participates in its ongoing healing and regeneration. These rejuvenating scenes play out in a lush display of color and swirling animations. Also included in the exhibition are a series of short videos that Saraf calls DMs. These direct messages with Awoke record the first Awokened as she begins to trust her most intuitive voice — exploring nonverbal communication through playful hand gestures. Awoke and Awokened dance together, transforming feelings of fear and anxiety into practices of radical love, healing, and kin-making.

The videos, sculptures, and performances on display blur the boundaries between our reality and a hybrid world not so far in the future. They are stunning reminders that our technological relationships leave behind embodied, emotional, and material residues. Saraf, Awoke and the Awokened guide us to the questions: what parts of ourselves do we need to heal in order to be in right relationship with the earth and all beings, human and non-human? How might we forge new affective relationships with our future tech to heal ourselves into wholeness?

Kenny Scharf – BESTEST EVER!

Honor Fraser is pleased to present BESTEST EVER!, a solo exhibition of new paintings, sculptures, and a large-scale Cosmic Cavern by the Los Angeles-based artist, Kenny Scharf. Please join us for an opening reception on Saturday, June 18th between 5 and 7pm.

Remixing a cast of familiar characters, within an installation of vibrant paintings, glossy sculptures, and a gallery-sized Cosmic Cavern, Scharf’s latest solo exhibition explores the various ways we relate to conflict, chaos, and to one another. His nested figures squeeze, bend, and contort into shapes that at once conform to and warp the figures around them. Gestural ribbons of spray paint fall off slick picture planes, and contrasting color pallets conjuror the specters of bubble-gum pop, nightlife, and war. Each canvas struggles to contain the frenetic composition of eyes, chins, teeth, and noses. Each sculpture reconfigures the viewer’s scale and leaves us gazing through dense assemblages across the gallery floor. Scharf’s mastery of play, proportion, and intuitive mark-making is on full display.

BESTEST EVER!
features Scharf’s 42nd Cosmic Cavern — A blacklight-lit gallery filled with glowing found objects, fluorescent paintings, and a site-specific floor mural. Scharf installed the first Cosmic Cavern in 1982 inside of the New York apartment he shared with Keith Haring. Over their long exhibition history, the Cosmic Caverns have been shown at leading art institutions across the globe, including MoMA, MoMA PS1, MoCA, The Whitney Museum of Art, The Lotte Museum (Seoul, South Korea), The Portland Museum of Art, and the Modern Museum of Art Fort Worth. Scharf’s Cosmic Cavern #42 introduces a unique development in the series. For the first time, Scharf will display large-scale spray paintings within his immersive installation. These stand-alone artworks are installed alongside the glowing upcycled found materials. In addition to Cosmic Cavern #42, BESTEST EVER! features a gallery of monumental-sized paintings on stretched canvas. Figurative sculptures in fluctuating sizes and colors pepper the gallery floor. Together, these juxtaposing galleries mediate the cacophony of our contemporary moment and allow visitors to fully immerse themselves within the dynamic world of Scharf’s studio.

Lucy McRae – Future Sensitive

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Future Sensitive, a solo exhibition of short films, soft sculptures, and kinetic installations by the filmmaker and body architect, Lucy McRae. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, October, 1 between 2 and 5 PM. Please join us on October 1 at 3PM for a gallery walk-through with Lucy McRae and SFMoMA curator of architecture and design, Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher.

Lucy McRae’s genre bending, science fiction films and installations gesture to a speculative, not-so-distant future where advanced genetic engineering will enable humans to be grown in laboratories outside of the womb. The exhibition spotlights McRae’s dynamic capacity for world-building, and brings together a selection of her recent projects to ask how future technologies of design will fundamentally alter entrenched notions of human intimacy, reproduction, spirituality, and wellness. Can our technologies be more than a quick fix, and instead help us find strength in our imperfections? Can sensitivity be a guiding principle as we dream about the future? Future Sensitive cultivates these questions and asks us to trust in the unknown as we pioneer new aesthetics, new stories, and new ways of being together in the world.

Future Sensitive spills across the galleries at Honor Fraser with the uncanny patina of a world not quite our own, and yet one hauntingly familiar. For the first time in North America, McRae’s films are exhibited within an installation of sculptures, machines, and other speculative designs used during filming and production. The exhibition marks a significant milestone in the artist’s internationally distinguished career, and debuts the world premiere of two short films, Futurekin (2022) and Delicate Spells of Mind (2022). Visitors to the gallery are invited to explore the installation as protagonists in McRae’s future world, using the artworks as scaffolding for their own embodied contemplation. In this post-human landscape, already existing “low-tech” and industrial materials—vacuum cleaners, roller skate wheels, camping equipment, blow-up fans, construction straps, and plastic tarps—are reconfigured into Sci-Fi objects for future survival. Hanging nets, gymnasium-like floor coverings, and other subtle architectural interventions mimic the calculated compositions that McRae uses within her films, and guide visitors towards an increased awareness of their own bodies as they interact with the speculative material.

The three films on display, Futurekin, Delicate Spells of Mind, and Institute of Isolation (2016), are futuristic renderings of daily life that are both spectacular in their banality and brazen in their examination of human hardwiring. Adorned in the industrial exoskeletons of future fashion, specters of our future selves are momentarily caught in acts of labor, vulnerability, and reciprocity. The three films forecast an already evolving human spirit and chart these changes across collective networks as well as individual actors. McRae appears in each film as a conduit between worlds. At times she moves freely, even with authority, but at others she is made immobile and subject to the generosity and care of those around her. As a character in her own thought experiment, McRae’s fluctuating subjectivity invites us to reconsider the solution-oriented rhetoric that dominates the discourse of technological innovation, and in so doing, champions messy models of solidarity over the rigid rubrics of technological perfection.

Lucy McRae (b. London) is a science fiction artist, filmmaker, inventor, and body architect. She is regarded as a pioneer who blurs the boundaries across art, architecture, design, and technology with a healthy disregard for labels that limit interdisciplinary practice. McRae has exhibited at art museums, film festivals, institutes, and science forums across the world including MIT, Ars Electronica, and NASA. Selected major artworks have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, NGV, Science Museum London, Centre Pompidou and Milan Triennial. McRae is a visiting professor at SCI Arc in Los Angeles and is recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. McRae encourages scientific conversation and has spoken at TED, Royal Albert Hall, Cannes Lion and Tribeca Film Festival.

The artist would like to thank the following collaborators:
Jasmine Albuquerque, Andrea Bess, Joep Beving, Drew Bienemann, Attilio Bonelli, Amiee Byrne, Scottie Cameron, Ryan Carmody, Sara Clausen, Catherine Cooper, Shauna Davis, Crimson Edge, Raymond Ejiofor, Luciana Ellington, Thomas Ermacora, Ariel Fisher, Evelyn Garcia, Daniel Gower, Machine Histories, Anjia Jalac, Tina Joyner, Steven Joyner, Maija Knapp, Vijaya Kumari, Audrey Levan, Aaron Lieber, Karine Maciel Arroxellas, Daniel Mayfield, Nicole McDonald, Alucard Mendoza McHaney, Reef Oldberg, Alice Parker, Rhoda Pell, Christian Pepper, Jason Pilarski, Claudia Schnugg, Lotje Sodderland, Ryan Spencer, Onyx Tahash Long, Nina Tahash Long, Nectar Tahash Long, Jupiter Tahash Long, Ty Wells, Samantha West, Brandon Winters and May Xiong

The artist would like to thank the following commissioners:
La Biennale Di Venezia; Hashim Sarkis, Singapore International festival of Arts; Natalie Hennedige, Haus der elektronischen Künste (HeK) and MU Hybrid Art House; Sabine Himmelsbach, Angelique Spaniks, Ariane Koek, Boris Magrini; Ars Electronica, S+T+ARTS; Design Museum Holon; Aric Chen, Maya Dvash

With generous support from:
SCI_Arc; Hernan Diaz Alonso, Creative Victoria and Future Sensitive, Inc.

Special thanks to our exhibition partner DANVAS and the Honor Fraser Gallery staff:
Jamison Edgar (director), Autrina Maroufi, (gallery assistant), Harper Ainsley (operations), Michael Haight, Daniel Beckwith, Mike Chattem, and Jorge Mujica (exhibition preparators).

Song of the Cicada

Curated by Debra Scacco

Exhibiting artists:
Rebecca Bruno, veronique d’entremont, Joel Garcia, iris yirei hu, Beatriz Jaramillo, Nova Jiang, Elana Mann, Britt Ransom, Debra Scacco

Presented by Air.

In Los Angeles, CA

Song of the Cicada examines conscious reemergence. Through painting, drawing, sculpture, installation and video, these nine artists examine the past, present and future of our relationship with living ecosystems.

Since March 2020, the world has changed like no other time in living history. We have faced a global pandemic, righteous uprising and insurrection, set to a backdrop of a war between fact and fiction. We are at a crossroads, with a once in a century opportunity to choose how we emerge. It is a time to ask ourselves hard questions about who we are, what we believe, and how we express those beliefs as we walk through the world together.

Named for the Brood X cicada who hatched by the billions in 2021, Song of the Cicada questions our purpose and intention on this planet. When these cicadas emerge after 17 years underground, they shed their exoskeleton to reveal a tender and vulnerable body. They physically release a ghost of their former selves to fulfill their purpose. This exhibition discusses how we arrived at this moment, as well as ways we may imagine new futures together.

Founded by artist Debra Scacco, Air supports artists who are strategic thinkers, working at the intersection of climate and interconnected concerns. From 2017 through 2021, Air worked in deep collaboration with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a private non-profit in the Arts District of Los Angeles dedicated to building an inclusive green economy. The project is now evolving, recognizing the impact of research-based artists can be even greater by expanding to work simultaneously with multiple organizations and institutions. Air initiates climate-focused work in five core areas: residencies, exhibitions, education, talks and happenings. Please visit AirProjects.Art for more information.

Get in touch at Hello@AirProjects.Art.

Digital Combines

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Digital Combines.

The artist Claudia Hart has appropriated the term Combines from Robert Rauschenberg to propose a new genre, the “Digital Combine,” which joins a tangible object with its virtual equivalent – two halves to unite the tactile with the ephemeral. Rauschenberg’s radical version of expanded painting mixed sculptural and painted elements together into a single work. In a parallel construction, Digital Combines pair a painting with a related digital file, one that also holds the work’s metadata, to create a single conceptual object. Although imagined for a series of her own paintings, Hart’s concept can be applied generally, whenever artists conceive of the physical and virtual worlds as continuous.

Hart has invited eight friends to join her to expand on the idea of an object by combining materials with things immaterial – whether a digital image, movie, sound or music – bound together by an NFT pointing at instructional metadata. This metadata, an addendum to the NFT “smart” contract, is a figure of speech and a poetic proposition, developed in collaboration with NFT conservation specialist Regina Harsanyi, which in its performative, legal language represents a profound ontological shift in our cultural imagination.

Participating artists: Nancy Baker Cahill, Jakob Dwight, Claudia Hart, Tim Kent, Gretta Louw, LoVid, Sara Ludy, Daniel Temkin, and Saya Woolfalk, with contributing scholar, Charlotte Kent

Excerpt from Hart’s first Digital Combine contract:

[T]he born-digital [work] can not be sold separately from the [physical work], as they are two halves of a singular whole. Sellers and purchasers will be required to share contact information, so that the tangible work can be properly transported to the new collector. Otherwise, this compromises the integrity of the work and, in the event of their separation [the artist] will no longer recognize this iteration as her own and it will not be included in her upcoming catalog raisonne. In an inversion of platonic idealism, [the artist’s] commentary interweaves the problematics of representation through virtual simulation versus the history of representation through physical embodiment.

Kenny Scharf: PhlatSkreenz TVOD

On view in Aspen

Kenny Scharf was born in 1958 in Los Angeles and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1980. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented six exhibitions of Scharf’s work to date: Optimistically Melting (2019); BLOX and BAX (2017); Born Again (2015); Pop Renaissance (2013); Hodgepodge (2012); and Barberadise (2009). One-person exhibitions of Scharf’s work have been presented at the Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea (2018); Hillstrom Museum of Art, St. Peter, MN (2018); the Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2015); Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR (2015); Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA (2004); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2001); Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, OR (1999); Salvador Dalí Museum, Saint Petersburg, FL (1997); University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, IL (1997); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico (1996); and Museum of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL (1995). His work has been included in group exhibitions such as Under One Roof, Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2018); Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2017); Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2017); Holdings: Selections from MCASD’s Colleciton, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA (2016); and Urban Theater: New York in the 1980s, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX (2014).

Scharf’s public artworks are on view at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Los Angeles, CA; Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA; Davis Bros Tire Pros, Culver City, CA; West Adams Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; and other locations around the world.

Scharf is included in public collections including the Broad Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Honor Fraser, Aspen
520 E Hyman Ave. Unit 1B
Aspen, CO 81611

Rosson Crow – Men to Match My Mountains

In Aspen

Honor Fraser, Aspen
520 E Hyman Ave. Unit 1B
Aspen, CO 81611

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Men to Match My Mountains, an exhibition celebrating the latest visual explorations of Los Angeles based artist Rosson Crow.

Over a century since the declared closure of the frontier, the idea of the West as a symbol of freedom has persistently loomed large in the American psyche. In this surreal and hallucinogenic series of paintings, Rosson Crow harnesses her signature maximalist approach to confront the selective nostalgia of American history. Challenging the fetishization of the mythic American cowboy, these large-scale and immersive canvases present the Western landscape through a fun house mirror of projected mythologies, dreams, and anxieties.

For the 19th century American, the newly acquired Western territories composed a seemingly endless expanse, one which held the fantasy of a fresh start in the wilderness. The collision of self-governance with a wealth of natural resources ushered delusions of a great new civilization, one built upon individualistic opportunity, prosperity, and freedom. Inspired by Irving Stone’s monumental saga of the same name, Men to Match My Mountains invokes the powerful legacy of the open frontier, revealing a circuitous undercurrent within the American psyche.

Upon encountering Men to Match My Mountains, we are propelled into a kaleidoscopic wonderland of snow-capped mountains, meteor showers, and turrets of desert flame. Crow’s brush guides the viewer to the realization that nature was never ours for the taking. Hues of orange and purple dance and refract under an ominous solar eclipse, as we are pushed through the perils of an untamable and devouring landscape. The eye is simultaneously transfixed and bombarded as it glides past the remains of a burned out desert Wagon Point, ascends into a milky way littered with the debris of 1840s space junk, and lingers on the edge of a waterfall consuming the possessions of long-forgotten travelers. There is a delicate interplay at the heart of this body of work, one which both asserts and surrenders to the coexistence of beauty and terror, hope and fear, marvel and mundane. Entirely devoid of figures, these trails of abandoned objects puncture the sprawl of divergent terrain, evoking the memory of dreamers long gone.

In a landscape so inextricably tied to ideals of freedom, in a narrative which so seldom held a place for women, Rosson Crow offers us an alternative vision of the American West. Serving as a portal through which to examine the emotional memory of a damaged nation, Men to Match My Mountains provides a whimsical albeit sobering account of a midnight sun that never sets. There will always be a frontier on our horizon, from visions of the New World and the Wild West, to explorations in the Space Race and Internet Age; we will always dream of a better future. It is this dream that drives our desire for incessant expansion, our desire to conquer the next frontier, our desire for power. Perhaps we don’t have as much control over our world as we once thought. And, perhaps it was never ours to control. Despite what some may continue to believe, men will never be a match for the mountains.

Andy Warhol – By Hand

In Aspen

Honor Fraser, Aspen
520 E Hyman Ave. Unit 1B
Aspen, CO 81611

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present, Andy Warhol: By Hand,
an intimate look at the renowned iconography of one of the most
widely celebrated artists of the 20th century.

“If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface
of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing
behind it.”- Andy Warhol

From death and disaster, to consumer culture, and the cult of
celebrity, Andy Warhol presented the world with an objectified
essence of daily life in post-war America. Renowned for
pioneering a multilayered photographic silk-screen process,
Warhol confronted his audiences with serialized reproductions
of imagery from advertising, newspapers, comic books, cinema,
and other forms of mass media. The exhibition of
Andy Warhol: By Hand spans the last decade of his life, revisiting
a wide spectrum of icons from the artist’s oeuvre. When viewed in
conversation with one another, the small-scale drawings
serve as puzzle pieces, presenting us with an intimate time
capsule of the curiosities and infatuations of Warhol’s final years.

While a large majority of his career was spent sourcing images and
objects from 20th century popular culture, Warhol also created
works which spoke to his personal relationships and aesthetic
interests, even dedicating time to documenting his own private
collections. Initially rendered to accompany separate series over
the course of his career, the works within Andy Warhol: By Hand
explore the artist’s fascination with camouflage, dollar signs, and
children’s toys in juxtaposition with depictions of Mt. Vesuvius, a
hammer and sickle, and the German artist Joseph Beuys. In stark
contrast to their highly saturated, screen-printed counterparts,
Warhol’s subjects are stripped bare of symbolic seriality
and mechanization. Free from the aesthetic implications of
technique and process, the selection of drawings invites the
viewer to distinguish the artist’s delicate hand from the bustle
of the world he so avidly sought to capture.

Since the start of his career as a fine artist, Andy Warhol’s
work attracted hordes of people hoping to glimpse the spectacle
of imagery that seemed to confront everything the fine art world
stood for. Despite the fact that many viewed his work as subversive,
Warhol’s primary motivation was not merely to shock or to elevate
the image of tin robots, dollar bills, and camouflage. On the contrary,
he sought to present his audience with a frank, albeit deadpan,
reflection of the mass mediated production of American identity.
Andy Warhol was both a by-product and a producer of this culture,
generating a web of complexities his audience may never fully decipher.

Raw and exposed, Andy Warhol: By Hand challenges us to peel
back the layers of controversy built into the artist’s enigmatic
legacy, offering a rare glimpse into the mind behind the persona.
The show will be on view in Aspen CO, a town which Warhol fell in
love with during his frequent trips in the 1970s and ’80s.
In the years leading up to his death, Aspen’s pastoral beauty
and glamorous residents inspired the artist to purchase a significant
plot of land just outside of town. Lured from the glitz and grit of
Manhattan, Warhol’s ventures provided his audience with
a new lens through which to view his work, his aspirations,
and his reverence for all aspects of American culture.

Richard Pettibone – Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1990-2019

In Aspen

Honor Fraser, Aspen
520 E Hyman Ave. Unit 1B
Aspen, CO 81611

Opening reception July 13, 2021 from 12pm to 6pm.

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Richard Pettibone titled Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1990-2019, showcasing the artist’s careerlong study of modern art’s most iconic imagery. Ironically remarking upon his belief that “it’s just paint on a canvas,” Pettibone straddles the lines of Pop, Appropriation, and Conceptual Art, challenging his audience to question preconceived notions of talent, authorship, craft, and originality.

Premiering at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles during the summer of 1962, Andy Warhol’s debut solo exhibition of 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans rocked the contemporary art world. Many who saw the show were dumbfounded, even infuriated, that an artist would reduce the medium to such a mundane and commercial aspect of American culture. As a recent graduate of Otis Art Institute, Richard Pettibone was awestruck by the impact of Warhol’s simultaneously candid and controversial approach to fine art. Citing the Ferus Gallery show as one of the primary influences of his practice, Pettibone has taken Warhol’s method of seriality and replication even further, painstakingly returning to and analyzing the legacy of the Campbell’s Soup Can in modern art history.

Since the 1960s, Richard Pettibone’s infatuation with objectifying and breaking down the monolithic figures of his contemporaries inspired miniaturized reinterpretations of works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns, and Marcel Duchamp. While the creative output of these artists can be seen as markedly different, their individual influences upon the trajectory of 20th century art, culture, and media are undeniable. Referring to his own paintings as realist interpretations, Pettibone imbues each piece with subtle alterations, specific to his own hand, through variations in color scheme, scale, perspective, and installation. The altered scale of Pettibone’s replications grants the viewer an alternate perspective on iconic images, recontextualizing the work of artists whose careers were centered upon themes of appropriation themselves. By revisiting the mythology of his central influences, Pettibone is able to comment on modern art’s confrontation of art history, questioning and challenging the constructs of the art world he came of age in.

Throughout the course of his career, Pettibone has reinterpreted several sets of Andy Warhol’s soup cans, some entirely hand painted, some screen-printed, both exploring the Ferus design and the lesser known Monchengladbach type. While Warhol’s original works reflect the impact of popular culture upon American sensibilities, Pettibone’s reiterations speak to the context in which these art works became cultural icons in and of themselves. In a paradoxical twist on the initial reception of the Ferus Gallery show, what Pettibone offers us in the exhibition of Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1990-2020 is far beyond any literal replication of a series of paintings. Instead the artist has presented us with a conceptual portrait of his experience as a viewer, an experience simultaneously charged with irony and admiration, disillusionment and devotion.

Thin as Thorns, In These Thoughts in Us: An Exhibition of Creative AI and Generative Art

On view in Los Angeles

In the contemporary era of digitization, Artificial Intelligence is undoubtedly operating within a more complex and conflicted space within culture than ever before. As the great disrupter of our time, it has come to complicate virtually everything it touches. Is it possible for a machine to think and act creatively? Is it possible for an automated system to produce something wholly original, something its own programmers could never have anticipated?

For those working within the realm of AI, this question is possibly one of its greatest provocations, particularly when applied to artistic production. Within the works presented in Thin As Thorns: In These Thoughts In Us, AI systems serve the dual function of navigational tool and artistic medium, allowing each artist to freely explore and examine their role as both creator and spectator. With a title drawn from Articulations, a book of poems generated by an AI system designed by Allison Parrish, this exhibition explores the relationship between the visual arts and the cybernetic world through the diverse work of Memo Akten, Sougwen Chung, Chris Coy, YACHT, Holly Grimm, Joanne Hastie, Agnieszka Kurant, Annie Lapin, Allison Parrish, Casey Reas, Harvey Moon, Christobal Valenzuela, Siebren Versteeg, Tom White, and two of the foremost pioneers of code-based artwork, Harold Cohen and Roman Verostko.

With the dawn of early computational models, British painter Harold Cohen and American artist Roman Verostko played pivotal roles in the movement to incorporate technology into artistic practice. By training automated programs to evoke the methods and aesthetics of the early Modernists, Cohen’s computer-based system, AARON, and Verostko’s innovative process of “Epigenetic Painting” lay the groundwork for the next generation of artists, opening up a previously uncharted dialogue within the art-historical continuum.

In the generation following the work of Cohen and Verostko, artists Siebren Versteeg, and Tom White seek to generate algorithms with the ability to produce an infinite number of painterly images, thus liberating the resulting artworks from any sense of corporeal authorship. Upon encountering the somatic and expressionistic qualities of each piece, it is striking to witness the inherent emotion, mood, and personality imbued within each of these systems, calling to question long-held definitions of the essence of artificial and organic authorship.

While some have programmed their systems to act independently, artists such as Sougwen Chung, Chris Coy, YACHT, Holly Grimm, Joanne Hastie, Annie Lapin, Harvey Moon, and Casey Reas aim to relinquish the performance of sole authorship through improvised collaborations with their mechanical counterparts. While each of these artists focus on training AI systems to evoke their individual aesthetics, their approaches and outputs range across a diversity of media, from rock music and performance art to painting and film. These tactics of production allow the artists’ finished works to transcend their status as indexical art objects; Instead, granting them the power to memorialize the essence of exchange between human and automaton.

The ability to interpret, translate, and respond to mnemonic, emotional, and aesthetic data input, conjures a space for reflection on the inherent humanity built into AI systems. In an effort to bring their audiences directly into the thinking process of the machine, artists such as Memo Akten, Agnieszka Kurant, Allison Parrish, and Christobal Valenzuela, develop systems that allow them to harvest information from a range of internet archives. By collecting and reconfiguring algorithmic interpretations of love, religion, poetry, and human consciousness, these artists seek to elucidate the ways in which our collective identity is shaped by the integral role these systems play in our daily lives.

The modern fascination with developments in the field of Artificial Intelligence can be traced back to ancient experimentations with automatons, objects and devices developed to virtually act of their own free will. For centuries, these innovations have allowed us to reflect upon the essence of our own humanity, offering the potential for introspection and self-discovery in ways no other tool or system can. By bringing forth new languages that will aid us in navigating our increasingly cybernetic world, Thin As Thorns: In These Thoughts In Us, sets out to present the viewer with essential tools for understanding the complex and pervasive cultural phenomenon at the heart of these innovations.

Synthetic Wilderness in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles
Curated by Jesse Damiani
Artists: Nancy Baker Cahill, Xin Liu, LaJuné McMillian

If there is one feeling that everyone shares heading into the 2020s, it’s bewilderment. We are bewildered by the speed and scope of change that takes place around us every day. We are bewildered that any semblance of a consensus reality has broken to pieces, that the facts and truths we may hold dearest are laughable fictions to others. We have a nagging sense that we brought this upon ourselves—that we were passive and complicit as these realities overtook us—but we don’t exactly know when, how, or why. We recognize the pieces of life the way it felt 5, 10, 20 years ago, but some are buried under brambles and vines, others have overtaken space like invasive weeds, others still have mutated into forms we only barely recognize.

Our new wilderness is not tethered to the physical, its terrain is not charted by map, but it is vaster than any we have encountered as a species—one pregnant with danger and possibility, violence and awe in equal measure. This new wilderness is not forested with trees but with us, its root structures the underlying algorithms that connect and partition. To be synthetic is to be hybrid, highly constructed, manipulable, networked. But this synthetic wilderness shares something of the opportunity found in natural wildernesses, the possibility of exploration and new natures. In this context, artists redraw our DEW line and offer insights into coming social, cultural, environmental, even economic and political futures. If, as art critic John Russell once said, “There is in art a clairvoyance for which we have not yet found a name, and still less an explanation,” then it is the artists we must turn to to identify portions of the wilderness that are ripest for exploration, threat-detection, and harvest.

Nancy Baker Cahill, LaJuné McMillian, and Xin Liu are three such artists. Each offers us a path into Synthetic Wilderness using both digital media and traditional art making. Using robotics and digital tools, Liu toys with the boundaries of self and other—literally and metaphorically—and situates herself within the resulting gaps, most recently with a focus on the divide between Earth and outer space. Through performance, XR, and digital art, McMillian interrogates the relationship between communication and technology, the ways that the new tools and symbols we develop express both inherent power structures and opportunities for interconnection, particularly as it pertains to vulnerable, marginalized, and oppressed people.
Baker Cahill evokes embodied knowledge in analog and immersive drawings, mediating volatile hyperobjects like climate change through conscious, sensory engagement, allowing us to approach unfathomable abstractions from within the intimacy of visceral intuition.

It is only through the unnameable that we will navigate the uncontained territory posed by the synthetic wilderness. In Tarkovsky’s classic film, Stalker, three protagonists traverse The Zone, a landscape that appears to be of this world, but operates in elusive ways that defy the laws of spacetime and human cognition. Ever-changing and unpredictable, the Zone offers insights to each of the characters as they grapple with its mystery. Seeing them confront themselves in this nature, detached from the “conventions” of reality, freights simple actions like napping in a field or walking through a tunnel with tessellating possibilities and meanings. In the same way, the three artists in Synthetic Wilderness chart a course through shifting fog. Their work and their hybrid practices occupy the strange terrain that reflects “how we got here” and “where we are going” as a vibrant prism. That this prism tends to trouble easy categorization is exactly what makes the work so urgent in the present moment. None of us, now, is a stranger to apocalyptic visioning. The paths to protopic futures, however, uprooted from spoon-fed narratives and conspiracies, are felt, co-created and imagined by artists comfortable working from non-linear and non-binary perspectives.

Émile Zola said that art is “a corner of nature seen through a temperament.” In the 21st Century, our disposition is defined by our new and synthetic wilderness. We entrust our most precious information and identities to condensed vapor; letting streams of our data flow in extractive channels. To put it bluntly: most of us feel totally lost and powerless. Setting out into the wilderness is the archetypal human challenge. The trailblazing artists of today are not the ones whose work offers a compass but rather a lamp, illuminating new paths and possibilities.

Ed Ruscha – Prints & Ephemera

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of prints, ephemera and films, spanning 1963 through 2017 by Ed Ruscha.

Ed Ruscha moved to Los Angeles to study at Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts) in 1956, graduating in 1960. Stemming from an interest in landscape, signage, literature, and poetry, Ruscha has explored the relationship between image and language for nearly six decades. His work has been associated with movements spanning Pop, Surrealism, and Conceptual Art. Printmaking has been integral to Ruscha’s work alongside his painting and drawing practice. This exhibition brings together a collection of prints, ephemera, and films spanning the artist’s rich career.

While in art school, Ruscha briefly worked for a book printer, which had a lasting influence on the artist who began self-publishing in 1963. In addition to a desire to create reproducible work, he was struck by the ontological nature of words and their ability to transcend scale. Using text as image, Ruscha conceptually linked meaning with attribute. For example, Carp (1969) is depicted in a liquid-like type, pointing to the subject’s aqueous habitat. Punctuating his ongoing interest in scale, reproduction, and banality, Ruscha began incorporating small objects like olives and insects on a 1:1 scale into his work as in Cheese Mold Standard with Olive (1969). Both of the aforementioned prints were created during a two-month residency at the now-famous Tamarind Lithography Workshop where Ruscha was encouraged to experiment and produce prolifically with master printers.

The portfolio Stains (1969), often described as a loose-leaf artist book, straddles the border between drawing and printmaking. Interested in the effect of various substances such as tap water, wine, leather dye, apple juice, and grass on paper, Ruscha applied a single material to each page of this work. All seventy-five pages act as documents of Ruscha’s environment and labor, each portfolio even has the artist’s own blood on the back cover. The following year, Ruscha developed inks out of substances he considered to be quintessentially English such as beans, barley, and flowers during his residency at Alecto Studios in London. The resulting print series News, Mews, Pews, Brews, Stews & Dues (1970) functions as an index of the artist’s ongoing experimentation as well as a poem about England.

Foodstuffs continued to appear in Ruscha’s work as a means to explore localism in Premium (1971), a short film that follows a man (played by Larry Bell) as he shops and prepares a dinner for a date (played by Léon Bing). A quintessentially Angeleno salad is the maincourse of the film, which also features imagery of cars and gas stations. A car is also at the center of Miracle (1975), in which the main character (played by Jim Ganzer) misses his date (played by Michelle Phillips) because he was immersed in repairing a car. Though Ruscha has argued that his two film works stand apart from his other practices, his interest in signifiers and codes remain present.

In 1990, Ruscha and Ed Hamilton founded Hamilton Press, the culmination of a partnership that began at Tamarind. Though Ruscha had published books independently for decades and had started his own press in his studio, the establishment of Hamilton Press allowed the artist to encourage others to train and explore the possibilities of printmaking. This exhibition aims to illustrate how these interests in collaboration, materiality, text, typography, and scale have remained throughout Ruscha’s ongoing practice.

Special thanks to James Corcoran Gallery, Tracy Lew, Linda Brown, Arcana Books, Gagosian Gallery, Hamilton Press, Crown Point Press, Lapis Press, Chelsea Hadley and Justin Reinhardt, and Gemini G.E.L.

Ed Ruscha (b. Omaha, NE, 1937) received a BFA from Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles (now California Institute of the Arts) in 1960. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions since first showing at Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles in 1963. Major monographic and retrospectives exhibitions were organized by the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE (2018); the De Young Museum, San Francisco (2016); the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth, TX (2010); the Hayward Gallery, London (2009, tour); Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2006); the American Pavilion, Venice, Italy (2005); the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland (2004); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2004, tour); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2004, tour); Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2002); the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England (2002); the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2000); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1999, tour); the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (1998); the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art (1989); Centre George Pompidou, Paris (1989, tour); the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1987); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1982, tour); the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1976); the Stedjelik Museum, Amsterdam (1976); and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (1971).

Ruscha’s work can be found in many public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée National d’Art Moderne, France; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Galleries of Scotland; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Tate, England; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Sarah Cain – The Sun Will Not Wait

In the paintings of Sarah Cain, spatial constraints and material pieties fall away with fearless colors, easily expanding out from canvases into installations which have in the past included furniture, clothing, jewelry, and found objects. A spirited post-minimalist, Cain crafts an abstraction intertwined with life.

For The Sun Will Not Wait, the artist will create a new floor painting onsite prior to the opening along with a body of new canvases concluding with an upward view through a skylight work inspired by a major commission by the San Francisco Arts Commission for a stained-glass wall at the San Francisco International Airport to be unveiled in June 2019.

Other forthcoming projects include Platform: Sarah Cain, a new site-specific installation on the Rice University campus in Houston in 2020 and a solo exhibition at Skidmore College’s Tang Teaching Museum opening in January 2021.

Sarah Cain was born in Albany, New York in 1979 and lives in Los Angeles. She has had recent solo exhibitions of her work at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Aspen Art Museum. Her work is the subject of two monographs, published by Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC (2015) and LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), CA.

Ry Rocklen – Food Group: Genesis

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Food Group: Genesis by Los Angeles-based artist Ry Rocklen, to open March 16, 2019.

Ry Rocklen’s sculptural practice is dedicated to the forms of the hyper familiar, an investigation of human subjectivity through the archetypal objects of our existence. Working with objects so familiar that they are committed to muscle memory and woven into our DNA, his artwork often aims to reclaim and exalt the individuality of the serialized object. For his exhibition with Honor Fraser, Rocklen will present Food Group: Genesis, an exploration of some of America’s favorite handheld foods through costume, 3D-printed sculpture, and video.

The iconic forms of tacos, burgers, pizza, and other fast foods served as inspiration for elaborate costumes that Rocklen rented from a Hollywood studio or fabricated himself. The artist and his collaborators were then scanned in the round wearing the costumes to create the source images, which were then 3D printed at the natural size of the foods they were wearing. The resulting collection of figurines form the core of Food Group: Genesis, an exhibition built around the simple concept of enlarging a familiar object with the purpose of shrinking it back to its natural size, a multiyear investigation by the artist.

In 2016, Ry Rocklen began production on Scale Model for the World’s Biggest T- Shirt, a T-shirt over 16 feet tall that was intended to be shrunken down to its normal size through a process similar to that used in the production of Food Group. After further consideration, the artist decided to also create a giant figure to wear the massive garment. He was then left with Mr. Pillowman, a giant made of pillows, after it had served its original purpose. As Rocklen continued his exploration of scale through Food Group, he came to think of Mr. Pillowman as the precursor to the Food Group endeavor and so it is included in the exhibition literally as the man behind the curtain.

At no point in the process of making the figurines are both the foodstuffs and the wearer their actual size, one is always enlarged while the other shrunken. They are simultaneously in and out of scale. The figurines are at once generic and intensely specific as they couple actual individuals with popular foods. They are devotional forms meant for devouring. They are both predator and prey, with an abundance of softening power.

Food Group can be a lens through which to view the world. The works are vehicles to explore issues of scale, media, form, desire, subjectivity, politics, and our environment. They are loci of delight, connection, guilt, and destruction. In the guise of ubiquitous foods, the costumes evoke an immediate relationship to the human body as it is affected by everything put into and on it, making food a means for sculpting oneself from within.

Ry Rocklen was born in Los Angeles in 1978 and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001 and a Masters of Fine Arts from University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 2006. One-person exhibitions of Rocklen’s work have been presented at the VAROLA at the Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles, CA (2015); the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA (2014); and Visual Arts Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (2010). His work has been included in group exhibitions such as The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin, Jewish Museum, New York, NY (2017); Sculpture from the Hammer Contemporary Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Wasteland, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, Paris, France (2016); Murmurs: Recent Contemporary Acquisitions, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2013); Baker’s Dozen, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2012); Made in L.A. 2012, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Nothing Beside Remains, LAND: Marfa, Los Angeles, CA (2011); Home Alone, Sender Collection, Miami, FL (2011); Knock, Knock! From the Collection of Paul and Sara Monroe, The Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (2011); Second Nature: The Valentine-Adelson Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2009); Athens Bienniale 2009 HEAVEN, Athens, Greece (2009); That Was Then…This Was Now, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2008); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2008); and Red Eye, The Rubell Collection, Miami, FL (2006).

Victoria Fu – TÉLÉVOIX

Honor Fraser is pleased to present TÉLÉVOIX by Victoria Fu.

Starting with film and photography, Victoria Fu’s practice has grown to include installation, performance, and sculpture. Her ongoing exploration of the ways in which light creates a sense of space, whether printed, digital, or projected, addresses our haptic relationship with images. TÉLÉVOIX will feature the large-scale moving-image projection Télévoix 2 (2019) and the window installation Sky 2 (2019) that premiered in the Deutsche Bank VIP Lounge at Frieze LA.

In Télévoix 2, Fu employs perspectival tricks throughout art history, from the Renaissance practice of linear perspective to the material shading of Light and Space, with a mix of digital tools and original documentation to transport the viewer. Originally presented on the ceiling, the video evokes an oculus, where viewers can observe the sublime—or an illusionistic rotunda fresco that simulates an oculus—creating feelings of containment, smallness, and wonder. At Honor Fraser, the work is projected onto a freestanding flattened orb, a digital rabbit hole into another world. In both scenarios, the work throws off the viewer’s sense of grounding and place, a nod to Hito Steyerl’s ideas about perspective in a post-screen world. With this work, Fu shifts viewers’ sense of time and space and pushes them further into her desktop screen movie.

Looping has always occurred in Victoria Fu’s video works; these non-narratives have no beginnings or endings, and Télévoix 2, her first static circular video, concretizes that theme. The shape recurs throughout the video: spirals created by a circular cursor; a tondo fresco from Andrea Mantegna’s Camera degli Sposi in Mantua, Italy (1465-74); scraps of color cellophane; various balls; the moon; the yolk of an egg; balloons. To encircle an object is to contain it. Rounded glass focuses and magnifies objects within its view for inspection as in a telescope, camera, or peephole. These properties of the form remain true as the video is a closed system, but within that circle is a window unto an expansive digital world where things are slightly misaligned, and lead to an implied off-screen reality.

The soundscape to the video is a mix of ambient (winds, birds, cars passing, materials rustling), jarring (machinery, fireworks, and abrupt silence), and vocal (songs in Chinese, the audio from an instructional video, a conversation that is just distant enough to be incomprehensible) sounds. These original and found sounds do not all link to the action on screen. Some take place outside of the lens’s view as with Fu’s own voice directing movement. This dissonance is a deliberate choice by the artist to keep viewers in limbo between active engagement with the work and full engrossment. Fu wants viewers to situate themselves within the imagery, but uses audio to disrupt a total immersion. Viewers remain cognizant of her gestures and critical of their bodies’ perceived relationship to her movements.

Throughout her work, Victoria Fu explores how light can illuminate objects as well as create spaces of illusion. Visitors to the exhibition will enter the gallery through Sky 2 (2019), the artist’s digital photographs applied to the doors and windows, literally stepping into the work. Her ongoing attempts to make these tricks apparent put the viewer in a liminal place of observation, making us all more aware of the ways in which we inhabit the physical and digital worlds daily.

Victoria Fu was born in Santa Monica, CA and lives in San Diego, CA. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, a Master of Arts from University of Southern California, and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts and attended the the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME. Fu has received awards and fellowships from the Harpo Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Art Matters, Mellon Foundation, and Rema Hort Mann Foundation. One-person exhibitions of her work have been mounted at Cal Poly University Gallery, San Luis Obispo (2019); The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, AZ (2018); Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY (2016); Center for Ongoing Research & Projects, Columbus, OH (2015); The Contemporary, Baltimore, MD (2015); University Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, CA (2014); Anderson Hall Gallery, University of the Arts, Philadelphia (2013); and Savannah College of Art + Design, Savannah, GA (2009). Fu’s collaborative work with Matt Rich has been featured in monographic exhibitions at Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA (2019); University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA (2018); The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI (2017); and Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro CA (2017). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions and screenings such as Brave New Worlds: Explorations in Sculpture, Palm Springs Art Museum, CA (2019); Being Here With You/ Estando Aqui Contigo: 42 Artists From San Diego and Tiujana, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA (2018); Within Genres, Pérez Art Museum Miami, (2017); Open Window, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2016); A Painting Is A Painting Isn’t A Painting, Kadist Foundation, San Francisco (2015); Vision Quest, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2015); 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014); Trouble with the Index, UC Riverside/California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA (2014); and IX Bienal de Nicaragua, Fundación Ortiz Gurdian, Managua, Nicaragua (2014). Victoria Fu’s work can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Perez Art Museum, Miami; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Kenny Scharf – Optimistically Melting!

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Optimistically Melting!, an exhibition of new work by Kenny Scharf.

Defying expectations has long been a hallmark of the work of Kenny Scharf. Taught to revere Abstract Expressionism in art school during the ’70s, Scharf chose to paint cartoon figures and used outlandish colors. Frustrated with the inaccessible gallery and museum system in the 80s, he spray-painted his work throughout New York City, ensuring that everyone could see his bold work. Along with his peers, Scharf has always pushed against the boundaries of the established art world and pursued his own artistic path that encompasses painting, video, sculpture, prints, fashion, and more.

After four decades of constant production, Scharf’s latest group of paintings introduces a new subject: the still life. The trope of flowers in a vase appears throughout Western art, notably in the work of artists such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, Vincent Van Gogh, and Andy Warhol. In Flores Flores Flores (2019), happy flowers spring from a vase casually set on a table at the center. Closer inspection finds a less happy flower at the edge of the table with X’s over its eyes, a cartoon signifier of death. Further, the viewer notices the drips of darkness in the background, adding to a growing sense of unease in the work, something sinister lurks behind the pleasant centerpiece. These signifiers of global anxiety become more overt in the artist’s Sloppy Melt series of paintings, also to be included in the exhibition, which feature dripping cartoon figures and screen-printed news headlines in English and Korean about climate change. With clear memories of smog days as a child growing up in Southern California, environmental concerns have appeared throughout Scharf’s oeuvre. The artist believes it is important to be mindful of future damage we will cause to the environment if we continue to prioritize comfort and ease in the present.

In the 80s, Kenny Scharf began collecting plastic detritus that he found along the beach in Brazil, where he was living at the time. The artist would assemble these discarded items into sculptures for the wall, giving them new life as aesthetic objects called Lixos (“trash” in Portuguese). Though the sculptural practice has continued intermittently, Scharf made a habit of collecting discarded plastics from around the world, which have not degraded over the years. More recently, the artist began collecting all of his single-use plastics and stringing them together as a garland around his studio, a constant reminder of daily waste. In light of the current reckoning with the overproduction of plastics and climate change denial, Scharf will present a new body of Lixos in the gallery along with a giant garland wrapped around the outside of the building. Materials for the garland will be collected at Honor Fraser Gallery throughout the summer and leading up to the exhibition. In addition to creating a personal alternative to recycling methods that require more toxic chemicals, Scharf aims to shine more light on this urgent issue. As in his paintings, deep concerns about our future lie beneath these brightly colored works.

Expanding his sculptural practice, Kenny Scharf will unveil a group of large ceramics featuring his signature characters in the round. Produced in collaboration with Stan Edmondson in Pasadena, these works were fired locally and hand-glazed by the artist. Bordering on living sculpture, the pots will contain greenery to be nurtured beyond the term of the exhibition, a gesture of possibility and hope rom the artist. In addition to converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, caring for plants has proven to be a beneficial practice for humans as it requires patience, reduces stress, and promotes close observation. These plants grown by the artist himself contain Scharf’s intention for a more respectful and conscientious future.

Kenny Scharf was born in 1958 in Los Angeles and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1980. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented five exhibitions of Scharf’s work to date: BLOX and BAX (2017); Born Again (2015); Pop Renaissance (2013); Hodgepodge (2012); and Barberadise (2009). One-person exhibitions of Scharf’s work have been presented at the Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea (2018); Hillstrom Museum of Art, St. Peter, MN (2018); the Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015); Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR (2015); Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA (2004); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2001); Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, OR (1999); Salvador Dalí Museum, Saint Petersburg, FL (1997); University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, IL (1997); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico (1996); and Museum of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL (1995). The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson will present Scharf’s career retrospective in Spring 2020.

Scharf’s work has been included in group exhibitions such as Under One Roof, Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2018); Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2017); Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2017); Holdings: Selections from MCASD’s Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA (2016); and Urban Theater: New York in the 1980s, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX (2014).

Scharf’s public artworks are on view at the Bluffs at Playa Vista, CA; Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Los Angeles; Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA; Davis Bros Tire Pros, Culver City, CA; West Adams Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; and other locations around the world.

Scharf’s work can be found in many public collections including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Joe Sola – I drove to san francisco and back

Summer

Exhibited Artists: Sarah Cain, Victoria Fu, Glenn Kaino, Tillman Kaiser, Meleko Mokgosi, Annie Lapin, William Leavitt, Guthrie Lonergan, Brenna Youngblood, Kenny Scharf

Mel Davis – Meet Me in the Usual Place

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Mel Davis: Meet Me in the Usual Place. On view in conjunction with exhibitions of videos by Jeremy Blake and paintings by Miriam Schapiro, a reception will be held at the gallery on November 4, 2017 from 4-7pm.

Mel Davis’s paintings catch the eye with their vitality and sustain that interest through complex harmonies of tone, style, and reference. The Berkeley-based painter collages varied styles of mark-making into new compositions: long thin brush strokes, hard-edged black zig-zags, and bold Matisse-like flora are set in dialogue. In Davis’s newest paintings, references to art history and events in her personal life commingle: The tablecloth in Bonnard’s The Red Checkered Tablecloth (1910) appears as the backdrop of Lilies, 2017, and a recent obsession with finding the right curtains for her home led her to paint Curtains, 2017.

The merging and mirroring of art historical references and direct experiences is demonstrated by the bifurcation of the picture plane into diagonal or vertical halves in Davis’s recent works. This gesture is akin to Barnett Newman’s famous “zips” in which the artist painted a single line down the middle of an otherwise monochromatic canvas. By splitting the composition, Davis activates the two halves, offering alternate perspectives. Aesthetic tensions that arise on one side play out on the other. Davis outlines the juxtapositions in her paintings this way: “Themes in the work can be described as interior/exterior. I use repetition, collage and drawing to allow intuition and mystery to present itself. I like when a painting can have many speeds, different vantage points, and several modes of thinking at once.”

Davis’s paintings offer a proposition about painting as a medium, its history, materials, and processes. While she is deeply involved in conversations internal to the medium, her work is not academic. Instead, it is generous and expansive. As the late poet and art critic Bill Berkson wrote, “Davis is a serious artist, as serious about the pleasure her work communicates as about distinguishing herself, and the terms of her belief in painting as an art, within it.”

Mel Davis was born in Montréal, Quebec. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University, Montréal, Quebec in 1999, attended Slade School of Fine Art, University of London, UK in 2002, and received a Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA in 2005. Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Between Land and Sky, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto, Canada (2016); This Cool, Larry Becker Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA (2010); New American Talent 24, Arthouse, Austin, TX (2009); and Close Calls, Headland Center For The Arts, Sausalito, CA (2008). Davis has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant (2016); The Canada Council for the Arts Grant (2008); and the Irene Pijoan Memorial Award for Painting (2004).

Conceptual Feedback

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition curated by Emily Gonzalez-Jarrett, of Los Angeles-based artists who are continuing, challenging, or depicting the work of the Minimalists and early Conceptual Art. The exhibition features works by Sarah Cain, Kate Costello, Rachel DuVall, Victoria Fu, Sherin Guirguis, Tarrah Krajnak, Dan Levenson, Kaz Oshiro, Vincent Ramos, Glen Wilson, and Brenna Youngblood.

For better or worse, Minimalism and Conceptual Art have become the dominant modes of art schools, and the art world in general, for the past forty years. The artists included in this exhibition have had to mature under the long shadow of Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, and Frank Stella. Few of the works in this exhibition were made specifically in response to these seminal artists, but the younger artists all admit that the aesthetics and strategies of Minimalism influenced the development of their work.

Echoes of the square
Sol LeWitt famously used the cube throughout his work as it was a unit of measurement that offered endless potential and progression. The form was a literal building block for his structures and occurs repeatedly in the outside world. Rachel DuVall sees a grid in the warp and weft of her textiles and experiments with the possibilities of color and form within that system. The square appears repeatedly in the background of Tarrah Krajnak’s videos and photographs as she overlays her own personal history onto the cannon. The chainlink fence and base of Glen Wilson’s work evokes the cube as much as the combination of materials echoes the work of Noah Purifoy. The chainlink fence appears as a battered square in the paintings of Brenna Youngblood as well, but it is rendered in trails of paint squeezed out of the tube and directly onto the canvas.

Overloaded Minimalism
Starting with simple elements such as the line, the rectangle, the dot, Sarah Cain builds nonrepresentational paintings that can be seen as Minimalism gone awry. She uses many colors in a decidedly feminine palette and incorporates decorative objects such as seashells and beads into her canvases. She works quickly and densely, allowing paint to drip as she works. This messy, improvisational approach is in contrast to the measured and deliberate paintings of Stella and LeWitt. Victoria Fu makes photographs, sculpture, and videos that implicate the viewer in a digital landscape. She began her practice with the desire to avoid representation and stayed within Minimalist conventions, but moved away from purely formal concerns to considering the body’s relationship to imagery. Also building upon and problematizing the nonrepresentational line and its relationship to the body, Kate Costello has been incorporating elements of the figure throughout her multidisciplinary practice. Recently returning to painting, she experimented with straddling the line between representation and abstraction, but then moved away from such painterly concerns. Accepting that painting was inherently loaded, she decided to embrace outright illustration and all of the associations that viewers bring to it. Similarly considering the visual lexicon, Sherin Guirguis aims to uncover the codes of abstraction by incorporating Egyptian forms into Modernist tropes. Her abstracted riffs on pottery, jewelry, and architecture remind viewers that the East influenced Western ideas of Modernism.

Picturing Minimalism
Aiming for a direct engagement, some artists analyze historical moments through depiction. Kaz Oshiro’s three-dimensional paintings of I-beams recall the primary sculptures that were ascendant during the 1960s and 1970s. Placed directly on the floor, his paintings illustrate the era’s interest in industrial materials and removal of hierarchies of display. Considering the role of fine arts education in this ecosystem, Dan Levenson imagines a Bauhaus-style school in Zurich and represents its fictional history through artifacts. The false relic in this exhibition is meant to embody a lesson in removing subjectivity from one’s work: each fictitious student made a monochrome painting and then was paired to create diptychs. Highlighting movements in parallel to the Minimalists of New York, Vincent Ramos’s work grows out of a West Coast strain of Conceptual Art and offers alternative views of the era. The drawings included here render favorite songs of Vietnam veterans with a Minimalist aesthetic. These songs are evocative and meaningful in the same way that instructions for a drawing can create an image in the mind’s eye.

In one way or another, each artist in this exhibition builds upon, pushes back against, or depicts the work of LeWitt and his peers. Though varied, this exhibition offers a glimpse into some ways in which the canonization of Minimalism has impacted many artists. For these Los Angeles-based artists, making artwork is a continuing dialogue across generations.

Sarah Cain received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, CA and a MFA from University of California, Berkeley, CA. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Los Angeles Nomadic Division, CA (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA (2015); Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, NC (2015); Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2017); and Aspen Art Museum at Elk Camp on Snowmass Mountain, Aspen, CO (2017). Cain has received the SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2007 and 2011); and the Durfee Grant (2008). Works by Sarah Cain are included in public collections internationally, including the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin; The FLAG Art Foundation, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Margulies Collection, Miami, FL; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Perez Art Museum Miami, FL; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; San Antonio Museum of Art, TX; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga, NY; UBS Art Collection, New York; and Zabludowicz Collection, London.

Kate Costello holds an MFA from the University of Southern California, a BA from Tufts University, and a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She will open a commissioned public project at Plummer Park, West Hollywood, CA in March 2018 and she will have a solo exhibit at the Aidekman Gallery, Tufts University, Medford, MA in January, 2019. In 2016, she published an artist’s book, P&P with Midgramme, New York, and was an Artist-in-Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin, CA. In 2015, she co-curated an exhibition of figurative sculpture with Liz Craft, Mirror Effect at The Box Gallery, Los Angeles. Costello’s first book, Fears & Accessories was published by Onestar Press, Paris in 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include: Drawings, LAXART, Los Angeles (2015); Kiki & Me, Rob Tufnell Gallery, London (2014); Kiki & Me, Wallspace Gallery, New York (2011); Kate Costello, the Suburban Gallery, Oak Park, IL (2011); Cockaigne, Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles (2010); Tattooed Ladies, Wallspace Gallery, New York (2011). Selected group exhibitions include Extraterrestrial, with Jedediah Caesar, Finley Gallery, Los Angeles (2014); Made in L.A. 2012, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012); This Place You See, Kadist Foundation, Paris (2009); Making Do (curated by Robert Storr) Green Gallery, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT (2007); THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2005); High Desert Test Site 2, Joshua Tree, CA (2003).

Rachel DuVall received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. Her work was the subject of a solo exhibition at The Main Museum, Los Angeles (2017). DuVall has participated in residencies at The Vermont Studio Center (2016), where she also received the Windgate Fellowship, and at Penland School of Crafts, NC (2015).

Victoria Fu received a BA from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; a MA from University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. She also attended the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME. Victoria Fu: Out of the Pale is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson through March 25. Other monographic exhibitions of her work have been mounted at The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI (2016); Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY (2016); Center for Ongoing Research & Projects, Columbus, OH (2015); The Contemporary, Baltimore, MD (2015); University Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, CA (2014); Anderson Hall Gallery, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA (2013); and Savannah College of Art + Design, Savannah, GA (2009). Works by Victoria Fu can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Sherin Guirguis was born in Luxor, Egypt, completed a BA at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received a MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is currently preparing for a solo exhibition at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles. Additionally, Guirguis’s work has been featured in monographic exhibitions at 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA (2017); The Third Line Gallery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2016, 2013); Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, Venice, CA (2015); Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale AZ (2012); Frey Norris Contemporary, San Francisco, CA (2010); and LAXART, Los Angeles (2010). Her work can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; the Houston Museum of Fine Art, TX; the Las Vegas Museum of Contemporary Art, NV; the Metropolitan Authority Los Angeles, Public Art Commission; and the US Department of State, U.S. Consulate, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at the SUR Biennial in Los Angeles, PGH Photo Fair, Filter Photo Festival, Art London, Art Basel Miami, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Center for Photography Woodstock, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Philadelphia Photographic Arts Center, San Francisco Camerawork, Columbus Museum of Art, The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, and Ampersand Gallery & Fine Books. Her work has appeared in both print and online magazines including the LA Review of Books, Nueva Luz, and Camerawork. She received grants from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Vermont Council for the Arts, The Vermont Community Foundation, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She was recently awarded the Texas Photographic Society’s First National Photography Award in 2017 and has a forthcoming solo exhibition at Fotofest Houston in Spring 2018.

Dan Levenson received a BA from Oberlin College, OH and a MFA from Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom. He has had solo exhibitions at Praz-Delavallade, Paris (2018); House of the Book, American Jewish University, Simi Valley, CA (2017); Praz-Delavallade, Brussels (2016); Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles (2015); Vox Populi, Philadelphia (2011); and White Columns, New York (2003). His work has been featured in group exhibitions at numerous institutions including PARTICIPANT, INC (2009); Cabinet, Brooklyn, New York (2012); International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York (2012); Triangle, Brooklyn, New York (2012); and LAXART, Los Angeles (2016, 2012). Levenson has had fellowships at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York (2004, 2006, 2008, 2014) and The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire (2011) and artist-in-residence at USF Verftet, Norway (2008). He was a participant at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine in 2009. He received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 2006.

Kaz Oshiro was born in Okinawa, Japan in 1967 and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts from the California State University, Los Angeles. One-person exhibitions of his work have been presented at Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Charles White Elementary School Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2013); Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan (2007); Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas, NV (2007); and Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2005). His work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Space Between, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY (2015); Visual Deception II: Into the Future, Bunkamura: The Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2014); Between Critique and Absorption: Contemporary Art and Consumer Culture, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI (2013); Simulacrum, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH (2012); Bruce Connor and the Primal Scene of Punk Rock, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO (2012); Lifelike, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2012); American Exuberance, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL (2011); New Image Sculpture, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2011); Artist’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2010); Less is less, more is more, that’s all, CAPC Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France (2008); One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA (2007); Red Eye: Rubell Collection, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL (2006); THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2005); Nothing Compared to This, Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH (2004); and California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2004).

Vincent Ramos received his BA from Otis College, Los Angeles (2002) and his MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA (2007). His work has been shown in solo exhibitions internationally including Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles (2011); 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA (2008); and Crisp, London and Los Angeles (2008). His work was most recently featured in A Universal History of Infamy at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2017). In addition to including his own work in the museum’s main campus, Ramos organized A Universal History of Infamy: Those of This America, currently on view through October 6, 2018 at Charles White Elementary School Gallery, Los Angeles. Awards for his work include the 2015 Friends of Contemporary Arts Fellowship; Legacy Artist in Residence Fellowship, 18th Street Arts Center (2011); and the California Community Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship (2010). Ramos’s public work El Monte Legion Stadium Nocturne (2014) can be seen at the El Monte Station of the Los Angeles Metro.

Glen Wilson received his MFA from University of California, San Diego and BA from Yale University, New Haven, CT. His work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as The Photographic Imaginary, Nan Rae Gallery, Woodbury University, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Echo Location, Eastside International, Los Angeles (2017); Biomythography: Currency Exchange, East and Peggy Phelps Galleries, Claremont College, CA (2016) and William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA (2017); Why Art Matters, Torrance Art Museum, CA (2017); Biomythography: Currency, Eastside International, Los Angeles (2015); and Flight Patterns, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2000).

Brenna Youngblood received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach in 2002 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006. One-person exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA (2015); Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2015); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (2014); Wignall Museum, Rancho Cucamonga, CA (2007); and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, (2006). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI (2017); California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2017, 2015, 2007); Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, Charlotte, NC (2017); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2016, 2013); Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (2016); Los Angeles (2016); Los Angeles Nomadic Division, Paris, France (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2014); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2014); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2012); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2011); Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, FL (2009); and Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008).

Jeremy Blake – Station to Station

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Jeremy Blake: Station to Station. On view in conjunction with exhibitions of recent work by Mel Davis and paintings from the 1960s and 1970s by Miriam Schapiro, a reception will be held at the gallery on November 4, 2017 from 4-7pm.

Station to Station is a five channel video—a time-based painting, as the late artist Jeremy Blake referred to his moving image work—in which the first, third, and fifth videos represent stations in an imagined urban transportation system while the second and fourth suggest travel between the stations. The flatscreen monitors on which the videos are displayed function as windows through which they can be viewed as landscapes that are framed, flattened, and constantly shifting. The non-narrative cinematic experience of Station to Station transforms the way space and time are perceived. Perpetual motion and steady pacing evoke the feeling of riding on a metropolitan subway system. Rectilinear, gauzy blocks fade in and out, often accompanied by the sound of a droning hum. In the station videos, architectonic forms appear and disappear, disrupting the illusion of a unified landscape, and the pulsating lights and mirage-like cityscapes of the travel videos offer abstractions of movement.

Installed side by side, the five videos present multiple perspectives on urban environments that are tainted by contemporary anxieties about nuclear weaponry, global warming, and surveillance technologies. Station to Station opens with Robert Moses Terminal. Responsible for many defining characteristics of New York City’s infrastructure, Moses’s impact on the way people move through that city inspired Blake’s thinking: “The fact that one person, and therefore one person’s subjectivity, is the source for so much of what I had always assumed was the result of a gradual accumulation of projects by different planners struck me as disturbing.” Followed by Fordham Gneiss, Carbon Sink Park, Slumber Line, and Indiglo Heights, Robert Moses Terminal sets the stage for an exploration of rapidly changing urban landscapes and the carelessness with which these changes are executed.

Jeremy Blake was born in Fort Sill, OK in 1971. He died in New York, NY in 2007. Blake received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993 and a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in 1995. One-person exhibitions of his work have been mounted at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH (2005); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (2005); American Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, NY (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA (2002); Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston, Houston, TX (2002); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH (2000); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA (2000); and the Shchusev Museum of Architecture, Moscow, Russia (2000). His work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as West Coast Visions, Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey (2014); Opening Abstraction, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK (2013); Project Los Altos, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (2013); In the Séance Room: Acquisition Highlights from 2003-2013, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA (2013); Go West! Representations of the American Frontier, The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas, Austin, TX (2012); Blink! Light, Sound & the Moving Image, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (2011); Videosphere: A New Generation, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2011); The Artist’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2010); The Old Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX (2008); Signals: A Video Showcase, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008); Pervasive Animation Programme One, Tate Modern, London, UK (2007); All the Pretty Corpses, Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2005); Blur of the Otherworldly: Contemporary Art, Technology and the Paranormal, Center for Art and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD (2005); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2004, 2002, 2000); Art & Film in the Age of Anxiety, Santa Monica Museum, Santa Monica, CA (2002); 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (2001); BitStreams, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2001); New Settlements, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2001); Elysian Fields, Centre Pompidou, Pairs, France (2000); Greater New York, MoMA PS.1, New York, NY (2000); One Dot Zero, Institute for Contemporary Art, London, UK (1999); and Aftershocks, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (1994).

Meleko Mokgosi – Objects of Desire:
Reflections on the African Still Life

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Objects of Desire: Reflections on the African Still Life, an exhibition of new works by Meleko Mokgosi.

Meleko Mokgosi makes classical paintings that expose the limitations of Western painting techniques in depicting the African body and culture. Interested in how paintings have shaped the public imagination and the ways in which display methodologies reinforce social hierarchies, the artist challenges the viewer to empathize with the subject of the work by presenting imagery devoid of conventional narrative clues. Objects of Desire and Chimurenga are the final chapters in the series Democratic Intuition started by the artist in 2013. Often large in scale, Mokgosi’s paintings fit within the genre of history paintings—the highest form of academic painting—but for this series, the artist has chosen to create smaller works that engage with the lowest tradition: the still life. Revisiting imagery from past works in the series, this play between genres asks viewers to reconsider how we use institutionalized and bias categories in order to construct the conditions under which we create knowledge and therefore work towards conceptualizing and understanding the world.

Mokgosi’s research for this body of work included looking into the Museum of Modern Art’s archives, specifically the exhibitions “Primitivism” in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern (1984) and Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life (1997). Primitivism has become infamous for the public backlash, the main criticism involving the way in which curator William Rubin discussed the African works on view only as they were perceived and collected by the early Modernists, not as objects with their own histories. Objects of Desire made a strong argument for viewing the inanimate objects depicted by the Modernists as evidence of a growing lexicon of affluence among the cosmopolitan artists. MoMA has a long and storied history of presenting seminal exhibitions and important scholarly publications. For all of this important output, the institution and its legacy must be questioned in order to remain relevant. Mokgosi approaches these two exhibitions through an examination of the contemporary African object in his own paintings with the aim of challenging the legacy of African art as a tool of the Modernists in developing their own methodologies.

Expanding the idea of the still life to include two-dimensional objects, this recent body of paintings features photographs, posters, and magazines. For instance, in a panel of Comrades II (2016), an image transfer of a bride hangs on a wall behind a ghostly figure. In this work, the bride is background to the main subject of the painting, but in Mokgosi’s new painting, the photograph of the bride fills the entire space of the canvas, making her image the focus of the painting, transforming the object to the subject. Another new work depicts two ceramic dogs against a wall with a poster of Jesus surrounded by his apostles hung close to a photo of an African woman in a bikini. With this work, Mokgosi has swapped in decorative African objects for the sacred and juxtaposes the tradition and influence of Western religion against contemporary mores. Interspersed between the paintings of objects, Mokgosi presents a 1985 Haworth Editorial Submission on the use of “primitive” in library and catalogue protocols as well as texts taken from MoMA’s didactic labels from Primitivism with his own annotations, making evident the cultural biases and omissions in these influential texts.

Capping this series, the artist will present his first sculptures, replicas of seemingly banal objects in museum-like vitrines. The significance of these objects is tied to the polar legacies of two African revolutionaries: Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. As with the paintings, Mokgosi is employing Western signifiers to tease out the legacies of colonialism in daily African life. The artist illustrates how value is bestowed upon objects by the institution as the museum cases protect objects that privilege meaning for only a specific segment of the global population.

Meleko Mokgosi was born in Francistown, Botswana in 1981 and lives in New York. He is an assistant professor of practice at NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study (2012-present). In September 2018, Mokgosi co-founded the Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program. Mokgosi completed the Affiliate Painting Program at Slade School of Fine Art, University of London, UK in 2006; received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Williams College, Williamstown, MA in 2007; attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York, NY in 2007; and received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011.

One-person exhibitions of Mokgosi’s work have been presented at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2018, on view through November 11); the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles (2018; traveling to the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago in 2019); Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA (2017); Memorial Art Gallery and Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY (2017); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2015).

His work has been included in group exhibitions such as Lines of Influence, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2018); 20/20, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2017); Art/Afrique, Le nouvel atelier, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017); Excerpt, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2017); The Ease of Fiction, Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, NC (2016; traveled to California African American Museum, Los Angeles and Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco); A story within a story…, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Göteborg, Sweden (2015); African Odysseys, Le Brass, Centre Culturel de Forest, Belgium (2015); Nero su Bianco, American Academy in Rome Gallery, Rome (2015); Migrating Identities, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013); Meanwhile… Suddenly and Then, Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France (2013); Primary Sources and The Bearden Project, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2012); Made in L.A. 2012, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012); and Pool of Possibilities: Mapping Currents for the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China (2008).

Mokgosi has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2017); the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (2017); Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts (2017); Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant (2016); 
and the Mohn Award in conjunction with Made in L.A. 2012 (2012). He participated in the Rauschenberg Residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Captiva, FL in 2015 and the Artist-in-Residence Program at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York in 2012.

Annie Lapin – Watchers and Winks

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Annie Lapin: Watchers and Winks, on view November 5 through December 16, 2016. A reception will be held at the gallery on November 5 from 6–8pm.

Watchers and Winks is Annie Lapin’s third exhibition with Honor Fraser Gallery. Though still connected to her prior investigations into landscape, perception and cognition, and the materials of painting, Lapin’s new paintings constitute a significant departure in her method of working and reworking each canvas. Her compositional deliberations coalesce into a series of evocative, otherworldly spaces that involve a multifaceted combination of poured stains, digital deconstruction and augmentation, and a broad range of other techniques. Incorporating both chance effects and purposeful marks, Lapin’s resulting environments record her concerted efforts to picture the processes of perception and cognition.

To create the initial frameworks of her new paintings, Lapin pours charcoal-infused washes onto each canvas, letting them spill and pool into organic forms. She then works amongst the pours’ accidental outlines, reentering them to build up arrangements of distinct shapes and planes. These varied passages include an array of textures, from raw canvas, velvety brushstrokes, and silkscreen overlays to powdered pigments, gold leaf, and wooly fibers. Their multiplicity stems, in part, from Lapin’s turn to Photoshop as a tool to imagine hundreds of potential permutations for each composition before determining its final state. Though she translates her painterly effects back onto the canvas using traditional, analog techniques, many bare the trace of their digital origins. In I/M Possible Light, a rich, evenly diffused spray of ultramarine blue recalls Photoshop’s airbrush function; part of a pale pink field seems wiped away by Photoshop’s Eraser Tool; and painted gradients and trompe l’oeil drop-shadows speak in the same cut-and-paste language of design software. Lapin moves willfully between an aura of hyper-real digital space and a grounded, earthly physicality in an effort to destabilize viewers, leaving them to hover in a state of irresolution as to what they are witnessing.

Though the collage-like facets in Lapin’s new paintings seem to drift amongst each other, often floating in an atmospheric ether, they also form coherent units with a distinct sense of foreground and background. One can imagine entering these works physically, delving into their unlikely worlds to touch their textures and inhabit their architectures. These spaces are conceived as manifestations of how the mind operates in the realm of dreams, where it adheres to a logic unbound by reality: Synaptic firings in the mind lead to images that make little sense once awake, yet while immersed in dreams, we believe wholeheartedly in their strange, flowing reasoning. Lapin repeats visual cues from one canvas to the next—identical slivers of sky, the dappled streak of a paint roller, galaxies and forested views—offering connective tissues between these worlds, while also acknowledging the tenuousness with which each element finds meaning in any one painting.

Vague bodily figures populate Lapin’s abstracted spaces, giving each a sense of action, reaction, and movement. The charcoal pours in Watchers and Winks take on the unmistakable guise of human profiles, and outlines of legs appear on the shores of a peach-toned seascape. An imprint in the upper right—a silkscreened image of Lapin’s face, pressed to distortion—inserts a record of the artist’s own body. These and other morphing objects function like characters and props on a bizarre stage set—a performative setting that A Play dramatizes with its roughly outlined curtain and play of spotlights and shadows.

Lapin’s works ultimately offer a logic that remains abstract, arcane, and just out of reach. Though she has rendered her painted worlds with careful precision, they nevertheless exude a palpable sense of mystery and possibility, as well as a reminder to be prepared, at any moment, for the ground to shift beneath our feet.

Annie Lapin was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 2001; a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004; and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. One-person exhibitions of Lapin’s work have been presented at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC (2013); Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA (2012); Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA (2009); and Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO (2008). Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as Her Crowd: New Art by Women from Our Neighbors’ Private Collections, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT (2016); Sincerely Yours, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2015); The Go-Between, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy (2014); Chasm of the Supernova, Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA (2012); La Californie, The Museum of Public Fiction, Los Angeles, CA (2011); Baker’s Dozen III, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2011); Unfinished Paintings, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA (2011); and NewNow, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS (2009). Lapin was the recipient of the Falk Visiting Artist Reward from the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC in 2013.

Guthrie Lonergan – 2006

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce 2006, Guthrie Lonergan’s debut solo exhibition. A reception will be held at the gallery on November 5 from 6–8pm, and the exhibition will be on view through December 16, 2016.

The videos and websites on view in 2006, most of which were produced in that year, are among Guthrie Lonergan’s earliest artworks. They demonstrate an interest in what has become one of his central themes: the traces of humanity existing in the impersonal structures and aesthetics of the internet. The works in 2006 also exemplify Lonergan’s ongoing exploration into the concept of the default as both an easy-to-use software preset and, more generally, a template for how we use language, pose for the camera, or perform other everyday interactions with technology. For Lonergan, choosing to exhibit these works a decade after their production also functions as a portrait of the years around 2006 as a transitional era in which the internet was rapidly evolving, in Lonergan’s words, “from the wild west of personal websites to the shopping mall of current-day social media feeds.” In order to mark the decade of transformation that’s passed since 2006, the gallery will become an E-waste collection site where visitors and members of the local community are invited to recycle their outdated electronics for the duration of the exhibition.

Through his involvement with online communities such as the internet surf club Nasty Nets, Lonergan developed the characteristic dry wit and conceptual clarity found in his work as well as a keen awareness that the internet was changing into something at once both more accessible and more controlled. The works in 2006 were either produced on software loaded with default settings (such as iMovie) or they feature appropriated examples of other people using similar types of basic digital tools. For example, in A Sound Investment (2006) and 2001<<<>>>2006 (2007), Lonergan pairs generic default video effects such as automated zooms, wipes, and mirroring with other pieces of media to create playful and poetic juxtapositions. Meanwhile, in Myspace Intro Playlist (2006), he pieces together videos in which teenage users of the then-dominant social media platform Myspace address the camera and introduce themselves with invariably similar lines: “What’s up, Myspace? Welcome to my page,” etc. By editing these short videos together, Lonergan reveals how speech patterns and body language can become default modes of expression parallel to the default design of the Myspace profile page itself. The videos are also indicative of the internet circa 2006: Although the teens’ eager solicitations hint at the “like economy” that we are now familiar with on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, they address “everyone” on Myspace rather than a select group of “friends” and “followers.”

The scope of Lonergan’s investigations of the internet includes the physical hardware required to display these virtual worlds. Bugs in Screens Playlist (2006) points to the materiality of the screen through a compilation of found YouTube videos in which someone demonstrates how a bug—an actual insect as opposed to a computer “bug”—is caught in their computer monitor. In Domain (2006), Lonergan juxtaposes video depicting navigation through a basic 3D world with appropriated photos of hardware rigs set up by hardcore gamers in their bedrooms. “Domain” refers to both a virtual location on the web and the grand dwellings the gamers have designed. By focusing on the hardware as he does in these videos and by transforming part of the gallery into an E-waste collection location, Lonergan confronts the ephemerality of net art: Unless it is skillfully preserved, art produced using the computer technology of its own moment lives and dies with the capabilities, file formats, aspect ratios, and default settings of that moment.

In 2006, now-forgotten buzzwords like “Web 2.0” were part of daily conversation. The massively scaled hubs that now dominate the internet such as YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia were just beginning their reach into mainstream life, and there was still excitement and optimism around the possibilities of the internet. Situated at this technological and cultural pivot point, these early works by Lonergan seem like artifacts from a different time, marking the beginning of a new era for the internet.

Guthrie Lonergan was born in 1984 in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006. His work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Ordinary Pictures, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2016); BYOB MOCA LA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Is This Thing On?, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH (2011); Video Dada, University Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, CA (2010); The Generational: Younger Than Jesus, New Museum, New York, NY (2009); New Wave, Internet Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2009); mybiennialisbetterthanyours, 10th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2009); and Montage: Unmonumental Online, New Museum, New York, NY (2008).

Kaz Oshiro – A Standard

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce our third exhibition with Kaz Oshiro. A Standard will be on view January 7-February 25, 2017 with an opening reception on January 7 from 6-8pm.

Kaz Oshiro conflates painting and sculpture to explore our perception of dimension and illusion. Primarily using conventional painting materials, Oshiro builds three-dimensional replicas of familiar, mass-produced objects like kitchen cabinets or trash dumpsters to scale, painting stretched planes of canvas with exacting detail. While Oshiro’s art often pushes the concept of representation in painting beyond convention, he has also explored non-objective painting. Featuring intense monochromatic fields of color, his series of “broken” paintings are shaped canvases that bend into corners or lean into one another.

Oshiro’s newest subject is the I-beam, the standard construction material that, along with ironwork, characterized the Industrial Revolution. Steel I-beams are emblematic of the rise of an American industrialist class who amassed unprecedented fortunes during a period in which business was largely unregulated. Without steel and I-beams in particular, skyscrapers and modern cities would be unthinkable. When architects turned the focus of their practices to the problem of housing during the population boom following World War II, the I-beam played a pivotal role in the invention of post and beam architecture. This style is endemic to southern California where practitioners like Joseph Eichler, Charles and Ray Eames, and others proposed the use of “off the shelf” prefabricated materials requiring limited treatment to keep costs down and build times short. These experiments that were intended to bring beautiful, affordable housing to the masses are now among the most coveted and expensive architectural properties in the region.

Echoing this irony, Oshiro’s new series of I-beams crafted from wood and canvas prompt consideration of the promise of industry to boost economies, the destruction of the environment through mining for raw materials, the origins of American fortune, and the unfulfilled utopian promises of both industrialization and post-war architecture. The paintings accurately mimic the standardization in production that reaches back generations to early American factories. Made by hand and presented in an art context, the paintings reveal the degree of effort required for their making, suggesting that the success of the Industrial Revolution can be attributed at least in part to the ceaseless work of exploited laborers adhering to a Protestant work ethic as described by Max Weber in 1905. This integration of an image of a mass-produced object with the subject of American industry repeated over and over again is a meditation on progress.

Though the spare installation, modular forms, and simplicity of composition in the exhibition suggest an homage to minimal art, Oshiro is most interested in what he calls “dirty minimalism,” a variation on the aesthetics of minimalism that allows for subject matter beyond the artwork itself; more Dan Graham than Sol Lewitt, for instance. Indeed, like Graham, Oshiro is deeply connected to music, and the ideas put forward by composers like John Cage, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich, for example, which led the way for alternative approaches to musical form that have been influential for Oshiro. While the simplicity of the installation of the exhibition recalls the repetitive structures of minimal music, the image of the I-beam also conjures the sounds of industrial machinery and construction reflected in early experiments in noise music, rooting these new works in the legacy of the connections between avant-garde art and music in the later part of the twentieth century.

Kaz Oshiro was born in Okinawa, Japan in 1967 and lives in Los Angeles. He received Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees from the California State University, Los Angeles. One-person exhibitions of his work have been presented at Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Charles White Elementary School Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2013); Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan (2007); Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas, NV (2007); and Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2005). His work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Space Between, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY (2015); Visual Deception II: Into the Future, Bunkamura: The Museum, Tokyo Japan (2014); Between Critique and Absorption: Contemporary Art and Consumer Culture, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI (2013); Simulacrum, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH (2012); Bruce Connor and the Primal Scene of Punk Rock, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO (2012); Lifelike, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2012); New Image Sculpture, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2011); Artist’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2010); Less is less, more is more, that’s all, CAPC Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France (2008); One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA (2007); Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2005); Nothing Compared to This, Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH (2004); and California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2004).

Kenny Scharf – Blox and Bax

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Kenny Scharf: Blox and Bax, our fifth exhibition with Kenny Scharf. An opening reception featuring performances by Ann Magnuson will be held at the gallery from 6-8pm on March 11, 2017.

In his paintings, sculptures, videos, public artworks, and installations, Kenny Scharf unites political ideas with a pop aesthetic, critiquing mainstream media and rampant commercialism through his art. For his new exhibition, Scharf has produced three distinct but related bodies of work. Monumental in scale, the BLOCKHEADZ paintings feature square and rectangular cartoon faces in loose grid patterns that recall hard-edged abstraction and color field paintings. Occasional breaks between the faces reveal the galactic skyscapes that have appeared in Scharf’s work since the 1970s. Using abandoned television monitors found on sidewalks around the city, Scharf transforms the matte black and silver plastic TVs into brightly painted faces for his series TV BAX. Finally, Scharf’s Assemblage Tableaux Vivants series comprises wall-mounted assemblages pieced together from found plastic toys and games. Scharf uses paint along with plastic beads and decorations, layering colors and objects to create fantastical, intimate dioramas that reference Scharf’s lifelong concern about the detrimental environmental effects of discarded plastic. These three series all engage rectilinear forms as framing and structuring devices but resist the traditional rigidity of the grid, inviting playful imagery and bold color into its structure.

On March 11, renowned actor, artist, singer, and writer Ann Magnuson will appear at the gallery for the second time. These performance events, along with our annual week of performance art, are part of the gallery’s larger effort to stage live art in the gallery context. Magnuson will debut her new character Dream Goddess, an evolution of the Dream Girl character she brought to life in her recent album of the same name. The Dream Goddess performances will include short videos that incorporate works from the new exhibition Kenny Scharf: Blox and Bax.

Since the late 1970s, Magnuson and Scharf have been close friends and collaborators. Both were key figures in Club 57, a seminal venue for performance art, music, and film in New York’s East Village. On October 31, 2017, the Museum of Modern Art in New York will open Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978-1983, the first exhibition to document Club 57. Magnuson and Scharf both played a critical role in shaping the wild, eclectic aesthetic of the legendary club by presenting their own work and collaborating with the other members on programs and exhibitions. The MoMA exhibition–along with its accompanying catalogue–is co-organized by Magnuson with MoMA Department of Film Curator Ronald Magliozzi and Assistant Curator Sophie Cavoulacos and will feature artworks from the period as well as extensive ephemera from Club 57 participants’ archives.

In 2015, Scharf was the subject of a one-person exhibition at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. As part of the museum’s Hammer Projects series, Scharf created a site-specific mural with brightly colored characters, spontaneous gestures, and abstract shapes that led viewers through the lobby and into the museum’s courtyard. From January 27 through May 14, 2017, When the Worlds Collide (1984) will be featured in Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s, an exhibition of selections from the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Kenny Scharf was born in 1958 in Los Angeles and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1980. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented four exhibitions of Scharf’s work to date: Born Again (2015); Pop Renaissance (2013); Hodgepodge (2012); and Barberadise (2009). One-person exhibitions of Scharf’s work have been presented at the Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2015); Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR (2015); Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA (2004); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2001); Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, OR (1999); Salvador Dalí Museum, Saint Petersburg, FL (1997); University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, IL (1997); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico (1996); and Museum of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL (1995).

Scharf’s public artworks are on view at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Los Angeles, CA; Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA; Davis Bros Tire Pros, Culver City, CA; West Adams Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; and other locations around the world.

Scharf is included in public collections such as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Rosson Crow – The Happiest People on Earth

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Rosson Crow’s fourth exhibition with the gallery, The Happiest People on Earth. A reception will be held at the gallery on April 28, 2017 from 6–8pm, and the exhibition will remain on view through June 15.

Rosson Crow’s new paintings depict the search for off-the-grid freedom in the American West. Building from her explorations of the psychology of nationalism and conspiracy in American history, Crow has moved away from the surreal interiors she’s known for to a new terrain and a new timeframe: desert landscapes set in a future overwhelmed by the refuse of the paranoid present. Littered among giant, brightly hued cacti, objects from the worlds of fringe cults and right wing conspiracy grapple for our attention. Without depicting any people associated with these groups, they are felt as a presence through what they’ve left behind.

Copies of The National Enquirer</em>; a handmade sign declaring, “This Community is Protected by Smith & Wesson”; bumper stickers representing crude commercial slogans slapped on the surfaces of painted Native American ceramics; and stacks of beer cans representing “hillbilly” brands like Gilley’s or Billy Beer (the beer company promoted by Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy Carter) clog the landscape. Crow sourced this imagery from her archive of snapshots taken during road trips, vintage postcards and memorabilia, and pin up posters, as well as the Internet. Collectively, these images represent the dark side of Manifest Destiny pushed beyond reason.

Produced in the lead-up to and aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Crow’s desert is choked with natural and man-made iconography to the point of visual excess. At first glance the layers of color and line suggest abstraction. For Crow, this approach to depicting the desert as dense rather than empty reflects a recent turn in the national psyche. Once relegated to the margins of society, the voice of conspiracy is growing beyond its roots into the mainstream, all the way up to the Oval Office. In Crow’s words, “We live in a time with alternative facts, fake news and distorted realities, a time when reality ceases to be real, and no one trusts anything or anyone, especially their own government.” The aggressive, anxious, and vaguely post-apocalyptic mood she conjures in her new paintings suggests that this spread of conspiracy culture beyond the fringe could be perilous.

As with much of her recent work, Crow’s process involves a photo transfer technique in which she intentionally invites “mistakes” such as doublings of imagery or imperfect alignments between sections of images. Crow combines her transfer process with expressive gestures in oil paint, creating both immediacy and harmony in the energetic compositions. Automated processes intersect with the human hand, mirroring Crow’s landscapes in which the man-made intersects with the natural. The resulting works are a cinematic turn on the tradition of large-scale history painting in which a chaos of imagery is controlled to an unnerving stillness.

Rosson Crow was born in 1982 in Dallas, Texas and lives in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 2004 and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University in 2006. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented three previous exhibitions of her work: Madame Psychosis Holds a Séance (2015); Ballyhoo Hullabaloo Haboob (2012); and Night at the Palomino (2008). One-person exhibitions of her work have been presented at Musée Régional d’Art Contemporain de Sérignan, France (2014); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH (2010); and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Forth Worth, TX (2009). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Contemporary Magic: A Tarot Deck Art Project, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (2011); Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2010); Le Meilleur des Mondes, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, France (2010); New York Minute, Macro Future Museum, Rome, Italy (2009); and Out of Storage I: Painters Choose from the Collection, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, France (2008).

Morris Louis

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present a survey of paintings by Morris Louis. The exhibition will be on view from June 23 through August 30, 2017.

“It could be argued that Louis’s synthesis of the separable elements of painting is the most complete and complex to date; and that the veils announce a new phase in the history of art.”
– Barbara Rose, “Quality in Louis,” Artforum, Oct. 1971

Before his untimely death at the age of 50 in 1962, Morris Louis painted more than 650 canvases. Working on the floor in his small suburban dining room studio, Louis developed his particular style of staining unprimed canvas with Magna acrylic by pouring the liquid pigment onto the canvas and directing it to run across, down, and around the canvas. Art historian and critic Barbara Rose acknowledged Louis’s importance in the history of painting by pointing to his pivotal series of “veils,” so called due to the curtain-like washes of gossamer color Louis laid onto the canvases. Along with his veils, Louis’s unfurled and stripe series mark crucial moments in his oeuvre, in the evolution of Color Field painting, and in American painting more broadly.

Drawing upon the twin influences of Jackson Pollock’s unprecedented athleticism and all-over composition and Helen Frankenthaler’s groundbreaking use of pigment to stain the canvas in her 1952 painting Mountains and Sea, Louis was driven to find pathways that would lead to new ways to paint. While Pollock put distance between his brush and the canvas by dripping the paint from the end of his brushes and Frankenthaler combined direct staining with traditional paint application, Louis eradicated tools from his process altogether, pouring his pigment onto unprimed canvas then using gravity to direct the paint over the canvas as it absorbed into the warp and weft of the fabric.

Though Louis pursued a pure abstraction unhindered by associations to anything beyond the picture, the veils recall formations of land affected by the movement of water: rivulets and channels of running water, erosion, fluvial planes. The unfurled and stripe series possess a boldness and immediacy that achieves full non-representation. This exhibition will look at the various periods of Louis’s short but extraordinary career with paintings that have been largely unseen on the west coast.

William Leavitt – Cycladic Figures

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present William Leavitt: Cycladic Figures. A reception will be held at the gallery from 6–8pm on September 9, 2017, and the exhibition will remain on view through October 23, 2017.

The artworks on view in William Leavitt: Cycladic Figures portray worlds layered upon worlds, each suggestive of an uncanny science fiction story met with Southern California vernacular design and architecture. In Faraday Cage, for example, a wood and metal cage used to block electromagnetic fields envelopes a plastic lawn chair. Both objects are situated in front of the false walls and props of a film set designed to resemble a makeshift garage laboratory. The scene was employed as a set in William Leavitt’s new film Cycladic Figures, and its recontextualization as a sculpture suggests that Leavitt isn’t just creating images within which a narrative may take place but an entire alternate reality on a parallel plane. By displaying sets from his plays or films as sculptural installations and by including his paintings in the sets for his plays or films, Leavitt destabilizes the medium and location of his works. The result yields multiple perspectives: an array of objects in physical space, a suggested narrative playing out in the viewer’s mind, and a working set in a film.

Leavitt further explores these ideas of multiplicity in his paintings and works on paper. In his Head Space series, the faces of two figures appear in silhouette. The figures—along with the title of the exhibition—refer to sculptures produced in the Cyclades islands off the coast of Greece nearly five thousand years ago. The backgrounds comprise faraway landscapes, urban settings, and grassy fields. Rather than creating a traditional portrait, Leavitt offers the faces as picture planes unto themselves, the silhouettes filled with images of ancient architectural remains or an array of objects floating in space. As in Leavitt’s sculptural installations, his painted scenes are composed of layers that beckon us to engage our imaginations with the stories they offer.

Since the late 1960s, Los Angeles-based artist William Leavitt’s work has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions including an extensive survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2011. The Musée d’art moderne et contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland will present a retrospective in October 2017. Leavitt’s work has been included in thematic exhibitions around the world and is housed in public collections such as Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Miriam Schapiro

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s first exhibition of paintings by pioneer Feminist artist Miriam Schapiro. Presented in conjunction with exhibitions of videos by Jeremy Blake and paintings by Mel Davis, a reception will be held at the gallery on November 4, 2017 from 4-7pm.

While living in California during the years 1967 through 1975, Miriam Schapiro embarked on a groundbreaking series of paintings made with the aid of computer imaging. The exhibition is organized with the assistance of Eric Firestone Gallery and the Estate of Miriam Schapiro, and will feature eight works made between 1967 and 1971. The exhibition marks the first time these works will be seen on the west coast since their making.

Born in Toronto, Canada in 1923, Schapiro moved with her family to Brooklyn, New York during the Great Depression. Encouraged by her mother to be an artist, Schapiro took art classes at the Museum of Modern Art before attending the State University of Iowa, where she received a Bachelor of Arts (1945), Master of Arts (1946), and Master of Fine Arts (1949). While in Iowa, she met and married the painter Paul Brach, with whom she moved back to New York in 1951. The couple immersed themselves in and were embraced by the community of artists and gallerists in New York City. Schapiro’s work in the still-reigning abstract expressionist vein was exhibited regularly, most notably at the Tanager and Stable galleries as well as André Emmerich Gallery, where she was represented from 1958 to 1976.

By the 1960s, Schapiro was using collage as a way to experiment with color, shape, and space. Composed of geometric, hard-edged shapes, large works like Borrega Take and Byzantium, both from 1967, possess a flatness akin to the small paper collages she assembled with shapes cut from colored paper as studies for paintings. That year, Schapiro had moved with Brach to San Diego, California, where he was invited to head the fledgling art program at the University of California. While teaching painting at the university, Schapiro met physicist David Nabilof with whom she began to collaborate on computer-aided preliminary sketches for her increasingly hard-edged paintings. Schapiro was able to use the computer to plot every point in her simple geometric drawings and collages in digital space and then manipulate the compositions virtually before ever making a mark on canvas. The process offered infinite variations on her visual concepts, but perhaps more significantly, the use of the computer allowed her to see space in a new way.

The twin influences of collage and digital imaging (which, it is important to note, was barely known at the time) created a productive tension between flatness and depth that is constantly at work in Shapiro’s paintings from this period and beyond. While works such as the aforementioned Borrega Take and Byzantium, along with Canyon (1967) and Normal Heights (1969), are frontally oriented arrangements of geometric forms that favor vertical stacking, paintings like Thunderbird (1970) and Computer Series (1969) offer transparent architectonic shapes floating in color fields that upend the need for orientation along a prescribed axis.

These modes come together in paintings such as Keyhole (1971), in which a solid form described in pink, blue, and red planes—an aggregate shape that we might have seen standing upright and filling the canvas in an earlier Schapiro painting—is leaned on its side, drastically foreshortened, and stretched to the edges of the picture plane. Awkwardly contained within the frame, the shape floats in a misty, light blue sky-space that recalls the color fields in paintings like Thunderbird and Computer Series.

Schapiro had moved to Valencia, California in 1969, a move that was necessitated once again by a career opportunity for Brach, who was invited to become the founding dean of the School of Art at California Institute of the Arts. At CalArts, Schapiro met Judy Chicago, and they co-founded the Feminist Art Program there in 1971. Since 1967, Schapiro had been painting variations on the form of an overlapping or interlocking O and X. Big Ox (1967), Side Ox (1968), and Fallen Ox (1969-70) all feature this motif, but each is painted from a different perspective so that we view the image frontally, from the side, and from an extreme angle. The form in Keyhole is a variation on the OX form, a theme that Schapiro explored in the search for a way to paint that would reconcile her identities as “woman” and as “artist.” Like Chicago, Schapiro developed what both artists referred to as “central core” compositions that were intended as a yonic counterpoint to conventionally “masculine” imagery that emerged from the male-dominated art world. Keyhole is a significant moment in the burgeoning conversation around aesthetics and feminism in the first years of the 1970s.

As Schapiro developed her ideas within her paintings, she became one of the foremost figures in the feminist art movement. Her use of “femmage”—a term Schapiro coined to describe collage that addressed the female experience of the world—also made her a prominent voice in Pattern and Decoration. Looking back at Schapiro’s use of computers in the 1960s, her early direct participation in second wave feminism, and her pioneering femmage works, Schapiro was continually ahead of her time.

Miriam Schapiro was born in Toronto, Canada in 1923 and died in Hampton Bays, New York in 2015. She received a Bachelor of Arts (1945), Master of Arts (1946), and Master of Fine Arts (1949) from the State University of Iowa in Iowa City and was the co-founder with Judy Chicago of the Feminist Art Program at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 1971. In addition to numerous one-person exhibitions of her work, traveling retrospective exhibitions have been organized by the Vassar College Gallery, Poughkeepsie, NY (1980); Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY (2000); Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Miami, FL (2001); and the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA (2002). Schapiro has been included in thematic exhibitions around the world and co-organized the groundbreaking exhibition Womanhouse in 1972. In March 2018, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York will present Surface/Depth: The Decorative after Miriam Schapiro, a critical assessment of Schapiro’s legacy in contemporary art. Schapiro is the recipient of awards such as the Visual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and honorary doctorates from College of Wooster, Wooster, OH; California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA; Lawrence University, Appleton, WI; Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN; Miami University, Oxford, OH; and Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA. In 2006, the Miriam Schapiro Archives for Women Artists was established at Rutgers University. Schapiro’s work is in public collections including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Jewish Museum, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Sol LeWitt

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works spanning 1966 through 2000 by Sol LeWitt.

Over his long career of nearly 50 years, Sol LeWitt made seminal contributions to the ongoing dialogue of Art. Alongside Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, and Robert Morris, LeWitt pushed the New York art scene beyond Modernism and into Conceptual Art. His work was included in seminal international exhibitions like Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum in New York (1966), Documenta IV in Kassel, Germany (1968), and When Attitudes Become Form at Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland (1969). Beyond his explorations on paper, in three-dimensions, and on the wall of the infinite possibilities of geometric forms and the line, his seminal writings Paragraphs on Conceptual Art (1967) and Sentences on Conceptual Art (1969) are required reading for students of Art and Art history.

This exhibition of sculptures and works on paper made between 1966 and 2000 by Sol LeWitt illustrate the varied ways in which he explored the cube as a unit. In Serial Project ABCD 5 (1968), the earliest work presented in the show, LeWitt diagrammed a square platform with gaffers tape and built smaller squares upwards, demonstrating how each square can ostensibly be divided into many repeated forms to almost the molecular level. This simultaneous progression and breaking down can be seen in each of LeWitt’s works and his experiments with shifts in scale from one work to another allow for a dynamic experience when seen together.

Sol LeWitt (Hartford, CT, 1928–New York, 2007) received a BFA from Syracuse University, NY. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions since first showing at John Daniels Gallery, New York in 1965. Major monographic and retrospectives exhibitions were organized by the Centre Pompidou-Metz, France (2012); the Public Art Fund (2011); Walker Art Center (2010); Dia:Beacon (2011, 2006, 2005); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT (2010, 2001, 1981, 1976); Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA (2008); Williams College, Williamstown, MA (2008); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008, 1996); the San Francisco Museum of Art (2000, 1974); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2000); Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (1996, 1984); the Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom (1986); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (1984); Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (1975); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburg, Scotland (1974); New York Cultural Center, New York (1974); and Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (1972).

His work can be found in many public collections including Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Dia:Beacon, NY; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Collection, London, United Kingdom; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

William Leavitt – The small laboratory

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present William Leavitt: The small laboratory. The exhibition will be on view from January 16 through March 5, 2016.

In his sculptures, paintings, drawings, and plays, William Leavitt offers up familiar yet strange worlds suspended in time. The small laboratory is both a sculpture and a stage set for a play with the same title. Percolating liquids, faux flames, copper wires and various antennae suggest an active science laboratory, but the absence of anyone carrying out experiments leaves the narrative open ended. As such, the backdrop does not disappear into the shadows, but instead becomes the subject of our attention. Like many of Leavitt’s sculpture-cum-stage sets, The small laboratory seems to exist in a perpetual state of becoming or in a moment in the just past. The sense that something may take place any second or has just occurred generates a pleasantly disorienting atmosphere that confronts our expectations of conventional static sculpture.

Leavitt’s sculptures, paintings, and drawings have often featured scientific references like telescopes and molecular models as well as references to the futuristic architectural and design that is common in the built environment of post-World War II southern California. In The small laboratory, the tropes of a science lab indicate ongoing experiments of some sort, but what is being studied remains unstated. The play that Leavitt has written to be performed with the sculpture involves three scientists working together in a laboratory on critical experiments. The play’s intrigue arises not only from the urgency of their work, but from the age-old, all too human dramas of competition and desire.

Since the late 1960s, Los Angeles-based artist William Leavitt’s work has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions including an extensive survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2011. His work has been included in thematic exhibitions around the world and is included in public collections such as Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Andy Warhol – Shadows

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Andy Warhol: Shadows. The exhibition will be on view from March 18 through April 23, 2016.

Known for his appropriations of popular culture and advertising vernacular, Andy Warhol is synonymous with Pop Art. In the second half of the 1970s, however, Warhol became increasingly preoccupied with the darker side of mass culture. With precedents in works like his Electric Chair series, Warhol’s aesthetics of repetition shifted from a critical celebration of Madison Avenue marketing to moody studies of existential concepts like absence and mortality. His Still Life, Hammer and Sickle and Skulls series from the 1970s use shadows to accentuate contrast. As a result, the subjects of these series – and many of his self-portraits from the same period – are thrown ever deeper into abstraction.

In 1978, Heiner Friedrich, co-founder of what is now known as Dia Art Foundation, invited Warhol to create a site-specific artwork for a space in New York’s Soho neighborhood. Warhol used the opportunity to create what he called “disco décor,” an immersive installation of 102 large canvases that hung edge to edge around the perimeter of the room. More abstract than any of Warhol’s previous works, the canvases layer silkscreened images of shadows over painted backgrounds in seventeen different colors. Though the 1978 installation included only two shadow images, various others were used by Warhol in the complete Shadows series, comprising not only the 102 paintings in the collection of Dia Art Foundation but smaller painted canvases and works on paper, many of which have been brought together for this exhibition.

While Warhol limited himself to monochromatic backgrounds for the grouping of 102 canvases, he explored color in both the backgrounds and silkscreened shadow forms in the smaller works. Veering toward the psychedelic, some canvases swirl with thick rainbows of pastel pigment while elegant combinations of silkscreened color give the works on paper an exploratory yet refined feel. Diamond dust sprinkled atop the works gives some of the forms an added illusion of depth, managing – like so much of Warhol’s work – to be at once glamorous and smart.

Following Camouflage in 2011 and Robots & Space Ships in 2013, Andy Warhol: Shadows is the third exhibition of works by Andy Warhol presented by Honor Fraser Gallery. Four years in the making, Andy Warhol: Shadows is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue designed by Brian Roettinger with a new essay by Vincent Fremont.

Alexis Smith – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Alexis Smith: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, an exhibition of an installation by Alexis Smith with Amy Gerstler and a selection of recent collages by Smith. The exhibition will be on view from July 5 through August 27, 2016.

Familiar from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s late-eighteenth-century poem, its musical interpretation a century later by the composer Paul Dukas, or Walt Disney Studios’ ever-popular animated film Fantasia (1940), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice evokes cultural memories spanning time and mediums. Smith’s idiosyncratic collection of brooms—gathered in the dozens from flea markets and alleyway dumpsters—stand in as the main characters in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Lined up in a manner recalling a chorus line of showgirls, perhaps ready to multiply magically at a moment’s notice, the brooms are joined by a host of other found objects and wall drawings interspersed with texts penned by Gerstler. The texts move quickly beyond the titular reference to the eponymous fairytale and employ the figure of the broom to explore the twin poles of work and play, stereotypical gender roles, and the age-old myths and archetypes that still permeate contemporary society. Laid out variously as waving lines, structured poems, and circuitous dialogues, Gerstler’s evocative texts play off of Smith’s imagery and suggest myriad and at times violent connotations of the verb “to sweep.”

This layering of temporal and cultural references is a mainstay of Alexis Smith’s work, which for over four decades has dissected the motivations and anxieties that constitute everyday life in America. Using an enigmatic blend of surrealism, familiarity, and humor that might be considered uniquely Californian, Smith collects commonplace objects, images, and texts and complicates our understanding of them through revealing juxtapositions. Wordplay and puns abound, acting as gateways to subtler observations that incorporate nuanced appropriations from history, literature, film, and pop culture. Across Smith’s body of work, and likewise in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, her astute pairings and modifications call out for interpretation but settle on no obvious meaning. This is Smith’s second exhibition with the gallery; a previous collaboration between Smith and Gerstler, Past Lives (1989), was on view at Honor Fraser Gallery in 2013. Initially exhibited in 2000, this is the first time since 2003 that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will be on view. A selection of Smith’s recent collages will accompany the installation.

Alexis Smith was born in 1949 in Los Angeles, where she lives today. She received a BA from University of California, Irvine in 1970. One person exhibitions of Smith’s work have been mounted at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, La Jolla, CA (2015); University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, WY (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA (2000); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (1997); J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA (1997); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (1991); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (1991). Her work has been included in nearly 200 thematic exhibitions, including recently Drawing in L.A.: the 1960s and 70s, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2011); and elles@centrepompidou, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (2009). Smith has completed several major public commissions, including a mural for the Las Vegas Central Library; terrazzo floors at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; and a site specific installation for The Stuart Collection, University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA. Her work is included public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Ry Rocklen – L.A. RELICS

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Ry Rocklen: L.A. Relics, on view September 10 through October 27, 2016. A reception will be held at the gallery on September 10 from 6-8pm. This exhibition is Rocklen’s first with Honor Fraser Gallery and his first in Los Angeles since 2009.

Ry Rocklen’s new sculptures offer a compendium of the diverse concepts and modalities that have permeated his practice over the past decade including altering commonplace objects; utilizing his personal possessions; casting clothing and found objects; and producing two-sided sculptures in which objects are flattened, given form, and flattened again via photography, clay, and mirrors. Collectively, Rocklen’s new works insist on the depth and pathos—but also the absurdity—of the everyday.

The evidence of wear and tear in much of Rocklen’s new sculpture evokes memory and nostalgia. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Rocklen is influenced by the landscapes and events that have marked his evolution as a person and an artist. His memory of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics is a particular touchstone for his current work. In a year that includes both a summer Olympics and a presidential election, ideas about international unity and both civic responsibility and national identity are woven through these sculptures.

The found object has long functioned as a cornerstone of Rocklen’s approach to sculpture. Most recently, the streets, shops, and surroundings of Los Angeles have served as his wellspring. A dinged and dented City of Los Angeles trashcan’s metal mesh is pierced with dollar bills that have been coated with sand; a bank of gym lockers is perforated to reveal a copper-plated interior; a found terrycloth pillow in the shape of a Sprite can is cast in shiny aluminum; and hundreds of tiles of cast clothing from Rocklen’s personal wardrobe and found apparel are assembled into a wall relief that features three showerheads, suggesting a gym locker room or the bathroom in a counter-cultural commune. Through modifications of scale, material, and subtext, Rocklen celebrates the public, open-ended nature of his objects and imbues them with a presence at once dignified and peculiar. Taken together, this grouping of sculptures evokes idealized, collective spaces where people congregate to better their lives through communal activity and civic engagement.

Rocklen’s L.A. Relics series extends this meditation on public space—particularly in Los Angeles—and the shared histories embedded in common forms. Each of these sculptures centers on an object that the artist encountered in his everyday travels through the city: a mystical-looking cat pillow; a crumpled empty water bottle, caked with dirt; a baby’s car seat shaped like Batman. Represented in two-sided forms placed on glass shelves with mirrored backing, each sculpture has a flat side facing outward and a low relief form facing away from the viewer and reflected in the mirror. Photographs of the objects are glazed onto the flat façades of the ceramic forms. The back sides, visible only in their flattened reflections, are modeled from casts of other scavenged items including ropes, Army gear, superhero paraphernalia, and mythological figures. The complex relationships between back and front, flatness and depth, and form and meaning in the L.A. Relics series underscore the dense layers of cultural processing involved in each of Rocklen’s found, altered, and ultimately mitigated objects.

Ry Rocklen was born in Los Angeles in 1978 and lives in Los Angeles. Rocklen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001 and a Masters of Fine Arts from University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 2006. One-person exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA (2014); and Visual Arts Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (2010). His work has been included in group exhibitions such as Sculpture from the Hammer Contemporary Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Wasteland, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, Paris, France (2016); Murmurs: Recent Contemporary Acquisitions, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2013); Baker’s Dozen, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2012); Made in L.A. 2012, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Nothing Beside Remains, LAND: Marfa, Los Angeles, CA (2011); Home Alone, Sender Collection, Miami, FL (2011); Knock, Knock! From the Collection of Paul and Sara Monroe, The Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (2011); Second Nature: The Valentine-Adelson Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2009); Athens Bienniale 2009 HEAVEN, Athens, Greece (2009); That Was Then…This Was Now, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2008); The Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2008); and Red Eye, The Rubell Collection, Miami, FL (2006).

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Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present default curated by Eden Phair with participating artists Trisha Baga, Morgan Canavan, Cheryl Donegan, Victoria Fu, Guthrie Lonergan, Miami-Dutch, Erin Jane Nelson, Adam Parker Smith, Jesse Stecklow, and Mungo Thomson. The exhibition will be on view from April 30 through June 11, 2016 with a reception for the artists at the gallery on April 30, 2016 from 6-8pm.

Often seen in early online publishing platforms like Angelfire or WordPress, defaults are preselected options computer programs provide when no alternative is specified by the user. As artist Guthrie Lonergan notes on his webpage Hacking vrs. defaults (2007), the most banal websites are generally constructed from these preselected options. In desktop computer programs like Photoshop and iMovie, defaults allow users to digitally mimic complex aesthetic techniques like color gradients with the click of a mouse. The result can be described as what artist Michael Bell-Smith referred to in his 2013 talk Image Employment at MoMA PS1 as the “readymade affect.” In 1915, Marcel Duchamp first applied the term “readymade” to his sculpture Prelude to a Broken Arm, a store-bought snow shovel suspended from the ceiling. By using the term readymade to describe an aesthetic affect achieved via digital defaults, Bell-Smith aligns intangible phenomena online with tangible objects in physical space, positioning the default in direct dialogue with the historical readymade. The artists in default utilize mass-produced objects, found images, video, or basic computer software default settings as readymades, thereby raising questions about the status of images and the concept of the unique art object in the broader culture.

Trisha Baga (b. 1985) creates layered, immersive installations with found objects, video, and photographs. Often incorporating items from her studio, Baga’s environments are reminiscent of descriptions of Marcel Duchamp’s studio where “boundaries between the readymades and the surrounding furniture and studio detritus were nonexistent.”1 Competition/Competition (2012) is an abstract digital animation that is projected through a store-bought water bottle onto a standard size white foam core board. As the light from the projector passes through the bottle, it is refracted onto the board and the surrounding walls.

When Jesse Stecklow (b. 1993) found a discarded dog feeder on a sidewalk, he approached Morgan Canavan (b. 1989) to help him reinterpret its function. Using The Financial Times as a starting point, Canavan rearranged images from the newspaper to create new layouts that he then scanned and printed onto metal sheets. Placing a dog whistle inside, Stecklow repurposed the erstwhile feeder as a base for Canavan’s “newspapers.” The whistle continually emits a sound that is inaudible to humans, suggesting that what we can perceive is not all there is to the world.

Cheryl Donegan (b. 1962) is equally influenced by technology and fashion. Sourcing video from YouTube or shooting original footage with her iPhone, Donegan uploads edited videos to the social media platform Vine for her ongoing video Vines. Intended to be viewed at 480 pixels on a smartphone screen, the videos’ low resolution yields pixelated and distorted images when scaled up to a monitor. In Cheryl (2005), Donegan juxtaposes audio appropriated from a corporate motivational lecture with found low-resolution images of consumer items. Legging Leggings (2015) was made in collaboration with the online vendor Print All Over Me as a further comment on the ubiquity of “do-it-yourself” services that substitute hands-on design and fabrication with templates for “makers” to choose from.

In the series Belle Captive, Victoria Fu (b. 1978) employs stock videos, photographs, and sound that she finds on the internet. As with many of Fu’s works, the presentation of the videos in the series incorporate the surrounding architecture and artist-designed architectural elements to give structure to ephemeral digital images. Removing the subjects from their original backgrounds in found stock videos and photographs, Fu places the figures in front of soft, soothing washes of color that are reminiscent of Color Field paintings and reference the history of cameraless films. Its inclusion in default marks the first presentation of Belle Captive II on the west coast.

To make his new video series Events, Appointments, & Errands, Guthrie Lonergan (b. 1984) collected personal photographs from photo sharing websites like Flickr. Operating like a slideshow or PowerPoint presentation, the videos float from one still image to the next. Calling attention to hackneyed techniques for creating “dynamic” presentations of still images, Lonergan uses rudimentary animation techniques available in iMovie to zoom in or pan out. Events, Appointments, & Errands will be presented on monitors atop a backdrop of printed vinyl wall covering resembling a museum didactic.

Collectively known as Miami-Dutch, Lauren Elder (b. 1990), Brian Khek (b. 1989), André Lenox (b. 1990), Evan Lenox (b. 1990), and Micah Schippa (b. 1988) devised their name from references to a near-extinct language (Miami-Illinois) and a dialect known as Jersey Dutch that disappeared generations ago. Although they all lived together during their time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, they are now scattered across the country and rely on the internet to sustain their collaborations. Mirroring principles of the “creative economy,” Miami-Dutch mine culture to create new symbols to distill contemporary experience.

Erin Jane Nelson (b. 1989) prints fabric with found and original digital images then pieces it together with found clothing, baubles, keepsakes, and detritus in elaborate quilts. For Skin Diver and Little Master (both 2016), Nelson installed a Nest Cam Security Camera in her studio to monitor her dog while she was out. Using a basic screen capture process, Nelson pulled stills from the footage to use as a starting point. Uniting digital images recorded automatically by a machine with the labor-intensive art of quilting, Nelson gives physical form to the constant stream of otherwise ephemeral images.

Recalling paintings and sculptures by artists like Frank Stella and Jeff Koons, Adam Parker Smith’s (b. 1978) bombastic sculptures extrude from the wall like an exaggerated form of bas relief. Smith strategically overlays and weaves readymade materials and objects to create real-world layers that mimic the digital layers familiar to those who use Photoshop. Secured to a pre-fabricated metal grid structure that is often used to display merchandise in retail settings, Smith’s sculptures suggest a reduction of culture to commerce. Blowout (2016) features brightly hued dolphin-shaped balloons, jumpropes, and pool noodles.

Stacks and boxes of vintage Time Life Books collections fill corners of Mungo Thomson’s (b. 1969) studio. Procured from e-commerce websites like eBay, the book sets cover topics from Special Effects to Gems to Home Repair and Improvement. Reminiscent of both minimalist sculpture by Light and Space artists like Peter Alexander or Larry Bell and souvenir items like commemorative paper weights and snow globes, Thomson’s series Inclusions preserves individual books from the Time Life Books collections within thick, clear polished Lucite. The sculptures evoke ideas about the legitimation and transmission of knowledge during an age of transition from books to websites, libraries to the internet.

1 Dorothea Dietrich, Brigid Doherty, Sabine Kriebel, and Leah Dickerman. Dada: Zurich, Berlin, Hanover, Cologne, New York, Paris (District of Columbia: National Gallery of Art, 2008), 287.

Brenna Youngblood – WHAT A FEELING

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Brenna Youngblood’s third exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will be on view January 16 through March 5, 2016 with a reception for the artist on January 16 from 6-8pm.

Exploring the materials and techniques of painting, photography and collage, Brenna Youngblood flirts with the narrative potential of abstraction by combining mediums within the picture plane. Often conveyed via simple compositions, Youngblood’s ideas about the documentary capacities of both painting and photography emerge bit by bit from her elaborately layered and textured surfaces. Like palimpsests of meditations on the human condition, the paintings raise existential questions: What is the nature of desire, of fear? What does it mean to have a body? How do we reckon with mortality?

By incorporating her own photographs and using found images and objects as collage materials within her paintings, Youngblood acknowledges the space of painting as such, asserting the canvas as both an object in its own right and a space within which images are presented and meaning is created. From the thinnest wash of pigment to thick impasto to scumbled hues, Youngblood’s paint is alternately assertive and shy, layered with collage elements that compete for attention. Her union of painting and photography challenges both the status of painting and photography’s claims to veracity. Embracing the tradition of bricolage, Youngblood’s canvases often exceed their limits: Collaged paper buckles up from a surface; paint extends from the picture plane onto a wooden artist’s frame; found signs, grocery bags or even architectural elements like duct vents blend seamlessly into her compositions.

On large double canvases, Youngblood uses repetition to create an expansive visual field. Her canvases of brightly hued, stenciled images (dollar signs and air freshener trees are common in her vernacular) connect her paintings to both Abstract Expressionism (in their non-hierarchical, all-over compositions) and Pop (with their acid colors and familiar images) while remaining rooted in the present tense. As an ongoing series, the paintings posit a doubling down on the repetitive impulse. Despite the repetition of the image, the method Youngblood uses to apply the paint assures that no two stenciled images (and therefor no two paintings) are exactly alike, suggesting the concept of a social body in which each individual is both herself and a member of a community.

Youngblood is the 2015 recipient of the Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight Prize. The one-person exhibition commemorating the award is now on view at the Seattle Art Museum through April 17, 2016.

Brenna Youngblood was born in Riverside, California and lives in Los Angeles. Youngblood received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach in 2002 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented two exhibitions featuring Youngblood’s work to date: The Mathematics of Individual Achievement (2011) and Activision (2013). One-person exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA (2015); Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2015); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO (2014); Wignall Museum, Rancho Cucamonga, CA (2007); and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2006). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Hard Edged, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2015); Selections from the Permanent Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Rites of Spring, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2014); Murmurs: Recent Contemporary Acquisitions, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2013); Fore, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2012); Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Unfinished Paintings, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA (2011); With You I Want to Live, Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, FL (2009); and California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008).

Glenn Kaino – Labyrinths

Honor Fraser Gallery presents an exhibition of new works by Glenn Kaino on view from January 10 to February 14, 2015. Labyrinths includes works in materials including paper, metal, synthetic tears, and wax along with ephemeral forces like gravity, temperature, and time. The exhibition is a constellation of propositions addressing ideas about the construction of history, memory, and received knowledge.

Wax plays a central role in Kaino’s new work. The Last Sight of Icarus is a 40-foot long wall constructed from cast wax cinderblocks. Bisecting one of the gallery’s main spaces, the work raises questions about the distinction between the representation of power and its actual manifestation. Show Me Your Scars is a series of wall-mounted bas reliefs of topographical maps of the United States cast in wax. The reliefs are threaded with wicks that burn down to create drawings within the wax. The resulting cuts and disfigurations call to mind the country’s egregious and opportunistic histories. Stripped of cartographic information, the maps are rendered illegible, exchanging empirical data for symbolism.

A Shout Within a Storm is a mobile composed of more than 100 copper arrows pointing at the same invisible target to create the shape of a cone. An evolution of Kaino’s pin drawings, each arrow is reliant upon the other to form a resolved image. As Far Away as a Minute is a model of a wormhol — a theoretical passage linking various non-contiguous points in spacetime. Pieced together in a patchwork of sandpaper used by several artisans working in different places and at different times, the construction maps labor and explores the ontology of art. The images in both of these works rely on negative space for their legibility, and their forms appear to change relative to the position of the viewer, suggesting a set of contingencies that reflects our experience of the world.

Using silkscreened facsimiles of historical maps of the terrain purported to hide the mythical city of El Dorado, The Road to El Dorado is a series of paper works folded by origami master Robert Lang. The tessellations reconfigure boundaries and conceal cartographic information, resulting in abstract drawings. Made at three different historical periods by three different cartographers, the three maps used for the series were printed in gold ink on both sides of the paper: a positive image on one side and a negative, backwards image on the other. For Yasmine’s Tears, Kaino was inspired by a conversation with Egyptian writer Yasmine El Rashidi in which she described her emotions following the election of Mohamed Morsi, ending the 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak. In this work, Kaino used synthetic tears to draw a labyrinth across a low wood platform. The sculpture’s hydrophobic properties allow visitors to walk through the tears without permanently disrupting the labyrinth, which coalesces into its intended form again and again.

Glenn Kaino was born in Los Angeles in 1972. He received a Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Irvine in 1993 and a Master of Fine Arts from University of California, San Diego in 1996. Honor Fraser Gallery presented Kaino’s exhibition Bring Me the Hands of Piri Reis in 2012. One-person exhibitions of his work have been mounted at The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY (2014); LAXART, Los Angeles, CA (2010); Creative Time, New York, NY (2009); The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (2008); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA (2006); and REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA (2004). His work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Come As You Are: Art of the 1990s, Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI; Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, TX; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ (2014-2015); Prospect.3: Notes for Now, New Orleans, LA (2014); ALTER/ABOLISH/ADDRESS, Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), Washington, DC (2014); GOLD, Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL (2014); Cage & Kaino: Pieces and Performances, World Chess Hall of Fame, St. Louis, MO (2014); Meanwhile… Suddenly, and Then, 12th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2013); Selections From the Hammer Contemporary Collection, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2011); The Artists’ Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2010); Disorderly Conduct: Recent Art in Tumultuous Times, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008); California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2004); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, NY (2004); Blackbelt, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY (2003); and One Planet Under a Groove, Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY (2001).

Kenny Scharf – Born Again

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Kenny Scharf, on view from February 28 to April 4, 2015. This wide-ranging show traces the evolution of Scharf’s diverse artistic practice, presenting a selection of rarely shown early videos and collages. Also featured will be a salon-style installation of paintings from the artist’s new Born Again series, in addition to never before exhibited assemblage paintings. A fully illustrated catalog will accompany the exhibition.

Though Scharf is best known for his exuberant iconography, his work also contains underlying themes that reflect his ongoing commitment to social and environmental concerns. For Scharf, the embrace of fun is an act of defiance, his considered use of unconventional materials, bright color palette, and playful shapes a protest against restrictive cultural conditions. In his latest body of work, the Born Again paintings, Scharf encapsulates this notion of transforming the mundane by inserting his familiar characters and motifs into found amateur paintings. Akin to his earlier customizations of mass-produced objects like phones, washers, and televisions, here it is the discarded artwork that is repurposed. While still humorously absurdist in tone, some of the works such as FUKISHIMA LANDING and TAR BEACH, with their lurking monsters and dark blobs interrupting peaceful seascapes and nature scenes, also reference the artist’s longstanding themes of anxiety in the nuclear age and the effects of pollution. Also included in this exhibition are the Space Vomit assemblages, where surfaces are embedded with defunct objects, fragments of toys, ads, and other miscellanea collected over the years. Frozen in various states of visual erosion, the surfaces both find inspiration from, and are commentary on the detritus of contemporary American culture.

This exhibition also marks the debut of Scharf’s early videos, made between 1979-1984 and recently digitally transferred and enhanced from their original analog videotape format. Presented in the gallery within multiple set-like installations, the videos were made during the artist’s formative years in the East Village and stand as vital documents of that era’s art scene with collaborations with figures such as Keith Haring and Ann Magnuson. While many are informal sketches and experimental in nature, THE SPARKL END and its sequel CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS demonstrate the first occasions where Scharf began to explore themes that would inform his work for decades: man’s effect on nature and a retro-futuristic vision of the Space Age. Both shown in the recent exhibition Urban Theater: New York Art of the 1980s at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, THE SPARKL END features young partiers who experience nuclear destruction, while CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS shows the surviving revelers who escape peril by leaving for outer space. Accompanying the videos are collages from the same period. Originally intended to be reproduced on Xerox machines and distributed at art shows and across the city, these works on paper contain images appropriated from advertisements and magazines, and were a critical step for Scharf in the development of his iconic, populist vernacular.

Kenny Scharf (b.1958) lives and works in Los Angeles. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented three exhibitions featuring Scharf’s work to date: Barberadise (2009), Hodgepodge (2012), and Pop Renaissance (2013). In 2009, a comprehensive catalog of his work was authored by art historian Richard Marshall. Along with the artist’s recent participation in Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Scharf was also featured in the group exhibition Art in the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Other events include a recent collaboration with the Orange County Museum of Art in celebration of the exhibition The Avant-Garde Collection and participation in the Pulcherrimae Strade initiative in Pordenone, Italy. The artist’s work has been shown at the Venice Biennale, Museum of Modern Art, P.S.1, and the Whitney Biennale, and is in the collections of major museums including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Sarah Cain – BOW DOWN

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Sarah Cain’s second one-person exhibition at the gallery. BOW DOWN opens on Friday, May 29, 2015 with a reception from 6-8pm.

Using the conventional ideas, means, and materials of painting, Sarah Cain has spent the last decade challenging these same conventions. Cutting, collaging, and expanding paintings beyond their boundaries, she pushes at what painting is and can be, opening spaces for us as viewers to follow her into new territories of abstraction. Exploring color, depth, scale, and emotion, Cain makes paintings on paper, canvas, objects, and walls. Though the scale of her work is at times architectural, Cain incorporates small found objects amid drawn and painted gestures. As a result, the visual experience of her work is immersive and is amplified by close looking. Cain describes her paintings as being like extensions of her body. In a symmetrical relationship, the viewer’s experience of her work is specific and expansive; it is both visual and bodily.

BOW DOWN will include a large painting made on site. For over a decade, Cain has been making ephemeral artworks that respond to the architecture that contains them as well as the context within which the architecture is situated. These works include gestures painted directly onto walls, floors, and ceilings and have incorporated furniture and other detritus found at the sites. Completely improvised, Cain’s site-specific paintings derive their power from the inherent risk of working within defined temporal and spatial constraints. The immediacy of this aspect of her practice provides balance for the more labored works that emerge from her studio.

Cain’s recent studio work evinces an evolution in form and restraint. While several of Cain’s new paintings pair repeated patterns or confined marks with bold gestures, they also feature objects that are an integrated part of the overall composition, at times standing in for and at others occluding painted marks. In three new works, Cain has combined painted canvases with found domestic furniture: a loveseat, a chest of drawers, and a vanity. Emerging from her use of objects in her paintings and her inclusion of found objects in her ephemeral site-specific works, these new painting-sculpture hybrids contrast monochromatic white and black areas with brightly-hued squiggles, splashes, stripes, and mazes and investigate what happens when a canvas and an object become a simultaneous and continuous surface for painting.

The title of the exhibition comes from the Beyoncé song “Flawless.” Originally released as “Bow Down,” Beyoncé created a second version that includes an excerpt from a talk delivered by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie entitled “We should all be feminists.” Beyoncé’s vision of weaving a measured, academic approach to contemporary feminism into an anthem generated controversy among music critics and feminist scholars alike. Working within the male dominated legacy of abstract painting, Cain’s insistence on the body within her work is an assertive, intentional confrontation of art history’s denial of femaleness, and Beyoncé’s song is a parallel gesture within the male dominated music industry. Her lyrics, “Bow down, bitches, bow bow down, bitches” is an aggressive—and for fans, inspiring and empowering—refrain. “Flawless” embodies the anger, exuberance, politics, and sexuality that Cain pours into her work.

Sarah Cain was born in Albany, New York in 1979 and lives in Los Angeles. She received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001 and a MFA from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. Sarah Cain: blue in your body, red when it hits the air is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego through July 19, 2015, and a one-person exhibition featuring a 4,000 square foot original work on site will open at the Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, North Carolina in the fall of 2015. Cain’s work has been included in exhibitions such as Variations: Conversations in and around Abstract Painting, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Now-ism: Abstraction Today, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH (2014); I was a double, Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (2014); Outside The Lines, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2013); Painting in Place, Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), Los Angeles, CA (2013); PAINT THINGS: beyond the stretcher, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA (2013); Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Gold, Imperial Belvedere Palace Museum, Vienna, Austria (2012); Nothing Beside Remains, LAND: Marfa, Marfa, TX (2011); Two Schools of Cool, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2011); 2008 California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008); SECA Art Award Exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (2007); and Like Color in Pictures, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO (2007).

Max Maslansky – Jouissance

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Max Maslansky presented in conjunction with 5 Car Garage.

Jouissance will feature new paintings made on found bed sheets, pillows, and curtains that expand on techniques and themes Manslansky has been developing in recent bodies of work, including those featured in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum and 5 Car Garage. Using domestic textiles in place of traditional linen or canvas, Maslansky begins each work on a ground with pre-existing visual information that becomes an inextricable part of the work. Patterns and colors alternately compete and mesh with the paint and compositions Maslansky manipulates on the fabrics’ surfaces. Employing a mixture of washy pigments and layers of gesso and color combined with areas of opaque, thick paint, Maslansky’s treatment of his medium is a testament to his interest in the materiality of painting. The oftentimes psychedelic background patterns, color fields, and acid hues bring abstraction into otherwise figurative images, furthering Maslansky’s investigations into the potential of painting.

Maslansky renders his images of anonymous figures in various states of undress and sexually charged activities in such a way that allows psychological and emotional readings of the found images he works from. Looking at male and female figures, Maslansky considers both subject and object in the processes of expressing sexuality and documenting that sexuality at the stage when the source photograph was made, but what ultimately propels the work forward is his position as the painter of the source image. The choices he makes with regard to the palettes, compositions, and degrees of detail he renders underscore his position and bias within the subject and object relationship inherent in image-making.

Informed by themes from Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut, the paintings in Jouissance flirt with the concept of a fantasy turning into a nightmare. The film is based on Dream Story, a novella written by Arthur Schnitzler in 1926. At the center of the film and novel is the concept of a psychosexual dream so powerful that it engulfs the dreamer. This idea provided a natural evolution for Maslansky’s explorations into the inherently strange and often awkward documentation of sex acts and fetish images available on the internet. The concept of “jouissance” as outlined in Jacques Lacan’s writings on psychoanalysis is a type of all-encompassing joy that moves beyond Sigmund Freud’s idea of the pleasure principle to exceed the subject’s capacity for pleasure. As a result, the subject experiences pain. The general terms “pleasure” and “pain”, however, cannot adequately describe jouissance, which is an entirely subjective experience with infinite nuance. In Maslansky’s work, these transgressions and excesses are laid bare for our reflection.

Max Maslansky was born in Los Angeles in 1976 and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY in 1999 and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA in 2006. Masklansky’s concurrent one-person exhibition Midnight Blue is at Galerie Sebastien Bertrand in Geneva, Switzerland. His work has been included in exhibitions such as Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Made in Space, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, and Venus Over Manhattan, New York, NY (2013); Boiled Angel, The Woodmill GP, London, England (2013); Object-Orientation, Cerritos College Art Gallery, Cerritos, CA (2011); Merch Mart!, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA (2010); and Collisions and Pileups, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA (2006).

Kaz Oshiro

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Kaz Oshiro’s solo exhibition of new paintings at the gallery. His exhibition opens on July 18, 2015 with a reception from 6-8pm.

Kaz Oshiro’s new paintings recall the art historical strains of monochrome and color field painting, but his “broken paintings” reject the flat space of traditional canvases for precisely wrought sculptural forms that appear to have been forcibly folded. Rather, Oshiro’s paintings are deliberately formed with mitered joints that relegate individual artworks to architectural corners, while diptychs and triptychs jut out from the wall as though the paintings are bending up against one another to form bas reliefs. Often referencing nature, Oshiro uses multiple layers of color to achieve both flatness and depth. This project follows Oshiro’s exhibition Still Life 2013 and is a prelude to his next one-person exhibition at the gallery in 2016.

Kaz Oshiro was born in Okinawa, Japan in 1967 and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts from the California State University, Los Angeles. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented one solo exhibition featuring Kaz’s work to date: Still Life (2013). One-person exhibitions of his work have been presented at Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Charles White Elementary School Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2013); Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan (2007); Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas, NV (2007); and Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2005). His work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Space Between, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY (2015); Visual Deception II: Into the Future (traveling), Bunkamura: The Museum, Tokyo Japan; Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan; Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan (2014); Between Critique and Absorption: Contemporary Art and Consumer Culture, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI (2013); Simulacrum, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH (2012); Bruce Connor and the Primal Scene of Punk Rock, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO (2012); Lifelike (traveling), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA; Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (2012); American Exuberance, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL (2011); New Image Sculpture, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2011); Artist’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2010); Less is less, more is more, that’s all, CAPC Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France (2008); One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA (2007); Red Eye: Rubell Collection, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL (2006); Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2005); Nothing Compared to This, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH (2004); and California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2004).

Saying yes to everything

Saying yes to everything curated by Corrina Peipon, will present collage works made between 1965 and the present. The exhibition includes nineteen artists who explore the conceptual and formal potential of collage.

Artists in the exhibition: Mike Cloud, Confetti Confidential, Meg Cranston, Al Hansen, Richard Hawkins, Robert Heinecken, Ray Johnson, David X. Levine, T. Kelly Mason, Gladys Nilsson, Erik Parker, Fay Ray, Amanda Ross-Ho, Kenny Scharf, Alexis Smith, Frances Stark, Stan VanDerBeek, Ray Yoshida, Brenna Youngblood

Collage is inherently adversarial to the traditions of art; it challenges aesthetic boundaries and questions collectively held notions of identity and taste. By inserting something “real” into the picture plane, the artist interrupts illusion with a burst of nonfiction. But by opening up to a broad field of images and sources—by saying yes to everything—artists effectively level the cultural field. Such promiscuity yields a productive ambivalence that can be read as a simultaneously celebratory and critical view on cultural production. Saying yes to everything presents works that display an earnest approach to the entire landscape of visual information and reflect the culture back on itself, walking the line between homage and critique, reverence and satire.

This exhibition presents collage as both a unifying and individuating strategy, bringing together artists who advance diverse styles and who propose a variety of positions. Saying yes to everything is intended to be historical in scope, underscoring the importance of collage over time and drawing out relationships between art made by three generations of artists working from the 1960s into the present. However, it is far from comprehensive. Instead, the exhibition is a loose constellation of works that share formal and thematic affinities. The porous boundaries of the exhibition are drawn around a handful of criteria:

The artists are all American, and all of the works were made after 1960. These guidelines allow for the show to look at a particular legacy of modernism within collage without telling the story of modernism itself as a preamble.

Collage is central to the artists’ visual language; for artists like Ray Johnson and Alexis Smith, for instance, it is everything. Advancing collage as a medium in their overall practices, each of the artists demonstrates a commitment to collage over time.

All of the works incorporate found elements. The artists included here open their work up to images or texts that are in some way “extracurricular”: bits and pieces that are generated in various elsewheres beyond the studio walls, by other artists, designers, or writers, known or unknown.

The artists in Saying yes to everything all reflect some element of the culture back on itself, occasionally on multiple levels at once. While artists like David X. Levine and Frances Stark use collage to both assert and question their own cultural biases, the ambivalence in works by T. Kelly Mason and Brenna Youngblood is perhaps less overt.

The works here assert formal innovations by deploying the accumulation, isolation, and repetition of materials in tandem with color, shape, language, presentation strategies, and mixed mediums to explore the formal potential of the collage technique while engaging a more or less measured form of cultural critique.

Saying yes to everything includes an evolving work room inhabited by Confetti Confidential. A group of artists and designers who meet regularly to make collages in a communal work environment, Confetti Confidential will have their weekly meetings at the gallery during the run of the exhibition. The group’s ad hoc residency at the gallery highlights one aspect of collage as a process that is often engaged by artists and designers as a sort of “warm-up” exercise or visual thinking aloud that can yield surprising results. The habitual activity of these five practitioners suggests alternative ways of making art and raises questions about conventionally held notions about how art is made, displayed, and circulated.

The title of the exhibition comes from a brief statement written by Meg Cranston on the occasion of People for a Better Tomorrow, an exhibition she curated at the Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside in 2006, which closes with the line: “Artists liberate to the degree they are optimists, to the degree they say yes to everything.” Cranston’s application of Nietzschean affirmation to the function of artists in the culture seems apt in an exhibition that seeks to point out a handful of instances in recent art where artists use collage to suggest possibilities. The adversarial nature of collage described at the outset of this text is not entirely derogatory. In fact, the act of removing an image from one context and planting it in another, the maneuver of placing two formerly separate images together on the same plane: these basic tenets of collage seem to encourage new ideas. By drawing the outside world into their work, these artists buffer the negation of the cut with the excitement of novelty.

Howardena Pindell

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce the first one-person exhibition of works by Howardena Pindell on the west coast. The exhibition will open with a reception for the artist on September 11, 2015 from 6-8pm.

A significant figure in the discourse around abstract painting, conceptual art, and identity politics, Howardena Pindell has explored the potential for abstract painting and process-based practices to address social issues throughout her career. This exhibition looks at two facets of Pindell’s practice that have remained consistent through five decades of artmaking: abstract paintings and constructions on canvas, paper, and board; and a body of work Pindell calls “video drawings”, an ongoing series of photographic prints that arise from her unique hybridization of photography, video, and drawing.

Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1943 and based in New York City since 1968, Pindell earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Boston University in 1965 and her Master of Fine Arts at Yale University in 1967. She holds honorary doctorates from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Parsons The New School for Design. Between 1968 and 1978, she was on the curatorial staff at the Museum of Modern Art where she organized exhibitions for the Department of Drawings and Prints and the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books. Pindell’s work as a curator led to travels to places around the world where her research and experiences impacted her curatorial, artistic, and personal growth. The burgeoning feminist art movement of the 1970s provided an influential though fraught context for her work. Pindell was a co-founder of the seminal A.I.R. Gallery in 1970, and while feminism was a crucial element in her developing worldview, she also encountered racism that worked at cross-purposes to the positive growth of a progressive feminist politics in the movement.

Pindell’s particular mode of abstraction continually insists on a confluence of geometric forms (circles and grids) and organic gestures. By pushing the grid beyond its capacity to contain and create order, Pindell challenges its authority both pictorially and culturally. Using small bits of paper cut with hole punches, she has been constructing textural, large scale paintings that pin directly to the wall since the late 1960s. Monochromatic from afar, these immersive works reveal themselves to be made up of countless tiny gestures and bits of varying color upon closer view. Unafraid of radical shifts in scale, Pindell also creates diminutive, vibrant collages that sing with moments of hand drawn arrows and numbers running through their constituent parts. Often starting with a drawing on paper that she folds up and cuts with a hole punch, Pindell fashions organic shapes that defy categorization from her accumulation of circular cut-outs. In a body of work from the 2000s, Pindell’s ongoing exploration of two contrasting forms is explicit as numbered circles vie for space amid rigid grids in small assemblages on board.

To make her video drawings, Pindell draws on transparencies that she then affixes atop a television screen. While the televisual images flow behind the drawings, Pindell takes photographs that are ultimately realized as cibachrome prints. Deploying images from sporting events; documentary programs on nature, war, and history; and television shows aired in some of the many foreign countries Pindell has traveled to, the video drawings offer up a critique of media while also asserting Pindell’s constant return to process as a means through which to generate form. These moments that have been extracted from a perpetual stream of moving images provide rich backgrounds to which Pindell can react. As she has described, “Formally, the lines and numbers represent areas of tension in the interface of the image and the lines, force and energy, real and imagined.”

Howardena Pindell’s work has been exhibited widely since 1971 including one-person exhibitions at Just Above Midtown, New York (1977); Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL (1985); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1986); Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT (1989); Georgia State University Art Gallery, Atlanta, GA (1993); and Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY (1999 and 2004). Thematic exhibitions featuring her work include Contemporary Black Artists in America, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1971); 1972 Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Painting, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1972); Rooms: P.S.1, Queens, New York (1976); Thick Paint, Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (1978); Afro-American Abstraction: An Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Nineteen Black American Artists, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, NY (1980-1984; touring); Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream 1970-1985, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH (touring); Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party in Feminist Art History, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (1996); Strange Days, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (2003); Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art since 1970, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2005); High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967-1975, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC (2006-2007; touring); WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2007-2009; touring); Lines, Grids, Stains, Words, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007-2009; touring); and Variations: Conversations in and around Abstract Painting, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2014-2015). Pindell’s work is held in public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She has been a professor at State University, New York at Stony Brook since 1979.

Kenneth Noland – Color and Shape, Paintings 1976-1980

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Kenneth Noland’s exhibition at the gallery. Color and Shape, Paintings 1976-1980 opens on July 18, 2015 with a reception from 6-8pm.

A collaboration with Castelli Gallery in New York, Kenneth Noland: Color and Shape, Paintings 1976-1980 is a focused selection of Kenneth Noland’s irregularly shaped canvases from the late 1970s. These paintings evince an apex of the twin concerns of color and shape that Noland began to pursue in the late 1950s that led to a direct relationship between the painted surface and the outer shape of the canvas. Until the mid-1970s, Noland explored the possibilities of symmetry and structured color within a variety of rectilinear shapes. His investigations led to the pursuit of unbalanced non-representational paintings that united color and shape in an unprecedented way. The resulting paintings reveal a diversity of structural and coloristic activity within a fully asymmetrical mode. Curated by Hayden Dunbar, this exhibition follows last year’s Openness and Clarity: Color Field Works from the 1960s and 1970s that included Kenneth Noland along with seven other pioneering Color Field painters.

Kenneth Noland was a defining figure in Color Field painting. He is best known for his trademark series of works based on simple geometric shapes: circles, targets, chevrons, and stripes. Noland attended Black Mountain College, where he studied under Josef Albers and Paul Klee. Settling in Washington D.C. a few years later, he befriended fellow artist Morris Louis while the two were teaching at the Washington Workshop Center of the Arts. Noland also developed important associations with artists Anthony Caro, Jules Olitski, and critic Clement Greenberg. Many of these artists were deeply influenced by Helen Frankenthaler’s stain technique, which allowed for freer experimentation with color. For Noland, color became the ideal means to explore the formal relationship between the painted image and its canvas support. In 1976, the artist was given a major retrospective exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. His work has also been the subject of many exhibitions, including the Tate Liverpool (2006), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2004).

Victoria Fu – Velvet Peel

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Victoria Fu’s exhibition at the gallery. Velvet Peel opens on July 18, 2015 with a reception from 6-8pm.

Victoria Fu uses 16mm film, installation, photography, sculpture, sound, and video to explore the virtual space of moving images and our haptic engagement with digital images. Incorporating clips sourced from the internet and original footage manipulated with visual effects in postproduction, the video installations Velvet Peel 1 and Velvet Peel 2 (both 2015) address the physical and visual experience of digital images and touchscreens. Fu’s neon drawings Pinch-Zoom and Ribbon-Swipe (both 2015) depict the eponymous actions that have become habituated through our use of handheld digital devices. Within a multilayered installation strategy, these artworks inform one another, calling attention to the confluence of architectural spaces, human bodies, and digital images.

Victoria Fu was born in Santa Monica, California and lives in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, a Master of Arts from University of Southern California, and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts. One-person exhibitions of her work have been mounted at Center for Ongoing Research & Projects, Columbus, OH (2015); The Contemporary, Baltimore, MD (2015); University Art Gallery, UC Irvine, CA (2014); Anderson Hall Gallery, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA (2013); Savannah College of Art + Design, Savannah, GA (2009); and Mint Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA (2005). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as At First You Don’t Succeed, College of Creative Studies Gallery, University of California Santa Barbara, CA (2015); Borrowed Landscapes, Boehm Gallery, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA (2015); 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2014); Trouble with the Index, UC Riverside/California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA (2014); IX Bienal de Nicaragua, Fundación Ortiz Gurdian, Managua, Nicaragua (2014); Approximately Infinite Universe, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA (2013); Snapshot: Home Movies, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC (2012); Render: New Constructions in Video Art, UC Riverside/California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA (2012); Film Forum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2011); Here Once Again: Where Art and Cinema Interact, Seoul National University Museum, Seoul, South Korea (2008); RUNNING TIME 24:00:00, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA (2008); No Heroics Please, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA (2005); and The Wight Biennial: Dark Side of the Sun, Kinross Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles (2004).

Rosson Crow – Madame Psychosis Holds a Séance

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Madame Psychosis Holds a Séance, Rosson Crow’s third exhibition with the gallery. A reception will be held at the gallery on November 7, 2015 from 5-8pm.

Rosson Crow’s new work explores the fictional world of Madame Psychosis, an aging showgirl obsessed with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Crow’s striking and mysterious protagonist—whose name is derived from David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest and is a play on the term “metempsychosis”, also known as reincarnation—is a character whose sense of herself is inextricably bound up with the events and conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s death. Comprising a short film and a series of paintings, Crow’s new project explores individual psychology and the ways in which national identity is shaped around moments of historical significance. Giving rise to countless alternative accounts and conspiracy theories, the events of November 22, 1963 are etched into the American cultural consciousness and are still enmeshed in a web of confusion and contradiction more than fifty years later. In this exhibition, Crow employs this charged event as a narrative device to engage questions of individual identity, the power of emotion to confuse our sense of reality, and the human desire to connect to shared pasts while establishing relevance in the present.

The centerpiece of Madame Psychosis Holds a Séance is Crow’s first film. While Crow has often explored narrative in her paintings, this is the first time she is manifesting her interest in the concepts of historical narrative and its psychological dimensions on film. Starring Kelly Lynch in the titular role, the film was written and directed by Crow who used her paintings as both backdrops and inspiration for set décor that she designed and created. The film follows the story of Madame Psychosis as she struggles with her connection to reality and questions her place in the world. Defining her identity through an iconic American tragedy, Madame’s preoccupation with Kennedy’s assassination obscures her true identity so much that she becomes convinced she is the reincarnation of the so-called “Babushka Woman”, a key witness in the events surrounding Kennedy’s death. A séance is the only way to unlock the truth. As Madame descends deeper into her confusion, the environments she occupies become increasingly surreal. Anchored by Crow’s immersive paintings, the sets reflect Madame’s fraught psychology.

Conceived as integral to the aesthetic and narrative of the film, the series of paintings is based on Crow’s imagination of the psychological spaces and physical environments of Madame Psychosis. Veering toward monochrome, the works engulf the viewer not just within their large scale but within their color palettes. Bright and bold, the colors’ persistence expands the perceptual space of the paintings, while occasional instances of contrasting and complimentary hues provide visual punctuation and offer viewers a way to navigate through the complicated compositions. For these new paintings, Crow used a transfer process to add a collage effect that increases the illusion of depth while also calling attention to the paintings’ surfaces. As with much of Crow’s work to date, these paintings recall the grand tradition of history painting in their scale and complexity. However, figures are absent: Empty rooms and gardens act as metaphors for psychological and emotional states of the characters she envisions occupying the spaces and for the cultural conditions that yield alienation among individuals.

Rosson Crow was born in 1982 in Dallas, Texas and lives in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 2004 and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University in 2006. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented two previous exhibitions of her work: Ballyhoo Hullabaloo Haboob (2012); and Night at the Palomino (2008). One-person exhibitions of her work have been presented at Musée Régional d’Art Contemporain de Sérignan, France (2014); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH (2010); and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Forth Worth, TX (2009). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Contemporary Magic: A Tarot Deck Art Project, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (2011); Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2010); Le Meilleur des Mondes, Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2010); New York Minute, Macro Future Museum, Rome, Italy (2009); and Out of Storage I – Painters Choose from the Collection, Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2008).

Annie Lapin – Various Peep Shows

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce its second exhibition of new paintings by Annie Lapin.

Lapin’s paintings appear to coalesce from the hazy set of information gathered at the corner of the eye. Her complex, dynamic compositions catalog her interest in the act of seeing and grapple with the process of how a painting comes into being through the viewer’s engagement with it. Whether exploring visual memory or the tension between the inherent properties of paint as material and its ability to depict, her work documents and dramatizes her own sense of flux at the edge of perception. Shapes and landscapes remain on the verge of resolution and legibility in a continual process of emergence, while also rooted to the thingliness of paint.

This exhibition marks a shift for Lapin, whose previous work explored the vocabulary of Romantic and Rococo landscape painting, to a new visual language. Quick, confident brush strokes appear to rest lightly on the surface of the canvas, operating as pure mark making until the slow burn of an image makes its way to the eye. Loose paint-handling and thin washes of color plot out strange architectures through which implausible landscapes peek at the viewer. Layers of imagery, rows of spray painted lettering, and thick areas of paint seem to float at various layers in relation to each other, creating an odd spatiality. While window like vistas allow the eye to escape to deeper horizons, the shallow relief space that parallels the surface of her canvases serves as a stage for a re-enactment the work’s production; choreographed pours, stains, smears and drips act as both deconstructive and constructive moments, as if paint intended to describe the world of the painting were also peeling up from the image, like an unstable element in a temporary collage. The resulting images appear to be simultaneously frozen in the entropic act of falling apart while they emphatically record the constructive painterly impulse. Ultimately, a poetic emerges out of this dynamic, which for Lapin, speaks to what paintings can and should be.

Annie Lapin lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her BA from Yale University and her MFA from UCLA. Lapin is the recent recipient of the Falk Visiting Artist Award from the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC, where she was the subject of a solo exhibition in 2013. Other recent solo shows include exhibitions at Josh Lilley Gallery in London, the Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara, CA, and Yautepec Gallery in Mexico City. She has also recently participated in the group exhibitions at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, in Overland Park, KS, and the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA.

Meleko Mokgosi – Pax Kaffraria

For his debut solo exhibition at Honor Fraser Gallery, Meleko Mokgosi will present the final chapters of his three-year long history painting project Pax Kaffraria. The exhibition will also include a series of charcoal drawings of iconic breeds of southern African dogs and text-based paintings interrogating recent exhibitions of African Art and imagery of Africa.

This culminating exhibition of Mokgosi’s Pax Kaffraria follows exhibitions of the earlier chapters of his project at the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, the Hammer Museum for Made in L.A. 2012, and most recently Pax Kaffraria: Terra Pericolosa at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and Pax Kaffraria: The Ruse of Disavowal at the 2013 Biennale de Lyon. The Ruse of Disavowal and new chapters Graase-Mans, Fully Belly, and Lekgowa will be included in the exhibition here.

Pax Kaffraria as a whole articulates the incommensurable aspects of the post-colonial condition through strategic structuring of moments and fragments that exceed traditional structures of authority and representation. These unmoored narrative pulses are local and particular, a counterpoint to the metanarratives of nationalism. Pax Kaffraria: Graase-Mans parses the legacy of the Western European frontiersmen who established new colonial states across southern Africa in the 1830s. Domestic scenes reveal colonial dynamics at their core. In Pax Kaffraria: Fully Belly, we see the coronation of a chief with contemporary and “traditional” elements diachronically combined in the anointment of authority. This work, which explores the economic and political legacies of neopatrimonialism across Africa, touches upon the connections between governmental authority, customary law, localized politics, and the military, and the effects of privatization on all of these institutions.

Mokgosi’s charcoal renderings of distinctly southern African breeds of dogs tease out the political, emotional, and economic aspects of the legacies of colonialism. Appearing throughout the Pax Kaffraria project, these dogs show how domesticated animals occupy an important role within the purview of human history and the struggle of southern African nationalisms in particular. With his text-based paintings, Mokgosi addresses the problematic re-inscription of colonial discourses by using museum labels as source material. He makes critical interventions in the didactics that structure the way the public understands works of art, systematically deconstructing the power dynamics and cultural biases that underpin these presumably neutral, educational texts. Mokgosi’s commentary on these labels is at times personal, emotional, analytical and poetic and inserts an individual voice to counter these institutional constructions of history. Mokgosi interrogates the implications of established histories and the narrative as a concept, playing with notions of time and normative models for the inscription and transmission of history, ultimately disrupting traditional Euroethnic notions of representation. Mokgosi offers different ways of understanding representation—epistemological, ideological, symbolic—undercutting traditional structures to posit alternate modes for the creation of knowledge through language.

Meleko Mokgosi was born in Francistown, Botswana in 1981 and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Mokgosi received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Williams College, Williamstown, MA in 2007; completed the Affiliate Independent Study Program at Slade School of Fine Art, University of London, UK in 2006; attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York, NY in 2007; and received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011. One-person exhibitions of Mokgosi’s work have been presented at Maitisong, Gaborone, Botswana (2003); Charles P. Russel Gallery, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, MA (2007); and Williams Club Gallery, New York, NY
(2009). His work has been included in group exhibitions such as Berkshire Biennial, Contemporary Artist Center, North Adams, MA (2005); Four Continents, Botswana National Gallery and Thapong Workshop, Gaborone, Botswana (2008); Pool of Possibilities: Mapping Currents for the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China (2008); Look III, The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art Museum, Peekskill, NY (2011); Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
 (2012); Primary Sources and The Bearden Project, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2012); and Migrating Identities, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2013). Mokgosi was the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation 
Painters & Sculptors Grant; winner of the 
Mohn Award 
for outstanding work in Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and a participant in the Artist in Residence Program, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY in 2012.

William Lamson: Action for the Delaware

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present a new video installation by William Lamson.

The exhibition will showcase the Los Angeles premiere of Action for the Delaware and Untitled (mylar). Known for his poetic interventions in the natural environment, Lamson explores his interest in how events unfold by setting up precise conditions that are completed by nature. In each case the mundane is transformed into something extraordinary, often with a simple gesture or with minimal means.

Action for the Delaware features the artist ostensibly floating on the surface of the Delaware River. The camera eventually cuts from this serene scene to a closer view, where it is revealed that Lamson is in fact struggling to steady himself on a hidden homemade platform against the river’s current. The two scenes jump back and forth, ultimately subverting the illusion of the individual in control of his environment, while also emphasizing the visceral qualities of a body in relation to the water. Accompanying Action for the Delaware is Untitled (mylar), a single-channel video that also uses elemental forces to shape the work. The artist highlights the expansive landscape of the Mojave Desert in one long tracking shot that follows a mylar emergency blanket as it skims along the ground. Propelled by the wind, the silver sheet transforms into a sculptural object animated with movement as it tumbles and changes shape against the gusts.

William Lamson was born in Arlington, Virginia, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum (NYC), the Dallas Museum of Art (TX), the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (TX), and the Progressive Art Collection (Cleveland, OH), among others. His work has been exhibited in the US and internationally, including at P.S. 1 (NYC) and Franklin Art Works (Minneapolis). He completed his MFA at Bard College and is a recent MacDowell Foundation Fellow.

KAWS – MAN’S BEST FRIEND

KAWS returns to Los Angeles for his third solo exhibition at Honor Fraser Gallery. MAN’S BEST FRIEND includes new drawings, paintings, and sculpture. KAWS is a current nominee for the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize.

KAWS’s recent work furthers his ideas about the power of images to communicate beyond their expected realms. Made on canvas stretched over wood panels, each work in KAWS’s new series of shaped paintings takes on the silhouette of a familiar figure from animated cartoons and comic strips. Within the shapes, KAWS has interwoven multiple characters that are frozen in different states of movement. Rendered in bright colors and with acute precision, these works suggest a core sample of pop cultural references that have been manipulated just short of illegibility. Black and white works featuring portions of enlarged Charles M. Schulz drawings are counterpoints to the exhibitions’ works in color, and a large-scale landscape pictures one character chasing another through a dystopian scene of environmental disaster. Underlying all of KAWS’s work is a deep ambivalence around culturally held notions of entertainment and fun and its relationship to advanced art. Through his stylized adaptations of icons of American animation, he accesses a collective consciousness to mirror our ongoing addiction to the culture industry, an addiction that is fueled just as much by our own acceptance of its machinations as by its own intentions.

In his new black and white works, what appear to be non-representational images are variations on small details of Charles M. Schulz’s iconic drawings of characters from his Peanuts series. Original Peanuts comic strips appeared in American and international newspapers every day from 1950 until Schulz’s death in 2000, establishing the characters as significant figures in the American pop cultural vernacular for generations of young people. In this series, KAWS has enlarged tiny instances from the familiar renderings of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Pig-Pen, et al. Remaining faithful to Schulz’s original line drawings, KAWS has executed a grid of fifty works on paper. Though the Peanuts characters are blown so far out of proportion that they are nearly unrecognizable, KAWS leaves just enough information for us to identify his subjects, underscoring the ubiquity of these figures and the power of the repetition of images to enter our cultural memory.

While KAWS’s practice often involves appropriating fictional characters from mainstream popular culture, he has also given form to a small family of characters of his own invention. Figures like Companion and Chum have taken a wide variety of forms, from hand-held editioned figurines to monumental public sculptures. For this exhibition, KAWS has made a Corian sculpture cast in the form of Warm Regards, one of his original characters that has appeared in paintings, editioned figurines, and bas relief tiles. In this new work, a silhouette of Warm Regards is filled in with the gigantic mouth of KAWSBob, KAWS’s version of SpongeBob SquarePants. A pair of enormous white eyeballs marked with KAWS’s signature “X”s is layered over the mouth. Though the figure is posed with arms outstretched in a welcoming stance, its surreal facial configuration confuses any implied conviviality. KAWS’s new work in Corian allows for a unique type of painting in space that brings dimension to line. Exploring new formal territory, this move from two to three dimensions eschews volume in favor of flatness.

KAWS was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1974 and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1996. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. One person exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX (2011 and forthcoming in 2016); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga, Spain (2014); Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS (2013); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA (2013); High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (2011 and 2012); Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (2010 and 2011); and MU Art Foundation, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2002). KAWS has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Art in the Streets, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2011); The Reflected Gaze – Self Portraiture Today, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2010); Plastic Culture, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, UK (2010); and Beautiful Losers, Le Tri Postal, Lille, France; Palazzo dell’Arte, Milan, Italy; USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL; Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; and Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH (2004).

Tomoo Gokita – Bésame Mucho

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Bésame Mucho, an exhibition of new paintings by Tomoo Gokita opening April 11, 2015 and running through May 16, 2015.

On view will be new works by Tokyo-based Tomoo Gokita, who is acclaimed for his black and white gouache canvases that incorporate exceptional draftsmanship with surreal imagery. Gokita continues his monochromatic series that explores the traditional portrait format on a range of scales, using source material from vintage postcards, magazines, found photos, and classic film stills. With a celebrated career in illustration and graphic design, Gokita first rose to prominence after creating a series of newsprint books. In 2005, he turned to painting, developing a distinctive greyscale aesthetic that combines deft tonal modeling of figures with a material flatness, both alluding to and obscuring characters appropriated from western popular culture and marginal countercultural sources. Alongside Gokita’s intimate portraits of individuals, this exhibition will feature large-scale group compositions that are an evolution in the artist’s oeuvre.

Gokita places his subjects in ambiguous picture planes that recall the photographic source while also reinforcing the works’ status as painting. Mixing a range of twentieth century art historical references, Gokita distorts his subjects’ bodies and obfuscates their faces, blurring them with gradients and shapes. Hands become aberrant and outsize, and eyes are replaced with tiny dots. Rather than providing information about the sitters’ characteristics or social position as in traditional portraiture, Gokita works to avoid strict narratives and specific likenesses, opting instead to explore their archetypal aspects. With their identities obscured, the figures develop an uncanny, phantom-like quality. Recognizable configurations, such as the wedding party in How to Marry a Millionaire or family portrait in Happy Families, serve to accentuate complicated group dynamics.

Tomoo Gokita (b. 1969) lives and works in Tokyo. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented two exhibitions featuring Gokita’s work to date: Heaven (2009) and Vanity Drunko (2007). In 2014 Gokita was the subject of the large-scale solo exhibition, Tomoo Gokita: The Great Circus at the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in Sakura, Japan. His work has also been included in such thematic shows as Wonderful My Art, Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi, Japan (2013); The Unseen Relationship: Form and Abstraction, Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura (2012); Gateway: Japan, Torrance Art Museum, CA (2011); VOCA 2009: The Vision of Contemporary Art, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (2009); New York Minute, Macro Future Museum, Rome (2009); and Collected Visions, Pera Museum, Istanbul (2009).

Kenny Scharf

Liquid Crystal Palace: Recent Works with Jeremy Blake

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Liquid Crystal Palace: Recent Works with Jeremy Blake, curated by Rhizome Editor and Curator Michael Connor and Nate Hitchcock.

This exhibition is an opportunity to look at Liquid Villa (2000) by Jeremy Blake alongside more recent artworks by Jeffrey Baij, Petra Cortright, Chris Coy, Sara Ludy, Rafaël Rozendaal, and Travess Smalley. By bringing these works together, the exhibition will draw out shared concerns that have been obscured by the passage of time and Blake’s tragic death.

Liquid Villa shifts between lucid, crisp dream architecture and colorful, blurring abstraction, unsettling the viewer between pictorial depth and flatness. These shifts take place from moment to moment, but also within particular scenes. For example, the dark alcoves in his dreamlike villa feature glowing orange torches with jagged edges, suggesting (on a pictorial level) the amorphousness of flame, but (on a material level) the low-resolution artefacts of a too-large digital image. Such passages function in a way that is analogous to facture in painting: as traces that point back to the process by which the work was created. Thus, Blake’s “painterly sensibility” incongruously leads him to call attention to his use of digital tools.

The other artists in this exhibition, all younger than Blake, inhabit similarly incongruous positions, although they often are not presented as incongruities at all. For her work Dream House, Sara Ludy translates the architecture seen in a recurring dream into a rendered 3D model. With sterile surfaces and mathematically perfect lines and shading, the model somehow conjures a sense of a genius loci, an oneiric intensity akin to Blake’s own work. Chris Coy, who conducted an email exchange with Jeremy Blake as an undergraduate in 2006, makes work that draw on cultural sources including uninhabited architectural spaces from the children’s cartoon The Real Ghostbusters and the color-coded emotional tone scale used in Scientology. Jeff Baij also makes work that is rooted in appropriation, drawing on and manipulating images from a wide range of sources to make new still or moving image works almost daily. However, in contrast with the high-fidelity, slick imagery found in Coy’s work, Baij’s serial production revolves around simple digital effects and an aesthetic rooted in degradation. Rafaël Rozendaal presents two lenticular paintings in the exhibition as well as a website installation. In Rozendaal’s work, the abstractions could be said to refer to a distinct tradition from that of painting, one rooted in the very technologies of image reproduction that have provoked repeated existential crises in the painting field over the years. Travess Smalley describes himself as painter while using a continuum of tools, both digital and physical. Smalley’s past works include a range of physical objects as well as works for the screen, often making use of collage and drawing on online visual culture for inspiration. Like Blake, Smalley uses color fluidly to activate the senses, finding transcendental potential in the mundane visual register of the corporate web.

In Petra Cortright’s works, the seemingly conflicting traditions of painting and digital art are confidently put in play in prints on aluminum and silk, materials that refer to the reflective surface of the screen and the movement of digital media.

Haunted by the perceived failure of geometric abstraction, and fascinated by technologies that are often written off as mundane, flat, and lacking in affect, Blake found in digital abstraction not dystopia, but what he called “dystopic potential.” It is this dystopic potential that is taken up and extended by the other artists in this exhibition.

In conjunction with Liquid Crystal Palace, Blake’s Sodium Fox (2005), Winchester Redux (2004) and Berkshire Fangs (2001) will be screening continuously as part of The Standard Projection: 24/7 series at The Standard, Hollywood.

On March 6 Liquid Villa will be shown as a front-page exhibition on Rhizome.org.

The curators would like to thank Eva Diaz, David Hendren, Ignacio Perez, Laura Watts & the Honor Fraser team, and the artists.

Alexis Smith – Slice of Life

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Los Angeles based artist Alexis Smith’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, Slice of Life, from June 8 – July 27, 2013.

Slice of Life is a focused exploration of Alexis Smith’s work as portraiture, conjuring people both real and imagined from the material and linguistic cast-offs of American culture. The exhibition includes the iconic collage works that have been her signature for the past five decades, among them several recently completed pieces, and the landmark multimedia installation Past Lives, a poignant 1989 collaboration with writer Amy Gerstler. Taken collectively with Smith’s recent critically acclaimed exhibition of landscapes at Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica, we can take a long view of Smith’s uncanny ability to find profundity in the mundane. Here, Smith fills the galleries with resonant snapshots of people comprising a richly imagined society. She proves her mastery of the poetics of collage by creating characters from the flotsam of our daily lives, projecting our deeply rooted hopes, dreams and failures into these vignettes.

In Past Lives, a classroom provides the setting for a collection of worn children’s chairs, repositories for the promise and disappointments of their tiny inhabitants. Visual markers of institutional indoctrination surround these anthropomorphized objects, but they are ultimately trumped by the unruliness of individuals whose frailties, identified in pithy statements like “Dubbed himself a slave to love,” make for moments of identification. The installation highlights Smith’s ability to focus the power and pathos of her materials, building a whole community of young souls from these worn seats. Like the chairs, the objects in her collages are replete with the aura of lives lived, fragments that stand-in for people and their stories. She often finds such inspiration in post-WWII material culture, notably the popular diversions emanating from her lifelong home, Los Angeles: Hollywood cinema, mid-century advertising and pop music. Thrift store paintings and other artifacts with the patina of individual sentiment figure equally in the constellation of her sources. The overlaid texts and titles, whether quotes from an Oakland Raider defensive end, dialogue from Dr. Strangelove, or an evocative vernacular phrase, create vignettes replete with wry humor, bittersweet ironies and social commentary. Smith evokes everyone from children to seniors – ordinary, famous, and infamous alike – all with an exceptional sense of sly tenderness.

Smith appropriates and subverts materials in the spirit of her Dada and Surrealist predecessors, developing her own sharply witty mode of collage. While she harnesses the spirit of assemblage artists like Joseph Cornell, Betye Saar and Ed Keinholz, she shares the conceptual sensibilities and approaches to language of her contemporaries – artists such as John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Allen Ruppersberg and William Wegman. Smith’s alchemical distillation of the detritus of history and mass culture into singular, resonant arrangements finds echoes in subsequent generations of artists who continue to mine the collective desires and failures of our culture.

Smith has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including those at The University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; The Miami Art Museum; The J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and a mid-career survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Recently, her work has appeared in the group exhibitions Under the Big Black Sun at MOCA, Los Angeles; elles@centrepompidou, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; WACK, Art and the Feminist Revolution, also at MOCA, Los Angeles and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, MoMA, Long Island City, New York; and Sunshine & Noir: Art in L.A. 1960-1997, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, among many others. She has also completed several major public commissions, including a mural for the Las Vegas Central Library; terrazzo floors at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University, Columbus; a mixed media wall installation for The Restaurant at the Getty Center, Los Angeles; and a site specific work for The Stuart Collection, University of California, San Diego in La Jolla. She is the recipient of several NEA Fellowships, The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center residency, and an Honorary Doctorate from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Her work is included in the collections of major museums across the country, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among many others.

Openness and Clarity: Color Field Works from the 1960s and 1970s

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Openness and Clarity: Color Field Works from the 1960s and 1970s, curated by Hayden Dunbar. On view from June 7 through August 2, 2014, the show will include works by Josef Albers, Anthony Caro, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Frank Stella.

Assembling works rarely exhibited in Los Angeles, Openness and Clarity seeks to examine the pivotal role that Color Field painters and their direct predecessors played in the evolution of abstract art, while also proving the work’s persisting ability to captivate the contemporary eye. The title of the exhibition references Clement Greenberg’s catalog essay for his seminal 1964 exhibition, Post Painterly Abstraction, which championed a new group of artists that rejected painterliness in favor of an “openness and clarity” in color and contour. Organized for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the exhibition introduced thirty-one artists whose restrained arrangements of saturated color in vaporous soft-edged shapes and geometrical hard-edged forms reacted to the dense, gestural brushwork and raw emotion of the Abstract Expressionists. Diminishing distinctions between object and ground, these paintings formed a cool-headed and fresh visual language that de-emphasized line to privilege the perceptual effects of color: “What sets the best Color Field paintings apart is the extraordinary economy of means with which they manage not only to engage our feelings but also to ravish the eye.” (Karen Wilkin, Color As Field: American Painting, 1950 – 1975, p. 17.)

Marking the fiftieth anniversary of LACMA’s historic exhibition, Openness and Clarity presents a selection of exceptional works by five artists who were integral to Greenberg’s thesis and were instrumental in advancing abstraction in the 1960s and 1970s: Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Frank Stella. Though not included in Post Painterly Abstraction, the works of Josef Albers establish a direct link between these artists’ early and ongoing emphasis on color and form. As a teacher at Black Mountain College and Yale University, his work and ideas set a foundation for younger artists to expand upon and rebel against. His inclusion in this exhibition also underscores the social framework within which all of these artists were working and which provided a sphere of mutual influence. Albers’s Homage to the Square: Warm-Near (1966) is an example of his commitment to pure geometry and the interaction of color.

Using an all-over staining technique to achieve lyrical, floating shapes and radiant hues, Helen Frankenthaler poured and applied washes of thinned paint with rags in works like Bach’s Sacred Theater (1973). After Greenberg showed him Frankenthaler’s work, Louis followed her lead and embarked on intense experimentation with materials and color that led to the various acclaimed series he completed before his untimely death at age forty-nine. Kaf (1959-1960) is from his Floral series, an excellent and rarely seen example of Louis’s breakthrough work. Greenberg also introduced Noland to Frankenthaler’s innovations, and like Louis (Noland’s close friend) he embraced the potential of staining unprimed canvas with thinned pigments. A student of Albers, Noland invigorated his devotion to geometry with unusually shaped and stained canvases, as can be seen in works like Bolton Landing: Singing the Blues (1962) and Warm Weekend (1967). A close friend of Louis and Noland, Jules Olitski was a bold colorist whose biomorphic forms alternately floated in monochromatic fields (as in Mushroom Joy [1959]) and pushed at the edges of the canvas (as in Z [1964]).

Known as an Abstract Expressionist and part of The New York School, Robert Motherwell took a minimal approach to the use of color in the late 1960s, creating a series of expansive, nearly monochromatic canvases. Open No. 20: In Orange with Charcoal Line (1968) demonstrates Motherwell’s interest in color and composition as subjects. Like Motherwell and Noland, Frank Stella turned to painting as the subject matter for painting, pushing beyond the conventional rectilinear limits of the canvas and challenging notions of painting and objecthood. Sunapee IV (1966) from Stella’s Irregular Polygon series demonstrates his ability to marry color and form. On loan from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Ctesiphon I (1968) is part of Stella’s Protractor Variation series and exemplifies the rigor and energy for which he became so well known. These radical geometries are echoed in Anthony Caro’s Dumbfound (1976). On a 1960 visit from England to the United States, Caro met Greenberg, Noland, Louis, and the sculptor David Smith, all of whom made a lasting impression on him. Returning to England, Caro developed a monochromatic collage style that favored open forms and horizontality, which can be seen in Dumbfound (1976).

Openness and Clarity pays tribute to the legacy of Color Field artists who paved the way for Minimalism, Conceptual, and Pop art, creating an enduring shift in the course of art history that can still be seen today.

Kaz Oshiro – Still Life

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Los Angeles based painter Kaz Oshiro. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.

At first glance, Kaz Oshiro’s new works seem to represent a radical formal shift. They are minimalist canvases that straddle the edges of the white cube, folding around corners, collapsing onto the floor, and uncannily broaching the space of the viewer. His previous works, remarkably realistic three-dimensional facsimiles of everyday objects like old microwave ovens, dumpsters, kitchen cabinets, and car bumpers, meticulously fabricated from paint and Bondo on canvas, are, however, a conceptual antecedent for the new paintings. In all these works, Oshiro extends the idea of painting as a spatial and conceptual practice, distilling it to its most essential status as object and calling attention to its physical, phenomenological effects.

The new series bears the title Still Life</em>; indeed, Oshiro simply describes each work as a “still life of a broken painting.” The object depicted, a vanitas for aesthetic perfection, is an abstract painting that has been compromised – warped out of the comfortable space of the two dimensional picture plane. Each work also calls attention to the liminal spaces that disappear in a traditional gallery installation – its corners and edges. Like his prior work, which insisted upon its existence as painting but inhabited the space of sculpture, these works push painting into the bodily realm. Reorienting the viewing experience in a very deliberate way, Oshiro ultimately seeks to recalibrate the viewer’s sense of space.

In Oshiro’s words, “Abstract painting is all art. It’s pure in a way, simply canvas, paint and a brush.”* Here, painting is pared down to its most fundamental elements, referencing not a stack of amplifiers or a mini-refrigerator, but art itself. Taking inspiration from artists like Ellsworth Kelly, Imi Knoebel, Blinky Palermo, Fred Sandback and Michael Asher, Oshiro manipulates the idea of minimal abstraction, processing it through a rigorous, conceptually driven practice that makes the idea and experience of space a primary concern. The canvases, which also allude to the work of California Light and Space artists, are nearly monochromatic, adding only a subtle second tone that playfully alludes to shadowing in proximity to the real shadows created by the bends and folds of the frame; this hint at the illusory possibility of paint on canvas inverts the sort of spills and stains that disrupt the pristine surfaces of some of his earlier tromp l’oeil objects.

Through the Still Lives, Oshiro not only clarifies the concerns of his previous bodies of work but also continues to extend the definition of painting in the contemporary context.

Kaz Oshiro (b. 1967, Okinawa, Japan) has lived and worked in Los Angeles for the past 25 years. He earned a BA and MFA from California State University, Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include Villa du Parc in Annemasse, France; galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris; Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York; the Las Vegas Art Museum; and the Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont. Group exhibitions include Simulacrum at the Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH; Lifelike which opened at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and is currently on exhibit at MOCA San Diego; One Way or Another at the Asia Society and Museum, New York; Berkeley Art Museum; and Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles; Thing at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach.

*Interview with Glen Helfand, Common Noise (Paris: Galerie Frank Elbaz, 2007), p. 26.

Brenna Youngblood – ACTIVISION

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce ACTIVISION, Brenna Youngblood’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Youngblood uses materials and images taken from the domestic space to create densely layered works that oscillate between abstraction and referential content. Her practice, which includes painting, sculpture, and photography, utilizes an intuitive, bricolage approach. This exhibition will focus on a new series of large-scale paintings, along with a site-specific installation.

Youngblood pushes further towards abstraction in her new works on panel and canvas. The dynamic compositions are created through a handmade process of addition, subtraction, layering and peeling. The sheets of paper and washes of acrylic and spray-paint produce an immediacy in the gestural imperfections and improvisational marks. Continuing the conversation on assemblage and found materials initiated by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Noah Purifoy, Betye Saar, Youngblood infuses the textured, collaged surfaces with elements of the everyday. Throughout her practice she has maintained a commitment to the quietly generative qualities of the familiar and incidental, of the aggregate effect that common objects possess in communicating personal experiences. She embeds fragments of items that are often overlooked, but which are intimately connected with her daily life: food wrappers, wallpaper, wood paneling, and photographic images of clocks and light switches. Rather than speaking explicitly to the social and class associations that are built-in to these common objects, Youngblood instead opts to convey a subtler atmosphere. She focuses on deconstructing these stray details, purposely subverting their familiarity by slicing and repeating the image, or turning it at an oblique angle. The result is a collaged work that plays with the logic of both illusionistic and metaphorical space.

In addition to the new paintings, Youngblood will also include a site-specific installation of a functioning revolving door connecting the two rooms of the exhibition. Composed of interlocking found doors, this sculptural installation acts as bridge between the artist’s environment with that of the gallery’s. As a spatial intervention, it alters the context of the works hanging on the walls, not only wryly disrupting the high principles of the white cube, but also unifying the space in creating an unexpected and total environment in which to view the paintings.

Brenna Youngblood (b. 1979) lives and works in Los Angeles. Most recently, she was included in the group shows, Fore, at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Made in L.A. 2012, organized by the Hammer Museum and LAXART in Los Angeles. Youngblood will be part of a forthcoming exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston. Past solo exhibitions include Nathalie Obadia, Brussels; Jack Tilton, New York; Susanne Vielmetter, Berlin; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Youngblood earned a BFA from California State University, Long Beach (2002) and an MFA from UCLA (2006).

Erik Parker – NEW MAGNETIC DESTINY

Honor Fraser Gallery presents Erik Parker’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, New Magnetic Destiny.

Like Ray Yoshida, one of the Chicago Imagists, and Tadanori Yokoo, described as the “Japanese Andy Warhol,” Parker has developed a distinct visual vocabulary, through the manipulation of found images and an interest in popular culture produced during eras of social, political, and economic revolution. As Yoshida did, Parker does also – avidly collecting objects and images that are considered outside the boundaries of traditional art and incorporating them into the work. Any object or image from comic books, popular culture, pornography, may inspire and encourage the discovery of new and personal interpretations.

This exhibition brings together his iconic pyramid and plank-shaped canvases with his still lifes, which feature analog television monitors and controlled views of jungle and beach landscapes. The pyramid canvases reference the social movements in Egypt in early 2011 and the top-down structure of Ponzi schemes. Like the game Chutes and Ladders, these socio and political phenomena operate within a framework of surprise action, instability, and upheaval of reigning entities. These new bodies of work continue Parker’s colorful transgressiveness and anti-authoritarian approach to established ideologies, as well as introduce his new collage process. In the pyramid and plank canvases, Parker overlays selected paper images from underground magazines, charging the paintings with accessible and recognizable content. The images also function as marks on the canvas, complicating the general composition. The specificity of the printed material sources, magazines from the late 1970s to early 1980s, relate to an era when Parker was an idealistic young adult; an era when socially progressive values still resisted the dominant culture and the design of objects was more anthropomorphic-like.

Parker’s works continue to be incredibly packed and nuanced. “They are an overload,” he explains. 1960s television monitors, ubiquitous 1970s boomboxes, and similarly looking “knobby” devices and light bulbs bring to mind eyes, nipples, and gaping mouths that reveal vacation vistas of pools and beaches. Consistent with his fascination with the clandestine, one is left to wonder if the “eyes/knobs” of Parker’s television sets are there not to be seen but to survey the television viewer. Aware of the up-and-coming trends in politics, underground culture, and popular culture, Parker is keenly tuned in to how people communicate. “My paintings are like big chatter because this is how we communicate. Instagram, for example. We get an overload of images, we get an overload of news, it’s like we live in a 24/7 news cycle. We barely have time to process information.” Perhaps to counteract the chatter, Parker also presents plank canvases whose collaged composition has been pushed to the sides and edges of the canvas revealing the hierarchical center of the canvas as a blank slate. Parker explains, “I pushed everything to the sides; put it on the edge because it is marginalized culture where we get the juice of culture. It is always on the margins.”

Parker was born in Stuttgart, Germany and studied at the University of Texas at Austin and SUNY Purchase, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Too Mad to Be Scared at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Focus: Erik Parker at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, TX, and Upswing Dub Project, Pace Prints, NY. The artist has also participated in group exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the San Antonio Museum of Art. And running concurrently with the exhibition is Parker’s installation at The Standard Hotel in Hollywood.

Andy Warhol – Robots & Space Ships

Honor Fraser Gallery presents its second Andy Warhol exhibition, this time focusing on his drawings and paintings of toy robots and space ships.

Throughout art history artists have created work incorporating toys, games, and play. The Surrealists famously invented the exquisite corpse, a game that liberated image making from the constraints of rational and discursive order, and resulted in an unexpected drawing. Games and play allow participants to perceive the world with new eyes, and most importantly, position established hierarchies at risk. The excitement exists in taking turns at playing different roles – the privileged or the underdog, the policeman or the robber – and foreseeing how events will unfold. If Surrealist games liberated the process of image making for artists, games provide a method for addressing conflict in a more manageable framework, that of popular culture. At play in this exhibition are Warhol’s positive assessments of popular culture and his contributions to moments of hierarchical reversals of power.

Despite the small scale of the drawings and paintings in this exhibition, the work captures the grandiosity of the Warholian Pop Art strategies that transformed the art world from the late 1950s on, like no other series of works. These strategies include consumerism, appropriation, seriality, and abstraction. The work in the exhibition is from a series first exhibited in the 1980s by Bruno Bischofberger, a Swiss art dealer, and was intended to be hung low; a protest against the typical installation height. Warhol and Bischofberger selected a total of sixteen images for the series. The images do not reference the actual toys but the images printed on their packages, which is consistent with Warhol’s interest in consumer culture, commodities, and the container, rather than the contained. The exhaustive repetition of the image, typical of Warhol as well, attests to his fascination with the proliferation of images in popular culture. His signature silkscreen style, where the overlaid fields of color do not match the line drawing, points towards Warhol’s interest in abstraction. However, these drawings and silkscreens present a unique aspect in the Warhol saga: his unrealistic dream to be a machine, a conglomerate of author-free industrial products, or, to have a proxy robot that looked like him and would be his replacement when needed. These observations shed new light on the series, and in particular, to the somewhat anthropomorphic robot works.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication, Andy Warhol: Robots & Space Ships, with an essay by Vincent Fremont.

Mario Ybarra Jr. – Heroes and Villians

Honor Fraser Gallery presents Heroes and Villians, Mario Ybarra Jr.’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Ybarra’s new work takes the form of a large-scale comic strip and filters his teenage years through a lens of retro ludic amusement and play. With this work Ybarra aims at celebrating and participating in the channels of communication of popular culture, while employing a playful practice that transgresses into that of higher culture. For Ybarra, play becomes a strategy for occupying and contesting territories in pursuit of establishing an advantage. He focuses on moments when popular culture becomes more relevant than other cultural products and manifestations, moments when popular culture provides an alternative perspective, provokes change, or allows the masses to have the “last say.” Likewise, he positively acknowledges the way these messages are communicated (visually and materially) and utilizes them to occupy more expansive (art) territory.

Heroes and Villians (notice the word “villain” misspelled to match the Latino pronunciation of the word) also explores how popular culture (toys, movies, souvenirs, crafts, music, comics) is appropriated by the Latino community. Latinos in the United States have the opportunity to navigate, consume, and identify with the popular culture produced in the US as well as that of their cultural heritage. In Ybarra’s case, the result is a cohesive mixture, manifesting in a series of drawings that represent the unlikely friendship of several teenagers in the late 1980s. Ybarra is keen on presenting the hobbies, pastimes and habits of his youth, focusing on cultural specific traits such as the homemade Latino sweets that include “paprika, Kool-aid powder and dipping candy,” or baking a cake with his grandfather (as intergenerational households are typical in Latino families), or hinting at the absence of the father figure (possibly represented by the character in prison depicted on the first page). Other popular culture references such as E.T. and Hawaii 84 T-shirts and Doritos chips provide a context that is at once American and global. Ultimately, Ybarra presents a narrative with a happy ending where respect for the “other” and empathy prevail. The comic format is the controlled framework and terrain Ybarra chooses to play out the struggles, conflicts and contradictions of growing up in his hometown of Wilmington, CA.

Mario Ybarra Jr. (b. 1973) received an MFA from the University of California at Irvine and a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include Double Feature at Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; Mario Ybarra Jr.: The Tio Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara; and Take Me Out…No Man Is An Island at the Art Institute of Chicago. Ybarra was included in the recent Made in L.A., organized by the Hammer Museum and LAXART, Los Angeles; Invisible Cities at the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, Spain; the 2008 Whitney Biennial in New York; The World as a Stage at the Tate Modern in London and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the 2006 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, CA; and Alien Nation at the Institute of Contemporary Art London. He organized Possible Worlds at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in collaboration with Karla Diaz and Slanguage Studio.

Kenny Scharf – Pop Renaissance

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Pop Renaissance, an installation of a selection of work from Kenny Scharf’s participation in the Pulcherrimae Strade initiative in 2001. For the project, created to showcase contemporary art in historical spaces, Scharf covered the ceiling of the Palazzo Communale in Pordenone, Italy with four 33 foot canvases stretched between the beams of the coffered ceiling. The images in the work were inspired by the iconography of Giovanni da Pordenone’s altarpieces and function as a reinterpretation of classic Renaissance paintings such as Bellini’s The Seven Deadly Sins.

Scharf discussed Pordenone’s style in the catalogue published in conjunction with Pulcherrimae Strade (Salvaterra and Rosenblum 2002).

First I noticed a lot of the faces and the way he paints, and it becomes almost like a caricature of a person. His lines are very quick and almost gestural, which makes him different from other Renaissance painters; you get an almost immediate caricature of a person, which is very interesting. I noticed he has a very fantastic imagination when it comes to scale, giving different sizes juxtaposed together, giants and miniature people, all occupying the same space. That surely has a lot to do with the importance of each figure. I think he took a lot of liberties that I don’t see too much in other painters of that period, with this kind of fantasy of scale. It’s almost medieval sometimes, the flatness with which he depicts the figure and the faces.

Scharf currently lives and works in New York, Los Angeles, and Brazil. His work can be found in major museums and collections, including the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Eli Broad Foundation, MOCA Los Angeles and the Stedelijik Museum. In 2009, a comprehensive catalog of his work was authored by art historian Richard Marshall and published by Rizzoli. 
Most recently, in 2011, Scharf’s work was featured in the MOCA LA’s Art in the Streets exhibition. Recent solo exhibitions were presented at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2011), and The Hole, New York (2010).

Gustavo Godoy – Big Blue

Kenny Scharf – Hodgepodge

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Hodgepodge, Kenny Scharf’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

For this exhibition, Scharf has created several new bodies of work that survey his particular aesthetic approaches and sensibilities. The show features paintings, sculptures, a Cosmic Cavern installation, and a customized Cadillac, as well as an opening night performance by longtime friend and frequent collaborator, Ann Magnuson.

As a child Scharf was fascinated by television and consumer culture. Sitting only inches from the television screen, young Scharf became obsessed with vibrant and surreal imagery of cartoons and low budget sci-fi films. Optimism oozed from these dewy forms of popular culture, reflecting an era when the medium of television was still new and shiny. The outlook towards the future during the 1950s and early 1960s was a lustrous one filled with invention, cutting-edge products, space travel, and an unabashed vision of a better life. Coming on the heels of World War II, the hopefulness of this era was authentic. Various new industries and the jobs they developed were flourishing alongside the comforts of peace and suburbia. There was an aura of progress and prosperity, creating a seemingly realistic expectation of eternal euphoria. This feeling of positivity unhinged is threaded throughout all of the works in Hodgepodge.

While a young artist living in New York in the 1980s, Scharf and other artists of his generation were drawn to works originating from contexts outside gallery spaces. Whether that was graffiti, performances, or parties at the famous Club 57, Scharf sought to incorporate his works within situations that anyone and everyone could relate to and more importantly, experience. Like Warhol before him, Scharf became interested in merging the highbrow with the lowbrow, and began working towards ways of incorporating pop-culture into his paintings. As a way to rebel against the highly academic work that was being shown at the time, Scharf’s work reflected an Eden filled with animated colors and fantastical subjects ranging from the Flintstones and the Jetsons, to imaginary characters that could cast either gloom or euphoria onto the desired canvas.

This characteristically bold, sci-fi, 1950s-inspired iconography layers The New and Improved Ultima Suprema Deluxa (2012), a customized 1959 Cadillac. The car has been painted in a hybrid of sea and powder blue, with a band of space creatures having taken hold, including some oft-appropriated characters from The Jetsons cartoon series. This historic symbol of luxury and progress has been turned into a vehicle in which to ride out the Apocalypse in style as it crashes into another sculpture, Pikaboom (2012), a “picnic table” of sorts with an atomic mushroom cloud cum umbrella exploding from it. Like much of Scharf’s work, these pieces take on notions of creation and destruction, acting out an eternal struggle between the natural and the man-made.

In his numerous hanging Lixo sculptures, Scharf makes use of the washed up trash he collects from the beaches near his studio in Brazil (“lixo” is the Portuguese word for trash). Resurfaced and discolored from overexposure to the sun, sea and sand, these otherwise disregarded objects have long been an integral part of Scharf’s practice. By transforming the “lixo” into ornaments of wonder and nostalgia, they become emblematic of Scharf’s own fascination with the material’s often ignored qualities. Whether it’s household appliances, common detritus, cartoon characters, or automobiles, Kenny finds value in our outdated cultural artifacts, offering them an alternative existence in his psychedelic, Hodgepodge world.

Scharf currently lives and works in New York, Los Angeles, and Brazil. His work can be found in major museums and collections, including the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Eli Broad Foundation, MOCA Los Angeles and the Stedelijik Museum. In 2009, a comprehensive catalog of his work was authored by art historian Richard Marshall and published by Rizzoli. 
Most recently, in 2011, Scharf’s work was featured in the MOCA LA’s Art in the Streets exhibition. Recent exhibitions were presented at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2011), and The Hole, New York (2010).

Jill Magid – Failed States

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Failed States, Jill Magid’s first solo show in Los Angeles. Magid will launch her new book, also entitled Failed States, in conjunction with the exhibition.

Failed States is an exploration of coincidence and poetics amid the barriers and bureaucracy of governmental power. In January 2010, while on a trip to research the history of snipers in Austin, Texas, Magid witnessed a mysterious shooting on the steps of the State Capitol. After attempting to speak with a state employee a young man named Fausto Cardenas exited the building and —in full view of security- fired six shots from a small caliber gun into the Texas sky. Cardenas has offered no explanation for his actions. Last August, after eighteen months of incarceration, he took a plea bargain, ultimately silencing himself.

In Failed States, Magid acts as eyewitness and dramaturge, drawing connections between Fausto’s futile and tragic act and Goethe’s nineteenth-century epic poem, Faust. Magid portrays Fausto as the tragic hero, guiding the relationship between the lone gunman and the famed literary protagonist to a histrionic effect. Failed States investigates Fausto’s abstract, almost surrealist, act as it is chronicled through an intermingling of personal and public, fact and fiction, words and actions.

Originally written as a “closet drama” – a play to be read rather than performed – Faust is now regularly presented on stage. In the installation of Failed States, the script is slowly unveiled through stage directions, prints, audio, photographs, news reports, and a live feed from the sky above the Capitol steps. The exhibition will feature Failed States — the work from which this exhibition takes its name – Magid’s 1993 Mercedes Benz station wagon. This car was originally purchased as Magid’s family car and has been subsequently armored to withstand gunfire common in war zones. While following Fausto’s case, Magid was training to be an embedded reporter in Afghanistan and learned about the “hard cars” or armored vehicles (usually Mercedes) designed to blend into local traffic. For a previous exhibition, this car was parked on the site where Fausto Cardenas had parked his car before approaching the Capitol in Austin. For her exhibition with Honor Fraser Gallery, Magid brings the car inside the gallery, embedding herself further into the drama.

Jill Magid is an artist and writer who infiltrates structures of authority and power by engaging their human side. Rather than treating these structures as subjects to challenge, she creates opportunities to draw them closer. Through dialogues and manipulations Magid finds her way in through introduction or invitation, often locating or exploiting a loophole in the system.

Jill Magid was born in Bridgeport, CT in 1973. She received her Master of Science in Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge and was an artist-in residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam from 2000-2. Solo exhibitions include those at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate Modern, London, UK; Stroom and the AIVD (Dutch Secret Service), The Hague, NL; Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam; Berkeley Museum of Art; and at Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin; and Yvon Lambert, Paris, France and New York, NY. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at The Bucharest Biennial; The Singapore Biennial; The New Museum, New York; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Townhouse Gallery, Cairo; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Taipei; and Tate Museum, Liverpool, among others. Magid has performed at venues including Location One, New York; Museum Tamayo, Mexico City; and Museum of Modern Art, New York. Magid currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

To order Failed States, the book, send an email to: failedstates@publicationstudio.biz or contact the gallery directly.

Gustavo Godoy – Vacant Mounds and Markers

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Vacant Mounds and Markers, Gustavo Godoy’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Gustavo Godoy employs a more restrained and minimal approach with Vacant Mounds and Markers, bringing together a new body of cast concrete sculptures. In contrast to Godoy’s previous exhibition, Fast-formal Object: Big White, which invited viewers to directly interact with his large-scale wood sculpture; the sculptures in Vacant Mounds and Markers quietly examine spiritual spaces and secular objects. Positioned at ground level, Godoy’s sculptures transform the gallery into a meditative sanctuary, addressing the physicality of space as well as the ritualistic spaces inspired by secular and sacred belief systems. His concrete “mounds and markers” are reminiscent of ancient altars, minimalist sculptures, futuristic architecture, and urban demolition sites. They appear to be part of sanctified rituals, which may provide insights into the sensibilities and culture from which they’ve emerged. Attempting to capture the essence of a culture, Godoy not only alludes to ancient histories, but also references contemporary idols. On entering the space, viewers will encounter an unraveling of history, manifested in objects emblematic of both progress and return.

The mounds reference the pitching mound from Los Angeles’s Dodger Stadium, a sacred space for Godoy. In 1981 Fernando Valenzuela, a Mexican pitcher for the Dodgers, quickly became an international phenomenon as he took his team to the World Series Championship and received baseball’s most prestigious award for pitching, the Cy Young. Idolizing the pitcher as a child (and furthermore, the stadium), Godoy witnessed first hand as “Fernandomania” swept the country. For the Mexican population of L.A., the success of Valenzuela was especially meaningful considering the controversial history of Dodger Stadium. The stadium was built in Chavez Ravine, an area previously home to a vibrant Mexican American community. In the 1940s the area was particularly appealing to real estate developers, who saw the potential in the neighborhood’s proximity to Downtown L.A. The residents were forcibly relocated to make room for new housing. Although the development never materialized, the land was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers, creating a home for the newly christened Los Angeles Dodgers in Chavez Ravine. This recounting of fraught histories is prevalent in Vacant Mounds and Markers, as Godoy pays tribute to disenfranchised communities, the rise and fall of heroes, and the urban L.A. landscape.

Los Angeles is an urban jungle comprised of a stream of traffic and construction set against a landscape of ocean, palm trees and mountains. This juxtaposition of nature vs. industry can be seen in the commonplace materials that Godoy uses to build his sculptures. Maintaining a relationship with the day laborers that build our environments, Godoy’s work pays tribute to the true makers of our city. His embrace of quotidian construction supplies, readily found at any home improvement store, renders the objects familiar, yet the weight and stillness of the heavy material provides a solemn, cerebral experience. These concrete forms suggest permanence; a gesture of hope that the art object can capture and maintain the essence of time and social circumstance. Through an interest in the way belief systems parallel the value placed upon art, Godoy is able to question art’s ability to transcend spirituality and religion.

Gustavo Godoy lives and works in Los Angeles. He received a Master of Fine Arts at Vermont College in Montpelier, VT and a Bachelor of Arts at UC Santa Barbara, and has studied at the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, FL; L.A. Mart, Los Angeles, CA; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and Happy Lion, Los Angeles, CA. Group exhibitions include the SUR: Biennial, Norwalk, CA; Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston, TX; OHWOW, Miami, FL; the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA; Circus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Centre d’art contemporain du Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux, France; Mexico Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA, and Workspace, Brooklyn, NY.

Brenna Youngblood – The Mathematics of Individual Achievement

Extending our program’s long-standing commitment to experimental practices in painting, Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present The Mathematics of Individual Achievement, a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Los Angeles-based artist Brenna Youngblood. This marks the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

Negotiating the tension between representation and abstraction through the language of photography, collage, painting, and more recently, sculpture, Brenna Youngblood’s practice has explored and transformed some of the conceptual and formal strategies associated with American West Coast assemblage. Initially trained in photography, Youngblood began to treat her photographs as source material for large-scale layered collaged compositions that mined the relationship between the autobiographical and the historical. Invested in exploring the multidimensional qualities of materials, Youngblood soon began to expand her formal sensibilities, leading to unconventional treatments and juxtapositions of materials and forms. Photographs, wallpaper, textbook pages, wooden sheets, and paint, amongst other things came together to create Youngblood’s unforeseen palette. Similar to predecessors like Rauschenberg, and perhaps more accurately, Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, and Betye Saar, Youngblood began introducing found materials to her work, translating the accumulative conditions of the studio into painterly objects with a raw sculptural quality.

While shaped canvases, plywood, and other materials began to serve as backdrops for Youngblood’s painting exercises, more recently, Youngblood has furthered her investigations; the new materials that exist in the studio have called for a different conceptual approach to both painting and sculpture, one that Youngblood communicates through this exhibition. Like in many of her previous projects, Youngblood draws from documents and materials in her personal archive to establish both a point of departure and context for the work, a conceptual gesture that echoes the process through which materials are selected and used in her broader practice. In this particular instance, Youngblood takes her old elementary school math book as a point of departure. Intrigued by the visual composition of each page—her penciled problem solving marks and residue of erasers—Youngblood takes both the visual and material language of the math book to create a series of wall sculptures that take the form of familiar arithmetic symbols and equations. These works create an infrastructure for the exhibition that Youngblood playfully uses to speak about the human attempt to rationalize, solve, and reach concrete solutions—a self-reflexive process that she herself engages in through this show. A selection of paintings that demonstrate her signature approach to the utilization of photographic imagery as painting material are included alongside a new body of sculptural wall paintings of stars, clouds, and domestic icons, juxtaposing her now perfected material techniques with her ongoing interest in the everyday, the subjective, and the politics of personal narrative construction.

As the mathematical signs create a translating mechanism to reveal the relationships between these works, viewers will also be presented with a new sculptural work that marks Youngblood’s most recent experiments with free standing sculpture. Taking on some of the iconography normally used in her paintings, Youngblood converts a symbol from the math book into a large-scale jungle gym sculpture. Youngblood hints at some of her more recent aesthetic investigations, allowing us for the first time to trace a historical trajectory of her creative process and its influences. In creating a seemingly rational system with which to read the work, Youngblood puts forth an interrogation of objectivity, more specifically in relationship to our ongoing debates about the condition of painting, its viability, and its relationship to other mediums. In this environment of sculptural paintings and painterly sculptures, Youngblood extends these debates even further, presenting viewers with aggressive interrogations of both painting and sculpture traditions that simultaneously remind us about the possibility of both mediums’ intimate coexistence.

Brenna Youngblood earned a BA in 2002 from Cal State Long Beach and an MFA in 2006 from UCLA, where she studied with Cathy Opie and James Welling. Recent solo projects include exhibitions at Jack Tilton Gallery, Susanne Vielmetter Berlin Projects, Margo Leavin Gallery, Wignall Museum, and the Hammer Museum. Youngblood has also participated in exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Harris Lieberman Gallery, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, the 2008 California Biennial, and the California African American Museum.

Sarah Cain – freedom is a prime number

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce freedom is a prime number, Sarah Cain’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.

Some things about Sarah Cain:

1) Sarah Cain enjoys doing things the wrong way, always starting out with a mistake, an accident, an errant line, an unruly string, an ugly shirt, illegible graffiti, a drunken pattern, a counterfeit pimp’s horde of fake gold chain, etc. Like a radiating galaxy, they spiral a cosmos worth of color and line around that first mistake. It’s not rebellious exactly, or chaotic even, just fuck-ups are always more interesting. Sublimity, according to this and that scholar, is achieved through the destruction of order. Nowhere better to start than a mistake.

2) “freedom is a prime number” is a story best left unexplained. But though numbers are pure order (mathematics often mistaken for a language without ambiguity), prime numbers have no pattern or logic. They are wild and unbroken. Divisible only by one and itself.

3) Important to note: physical space is psychological space.

4) Abstraction may free us from representation, but it doesn’t free us from reality, even a fever dream is just reality boiled over. It’s delusions and phantasms are very real.

5) The hard-edged abstractions of Frank Stella warp and bend, the semiotics of Ree Morton shudder under splashes of iridescence, the popular rhythms and crafty appreciations of Mary Heilman suffuse a broken picture plane, all attempted with the spiritual seriousness of Imi Knoebel and the subtleties of Richard Tuttle. Does Sarah Cain love Cy Twombly? She does.

6) Sometimes Sarah Cain’s canvases stretch into the space, sometimes space penetrates into the canvas. Bones are revealed, colors leak out all over the floor, a prismatic spirit writhes all over the room. It can get messy. Form dissolving into formlessness and back again.

7) These paintings are spirited. Interpret that however you want to.

Sarah Cain lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; the Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; the Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; and the Imperial Belvedere Palace Museum, Vienna, Austria, among other national and international institutions. Cain’s work was also included in A Tale of Two Cities: Busan-Seoul/Seoul-Busan, Busan Biennale 2006, Busan, Korea; the 2008 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; and Made in LA 2012, the first Los Angeles Biennial organized by the Hammer Museum in collaboration with LAXART, Los Angeles, CA. In 2006, she received the SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Sarah Cain, the artist’s first monograph, was recently published by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), July 2012.

It’s Great To Be In New Jersey

Honor Fraser is pleased to announce It’s Great To Be In New Jersey, a group exhibition curated by Gardar Eide Einarsson. An opening reception will be held Saturday, July 16, from 6 to 9pm.

It’s Great To Be In New Jersey will include works by Christopher Wool, Albert Oehlen, Banks Violette, David Ratcliff, Linder, Dawn Mellor, Raymond Pettibon, Wolfgang Tillmans, Oscar Tuazon, and Bea Schlingelhoff.

Gardar Eide Einarsson born Oslo, 1976, lives and works in New York and Tokyo. He graduated from Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Kunste – Stadelschule, Frankfurt am Main National Academy of Fine Art, Bergen and completed the Studio Program and Architecture and Urban Studies Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has recently had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Bonniers Konsthall, Honor Fraser, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Reykjavik Art Museum, and Team Gallery.

David Ratcliff – The Spirits that Lend Strength Are Invisible

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce The Spirits that Lend Strength Are Invisible, David Ratcliff’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Ratcliff’s paintings insist on flatness. Although the elements that comprise his works are insistently layered and multiple, the density is visual rather than material; conceptual and ideological rather than bodily. Images, text and painterly accidents are on equal footing in creating an associative narrative. Alluding to a specifically American subcultural underground, the fragments resolve into meaning and dissolve again into form. He culls from the energies of utopic hopes, dystopic nightmares, fantasy and nostalgia to create a new landscape.

In this exhibition, Ratcliff employs a more multichromatic palate than in previous works, playing not only with clouds of color but with stains of oil that penetrate the surface and lend hints of the visceral. The paintings are meticulously composed but come into being as much a result of painterly chance and accident as deliberate decision. The artist’s hand intervenes in these remnants of popular culture and creates a series of fictions to conjure an alternate psychic reality from our societal detritus.

Ratcliff will create his first site-specific installation and expands his painting practice into the space of sculpture. Creating a floor-to-ceiling composition with worn and stained ceiling tiles, Ratcliff takes a fundamentally banal and ubiquitous material and reorients it to call attention to its pictorial possibilities. As he selects and composes the tiles salvaged from businesses throughout his Koreatown neighborhood, he translates the process of editing and composing for his paintings into three dimensions. The ubiquitous but invisible context of our daily lives becomes foregrounded as the overlooked (and overlooking) becomes the subject of contemplation.

The title of this exhibition is taken from the series of monumental works by Sigmar Polke that employs an experimental approach to materials and to painting itself, referencing a Native American saying to evoke the alchemical mysteries of image making. Ratcliff’s work continues in this vein of transformational storytelling and extends new narratives for our contemporary moment.

David Ratcliff lives and works in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. He has had solo exhibitions at Team Gallery, New York, NY; Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium; Maureen Paley Gallery, London, UK; and Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. Group exhibitions include Torrance Museum of Art, Torrance, CA; Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy; PPOW, New York, NY; and the Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York, NY. Ratcliff’s work is included in the public collections of the Frank Cohen Museum of Contemporary Art, Manchester, UK; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; and the Saatchi Collection, London, UK.

COLECTIVA

Honor Fraser’s LAB is pleased to present COLECTIVA, curated by Yoshua Okón and Esthella Provas. COLECTIVA is an exhibition of different works made by a heterogeneous group of artists who all work within specific contexts. There is no consideration for a theme nor an intention to weave any connections amongst the works. Instead, the focus is on the artists who have developed very singular approaches to their art-making practices. These approaches, in some ways, are the result of challenges encountered when dealing with specific circumstances, methodologies slowly developed as part of processes, which resulted in the creation of new and personal languages. What brings this group together is that they are all immersed in deep dialogues with incredibly specific elements, circumstances and locations, whether in the rotation of the whole planet, as in Monica Espinoza’s Night Falls, or the loneliness of a cell, as in Antonio Vega Macotela’s work from his Time Divisa series.

Edgardo Aragón makes very poetic videos performed by his younger brothers and cousins. Family Effects is a series of videos in which children learn through recreation, rituals and games, of the family’s past affiliations with organized crime and politics.

Paola Cabrera’s video animation is a collaboration with a group of five-year-old children who describe a robbery at an arms store.

Gilberto Esparza’s current work analyzes technology and its effects on the urban environment. Technology permeates everyday life as it creates new social, economic and political frontiers, designs things to become obsolete, perpetuates the creation of new needs and the deliberate consumption of energy and resources, and transforms the urban landscape

Monica Espinoza’s project, Night Falls, is comprised of the audio recording of the artist’s calls around the globe to say good night to randomly chosen homes in their respective languages and time zones, as well as an image of the map of the earth tracing her phone calls.

Adriana Lara’s slide series consists of photos taken at the planetarium in Mexico City. Her practice de-emphasizes object making in favor of a conceptual reimagining of artistic production and the exhibition space. Lara playfully turns her attention to artistic models in order to set up problems or situations that inspire reflection and contemplation in the viewer.

Moris’s canvas floor installation was designed specifically for COLECTIVA. The silkscreened text will become visible as it collects dirt form the soles of the shoes of visitors to the gallery.

Daniela Ortiz’s work appropriates a series of drawings made by the FBI in 1968 for a Black Panther Coloring Book that was distributed in primarily white, middle-class neighborhoods. The book, which featured black men and children killing pigs dressed as police officers, was made by the FBI to discredit the Black Panther organization. Ortiz recreates the actions of the FBI by printing and distributing copies of the Black Panther’s coloring book within the middle-class neighborhood of Culver City. The original text has been replaced by text in Arabic explaining the true origins of the book.

Ivan Puig’s video installation Opinion Leader is a study of the mass media, specifically televised news and its role in the creation of public opinion. It is an investigation of the employment of image as a tool for validating discourse. In the installation, broadcast news made up of various sequences changes its discourse, imparting news that is diametrically opposed, using over and over the same images to illustrate it. While all the images are produced in real time, behind the scenes are a series of mock-ups designed to deceive the spectator.

Antonio Vega Macotela’ s Time Divisa is a project that explores the possibility of replacing money with a time‐sharing system. Vega Macotela orchestrated individual time exchanges with 365 inmates at the Santa Martha Acatila prison in Mexico City. The work to be exhibited resulted from an exchange with an inmate who requested that Vega Macotela search for his son. In return, the inmate mapped his section of the prison and documented his movement throughout as requested by the artist.

CURATORS

Yoshua Okón was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he lives and works. His work is like a series of near-sociological experiments executed for the camera and blends staged situations, documentation and improvisation and questions habitual perceptions of reality and truth, selfhood and morality. In 2002 he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. In 1994, he founded La Panadería, an artist-run space in Mexico City. His solo-exhibitions include: HH, Baró, Sau Paulo, Brazil, Yoshua Okón: 2007-2010, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Ventanilla Única, Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Canned Laughter, Viafarini, Milan, SUBTITLED, Städtische Kunsthalle, Munich, Bocanegra, The Project, NY, Gaza Stripper, Herzeliya Museum, Israel, Cockfight, Galleria Francesca Kaufmann, Milan, Oríllese a la Orilla, Art & Public, Geneva. His group exhibitions include: Amateurs, CCA Wattis, San Francisco, Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London, The Age of Discrepancy, MUCA, Mexico City, Adaptive Behavior, New Museum, NY, Terror Chic, Spruth/Magers, Munich, The Virgin Show, Wrong Gallery, NY, Mexico City: an exhibition about the exchange rates between bodies and values, PS1, MoMA, NY, and Kunstwerke, Berlin. He has also participated in: Mercosur Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil, Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, ICP Triennial, NY, California Biennial, OCMA, Newport Beach and Torino Triennale, Turin.

Esthella Provas has played a number of key roles in the contemporary art world for the past twenty years, including her current position as president and principal art advisor of Esthella Provas & Associates. She served as director/co-owner along with Eugenio Lopez of Chac Mool, a contemporary art gallery active for twelve years in Los Angeles. Provas also played a pivotal role in establishing The Jumex Foundation for Lopez, one of the largest, most comprehensive, art collections and privately owned museums in the world and continues to assist Lopez in procuring work for The Jumex Collection as a chief advisor. Among her philanthropic projects she has served on the boards of the American Cancer Society and Project Angel Food, and founded Angel Art, an auction benefitting Project Angel Food and held annually at CAA’s corporate offices. Provas is also a co-founder of the Latin American International Art Council for MOCA. She currently acts as a Development Consultant for LACMA’s Latin American Initiatives, is on the Modern and Contemporary Art Council, and is a member of their Director’s Circle. In addition to her involvement in the institutional world, Provas is the Chair of LA><ART’s Public Art Initiatives producers council and is on the board of directors of LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division).

Mario Ybarra Jr. – Double Feature

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Double Feature, a solo exhibition by Wilmington, California based artist Mario Ybarra Jr. This is his first exhibition with the gallery.

Over the past decade, Ybarra has developed a practice centered around storytelling. With an eye and ear for the elements of an engaging narrative, accompanied by healthy doses of wit, Ybarra crafts portraits of people, places and communities that are resonant and universal while rooted in the specific. Using the objects and materials that he finds around him and his subjects, he translates personal stories into resonant and multilayered installations that seamlessly blend the languages of art and life. Often, the installations relate the overlooked or unacknowledged; particularly, the lives and dreams of his family, childhood friends, and colorful personalities that make up his community. He makes connections to these local tales for global audiences far from Wilmington, often by relating these individual stories refracted through lenses such as mass media and popular culture.

Double Feature consists of two projects that cull portraits from iconic Hollywood films, mining this deep repository for our collective fantasies. In Universal Monsters, Ybarra finds inspiration in a series of classic horror/sci-fi films produced by Universal Studios in the 1920s-1960s for a series of self-portraits. Simultaneously playful and disarmingly revealing, these works are a psychologically rich exploration of the persona of the artist. Imagining versions of himself filtered through the lens of the creatures of the Universal stable, Ybarra’s multimedia renderings of id build upon our own relationships with these celluloid nightmares.

Ybarra’s ceramic busts of the artist as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, rendered in fragile porcelain in stark black and white, depict the divided self in literal and comical terms. A portrait of the artist as the Creature from the Black Lagoon depicts him as a primal shamanic character at home in the wilderness. As the Invisible Man, Ybarra appears and disappears, reinhabiting a favorite childhood Halloween costume while expressing kinship as a Latino with Ellison’s landmark novel exploring the social invisibility of African Americans. And in his renderings of Frankenstein, Ybarra playfully draws a physical parallel between his own brow and one of the most famous features of the legendary monster.

In the north gallery, Ybarra screens a video inspired by two of his favorite childhood media moments: Michael Jackson’s Thriller and An American Werewolf in London. Creating a quintessential monster video, the artist quite literally explores the process of transformation while exploring the cinematic possibilities of the peculiar architecture of Los Angeles. The video, shot on a pedestrian bridge above the Harbor Freeway near Wilmington, casts the stream of cars as a torrential river, creating an urban wilderness.

Collectively, the project is a psychological self-portrait of the artist. Ybarra is ultimately fascinated with these fables as ideal vehicles to tell personal stories; the cumulative effect of these paintings, sculptures and video is one in which we connect with the primal universality of these stories of transformation. One can see this series of works in relation to one of his earliest photographic series, Go Tell It, which plays upon activist iconography and politicized self-portraiture; in Universal Monsters, his body makes a reappearance to again explore the political, social and psychological aspects of self-representation and social projection.

In the south gallery, Ybarra reprises the Scarface Museum. This project began in 2005 with a series of performances at Art Basel Miami in which Ybarra staged reenactments and readings from Brian De Palma’s 1983 film Scarface in the neighborhood where the movie took place. Some of the tour attendees referred to the Tony Montana character as “Santo Scarface.” This inspired the Museum, shown as a fully realized installation in 2008 at the Whitney Biennial, which can be seen as a series of Scarface relics and reliquaries playing upon the conventions of collecting, archiving and curating. Cases filled with jackets, lamps, sneakers, videos, statues and countless other objects are carefully displayed according to museological methodology. These projects originally were inspired by Ybarra’s childhood friend, Angel Montes Jr., who was imprisoned for dealing drugs and looked to the Tony Montana character as a hero. He is a devoted collector of the movie’s memorabilia, from which all the Museum’s material is drawn. Here, as in Universal Monsters, cinematic icons and popular culture become a vehicle for personal storytelling that produces unexpected, intimate inroads and relationships between viewers and subjects. One can look at the Monsters and the Museum as wry, engaging, and ultimately politicized lenses on the excesses and uncontainability of cinema and popular culture in general as it circulates through individual lives and accrues unforeseen narrative resonances.

This piece represents the second part of a projected trilogy of portraits of his Wilmington community, which began with an exploration of Reggie the Alligator (a now legendary story of an alligator living in South Bay parks for years eluding capture). This series of projects really addresses the way that legends and fables are constructed and the roles that they play in cementing and communicating a sense of community.

Mario Ybarra Jr. (b. 1972) lives and works in Wilmington, CA. He received an MFA from the University of California at Irvine and a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include Double Feature, currently on view at Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; Mario Ybarra Jr.: The Tio Collection at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum; Wilmington Good at Cardi Black Box in Milan, Italy; Silver and Blacks at Michael Janssen Gallery, Berlin; and Take Me Out…No Man Is An Island at the Art Institute of Chicago. Ybarra was included in the recent Made in L.A., organized by the Hammer Museum and LAXART, Los Angeles; Invisible Cities at the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, Spain; the 2008 Whitney Biennial in New York; The World as a Stage at the Tate Modern in London and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the 2006 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, CA; and Alien Nation at the Institute of Contemporary Art London. Ybarra was one of the founding members of the collective Slanguage, a socially engaged group of artists that comingles art education, community building and the production of interactive exhibition and performance projects. He organized Possible Worlds at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in collaboration with Karla Diaz and Slanguage Studio. Ybarra is the recent recipient of a Levitt fellowship at Williams College in Massachussetts; a residency at Artpace in San Antonio, TX; and, in 2011, was the artist-in-residence at the Arhus Kunstbygning Centre for Contemporary Art in Denmark.

ACIREMA

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce ACIREMA, a group exhibition curated by Cesar Garcia and opening Saturday, July 14, 6 to 8pm.

In 1943, the same year he founded The Studio of the South (Taller del Sur), Uruguayan constructivist artist and art theorist Joaquin Torres-Garcia produced a small charcoal drawing depicting an inverted South American continent. A simple yet resonant gesture, Torres-Garcia’s America Invertida has since become a powerful symbol for what the artist once termed “the global south”–those regions and terrains molded and shaped through the complex and violent histories of colonization, occupation, and ongoing Western intervention. An advocate for a renewed form of engagement with localized contexts and practices, Torres-Garcia championed the possibilities of forging new ways of knowing outside the margins of Eurocentric intellectual histories. Inspired by the potential of future transformation, Torres-Garcia’s practice has become emblematic of a generation of Latin American artists active during the post-WWII period that sought the realization of new worlds molded through artistic innovation–inverted utopias whose boundaries and logics have now too often been employed by Western cultural institutions as organizing tenets for contemporary artistic production from the region.

The title of this exhibition, ACIREMA, is a textual literalization of Torres-Garcia’s proposition of an ‘inverted’ America. A seemingly fictitious word, ACIREMA functions as a fragmented and complex portrait of a terrain that resists simple deciphering and generalization. Organized as a series of focused localized pulses from the region, this exhibition features the work of emerging artists from Latin America born between 1980-1986–the first generation of practitioners to be born and come of age in post-dictatorship democracies. Informed by the contexts in which they live and work and responding to local urgencies, the work of the artists featured in this exhibition puts forth new perspectives that advocate for the creation of new languages, value economies, and mediating strategies with which to engage the work of a new generation of cultural producers working in Latin America today; a generation that actively challenges the conventional framing and contextualizing mechanisms through which their practices are often situated. Working across a wide range of media, the practices of this generation of artists exemplifies what in recent years has been called the “New Realism” of our time–drawing attention to the physical surroundings we inhabit, to our lived bodily experiences, and to local realities through their conceptual approaches and their dynamic formal and material innovation.

The work featured in this exhibition further highlights this generation of artists’ conflicting relationship to art historical narratives, regional histories, and collective memory; shifting our attention instead to new conceptualizations of time, space, and the body that are created when these concepts come into contact with both the performative and formal dimensions of aesthetics. While some of the artists featured in this exhibition have been trained in Latin America, some have been trained abroad and currently live and develop their practices outside the region. This unveils subtle distinctions amongst artistic approaches that speak to new models and visions for artistic education and training outside the United States. In drawing attention to these intergenerational differences and contradictions the exhibition moves away from a consolidating presentation format and instead presents a vibrant and constantly morphing landscape of artistic sensibilities where subjectivity extends beyond geography, history, and heritage and is instead conceived as both space and circumstance, as contextual and tactically created; an imaginary where art functions not solely as an object of representation but also as the trace of an action executed in a contested battlefield of meaning.

ACIREMA includes work by Antonio Vega Macotela (b. 1980 Mexico City, Mexico), Firelei Baez (b. 1981 Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic), Marcellvs L. (b. 1980 Belo Horizonte, Brazil), Edgardo Aragon (b. 1985 Oaxaca, Mexico) and Cesar Gonzalez (b. 1986 Bogota, Colombia) Marina Camargo (b. 1980 Belo Horizonte, Brazil), Tomas Fernandez (b. 1985 Santiago, Chile) and Liliana Velez (b. 1980 Bogota, Colombia).

While some of the artists included in this exhibition have presented their work internationally, for others this show marks their United States debut. For others, this will mark the first time their work is presented outside their home countries.

ACIREMA is curated by Cesar Garcia, Founder and Director of The Mistake Room, and the current U.S. Commissioner for the 13th International Cairo Biennale.

Fay Ray – Vessels, Forms and Remains

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to Vessels, Forms and Remains, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Fay Ray.

Ray’s work explores the social and cultural construction of the female body and the attendant psychologies of image making, consumption, and desire. Expanding her interests in the devotional behaviors and obsessions generated by consumer culture, Ray created a new series of works that explicitly engage the language of painting and sculpture to address a complex set of concerns about femininity as a commodifiable cultural object. Through both formal and visceral experimentation, Ray mines ideas of embodied subjectivity in the traditionally masculine realm of monumental painting; problematizing historical narratives through works that introduce subtly implied figures, intimate gestures, and bodily traces.

The monochromatic palate of Ray’s paintings and sculptures reads as anything but blank; rather, it fixes attention on Ray’s intricate sensibilities for form and texture. The plaster surfaces are disrupted with the evidence of pours and manual manipulation, clearly alluding to the artist’s own physical investment and intervention. Found objects are also incorporated into the works – baskets, bikinis, shells, rope and palm fronds – creating structures and patterns while simultaneously disrupting through amassment and accumulation.

In one sculpture, a frontal tableau with a monochromatic pedestal harkens back to the artist’s earlier work, collaged with images from fashion magazines that make ghostly appearances under layers of plaster. A mobile is a totemic presence that precariously balances organic and inorganic matter while a modular floor-bound work with roots in post-minimalist sculpture struggles to contain its own fleshy excesses. Informed by the delicate boundaries that separate devotion and obsession, desire and disgust, consumption and restraint, Ray arranges the works to resemble a gathering place of worship and adoration; a psychoanalytic landscape where the dreams of who we wish to be and the realities of who we are coalesce through the beautifully grotesque objects we consume and those that will never be ours.

Fay Ray received her BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, and her MFA from Columbia University in 2005. She has exhibited at various institutions and galleries including LAXART, Los Angeles, CA; Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Luckman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY; and El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY, among others.

KAWS – Hold The Line

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Hold The Line, KAWS’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. In a new group of paintings and sculpture, Brooklyn-based artist KAWS delivers stylized adaptations of visual icons in American animation.

Along with the existential emotive and psychotropic narrative avenues KAWS opens up for his altered versions of iconic animated characters, the artist’s works also provide the viewer with a richly rewarding and expansive formal consideration. Non-naturalistic color takes on new meaning in the case where there is no living, breathing, original referent for characters born of cell animation (such as SpongeBob SquarePants). Nevertheless, the unconventional palette in KAWS’s paintings–from high impact contrasts to monochromatic use of fluorescents, primaries, and darker tones–simultaneously defamiliarizes the ubiquitous characters while accentuating the reductive geometric play that abounds in their volumes and surfaces. In recent paintings, figures seem buoyed in the zero-gravity aftermath of a cartoon explosion, entangled in a dynamic composition of unmoored planks, bricks, or tentacles of color. In Hold The Line, a large group of tondo paintings feature extreme close-ups of the face of KAWSBob, a recurring subject in the works on canvas. The circular edges of the picture plane resonate with cartoonish facial features: the scaled-up, concisely-painted, hard-edged curves of eyelids, undulating nose, and blocky, rectangular teeth are zoomed and cropped to an extent that offers the face as a kind of color field.

The artist adopts and upends conventions taken from popular animation. KAWS’s figures have long borne distinctive “x x” marks over their eyes–as if intoxicated, poisoned, or pushing daisies. Most characters, upon entering the KAWS lexicon, find their heads transformed into a puffy skull-and-crossbones. These visual reformulations can be found in what is perhaps KAWS’s signature figure, Companion, a Mickey Mouse-esque character that first appeared in a toy-edition in 1999, but which has since been produced in nearly every medium in which the wide-reaching artist works. At larger-than-human-scale, two new Companion sculptures refer to the artist’s recent work in monumental sculpture. Here, the figures project a vivacity, posture, and presence befitting a “look inside” the flawless toy-like surface of one of the artist’s most iconic characters.

The strong graphic identity fueling his practice enables the artist to extend his cadre of characters–Accomplice, Chum, Companion, KAWSBob, Kimpsons, Kurfs, and others–across boundless cultural platforms, from gallery and museum shows of his paintings and sculpture, to a broad range of collaborative engagements creating graphics and designs for magazines, products, apparel, and recording artists (such as Levi’s, Comme des Garçons, and Kanye West), to independently developing and distributing toy lines and other products in the dedicated KAWS boutique, OriginalFake, in Tokyo.

Born in 1974 in New Jersey, KAWS graduated with a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has recently had solo exhibitions at The Aldrich Museum, Galerie Perrotin in Paris, and Galeria Javier Lopez in Madrid. He has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Torrrance Art Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Arts Center, San Francisco, and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. KAWS has upcoming solo exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the High Museum in Atlanta. He has had four monographs published about his work, the most recent in 2010 by Skira/Rizzoli.

Mie Olise – Shipsearching

In the Project Space, Honor Fraser and The Danish Arts Council are pleased to present Shipsearching, a new installation by artist Mie Olise. Part of Olise’s ongoing project, A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks, which explores the artist’s own family history and experiences on the Island of Mors in relationship to characters from the fictional writings of Aksel Sandemose, Shipsearching explores the intertwined nature of truth and fiction, history and memory, and the personal and the collective. Manifesting as a large-scale wooden structure installation that viewers will be able to enter, Shipsearching at first appears to be an abandoned edifice waiting to be rediscovered. Upon entry, viewers will encounter a video projection depicting a fluttering sail—speaking to the intimate and poetic experience of being onboard a ship during a journey, or of traveling and moving between places. The nostalgia of a remembered past is fueled by unfulfilled desires as the sail flutters in one location, never really moving. Functioning as a physical space of transit, the installation asks questions about our understanding of time, reminding us of its vanishing quality and of our personal attempts to reconstitute it.

Mie Olise was born on the Island of Mors, Denmark, in 1974. She received an MA in Architecture from the Aarhus School of Architecture, London in 2001 and an MFA from the Central St. Martins School of Art, London in 2007. She has recently had solo exhibitions at Barbara Davis Gallery, Skive New Museum of Contemporary Art, and DUVE Berlin. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Ystad Museum of Art, Whitstable Biennale, Bloomberg Space, and Saatchi Gallery. In addition to completing a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Olise has received awards from the Danish Art Council, the Rockwool Foundation, and the Niels Wessel Bagge Art Foundation.

Honor Fraser’s Project Space stages collaborations with local, national, and international artists at all stages of their careers in order to stimulate a generative dialogue between the gallery’s program and the broad landscape of contemporary art. Sometimes operating as a complimentary response, and other times as a counterpoint, the Project Space provides an opportunity to explore, investigate, and expand artistic practices through critical exchanges and dynamic exhibitions.

Glenn Kaino – Bring Me the Hands of Piri Reis

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Bring Me The Hands of Piri Reis, an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based artist Glenn Kaino. This marks Kaino’s first solo exhibition with the Gallery.

Conceiving his process of working as “conceptual kitbashing,” akin to a model-maker’s method of appropriating parts of commercial model kits in order to construct a unique custom model, Kaino engineers objects, performances, and ephemera using fragments and concepts mobilized in other creative disciplines. Drawing from his undergraduate training in computer science; his involvement in comic books and animation; his engagements in the music industry; his professional experience in digital media technology; and most recently, his rigorous training in magic, Kaino catalyzes formal and conceptual slippages through site and situation-specific works that blur the boundaries between art and other modalities of cultural production. This gives Kaino’s work the ability to forge new relationships between materials and ideas—unveiling new possibilities for the production and circulation of contemporary art.

Extending from his most recent engagements with magic and secrecy, this exhibition takes cartographic systems as a point of departure to interrogate the ways in which map-making functions as a hegemonic paradigm of knowledge recording and organization. Mapping, since the days of early world exploration, emerged as a method to inscribe the unknown, to give rationalization and order to obscure variables and unseen terrains. Accompanied by technological advancement, mapping soon expanded beyond its geographically-based disciplinary confines, setting in place a myriad of discursive tools and symbolic systems to analyze and chart multiple bodies of knowledge. Achieving this level of functional perfection, mapping has emptied the promises of new discovery and creativity—placing at our fingertips a pristine and complete picture of the world. Informed by his training in magic, Kaino intervenes into the systemic realm of map-making by introducing concealed secrets and random variables into a series of works that resist cartographic logic. Mistakes according to Kaino “are subversions into the imagined future of an idealized outcome, and by their very nature, create a heterogeneous circumstance that unlocks an infinite progress.” Through formal and material manipulations, Kaino introduces error and chance into a rigid epistemic system—generating works that redefine the relationship between art and audience while simultaneously reinvigorating our belief in the creative gesture.

Organized as an amorphous and indecipherable landscape, the exhibition is conceptually anchored by a new video work based on the classic magical illusion of the linking rings. Functioning as a navigational tool for the show, the work depicts the linking rings being performed by an invisible agent, drawing our attention to the illusion’s dependency on motion to manipulate perceptual depth, making visible new spatial dimensions. Accompanying this work, a series of pin-drawings and new inkjet prints based on the early maps of Turkish pirate and cartographer Piri Reis dissect the logic and function of map-making.

Gesturing to a practice nearing its collapse, six large-scale pin-drawings depicting different cityscapes are made vulnerable. As delicate pins cast in gold are incongruently juxtaposed to achieve compositional balance, their assemblage and fractured forms remind viewers that even seemingly resolved imagery is not as concrete as it may appear. In conversation with these works, Kaino creates a suite of transfigured drawings that take as source material the maps sketched by Turkish pirate Piri Reis during his early years as a pirate. These seemingly abstract drawings, the recordings of an outlaw, eventually became standardized maps after Reis joined the Ottoman fleet as an admiral, following a death threat by the emperor that left him with no other choice. Through inventive constructions that aim to reconcile gaps with imagination, Kaino prints images of these maps onto film that he then releases on paper using an alcohol-based technique similar to a Polaroid transfer. Physically distressing the images with his hands, fingers, and nails, Kaino layers the original images with new itineraries and locations, creating roadmaps for worlds we have yet to know.

In the gallery’s main space, Kaino furthers his investigation by presenting a new series of sculptural photographic works that propose a new approach to mapping that extends beyond traditional notions of space and time. Kaino photographs a series of locations throughout Los Angeles that at one point or another served as incubators for artist-run spaces or alternative cultural practices. Using a magic illusion called the hypercard, Kaino is able to literally extract these locations from the images, morphing their dimensionality through sculptural protrusions. Collectively these extended flaps highlight moments of creative activity localized in distinct temporalities; generating an imaginary of creativity that extends beyond time and place. Two large-scale paintings bound and covered by hand-made tapestries that illustrate the mechanics of a lock are also included in this gallery, evoking a series of secret relationships that exist between the works but that will remain indefinitely inaccessible to viewers; thus charging the exhibition with imaginative potential.

One last sculptural element completes Kaino’s meditation while creating a temporal bridge within his own artistic trajectory. Suspended from the ceiling, as if on a landing course, Kaino’s 2006 A Plank For Every Pirate makes its way back from a lengthy voyage that had as its main objective the reinvigoration of belief in art and artists. The large-scale wooden ship with fifty planks exploding from its bowels was a sculptural proposition Kaino used to speak about the revolutionaries whose transformative ideas led to their isolation and marginalization in a world of logic and objectivity. Each plank solemnly calls on one of these many figures, reminding us of unfulfilled dreams and expectations. In this new stage of Kaino’s practice, the ship majestically returns after its maiden voyage, bringing back the pair of hands that through ink and compass attempted to rationalize and systematize the world around us. More than a piece of pirate treasure, this return marks a poetic consolidation between Kaino’s previous artistic approach and his more recent conceptual experiments. A return of the hacker, pirate, revolutionary, and bandit, now armed with the imaginative potential to reconsider our collective investment in the production of creative moments.

Glenn Kaino (b. 1972, Los Angeles) received his BFA from the University of California, Irvine, in 1993 and his MFA from the University of California, San Diego, in 1996. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Glenn Kaino: Safe|Vanish, LAXART, Los Angeles (2011); Honor Among Thieves, Performa09, in collaboration with Creative Time, New York (2010); Transformer: The Work of Glenn Kaino, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2008); The Burning Boards, The Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York (2007); Laws Were Made For Rogues, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California (2006); and Bounce: Glenn Kaino and Mark Bradford, Gallery at REDCAT, Los Angeles, (2004) amongst others. Kaino’s work has also been included in group exhibitions at institutions around the world, including Selections from the Hammer Contemporary Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011); Role Model— Role Playing, Museum der Moderne Mochsberg, Salzburg, Germany (2011); The Artists’ Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2010); Disorderly Conduct: Recent Art in Tumultuous Times, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California (2008); Blackbelt, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2004); and One Planet under a Groove, Bronx Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2001) amongst others. In 2004, his work was included in the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art and the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In addition to his studio practice, Kaino has been involved in various projects that established experimental platforms for the production and dissemination of contemporary art. In 1997, Kaino cofounded Deep River, an artist-run gallery in Los Angeles that was active through 2002, staging solo shows with some of Los Angeles’s most important emerging artists. Most recently, he cofounded The Mistake Room, an itinerant platform for exhibitions, publications, and situation-specific artist projects. Kaino currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Rosson Crow – BALLYHOO HULLABALOO HABOOB

Honor Fraser is pleased to present BALLYHOO HULLABALOO HABOOB, Rosson Crow’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Exploring the intimate psychological and emotional dimensions of nationalistic collective memory, Crow creates a series of works that take as a point of departure the exuberance and sobering aspects of past and recent gilded eras. Known for her theatrical and lush paintings that often feature decadent interiors, this new investigation marks a shift in the artist’s artistic process, tensely negotiating representational depictions and mnemonic interplay in painting. Rather than reproducing imagery associated with particular temporal and locational circumstances, the artist taps into mythologizing narratives, personal memories, and familial anecdotes to execute a psychoanalytic excavation of historical periods.

From bleak Dust Bowl towns to celebratory tickertape parades, Crow’s paintings are emblematic of American growth and decline. The exhibition’s title in part implies the pitfalls of such self-congratulatory excitement. In the tickertape canvases, the skewed perspectives and atmospheric maelstroms of staccato brushstrokes push to a near-abstraction. Emptied of figures, these works only obliquely refer to specific historical references, and often contain little narrative coherence in terms of space and structure. In representing the actual event so abstractly, the attention no longer focuses on what is depicted, but rather the feeling of a distinctly American bravado and celebratory energy that teeters on the verge of disorder and chaos. The show’s title also connotes the cyclical nature of American frenzy and loss with “haboob” (Arabic for huge sandstorm), which refers to both the Depression’s Dust Bowl and the recent massive dust-storms of the southwest. Working with a much darker palette, these paintings chart the quiet forlorn mood that accompanies economic obsolescence.

Dallas-born Rosson Crow lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from Yale University, and a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Solo museum exhibitions include FOCUS: Rosson Crow at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2009) and Myth of the American Motorcycle at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2010). Crow has been included in exhibitions in museums internationally such as the Royal Academy of Arts, London, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PA, Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, and The Macro Future Museum, Rome. Other recent solo exhibitions include: Bowery Boys, Deitch Projects, New York (2010); Paris, Texas at Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris (2009); and Texas Crude, White Cube, London (2009).

William Lamson – A Line Describing the Sun

Honor Fraser, in conjunction with Pierogi Gallery, is pleased to present a continuation of the LAB series VideoRoam curated by Paul Young, with an exhibition of work by William Lamson.

A Line Describing the Sun is the latest work by the Brooklyn-based artist William Lamson. Shot mostly in the Mojave Desert, the 2-channel video documents a daylong performance in which Lamson follows the path of the sun with a Fresnel lens mounted on a rolling apparatus. As the lens focuses the sun’s energy into a 1,600 degree point of light, the lake bed floor melts, leaving a black glassy substance in his wake. By the end of the performance, Lamson had imprinted a 366-foot arc across the barren landscape.

The title of the piece references Anthony McCall’s classic installation, A Line Describing a Cone, where a line of solid light becomes a tangible shape when projected through a smoky, or misted room. Thus Lamson’s piece enlarges on that idea, expanding the notion of drawing to an epic scale, which in turn, not only explores notions of drawing as it relates to the human body, the earth and video itself, but includes a range of additional art historical references—from Light & Space Art to Richard Long’s marks on nature; from the myth of Sisyphus to Cinematic notions of the American West. A Line Describing the Sun stands as a major work by an important emerging artist.

Throughout much of his career, Lamson has explored an interest in the nature of events, much like the Swiss artist Roman Signer, were he sets up precise conditions that are completed by nature. He has, for instance, created drawing machines that are controlled by the wind or the sea, and set balloons afloat through icy or watery landscapes. In each case the mundane is transformed into something extraordinary, often with a simple gesture or minimal of means.

This is Lamson’s first solo show in Los Angeles. His work is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, and numerous private collections. He has also shown at P.S.1 (NYC), Franklin Art Works (Minneapolis) and Kunsthalle Erfurt (Germany). He completed his MFA at Bard College and is a recent MacDowell Foundation Fellow. Currently, he is working on his first museum commission that will open at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in April.

–Paul Young

A Line Describing the Sun was made possible by the support of The Center for Land Use Interpretation, the Experimental Television Center, and Pierogi Gallery.

Tillman Kaiser – Intervention: Tillman Kaiser – The Birth of Christ

In his works, the artist Tillman Kaiser, born in 1972, relies on the medium of collage, altering meanings and their contexts through the rearrangement of form, material, and content. Kaiser reinterprets the formal languages of Cubism and Futurism, creating poetic works that make a fresh and autonomous impression, in spite of citations and references.

For his intervention at the Belvedere, Kaiser has dealt with three medieval sculptures preserved in the museum’s collection. The artist contrasts Hans Klocker’s figures of the Virgin Mary and St Joseph from a Nativity scene with latest technology, having replaced the missing Christ Child with a dropping missile, the symbol of destructive power, which is installed behind the holy couple in the form of a piece of wallpaper. Next to this group and facing away from it appears the figure of St Peter Enthroned as Pope, a masterfully carved work from the Viennese workshop of Jakob Kaschauer. Kaiser repeats the elaborate drapery of the papal garment in the cardboard construction of his newly designed pedestal, which is considerable taller, thus amalgamating the vocabularies of form of the fifteenth and twenty-first centuries. St Peter is juxtaposed to a dark geometric sculpture entitled Shadow. Kaiser’s black lacquered objects have a Futurist touch about them, but simultaneously they seem to be borrowings from the 1920s or the 1970s. After all, the figures are reminiscent of the terrifying characters appearing in the utopian films from those decades.

The motif of the flying missile derives from an old Chinese postcard, an objet trouvé the artist detected on one of his travels and added to his archives. However, Kaiser has turned the picture upside down, so that the rocket does not rise, but drops. It this about the glorification of technology and progress according to some modern religion or the archaic image of a merciless, brutal God? Kaiser leaves it to the spectators to decide for themselves.

Robert Lazzarini – guns, knives, brass knuckles

Robert Lazzarini’s artwork springs from a desire to understand the perceivable limits of the material world. Conceptually and formally rigorous, he pushes ordinary objects to their limits by mining the twined threads of distortion and material veracity…Lazzarini negotiates a place between two and three dimensions that challenges his viewers’ understanding of the physical world and their visual perception.
– Katie Sonnenborn

Honor Fraser is pleased to present guns, knives, brass knuckles, an installation and exhibition of sculpture by New York based artist Robert Lazzarini. This marks Lazzarini’s first exhibition with the gallery as well as the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Show opens on Friday April 9 and Saturday April 10, 2010, 6 – 8pm.

All of Robert Lazzarini’s sculptures of the past decade begin with what the artist calls a ‘normative object’. The works in the current exhibition start with .38 Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver, a set of common kitchen knives (chefs, paring, pruning, cleaver, etc.) and a unembellished pair of brass knuckles. These objects are then subjected to mathematical distortions and fabricated out of the materials that are original to the objects themselves: blued carbon steel and walnut for guns, stainless steel, wood and plastic for knives; and yellow brass for brass knuckles. The combination of these distortions with the lack of any conventionally artistic ‘material translation’ (e.g. a car out of cardboard; flesh out of marble) renders these objects familiar yet strange and difficult, quite literally, to grasp.

In canting the gallery’s walls, Lazzarini extends the dislocation exercised on his objects to the space of their display. This altered environment not only further subjects one’s perceptions to a kind of visual slippage, but also connects Lazzarini to a lineage of artists, from Richard Serra to Alberto Giacometti, distinctly concerned with processes of perception and visual abstraction.

Robert Lazzarini lives and works in New York. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Lazzarini has shown both nationally and internationally with solo exhibitions at Deitch, New York, the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT and group exhibitions at Yautepec, Mexico City, Haunch of Venison, New York, Tsinghua University Museum, Beijing, and FLAG Art Foundation, New York. His work is part of the public collections of The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Mark Licari – The Finishes That Stand The Test

The destructive and regenerative aspects of nature are really compelling to me. There’s an amazing violence in a hurricane or an erupting volcano, and I don’t attribute any sort of morality or lack thereof to that force – it just is. It’s a regenerative process and I think there are positive things in these natural processes, even when they seem disastrous.
– Mark Licari

Honor Fraser is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Mark Licari. This exhibition, entitled The Finishes That Stand The Test, marks the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery and will include works on paper, sculpture and an expansive wall drawing.

Licari’s continued interest in the breakdown and disorder of materiality within the harsh natural world is apparent in this most recent body of work. Navigating through the artist’s extraordinary visual narratives of decaying domesticity and dark whimsy, one comes face to face with the battle of nature vs. the man-made. Working in multiple dimensions Licari often goes beyond the borders of sculpture and drawing and expands outside of the picture plane and onto the wall space, creating site-specific wall murals.

Ever apparent in this body of work is the notion of temporality as Licari begs the question: “In the end, what will stand the test of time?” Through this irreverent play of ordered chaos and domestic mayhem Licari pictures a series of man-made objects and environments. These objects – a dilapidated broken down bicycle, a crushed beer can, a tattered men’s suit bursting with sprouted flowers and weeds, decaying office furniture, a refrigerator run amok with putrid rotting food – all serve as signifiers of what is missing in each composition, man himself. In Licari’s work human presence is rare, if it even exists at all, yet the work is occupied by personifying possessions – signifiers of human existence and its neuroses. These uncanny juxtapositions illustrate the eccentric tensions between nature and technology while Licari’s raw energy unravels, exposing his fantastical world of pandemonium.

Mark Licari was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He has lived and worked in Los Angeles since completing his MFA at the University of Southern California in 2000. Licari has had solo exhibitions at The Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, CA, Baldwin Gallery in Aspen, CO, Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and his work has been included in a number of group exhibitions and public installations nationally. Mark Licari: Drawing With an Appetite, a 180-page catalogue of work with an introduction and interview by Kristine McKenna was published by Honor Fraser Gallery in 2006.

André Ethier – ACTUALIZED, and it feels so good

Honor Fraser is pleased to present ACTUALIZED, and it feels so good, an exhibition of new paintings by gallery artist André Ethier.

In his second exhibition with the gallery, André Ethier, a Toronto based painter, continues in the vein of his often surrealistic, mystically narrative, and fantastically grotesque paintings. A sort of dark humor is evident in these intensely colored paintings that balance between the natural world and the mystical world of myth and fairytale.

Ethier evades specific narrative and concrete concept, and works from his own subconscious. His hybrid, folk-like fantasy, sci-fi scenes, still lifes and portraits are equally informed by Old Master paintings, Fauvism, Dutch still life, and contemporary culture and psychedelic rock. Among the artist’s lush bouquets of oozy, dripping flowers are ambiguous one-eyed Cyclops creatures, bearded and long-haired men whose bulbous features threaten to melt into obscurity, and troll people who could have escaped from the pages of the older more gruesome fairytales. (Remember, in the original story of Cinderella, the stepsisters cut off their toes to fit their feet in the glass slipper). Interestingly, Ethier considers this most recent body of work a collection of self-portraits of his own adolescent subconscious.

André Ethier lives and works in Toronto, where he was born in 1977. He earned a BFA at Concordia University in Montreal and has exhibited widely, in Canada and around the world. He has had solo exhibitions at Greener Pastures, Toronto and Derek Eller Gallery, New York.

Bitch Is The New Black

Honor Fraser presents its annual summer group show titled “Bitch Is The New Black” and curated by Emma Gray.

The group show spotlights fourteen Los Angeles-based women who are all emerging or established artists from roughly the same generation and are bright lights on the local scene. All share a certain maverick outlook and ballsy attitude that distinguish them at a time when their male counterparts continue to receive the lion’s share of the artworld’s attention.

A wide range of interdisciplinary work will be on display: painting, sculpture, photography, video and performance. The works also display a diverse range of attitudes toward female identity politics. Kirsten Stoltman delivers straight from the hip, describing herself as a ‘self-destructive feminist’. Annie Lapin, who studied under another of BITNB’s featured artists, Catherine Opie, could have her outlook described as ‘post-feminist’. Cathy Akers pees standing up like a man in her pee performances and uses the trope ‘hertopia’ to describe her dioramas. Rosson Crow often utilizes typically male bastions, like the stock exchange, butcher shops or oil fields as her subject matter. Other artists avoid the “f”-word altogether.
Thematically, the exhibition was inspired by the Anne Sexton poem Consorting with Angels. The title of the exhibition, an incredibly glib fashion term, was repurposed from a snippet of dialogue from Saturday Night Live that was broadcast during the 2008 presidential election. Tina Fey celebrates the idea of a woman president as a “bitch,” reasoning that “bitches get stuff done.” A few episodes later her cast mate Tracy Morgan rebutted Fey’s statement by saying: “Bitch may be the new black. But black is the new president, bitch!” Most importantly, the title asserts the artists’ shared independent streak. “Bitch Is The New Black” isn’t re-envisioning a new collective feminist consciousness; it is about celebrating talented artists in the city of Los Angeles who happen to be women –- with attitude.
Artists: Cathy Akers, Kathryn Andrews, Rosson Crow, Krysten Cunningham, Pearl C. Hsiung, Annie Lapin, Shana Lutker, Ruby Neri, Catherine Opie, Amanda Ross-Ho, Anna Sew Hoy, Mindy Shapero, Kirsten Stoltmann, Bari Ziperstein

For further information please contact the gallery.

Alexandra Grant – Bodies

Honor Fraser is pleased to announce Alexandra Grant’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, opening September 18 – October 23, 2010. Grant’s exhibition, entitled Bodies will include paintings on canvas and linen and works on paper.

With Bodies Grant presents a new series of paintings using a cycle of poetry by her long-term collaborator Michael Joyce. The poems that Joyce specifically wrote for this series of paintings are in the form of what is called ‘haiga’. These texts serve as a starting point for each composition as Grant maps out the experience of the physical and intellectual body in oil on canvas and linen. Capturing the themes of Joyce’s original texts: romantic love and longing, creation myths, the loss of self in relation to the other, and interrogating the idea of how the feminine body is represented, Grant pushes her conceptual language of text, often in multiple languages. Bodies reveals both maps of the experience of the feminine body – a woman painter painting the physical body – but also of the exchange and relationship of an artist with her muses (poetic language, and in this case, the male writer).

Departing from her previous work of acrylic on paper Bodies is comprised mostly of oil paintings on linen. While these text-based paintings employ the effect of a Rorschach image – mirroring one side of the composition vertically with the other – the works emulate both a psychological and visceral sense of the “body” as layers upon layers of oil paint build upon one another creating a sensation of tactility and three-dimensionality. The imagery itself- words, bubbles, half moons, arches, rainbows – advance and recede simultaneously creating an optical effect of moving imagery and vibrating technicolors. The divided symmetry of these forms reference the physical body itself; words become eyes, ears and other physical features as variations of arches communicate notions of female physicality.

Alexandra Grant was raised in Mexico, Spain, France and the US. She studied art and architecture at Swarthmore College and in the California College of the Arts, before moving to Los Angeles in 2001. She has been the subject of exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Honor Fraser, Haunch of Venison as has been included in exhibitions in numerous galleries and museums in the US and abroad. Grant will participate in the 2010 California Biennial curated by Sarah Bancroft, opening October 24, 2010 as well as the 2010 Border Art Biennial, curated by Rita Gonzalez and Itala Shmelz. Grant will also be included in the exhibition the Artist’s Museum at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles fall of 2010.

Past Forward: Marking Time in Recent Photography

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Past Forward: Marking Time in Recent Photography, an installation of works by Angela Strassheim and Chris McCaw, curated by Marcelle Polednik. The works of Chris McCaw are presented in collaboration with Duncan Miller Gallery, Los Angeles.

Chris McCaw’s recent series of unique gelatin silver prints, entitled Sunburn, extends the temporal and physical confines of the photograph’s indexical function. The photographs capture the landscape of the American West, marked by the movement of the sun across the sky. However, rather than depicting scenic views of the landscape bathed in sunlight, McCaw’s penumbral prints trace the changing position of the sun by a series of physical transformations of the photographs’ paper support. Aided by the use of vintage, fiber-based gelatin silver papers and military aerial reconnaissance lenses, McCaw subjects the prints to extensive, hours-long exposure times. Rather than documenting the sun’s momentary, fixed positions, the photographs are steeped in a continuum of gradually-shifting light. The process results in two dramatic transformations. First, the prints undergo a complete reversal of tonalities—a literal solarization process—that causes the unique paper prints to look like positives. Secondly, the focus of the light from the sun during the hours of exposure actually burns through the paper, creating a variety of incisions that correspond to the sun’s movement through the sky. The expansive time (and place) of McCaw’s photographs overflows the confines of the photographic image. Over time, the sun’s mark forms an indexical trace that pierces through the photograph, cuts across the image and irrevocably alters the physical confines of the print.

Chris McCaw holds a BFA in Photography from the San Francisco Academy of Art. He has been included in a number of group exhibitions, including recent installations at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. McCaw lives and works in San Francisco.

Angela Strassheim’s photographs separate and juxtapose distinct moments in time—most recently, chapters in the history of domestic architecture. For her Evidence series, Strassheim applied her training as a forensic crime scene photographer to uncover traces of violent crimes committed in homes around the United States. Approaching the present owners and occupants of apartments and houses where, years prior, murder and violence had occurred, Strassheim gained permission to photograph the interiors. With the aid of a chemical known as “Blue Star,” capable of revealing the residue of organic matter that persists years after the gruesome events that took place, Strassheim’s photographs capture the mundane, residential spaces she visited, covered with the amorphous, spectral spills and stains revealed by the chemical. The evidence of the residual presence of the past violence on the walls, doors and windows of these interiors intermingles with the furnishings and decorations of the present owners—two distinct periods of time converging in the photographic frame.

Angela Strassheim earned an MFA in Photography from Yale University and a certificate in Forensic and Biomedical Photography from the Metro-Dade County Forensic Imaging Bureau in Miami. Her first solo exhibition was held at the Monterey Museum of Art in 2008. Recently, her works have been included in group exhibition at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, the Yale School of Architecture and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC. Strassheim lives and works in New York City.

Marcelle Polednik is Chief Curator at the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California. Prior to her present appointment, she served as Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Polednik holds a Doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her dissertation, History in the Making: Sigmar Polke and Photography, investigated the relationship of photography to questions of history, documentation and duration in the works of this seminal postwar German artist.

Andy Warhol – Camouflage

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Andy Warhol: Camouflage, an exhibition that includes silkscreens on canvas, unique trial proofs on board, and screenprints.

This marks the first comprehensive west coast exhibition, in over ten years, of Warhol’s late series, the Camouflage works. The exhibition will run from October 30, 2010 – February 5, 2011 and will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue with an essay by Vincent Fremont. Please find excerpts from his essay below.

While Andy Warhol was still alive, I can only remember on one occasion that a Camouflage painting of his was exhibited. It was a 72 x 72-inch fluorescent, hot-pink, and yellow version that was included in a group show in 1986 at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York City.

The Camouflage paintings were not shown publicly until six years after Andy’s death. In September of 1993, with the cooperation of the Andy Warhol Foundation, an exhibition entitled Andy Warhol Abstrakt opened at the Kuntshalle in Basel, Switzerland. For the first time ever, large Camouflage paintings measuring from 50 x 198-inches to 116 x 420-inches were presented in a groundbreaking and intriguing survey of the work resulting from Andy’s interpretation and experimentation with abstract painting.

The Camouflage paintings were a personal vision of Andy’s. No gallery had commissioned him to create these paintings for an exhibition. It all started in 1986 when Andy asked his art assistant, Jay Shriver (who was also an artist) what he was working on. Andy had agreed to let Jay work four days a week as long as Jay created artwork in his own studio on his day off. Jay told Andy that he was making small abstract paintings by pushing paint through the mesh of a piece of military camouflage cloth. Andy immediately realized making paintings of the actual camouflage shapes and patterns would be a great idea. He sent Jay off to the local Army/Navy store on Fifth Avenue near Union Square to buy some camouflage fabric. When Jay returned they photographed the cloth and the project began. Andy had the mesh pattern removed from the pictures of the camouflage cloth so just the shapes remained. Andy had a good experience creating this series of Camouflage paintings; from the very large-scale to the very small-scale versions measuring only 9 x 9-inches. He was so pleased with the results of the paintings he decided to publish his own limited edition of Camouflage prints.

Andy asked Rupert Smith, the printer who had also worked on the paintings, to make trial proofs for the print edition. Rupert made eighty-four 38 x 38-inch trial proofs and Andy selected eight to be printed, with the same colors and imagery, for the regular and artist proof editions. Each of the 84 trial proofs is unique, one of a kind, and that is what makes them extraordinary, especially within the Camouflage series.

This exhibition offers a rare chance and arguably the first chance to see a group of Camouflage paintings paired with a group of Camouflage trial proofs.

Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper

Honor Fraser is pleased to announce Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper, opening Saturday July 16, 6 to 8pm, and on view through August 27, 2011.

This exhibition is a compelling portrait of a particular moment in British popular culture, at the bitter end of the post-war period. It tells its story through a unique collection of several hundred posters, flyers and other ephemera assembled by artist and erstwhile punk, Toby Mott. With the passion of a true fan and an artist’s eye for an image, he has gathered the evidence of the short life and premature, messy end of British Punk. There are iconic images by artists such as Jamie Reid and Linder Sterling, as well as flyers, gig posters, and zines, crudely cut and pasted by anonymous hands. A fascinating collection of political material supplies further context of a nation of unrest, torn by extremism, recording attempts by political extremes of both left and right to co-opt the power of youth.

Ephemeral and throwaway as each of these objects were, collected together they tell, in uniquely immediate and visual terms, a part of the history of Britain, the history of ideas, and the history of art. Punk has always exerted a fascination, but perhaps never stronger than at this moment. The legacy of punk has permeated modern culture and society, and its visual vocabulary infuses much contemporary art, while the punk spirit resonates in particular with the anti-elitist, DIY ethos of today’s young, blogging artists and musicians. This exhibition recalls the anarchic spirit of authenticity and amateurism, the volatile and ambiguous celebration of negativity, creativity, violence and protest that was Punk.

Erik Parker – Endless Anytime

Honor Fraser is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by New York based artist Erik Parker entitled Endless Anytime. This exhibition marks the artist’s second with Honor Fraser and will be on view October 30 – December 18, 2010.

Erik Parker is known for his meticulously painted and methodically curated worlds of chaos within brightly colored, highly saturated canvases depicting unique worlds of anthropomorphic figures and psychological portraits. Parker obsessively paints layer upon layer of amorphous shapes, globules and drops, pushes each composition to the optical extreme and suggests madness through bold and fragmented forms while still maintaining a strong sense of premeditated order, space and composition. Parker’s biomorphic subjects have not only referenced the hallucinogenic psychedelia of American culture in the 1960’s, but also have addressed broader historical and contemporary socio-political issues. Informed by a variety of sub cultural themes, including music, graffiti and illustration, his work offers a profound visual experience beyond his intensely layered forms of text and imagery.

Parker’s exhibition Endless Anytime marks a shift in the artist’s subject matter moving away from the amorphous figure and psychological portrait, and towards the long standing art historical tradition of still lifes, nudes and landscapes. Throughout his oeuvre Parker has been influenced by greats like Picasso and Francis Bacon, but here he channels the influence of nearly every great artist as these traditional genres have existed since ancient Greek and Roman eras.

Parker’s recent paintings look to the modernists Georges Braque, Henri Rousseau and Roy Lichtenstein. Just as Lichtenstein paid homage to the still lifes and nudes of Picasso and Matisse, Parker does the same. Pulling from the allegorical iconography of table-scapes and flower arrangements and the symbolism of abundant assemblages of fruit Parker continues in this classical tradition, yet his unmistakable palate, style and compositional psychology is ever present. Here he deconstructs these objects, fragments the forms and shifts geometric grounds and planes. Parker also reintroduces the figure, yet instead of painting his typical fragmented and oftentimes tortured anthropomorphic portraits, here he presents the viewer with a classical nude. Yet, there is still a sense of madness and chaos in these obsessively rendered worlds, a hallucinogenic order juxtaposed with a historically traditional subject matter.

Erik Parker was born in Stuttgart, Germany and studied at the University of Austin, Texas and then at SUNY Purchase. Parker’s work has been widely published and has earned him several awards. He has exhibited in solo shows in Tokyo, Milan, Manchester, Cologne, New York, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Los Angeles, as well as in group shows around the world. Parker will have a solo exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas in December of 2010 and currently has work on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Phoenix Art Museum.

Gardar Eide Einarsson – Power Under Construction

Honor Fraser is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Gardar Eide Einarsson. This exhibition, entitled Power Under Construction will mark Einarsson’s second with the gallery.

Einarsson’s approach to art making continues with his inherent conceptual complexities while applying direct appropriation and minimalism that in the end often leave the viewer disarmed. Einarsson typically uses a restrained palette of black and white, which offers a more serial or even deadpan reaction to his oftentimes overtly political, anti-establishment and general sub-contexts of opposition. Like Kasimir Malevich, the suprematist painter known for his socially charged works, Einarsson’s work seems starkly minimalist yet there are undercurrents of a strong voice of opposition. Einarsson’s aesthetically restrained compositions do borrow from a constant series of appropriated media, news headlines, explicit messages, underground subcultures and the criminal world. These subject matters offer a sort of punk viewpoint and suggest insurrection of establishment via lack of sentiment. Looking at advertising and propagandistic technique throughout mass media the artist reappropriates text and word play and recontexualizes meaning and public beliefs and so forms an ambivalent window into skepticism of authority.

Einarsson’s previous exhibition at Honor Fraser, All My Friends Are Dead, included inkjet prints on plywood of reproductions of nine images from a 1960s police instruction manual. The calm and neutral posture of the policeman demonstrating ways of handling a baton contrasts the violence of the implied situation provoking the use of the baton. Other themes Einarsson has explored include a series of works based on images of prison tattoos, a series of ten highly formal paintings each titled after a chapter from Robert Whiting’s book Tokyo Underworld (based on Nick Zapetti’s life in Tokyo as a mafia boss). In Power Under Construction, Einsarsson’s continued themes offer a similar look into his skeptic’s view and all around opposition to the social status quo as he includes a large scale installation that is a recreation, and recontextualization as formalist sculpture, of the makeshift street barricades found in Thailand. A number of found objects, such as car tires are piled up to form a blockade fortified by casts of sharpened bamboo sticks. This work references the installations and happenings of sixties sculpture – most notably Allan Kaprow’s celebrated 1961 happening Yard.

Born in Norway, Gardar Eide Einarsson lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited in solo shows in Oslo, Berlin, Köln, Paris and Copenhagen as well as the United States, and in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. More recently he has exhibited at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas, the Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland, and the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Norway. Einarsson’s work is included in the Rubell Family Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles collection, the Jumex Collection, the Norwegian National Museum of Art collection, and the Museum Moderne Kunst Frankfurt. In Summer 2011 he will curate a group exhibition of punk-themed work at Honor Fraser.

Gustavo Godoy – Fast-formal Object: Act Two

Honor Fraser is pleased to present Fast-formal Object: Act Two, an exhibition by Los Angeles based artist Gustavo Godoy. This marks Godoy’s second exhibition with the gallery.

In an experimental re-interpretation piece, Fast-formal Object: Act Two, Gustavo Godoy transforms his Big White installation into a smokey black shadow of itself. He shifts the palette to challenge what was once light and airy, weightless and fluid, to make a work that is the polar opposite. The piece now retreats into the shadows of the gallery and yet demands that the viewer reckon its invisibility with its undeniable presence. The work moves from Honor Fraser’s carefully designed main space, into the raw, vaulted LAB space, and becomes Act Two, a demonstration of rebellion against the pristine sanctuary of the first abstract construction, and negotiates the new gallery space with a sense of urgency, gravity, and intellectual aggression.

Gustavo Godoy lives and works in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree at UC Santa Barbara, a Master of Fine Arts degree at Vermont College in Montpelier, VT and has studied at the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Fast-formal Object: Big White marked Godoy�s first solo show at Honor Fraser following his last Los Angeles solo exhibition What�s the Big Idea at The Happy Lion in 2007. Godoy has exhibited work both nationally and internationally at venues such as, Le Parc Saint Leger � Centre d�art contemporain in Pougues-les-Eaux, France, Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA, Workspace in Brooklyn, NY and Mexico Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City.

Tillman Kaiser – Für Kinder und Kenner

Honor Fraser is pleased to announce Für Kinder und Kenner, Tillman Kaiser’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, opening Saturday April 2, 6 to 8pm, and on view through May 14.

Für Kinder und Kenner, which translates as for children and experts, is about beauty and harmony, and the balance between the two states (Kaiser is quick to define both as neither kitsch or banal, but essential and difficult to achieve). His process, as painter and sculptor, is both a pursuit of that balance and an exploration of combining contradictions (Surrealism and Bauhaus architecture have equal and opposing influence on his work). The influence of Surrealism, Dadaism, Constructivism and more specifically the work of Duchamp, is evident in the ready-mades he incorporates or uses as source material. Past work has been informed by items as disparate as black glass, photos of Thai religious ceremonies, Italian colored pencils, and actors from Nigerian soap operas. This exhibition is rooted in the conceptualization of a childrens Austrian television show, symmetrical religious architecture, Austrian schoolbooks, and found drawings. The forms Kaiser manifests from these notions are unassumingly volatile, inventive, and confident in their purpose.

Für Kinder und Kenner presents new work in 3 different genres; sculpture, painting, and an editioned wallpaper work. The wallpaper creates context and sets the stage for Kaiser’s subjects, the paintings and sculptures in the exhibition. Kaiser has enlarged a found photo of a church organ, abstracting the appropriated image. He then reiterates the abstracted shapes in the sculpture and paintings, marking Für Kinder und Kenner’s narrative with a steady rhythm of formal repetition and variation. The underpinning is his sculpture, and like Kaiser’s early sculptural works, it evolves from an existing building, but pushes fearlessly away from representation. Although rooted in post-modern architecture and minimalist form, Kaiser’s sculptures emanate an aura of the future. Employing a subtracted pallet of only black and white he creates hard, protruding edges and angular lines with less durable material such as cardboard, which in turn emphasizes his interest in form over function. With his use of egg tempera, and pencil on canvas the paintings Kaiser presents could be the crystallized exhalations of the sculpture; hard-edged forms appear soft, delicate yet deliberately defined in silkscreen.

Tillman Kaiser was born in Graz, Austria. He received his education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 1998. He has had solo exhibitions at the Belvedere in Vienna, Galerie Emanuel Layr in Vienna, and Neue Galerie Graz in Graz, Wilkinson Gallery in London. Kaiser has been included in exhibitions at institutions such as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, and the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Annie Lapin – The Pure Space Animate

Honor Fraser is pleased to present, The Pure Space Animate, Annie Lapin’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. In a new group of paintings on canvas, Lapin’s luscious, high-energy compositions comingle painterly conventions of representation with an obliterating gestural abstraction.

Lapin refers to ‘specters’ of realism that haunt the abstraction in these richly layered paintings. In The Pure Space Animate, there is less occasion for the multi-figure groups and enigmatic narratives of previous works, with further prominence shifted to the intensive formal activity. The coherent scenic space and figural focal points which remain are yet more densely encircled and perforated by painterly forces that counteract their legibility, leaving the viewing experience characteristically unstable. One seeks and temporarily sees indications of illusionistic space—a horizon line, a column, the shadow of a tree—only to find that it behaves instead the next moment as a collection of sinuous ribbons of paint bound to the surface. And it is this contrasting visual interpretation, this unresolved chord, that Lapin seeks to strike in the interest of a phenomenological experience of works as “constantly emerging” for the viewer.

Essential to the expressiveness in Lapin’s paintings is the articulation of space. The artist has developed a “palette” of elemental forces extracted from a lineage of painting and visual culture of her own devising. These sets of formal relationships—such as a lilting perspective or a characteristic distribution of masses across the picture plane—are isolated from their sources and given new life as structuring forces for Lapin’s paralinguistic figures and spaces. In particular, a number of the works in The Pure Space Animate submit compositional conventions from sensuous Rococo landscapes to the gravitational pull of the pure relations of abstract painting. There are passages where these raw forces interact independently without an object, so that in “The Shiny,” what appears to be the pattern of sunlight dappled on foliage suddenly bursts forth without foliage, or with the semblance of foliage only a specter in the finished painting. And in “The Glory Shapey Thing,” a distinctive low angle perspective, along with a collection of vibrant strokes of color, capture the elemental forces and majesty of an equestrian portrait, though with no horse or rider clearly visible.

Lapin’s practice is fueled by a philosophical inquisitiveness as well as a relationship with works from the history of art on the terms of their core formal expressions. Her investigations of the articulation of space have led to the production of paintings and installations which, while never at rest, are lacking neither in ordering nor chaotic accents. Ultimately these works promote an active viewing experience which rewards engagement and contemplation with painterly sensations resistant to closure; that are constantly emerging.

Annie Lapin received an MFA from UCLA and a BA from Yale University. Her museum exhibitions include the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO. Her work has been exhibited at Honor Fraser, Angles Gallery, and LA Louver in Los Angeles, Galerie Lelong and Fredericks and Frasier in New York and Barbara Davis in Houston. Lapin will be included in an upcoming group show at the Torrance Art Museum and will have a solo show at Annarumma Gallery in Naples, Italy in the fall.

Modern Painters and Angeleno magazines have recently noted Lapin and her work as vital to the Los Angeles arts community, and she was the Editor’s Pick in New American Paintings, January 2011.

A catalogue will be published in conjunction with The Pure Space Animate.