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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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

Summer

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

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).

default

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sculpture Now

Hovering Over the Universe

“Hovering over the universe I aim my laser pistol into the eye of the universe and time slows down, is splayed out so I can see the interlocking spirals and splatted fractal glowing shapes, all different sizes and moving different speeds, but when seen from this vantage point, their spiney glorious and gorgeous perfection when seen all together…”

Honor Fraser is pleased to present an exhibition, curated by painter Kristin Calabrese, of works by twelve painters and one sculptor.

Kristin Calabrese, Nina Bovasso, Heather Brown, Glenn Goldberg, Mark Grotjahn, Mary Heilmann, Rebecca Morris, Nikko Mueller, JP Munro, Susie Rosmarin, and Brenna Youngblood will each present a painting in the 10 x 30 feet gallery space, along with a sculpture by Katie Grinnan and an outdoor mural by Matt Chambers. The works are intended to combine to create a physical presence, where, as Calabrese puts it, “each piece is the center with all the other pieces growing and tangenting off a similar vibe.”

Calabrese writes that for her, “curating is a labor of love, colored by reverie, with the fevered terseness of obsession.” She has intuitively gathered these artists together as a context, or what she terms a “family” for her own work. Her painting in the show, Mending the Cracks, depicts a cracked window screen whose reflections deny any transparency, with a pink crocheted overlay. Other paintings share an interest in lines, patterns, and the canvas as a surface that shuts the viewer out, versus the canvas as a window into the artist’s view of the world. Calabrese has brought together Mark Grotjahn’s colorful, splayed abstraction; Nina Bovasso’s jumbled patterns of flowers, polka dots and brush-strokes; Glenn Goldberg’s patchwork birds and flowers; Mary Heilmann’s small canvas with red lines revealed under a gold surface; the swirling mass of red and green of JP Munro’s All the World’s a Battlefield; Rebecca Morris’ testament to abstraction; the fractals of Susie Rosmarin’s Galaxy Painting; Brenna Youngblood and Heather Brown’s elements of the representational set within abstracted landscapes of paint; Nikko Mueller’s aerial view of Disneyland; and, in the outdoor area behind the gallery, Katie Grinnan’s intervention into a tree stump, and a mural by Matt Chambers.

Jekyll Island

Honor Fraser gallery is pleased to present its annual summer group show titled Jekyll Island, co-curated by independent curator/art critic Max Henry and artist Erik Parker.

The social fabric of the day is one where fiction is reality and reality is an illusion; a post-cultural dystopia surrounds us, history is revised as it occurs. In an all-media upload/download world contemporary art absorbs and distills the information flux; truer narratives emerge. As an international cross-section Jekyll Island is the good, the bad, and the ugly found in this collective psyche. An analogue residue pervades, as the last dregs of the plastic arts and its overlapping references fight for positioning against the grain of the virtual artifice.

Idiosyncratic, edgy, and downright dirty Jekyll Island is a descent from the sublime to the ridiculous. Turning modest materials into crude forms a black humor can be discerned in the works of Lizzi Bougatsos, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Jóhannes Atli Hinriksson and Joep van Liefland. All four play on the idea of reusing and recycling lowbrow materials into new means of communication. Nordic mythology and an outsider’s unconventionality underscore Hinriksson. Fitzpatrick and Bougatsos mine the wreckage of industrial detritus while van Liefland journeys into the fractured psyche of the modern man and technological obsolescence.

Polemical misanthropy can be had in Justin Lieberman’s mixed media sculptures with their dialectical push pull. Steve DiBenedetto, Glenn Brown, Bjarne Melgaard, Jin Meyerson, Phoebe Unwin, Ged Quinn, and Peter Saul are distinguished by singular styles of painting.

At 74 years of age Saul continues his trenchant observations of the pervading social political atmosphere through vivid Pop inflected imagery. Brown’s bastardized classicism, virtuoso brushwork, and potent color contrasts remix Old Master techniques with reproductions culled from popular culture. Bombastic and self-confessional Melgaard is pure expressionism and absolute rage. Meyerson and DiBenedetto posit the post-nuclear global village as an architectural refractory of urban chaos. Söderberg hijacks the icons of new age spiritualism to make pseudo-mystical composites. Unwin’s unorthodox palette, receding objects, disembodied portraiture, and figuration are suspended in limbo hovering somewhere between the virtual and the physical.

Ged Quinn’s sublime pastoral landscapes are conceptually a latent dead utopia, a punking up of 19th century Romantic realism and a nod towards classical painting within the new canon.

Shintaro Miyake’s myriad cartoony figures are impish with oversized flat heads and elongated bodies. They conjure childhood memory with the naive awe of innocent life; born of the fantasy of avatar beings rescued from a pixilated no mans land.

The large-scale mixed-media drawings of Jannis Varelas are occult totems portraying the last sentient beings—androgynous figures that are primitive, barbaric, and dualistic in nature. They are the inhabitants of the pre tans-human future wearing the accoutrements of tribal costumes in place of fashion. Defying cultural categorization they are layered with arcane symbols that bridge archaic knowledge to Modernity in the 21st century.

Teeming with the hurly-burly of the indefinable first decade Jekyll Island projects the underlying pathos of a psychopathic irrational society. Art production is stranded on a desert island, navigating these grotesqueries and split personalities with aplomb.

Artists:
Steve DiBenedetto, Lizzi Bougatsos Glenn Brown, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Jóhannes Atli Hinriksson, Justin Lieberman, Joep van Liefland, Bjarne Melgaard, Shintaro Miyake, Jin Meyerson, Gen Quinn, Peter Saul, Fredrik Söderberg, Phoebe Unwin, Jannis Varelas