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Press Release

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

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

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

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

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