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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

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