WOMEN AROUND TOWN, May 2021
IN THE GALLERIES
The first exhibition I want to bring to your attention is at Kohn Gallery is entitled Antithesis, works by Chiffon Thomas. Thomas identifies as a non-binary queer person of color and the pronoun “they”. They are an interdisciplinary artist whose works range from hand embroidered mixed media paintings to collage, drawing, and sculpture. Thomas’ powerful figurative assemblages examine the difficulties faced by defining one’s identity in contemporary society. Through contorted figures and fractured compositions that float seamlessly between historical and contemporary styles and references, they presents a process of becoming: a transition from dysmorphia to metamorphosis. Thomas states, ”through fracturing faces, I try to represent how individuals compartmentalize trauma and sometimes create multiple identities in order to heal. Sometimes this is how dissociative identity disorders develop. It’s also emblematic for when people of color have to color-switch. You often have to split into multiple identities and veil who you most comfortably are.” Thru May 21, 2021.
These Precious Days is a solo exhibition of paintings by Sooki Raphael at Rose Gallery After several life tragedies, Raphael turned her focus toward painting, using her colorful palette as an “expression of a renewal of spirit and life” as she healed. Raphael painted the works on view over the last three years in her Topanga home and in the Nashville home of author Ann Patchett, with whom she weathered the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Raphael’s paintings capture landscapes, interior spaces, animals, and portraits with a vibrancy that the artist describes as a “delicious and direct way to explore the intense colors that I live in.” In these works, Raphael invites the viewer to experience the joy and electric spirit of one’s surroundings through the artist’s own open eyes and vivid brushstrokes. Thru May 10, 2021.
In addition to the current exhibition of paintings by Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth , there is now another exhibition worthy of our attention, that is Tupinamba. works by Brazilian Neo-Concrete artist Lygia Pape (1927-2004). Exhibited for the first time in the US, the works on view from the “Tupinambá” series – distinctive in their use of artificial red feathers – illuminate Pape’s sense of connection to Brazil’s indigenous populations and certain characteristics of their history. Unfolding across two galleries, the exhibition will feature the monumental spatial work ‘Manto Tupinambá’ (2000), comprising a series of related sculptures entitled ‘Memórias Tupinambá’ and works on paper, as well as an emblematic Ttéia. Thru June 6, 2021.
Louise Fishman, We’ll Meet Again is the current exhibition at Vielmetter Gallery. In this exhibit new paintings created in her studio in upstate New York over the past year (2020) of quarantine are paired with a selection of older works made between 1974 – 1985 from the artist’s personal archive. Also on view are a selection of recent watercolors on paper and board, intimate in scale, consisting of an array of color and texture. Here is a short and interesting video of the artist discussing the exhibit. Thru May 15, 2021.
IN THE MUSEUMS
Craft Contemporary is now open and one of the highlight exhibitions is Cathy Cooper: Dramatis Personae. Cooper is a Los Angeles-based artist, performer, and costume and in this series is a body of work that oscillates between sculpture and costume. Through layering, pairing, recombining, and repurposing her materials, Cooper creates dynamic forms that exude a range of movement and emotions. May 9-Sept. 12, 2021.
If you are driving along Wilshire Blvd. focus your attention on the fence in front of LACMA and you will see The Mind’s Eye: A LACMA Poster Project. The Mind’s Eye looks inclusively at art and creativity as they intersect with a diverse range of perspectives, taking into account the unique experience, imaginative potential, and specific struggles that may come with neurodiversity. Developed as part of WE RISE 2021 in honor of Mental Health Awareness month, LACMA has commissioned graphic works by five artists to be displayed on vinyl clings installed along the construction fence on Wilshire Boulevard. Scoli Acosta, Andy Alexander, The Revolution School, Favianna Rodriguez, and Kerry Tribe all use a range of aesthetic strategies—from figurative painting, to text-based conceptual works, to game structures—to create a series of posters that evoke the myriad possibilities for meaningful connection and communication within human experience. As we collectively work to envision and shape a future that centers diversity, equity, and inclusion, a deeper understanding of neurodiversity can offer models of resilience, authenticity, and innovation. May 7-May 31, 2021.
Made in LA 2020: A Version continues at both the Hammer Museum and the Huntington, The list of artists includes Christina Forrer, Harmony Holiday, Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork, Ann Green Kelley, Kandis Williams, Ligia Lewis, Jill Mulheady, Diane Severin Nguyen, Monica Majoli, and many others. Thru August 1, 2021.
And finally, not an exhibition of work by a woman artist, but an article about picturing women. This time it is about a 15th c. manuscript newly acquired by the Getty Museum. Hopefully it will be on view when the museum reopens in late May. Female Expression in a 15th Century Manuscript is an article about the manuscript that features tales that focus on the treacherousness of men and the broken female lives they leave behind. Yet, the illuminations also give agency to the women by making them the authors of their own experiences. The manuscript contains the translation into French by 15th-century poet Octovien de Saint-Gelais of five of twenty-one epistles originally written by the ancient Roman poet Ovid. It also includes three additional texts by Saint-Gelais that debate the qualities of an ideal woman, mainly beauty and virtue.