IN THE GALLERIES
I am sharing my experience at a talk given by Helen Molesworth (curator at MOCA) at the “Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women 1947-2016” exhibit at Hauser, Wirth and Schimmel gallery. I had viewed the museum quality exhibit and the magnificent behemoth of a gallery several weeks ago, but was anxious to have a more in-depth experience with this art. Molesworth is a dynamic speaker and did not waver once during her 1 hr. 20-minute talk. I on the other hand found standing in one place on concreate floors for this talk rather unbearable, yet I was still an attentive listener. Molesworth spoke about only 3 artists in the show and did not take questions or comments—a bit frustrating for this knowledge-seeking art historian. She focused on artists Ruth Asawa (1926-2013), Anna Maria Mailino (b. 1942), and Jessica Stockholder (b. 1959) Her commentary was filled with insights linking the artist’s biography to the work on view. I am quite fond of this approach yet it still left me questioning some linkage. The first two artists’ work was linked to their roles as mothers and the third was linked more contextually to the art world.
Asawa’s sculptures are majestic, maternal; their forms are whimsical, anthropomorphic and amazing in their crafting of the wire into magnificent forms that hang and sway.
Anna Maria Mailino is an Italian born Brazilian artist whose career spans five decades and who works in a wide variety of a disciplines and mediums, ranging from drawing, sculpture, and artist books to video and performance. She is deeply concerned with creative and destructive processes and, above all, the never-ending search for identity. The examples were in concrete and plaster and to me looked quite phallical. Molesworth tied this body of work to the kitchen to kneading dough and making repetitive forms all part of the artist’s search for a stable identity.
Finally, within gallery space dedicated to the younger generation of women sculptors is the work of Jennifer Stockholder. An artist whose “ installations, sculptures, and collages affirm the primacy of pleasure, the blunt reality of things, and the rich heterogeneity of life, mind, and art amid a vortex of shifting polarities—abstraction/realism, classical order/intuitive expressionism, conscious thought/unconscious desire.” (pbs.org) Molesworth’s excitement about Stockholder came from a connection to the work of Robert Rauschenberg and the New York art scene. As seen in the examples in this gallery, Stockholder uses common everyday objects in her sculptural installations. She is known for her integration of bold pigment. The example here was comprised of metal strapping, spools of thread and wool, plastic cord, cloth, wood, chair, oil and latex and acrylic paint, fluorescent light, and paper. The work does not (in my opinion) have the soul that one would want from such. To see more of her work: Art 21.
If you have not seen the exhibition, make sure you plan to visit as I do think this historical show will be talked about for a long time.
P.S. Don’t miss their Printed Matter Lab now featuring documents from The Easton Foundation related to Louise Bourgeois’ early work, her own reading and interest in print making. Thru 9/4/16.
There are many group exhibitions as is usual in the summer months. One that is of great interest is “Summer Reverie” at CB1 Gallery. The exhibit features paintings and drawings by 21 artists. They range from the abstract to representational, from the surreal to pure narrative. Among the artworks included are those by Emily Davis Adams, Lisa Adams, Marion Estes, Lily Simonson and others. Thru 8/28/16.
Another noteworthy group show is at the Carnegie Museum in Oxnard. “It Speaks to Me” features the critiquing circle of some friends including Sigrid Orlet, Nurit Avesar, Bobbie Moline-Kramer and others. Thru 8/21/16.
Lois Lambert Gallery presents “Bohemians”, a series of oil on wood portraits by the artist Amy Hill. In this series Hill drew inspiration from the 15th century Flemish renaissance style portraiture while incorporating the contemporary subject matter creating a contrasting vision of the modern world. She is inspired by the fashions not only of 15th century portraiture with their rich fabrics, but also by fashion of punk and boho. The artist starts with an original master portrait, which she manipulates digitally to create the structure for her piece. She then uses a model to provide the contemporary fashion references often having her subject hold an object. Unlike the master works which used the objects held as status symbols, objects that relate more to the materialistic nature of our modern culture are included. Once the image has been constructed digitally, a combination of the original works and her photographed model, she paints the image in oil on wood board. “By constructing images in such a way hill has fabricated a fictional subject but through the decoration and attire she maintains the sense of authenticity and familiarity.” Thru 9/4/16.
“Feminist Variations” is an upcoming exhibit at Loft at Liz’s. Co-curated by Shana Nys Dambrot and Susan Melly. The featured artists each have their own way of focusing on the female body and the ways in which it “occupies both physical and semantic space in the modern world.” In a variety of media the results are nevertheless eclectic and profound. The work in this show are by Annie Terrazzo, Lauren Kasmer, Victor Wilde, Peter Walker, Susan Melly and Carol Sears. 8/24-9/19/16. Opening reception: 8/27/16; 7-10 pm; Artist talk—9/14/16; 7-9 pm.
“Ellen Lesperance, Helen Mirra, Traversing” is the current exhbition at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, it is curated by Cassandra Coblentz. The exhibit includes paintings as well as an interactive weaving project by Lesperance. You can read a review of this exhibition in the Los Angeles Times. Thru 9/11/16.
“Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life” is the current special exhibition at the Broad Art Museum. The exhibit provides a broad representation of her photographs from throughout her career. Her 1997 feature film, Office Killer will also be featured. Her widely known film stills series, as well as the less known rear projection series, both inspired by cinema of the 1950s and 1960s, play a central conceptual role in the show, and the show will include many works never before exhibited in Los Angeles. Thru 10/2/16.
The long awaited Hammer biennial exhibition “MADE IN L.A.: a, the, though, only” features 25 artists who work throughout So. California. The artists are from a myriad of disciplinary backgrounds including performance, film, music, fashion, and dance.. . It features condensed monographic surveys, comprehensive displays of multiyear projects, the premiere of new bodies of work, and newly commissioned works from emerging artists. Notably among the artists are Dena Yagu, Martine Sims, Rebecca Morris, Margaret Honda, Kelly Akashi et al.