Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Vacant Mounds and Markers, Gustavo Godoy’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Gustavo Godoy employs a more restrained and minimal approach with Vacant Mounds and Markers, bringing together a new body of cast concrete sculptures. In contrast to Godoy’s previous exhibition, Fast-formal Object: Big White, which invited viewers to directly interact with his large-scale wood sculpture; the sculptures in Vacant Mounds and Markers quietly examine spiritual spaces and secular objects. Positioned at ground level, Godoy’s sculptures transform the gallery into a meditative sanctuary, addressing the physicality of space as well as the ritualistic spaces inspired by secular and sacred belief systems. His concrete “mounds and markers” are reminiscent of ancient altars, minimalist sculptures, futuristic architecture, and urban demolition sites. They appear to be part of sanctified rituals, which may provide insights into the sensibilities and culture from which they’ve emerged. Attempting to capture the essence of a culture, Godoy not only alludes to ancient histories, but also references contemporary idols. On entering the space, viewers will encounter an unraveling of history, manifested in objects emblematic of both progress and return.
The mounds reference the pitching mound from Los Angeles’s Dodger Stadium, a sacred space for Godoy. In 1981 Fernando Valenzuela, a Mexican pitcher for the Dodgers, quickly became an international phenomenon as he took his team to the World Series Championship and received baseball’s most prestigious award for pitching, the Cy Young. Idolizing the pitcher as a child (and furthermore, the stadium), Godoy witnessed first hand as “Fernandomania” swept the country. For the Mexican population of L.A., the success of Valenzuela was especially meaningful considering the controversial history of Dodger Stadium. The stadium was built in Chavez Ravine, an area previously home to a vibrant Mexican American community. In the 1940s the area was particularly appealing to real estate developers, who saw the potential in the neighborhood’s proximity to Downtown L.A. The residents were forcibly relocated to make room for new housing. Although the development never materialized, the land was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers, creating a home for the newly christened Los Angeles Dodgers in Chavez Ravine. This recounting of fraught histories is prevalent in Vacant Mounds and Markers, as Godoy pays tribute to disenfranchised communities, the rise and fall of heroes, and the urban L.A. landscape.
Los Angeles is an urban jungle comprised of a stream of traffic and construction set against a landscape of ocean, palm trees and mountains. This juxtaposition of nature vs. industry can be seen in the commonplace materials that Godoy uses to build his sculptures. Maintaining a relationship with the day laborers that build our environments, Godoy’s work pays tribute to the true makers of our city. His embrace of quotidian construction supplies, readily found at any home improvement store, renders the objects familiar, yet the weight and stillness of the heavy material provides a solemn, cerebral experience. These concrete forms suggest permanence; a gesture of hope that the art object can capture and maintain the essence of time and social circumstance. Through an interest in the way belief systems parallel the value placed upon art, Godoy is able to question art’s ability to transcend spirituality and religion.
Gustavo Godoy lives and works in Los Angeles. He received a Master of Fine Arts at Vermont College in Montpelier, VT and a Bachelor of Arts at UC Santa Barbara, and has studied at the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, FL; L.A. Mart, Los Angeles, CA; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and Happy Lion, Los Angeles, CA. Group exhibitions include the SUR: Biennial, Norwalk, CA; Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston, TX; OHWOW, Miami, FL; the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA; Circus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Centre d’art contemporain du Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux, France; Mexico Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA, and Workspace, Brooklyn, NY.