11th year Anniversary Exhibition
Ron Athey / Josh Bolin / Daniel Brice / Thomas Burke / Carole Caroompas / Cole Case / Alec Egan / Samantha Fields / Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose / Tim Forcum / Eric Freeman / Sush Machida Gaikotsu / Margaret Griffith / Dion Johnson / Ali Kheradyar / Patrick Lee / Joe Lloyd / Zachari Logan / Bob Mizer / Matthew Penkala / Nancy Riegelman / Chad Robertson / Joe Schmelzer / Nicolas Shake / Aaron Sheppard / Arne Svenson / Christian Tedeschi / Tom of Finland / Mark Dean Veca / Wayne White / Jessica Wimbley
Western Project proudly presents our 11th Year Anniversary Exhibition marking a decade and a year of programming. As one of the pioneer galleries of the Culver City arts district, the show will include gallery artists and some special guests; each an irregular, unruly and often impolite force of nature, all burdened with the disease of individual thinking and a call to find a greater depth of human experience. We celebrate with abandon and humor, knowing our job is yet unfinished.
Western Project is proud to present the third solo exhibition at the gallery by Los Angeles artist, Mark Dean Veca. His new body of work, EVERLAST, is comprised of seven new paintings and twelve works on paper. Veca grew up around the San Francisco Bay Area surrounded by words; words in the sky, words on the streets, words on the billboards, on trucks and grocery stores, liquor stores – everywhere – an environment of language, letters and images. For this work he writes:
Particular street signs and logos started to jump out at me as perfect combinations of subject matter and composition. I'm not picking words or images at random, but those that I find have some kind of resonance personally as well as universally, be they mundane or iconic, and are redolent of my 1970's California upbringing…
For years now I've been interested in the negative space in and around letterforms, particularly logos in a certain script, like the Fender logo. When I see these spaces I get an urge or compulsion to define and articulate them, to make them the figure, not the ground.
It is the atmosphere which seems to have won out as an undulating miasma or vapor, enveloping the signage from neighborhood stores (LIQUOR MART), to international corporate logos (EVERLAST and Zildjian). Perhaps they recall the brown smog atmosphere from the 1970’s in LA, along with the Pop culture explosion of the era; his paintings reek of immersion in a climate of billowing energy, a charged atmosphere where background shifts to and fro:
Duality seems to be a consistent theme in much of my work. In these word paintings the eye wants to flatten the text, especially from a distance, but upon closer inspection the forms flip. The atmospheric quality that fills the letterforms heightens the effect of creating depth and contrast to the crisp linework defining the biomorphic abstraction surrounding them.
Veca’s paintings are indeed icons; not ironic, but psychedelic celebrations. FENDER is enveloped by a surging purple ooze (or is it haze?) while BREAKFAST BURRITO is a crazy trip down the street at sunrise; both seemingly familiar visual sensations. And what’s that funk of adolescent testosterone wafting around the paintings? His deft and masterful drawing skills give the works a tremendous gravity and visionary exactness; think Keith Haring, R. Crumb, and Warhol. It is an un-academic rigor compounded by immaculate craftsmanship. The logo paintings are punctuated by early Warner Brothers Looney Tunes characters: Tweety Bird (created in 1945), and the Tasmanian Devil (1957). Each image is an historic cartoon favorite known for their wacky and cunning charms. Having survived endless cliché and a million bad tattoos over the years, Veca’s images are now more sirens luring contemporary audiences to reconsider an un-snarky and daring, new attitude in the 2010s. FLY UNITED is a sexier side, from an image recycled from a 1970’s underground poster; the image is a wink and a nod to human desire (the mile high club), stealing back the method of corporate advertisement into mainstream erotic humor. Perhaps this is the covert messaging of the artist – employing logos more as flavors, manipulating corporate identity into notions of pleasure, emotion and imagination. The words become formal playgrounds for both the artist and audience to reinterpret experience and memory as subjective space. Taking back an age of greed to a realm of personal exaltation.
Veca will be included in the upcoming Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of HI-Fructose @ Virginia MOCA, Virginia Beach. His work was recently acquired by the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California. The monograph, Mark Dean Veca: Twenty Years, was recently published by Zero + Publishing. He has exhibited at the Instituto Cultural de Cabanas in Guadalajara, Mexico, a career survey at the University of California, San Diego, site specific Phantasmagoria at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles and Raging Opulence at The San Jose Art Museum, the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial at OCMA, Newport Beach, California, plus numerous other exhibitions in New York, Tokyo, Paris, London, Berlin and Bern, Switzerland. He is the recipient of the 2010-11 COLA Individual Artist Fellowship as well as grants by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts, plus residencies at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, and the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Veca has created designs/products for both Nike and Burton Snowboards.
Western Project is pleased to present the second solo exhibition by Jessica Wimbley. The Belle Series is a group of digital works on canvas based on ideas of origin: biological, genetic, cultural and historic. Working on multiple conceptual levels and visual modes, the series is hauntingly narrative and subjective. Her constructs also use 'biomythography' (originally a literary form created by the poet Audre Lorde) which blends elements of autobiography, the novel and personal mythology. It weaves together these elements into new kinds of representational compositions. She writes:
In my work, I investigate and question identity and history, merging both the genetic and biological with socio-historical, creating narratives that shift between micro and macro representations. The one-drop rule -a historical colloquial term in the United States for the social classification as Black of individuals with any African ancestry; i.e. any person with "one drop of Negro blood" was considered black, is used as a framework to consider the formation of identity. The one-drop rule is still utilized in forming understanding of race in America, however, is problematized in an era of shifting demographics, integration, and multi consciousness. Furthermore, the information contained in the "one drop" of blood in conjunction with contemporary understandings of genetics and anthropology reveals implicit and explicit identities; with subsequent narratives that reveal differing yet simultaneous histories. By investigating the one-drop rule at a micro level (DNA and genetic information contained) to a macro level (origin of humanity) the African diaspora is reframed in the context of the African as the original colonizer and explorer of the earth. Using aesthetic elements such as collage, digital imagery, appropriation, panoramic landscapes and space imagery, as well as images of microscopic biological entities, including t cells, melanin, stem cells, and DNA, provides both a conceptual and visual metaphor for the macro and micro- galvanizing what is seen and unseen, and questioning the scope of the human experience and identity. The figure in these narratives straddles both objectification and subjectification, as a result, creating narratives that conjure multiple histories through the codification of landscape, objects, and the body.
Literary references to science fiction novels by Octavia Butler, as well as popular culture media are used to compose narrative, in conjunction with photographic images, painting and drawing. The hybridity of images in the work reflect the way in which one composes culture in the digital age, integrating gazes by reflecting the mass consumption and democracy of the internet. The finished work reflects historical artistic approaches of painting and drawing with Photoshop, collage and digital photography, itself becoming a hybrid.
The Belle Series continues the investigation of identity by integrating images of myself with my grandmother, great grandmother, and other relatives dating back to the early 1900's and historical stereographic images of Native and Black American women from the Turn of the Century. The stereograph, being a popular medium for disseminating images of Americans during the Turn of the Century, was also instrumental in helping create visual representations of American life and inform American identity. Through the merging of images, I seek to create a hybrid, which exposes the shifting of identities in relationship to both historical and social political understandings.
The five canvases in the exhibition are but a portion of The Belle Series. They are masterful meditations on ancestry and heritage; becoming universal musings by the shifting micro/macro, intimate/cosmic imaging. Her pictures present an unorthodox way of looking at family; challenging notions of authorship and lineage - perhaps a most useful set of windows to reconsider our limited definitions and assumptions about who we think we are, and the stories we believe.
Jessica Wimbley is the co-curator and participant of the upcoming exhibition, Biomythography Secret Poetry and Hidden Angers, at the East and Peggy Phelps Galleries, Claremont Graduate University Claremont, CA. Her work was recently featured in "The Beautiful: Contemporary Art Featuring America" curated by Rachel T. Schmid, at California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA, and "ANEKANTAVADA Diverse Perspectives in Art" curated by Karin Skiba and Quinten Bemiller at Norco College Gallery, Norco College, Norco, CA. She has also shown at Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art in Athens Georgia, California State University at Long Beach, California, National Palace of Culture/Lessedra Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria, 21st Century African Youth Movement, Sierra Leon, Africa, and other galleries and institutions in the United States.
The artist lives and works in Claremont, California.
September 13 - October 11, 2014 Opening reception for the artist: Saturday September 13th 6 – 8 pm
Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist, Margaret Griffith. An MFA graduate of Cranbrook Art Academy, her work is conceptually formed and unapologetically aesthetic site specific installations and works on paper. Using waterjet cut aluminum, she creates large abstractions built along ceilings and walls; visually floating, mimicking natural forces in gestural and billowing forms. The silver colored metal belies her organic and natural compositions; the twisted shapes and apparent chaos suggest turbulent climate conditions, ocean currents or sound waves.
Strikingly, the work is also a deconstruction/reconstruction of architectural forms. Her waterjet cut aluminum pieces are replicas of urban gates, doors, and fences. The function and location of each gate, door or fence is replicated and reinterpreted in a new context. They are hand bent into sculptural forms and connected together as a monumental pattern. She writes:
“It is important to me that the forms be stripped of functionality yet recognizable as urban structures that were constructed to protect and divide one space from another within a complex residential environment. Some of the iconic imagery include palm trees, street numbers and letters such as “W”, a last name initial perhaps, found on private residences through out the neighborhoods of Highland Park, Altadena and Cypress Park, areas that I live in and around. These architectural metaphors represent how we partition ourselves from one another through divisions, boundaries and fear. I question what community is in an urban environment, where common cultural and historical heritages are no longer relevant, and gentrification takes reign.”
The foil works on paper are also derived from patterns found on gates and fences. The images are derived and remade compositions using aluminum foil – a cooking/kitchen material seemingly mundane, transformed into ethereal and reflective cloud-like structures. They have a buoyant and vaporous quality; a reflective and shimmering stillness counter to the subject matter. Using everyday materials directly contrasts her use of high tech process of waterjet cut aluminum. She writes:
“I like working both directions. One process is less reliant on technology and the other dependent. I think it is relevant to being an artist in 2014. Technology is everywhere, and the hand is so important- and how to reconcile is interesting.”
Ultimately both processes are determined by the artist’s hand. In a similar lineage of Alice Aycock, Rita McBride and Jackie Winsor, Griffith presents materials confounding their origins and common usage. With out a heavy touch, the work is rumination on the fiction of permanence, fragility and the sublime.
Margaret Griffith will be featured in Art on Paper at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is currently in 6018 Wilshire Boulevard, at Edward Cella Art + Architecture in Los Angeles. She recently completed an installation at Vertigo Art Space in Denver, Colorado and has shown at Long Beach Museum, Long Beach, Occidental College, Jancar Gallery, Carl Berg Gallery, Kontainer Gallery in Los Angeles, Santa Monica Museum, Santa Monica, Meyerhoff Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland and the Museo Archeologico di Amelia, Amelia (TERNI), Italy, and many other institutions and galleries.
July 26 - August 29, 2014
Western Project is proud to present to present the first solo exhibition by Southern California artist, Joe Lloyd. An MFA graduate of Claremont Graduate School, he now lives and works in Long Beach, California. Focusing on systems and patterns, his paintings appear highly composed; however, the choices he makes are spontaneous and experimental. He writes:
“My earlier paintings were primarily about geometric shapes, but now I think it is much more interesting to process geometry as symmetry and pattern. The symmetry I make is not balanced, and my patterns are not decorative or geometric, they are more like organic or random types of patterns like wood grains and shotgun blasts. Geometry is not sacred and formalism isn’t pure. My paintings are about the imperfection of geometry.”
Lloyds abstractions are decided by layering forms and line digitally as well as by hand. It is the back and forth process which creates multiple possibilities so the compositions are both synthetic and organic in origin. Lloyd’s ‘imperfect’ geometry appears balanced and formal yet has numerous unexpected visual twists; he creates a kind of mind-game, bending the viewer’s eye with rhythmic color choices and slippery, offset compositions. As the images are complex, one can not see the whole picture at once; fragments pull and wrest the eye in a kind of acid cubism akin to Ron Davis’ 1970s canvases and Al Held’s epic late hallucinogenic works. Lloyd’s is a contortionist’s spatial logic suggesting natural and architectural sources: land, sea and sky, building schematics and freeway overpasses of Southern California; all pressed into mathematical formations with a cogent but rogue attitude.
Joe Lloyd is currently profiled in the July issue of Angeleno magazine. He has shown at the Torrance Art Museum, California State University Long Beach and Den Contemporary in Los Angeles, Vast Space Projects, Las Vegas, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, California and Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, among other venues.
JUNE 14 - JULY 19, 2014 Opening Reception: Saturday, June 14, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition of Los Angeles artist, Alec Egan. An MFA graduate of Otis College of Art and Design, the artist spent the last year on a new body of work, Luminous Opera. Egan’s language is aggressive and visceral, based in questions of authenticity and art historical myths and clichés. Reframing Van Gogh’s pictorial language, moreover, using it as a trope with his own subject matter, Egan creates a muscular vocabulary with dense, excessive surfaces akin to Anselm Keifer and Leon Kossoff. His application of oil paint is a constructive process; images built into large scale, tactile landscapes and portraits. They are a fecund and material totality. Egan’s subjects are both personal and historic; familial portraiture to Van Gogh’s fields and trees. His depiction of Van Gogh’s green parrot is transformed into a double edged allegory; now a diving acrobat, or a descending Icarus figure? Using commercial poster art or Star Trek references, Egan rides a confluence of humor, tragedy, nature, and Pop influences to investigate ideas of masculinity, beauty and culture. His works are a deliberate statement on the ecstatic wisdom of making pictures; a belief in the power of the artist, and a declarative howl.
Egan graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in 2013, Kenyon College in 2007 with a BA in creative writing and is a published poet. He has shown at Sebrof International Gallery, New York, ROOM, in Hartford, Studio 2507, Portland, Box Eight Gallery and Poor Dog Studio, in Los Angeles, among many others. Additionally, he has participated in multiple residencies nationally.
May 10 – June 7, 2014Opening reception for the artist Saturday May 10th 6 – 8pm
[portfolio_slideshow click=lightbox exclude="2809"]
Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition by Los Angeles sculptor, Christian Tedeschi. He is an MFA graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art, 2001 and co-founder of the infamous Detroit art collective, Object Orange. Titled, 5244 Baltimore (the address of his residence) the artist has built a facsimile of his front porch along with other sculptures, establishing uncanny narratives and experiences. 5244 Baltimore is a doppelganger roofed structure as portrait, mirror, stage set; a kind of hermetic history tableau. His new veranda exists as evidence of the artist’s process and his direct relationship with materials. More, the work explores space as metaphor:
“I am interested in the shape of a horse’s saddle, a hyperbolic paraboloid. A complex form which exhibits an interior and exterior space simultaneously. When I think of this form I see an abstract representation of the human condition; to exist inside and outside of this material body. It is self reflection, self awareness and the impossibility of containing these forces.”
Tedeschi’s use of found and constructed materials examine notions of the ideal and the damaged; concurrent polarities of the human condition. Rebuilding an aspect of his domestic environment presents an odd familiar likeness, a faux partial habitat, producing an uneasy David Lynch-ian feel. It is the directness of his methodology which belays the awkwardness and preciousness of most art/architectural fabrication. Construction materials are treated as such; his frontal approach is both incisive and psychological.
Other works in the exhibition mine similar territories of replication and space. His Blind installation employs a two sided wood paneled structure with matching, lighted window blinds. It is a walk-around wall, impenetrable and off-putting with a Twilight Zone stillness. In contrast – and adjacent, is an old broom strung to a slow whirling ceiling fan, bumping and brushing the ground in relentless circles. Both these works present a kind of banal and situational activity/anxiety similar to Bruce Nauman’s frustrating 1960’s and 70’s art. Tedeschi further plays the opposite chords with his framed and resin soaked images of tropical paradise. The collages are Home Depot generic sunsets with hailing cutlery; images of nature and culture in a continuous, endless battle.
Verity is the fuel of Tedeschi’s work. Open-handed and flat-footed, he is able to the petition the ordinary into mysterious and often contrary experiences.
Tedeschi lives and works in Los Angeles. He is Assistant Professor in Sculpture at California State University, Northridge. His solo exhibition, Throwing the blanket over the invisible man, was recently seen at the California Baptist University, Riverside, California. He was also included in “Reverberation”, curated by Andre Woodward at the Huntington Arts Center, “Object Orange” Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good, U.S. Pavilion Venice Architecture Biennial, Venice, Italy; and has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; FELTspace, Adelaide, South Australia; Pavilion am Milchof, Berlin, Germany; Free Museum Of Dallas, Dallas, Texas; Occidental College, Los Angeles, California and numerous other galleries and institutions.
His work has been written about in Newsweek, LA WEEKLY, Art LTD, Bloomberg Press, San Diego Union Tribune, and many other art publications. Tedeschi’s art has also been the subject on All Things Considered, on National Public Radio.
For images and more information contact the gallery: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
March 29 - May 3, 2014 [portfolio_slideshow click=lightbox]
Western Project is proud to present the third solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist, Patrick Lee. For over ten years Lee has worked on his series Deadly Friends; an investigation into the lives of men on the streets of America. Looking to understand the subtle and often forceful appearances of men the artist has created a body of work this time inspired by the environs around LA City Jail and the nearby Union Station. Observing an area of opposites, he writes:
“gray concrete, drab, sulphurous tungsten….a weird zone of Bail Bond boutiques, buses, trains… wandering about amongst thousands of commuters…many without any idea where to go or how.. Union Station is a hub, a place to start over in a sense and an opportunity to escape the city, the past.”
Lee’s process involves meeting and photographing random individuals and interacting with them over periods of time, listening to stories of family, jobs, triumphs, relationships, and failed dreams. He constructs images of men informed by these personal histories and interviews. Solely drawn by hand, without Photoshop or digital assistance, each pore and hair is minutely detailed. Often using multiple source figures, the drawings are composites of physical features and attributes. The work is an exploration of the artifice of masculinity; the mask of appearance men create with tattoos, scars, body muscle, or facial hair to acquire money, sex, power and essentially survival. Akin to Richard Avedon’s brutal clarity and Manet’s social realism, Lee’s portraits address class and gender definitions, assumptions and myths. What is seen is not always what is. Lee exposes ‘maleness’ as complex and not necessarily inherent; the alpha male an amalgam of personal history and strategy; an essential illusion, a form of adaptation to our cultural environment. His figures are not the social ‘ideal’, they are complex combinations of human qualities from pride to rage, un-heroic in the traditional sense; unabashed and bare. It is the balance of opposites which make Lee’s images compelling; power without humanity can never be a complete human picture.
Lee has had numerous national and international exhibitions. He was included in, Drawings for the New Century, at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, B-B-B-BAD,,an exhibition with attitudes, at Anna Kustera Gallery, New York, Male at Maureen Paley Gallery, London, UK, curated by Vince Aletti, and Lush Life at Salon 94, New York. He has also exhibited at Ameringer McEnery Yohe in New York, the Francis Young Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina, University of La Verne, La Verne, California, Howard House in Seattle, Washington, and the Marc Selwyn Gallery in Los Angeles, California. He is in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. He is also a recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation grant for 2006.
February 15 - March 22, 2014 [portfolio_slideshow click=lightbox]
Western Project to proud to present the second solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist, Brian Porray. Where we are in the universe has been an age old inquiry; our place in space and time, our ability to perceive and understand the changing occurrences in our physical environment. Porray looks to recorded events in history which have challenged and often created paradigm shifts about our place in the natural world, or what we call reality. In this new body of work titled, |*/N0_N3W_M00N\*| , his view is upward, into the skies at celestial phenomena; stars and particularly super novas from ancient documented sightings by early astronomers. He writes:
I spent the summer reading about binary star systems and type-1a supernovae, and was thinking a lot about the lives and deaths of cosmic objects. I became particularly interested in the story of the earliest recorded supernova. In the year 185 CE ancient Chinese astronomers witnessed RCW 86, an incredibly violent type-1a supernova event that took place roughly 8,000 light years from the Earth. It was visible in the night sky for most of the year. Lacking any real understanding of supernova events they referred to this new celestial object as a “guest star” – a star that begins to shine where there was previously nothing and disappears again after a short time. The relatively large size of RCW 86’s gas shell meant that the dying star would have appeared to be almost as large as the full moon in the night sky. It is difficult to fully grasp how foreboding and sinister this must have been – without a concrete interpretation of what was happening the ancient stargazers were left with wonder, fear, superstition, and conjecture to make sense of what they were seeing. I made these paintings with this in mind – they are an attempt to visualize something that is present but not understood an articulation of the way we look at something before we understand what it is that we are looking at.
Porray uses collage, printed papers and paint to create complex and active compositions. A kind of wayward son of Alfred Jensen or Kim McConnell, his works are raw and incessant - often a cyclonic flurry of materials born together in sophisticated structures. He creates new constellations and star systems, altered states and unearthed psychic spaces. A sort of abstract and obsessive punk pop (akin to Basquait, Carroll Dunham, and Op art of the 1960’s) Porray’s images also ride the impolite edge of order and maelstrom. He writes:
Science fiction stories often depict planets with multiple moons and stars. It is an incredibly effective tool for making us intuitively feel as though we are in another time and place. A distinct feeling of disorientation occurs simply by placing one additional moon in the night sky. I can imagine those who witnessed RCW 86 feeling the same disorientation – somehow everything was simultaneously familiar and strange. This lingering guest star would have caused a deep fracture in their reality and sense of continuity – if the positions of the stars can change or blink, everything else that seems permanent must also be suspect. A tiny shift in what we perceive to be the order of the universe can send our mental state spinning into a tunnel. Cosmological features are not as permanent as we may think. These are paintings of uncertain positions, dying stars, spectral lines, hypothetical constellations, and the havoc that the natural world can wreak on our sense of reality.
Using a kaleidoscopic language, Porray transforms scientific observation into metaphor; the paintings are purposeful inquiries about impermanence, place and wonder; most importantly, shifting perspectives in a paradoxical universe.
Brian Porray lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He is currently in Art for Art's Sake: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Barrick Museum, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and NEW NEON: Light, Paint & Photography at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California, and was recently included in Jason Hoelscher’s, “Pattern and Deregulation: Beauty and Non-Order in Contemporary Painting”, in ARTPULSE magazine. His work has also been written about in Modern Painters magazine, Las Vegas Weekly and numerous online blogs. He was awarded the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art Residency in 2012, and has also shown at Vast Space Projects in Las Vegas Nevada, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, the Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery, Cal Poly Pomona, California, Tomkins Projects, Brooklyn, New York, and Sheppard Fine Arts in Reno, Nevada. He is in the collections of Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, California, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio, City of Las Vegas, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada.
March 29 - May 3, 2014Opening Reception: Saturday, March 29, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Western Project is proud to present in the West Room, the fourth solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist, Nancy Riegleman. Glass Tongues is an installation made up of one hundred suspended glass sculptures, accompanied by two ornate and complex ink drawings. This work continues her interest in the human body and its possibilities:
“My work orders chaos precisely, shaping it and pulling it to a place of its own. By isolating the tongue, my aim was to unhinge it from its shelter, allowing it to perform itself. In this way I am addressing the body¹s confinement and its attempts to press past its own limitations. The objects and drawings are simultaneously part of and apart from myself. They are physical, but reach beyond the body¹s perception of itself. In this way, this exhibition rarefies the oddity of the body, drawing the viewer in to experience it in multiple reiterations.”
Hung from the ceiling by nylon filament, the glass objects form a cloud-like structure, reflecting and refracting light. The clear glass material appears both liquid and ephemeral. At once elegant, the overall effect is both buoyant and uneasy. The hand-blown tongue shapes are each unique in contour and shape, measuring up to two feet long. The fragility of the material is multiplied by the quantity hung in space. As body parts, they suggest voice, language and communication, yet deteched from their source. In a group they convey a chorus, a performative group subject to the flow of air currents and light. Historically, the artist has used her own body rhythms to create images, but now eternal rhythms and conditions make the ‘body’ perform. Riegelman has invented a silent symphony of objects; a floating formation of silent declarations: one hundred different tongues in concert alone and as an entity.
Riegelman is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation, Los Angeles and the Louvre. She has shown in Paris, France, Bombay, India, Seoul, Korea, at Art Center College of Art and Design, Pasadena, the Los Angeles County Art Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Long Beach Museum, and many other galleries and museums through out the United States.
September 7 - October 26, 2013 Moist Guilding performance: Saturday, September 7, 6:00 - 8:00pm Opening reception for the artist: Saturday, September 14, 6:00 - 8:00pm
Western Project is proud to present the second solo exhibition by Aaron Sheppard. A native of Nebraska and MFA graduate of University of Las Vegas, Sheppard now lives and works in Los Angeles, California.Moist Gilding draws from numerous sources: Mannerist prints, the erotic and transgressive drawings by Franz Von Bayros, illustrations by Sir John Tenniel (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass), the Greek myth of the abduction of Psyche, Louie XIV & XV, and George Bataille's, Eroticism. Sheppard writes:
I am interested in religion, gender and sex as each attempts to categorize the individual and define the individual's place within a society: instituting roles, rituals and traditions... I am a painter that engages in sculpture and body performance for the making of objects.
I engage myself in story....Judeo-Christian lore (The Four Horsemen of Revelation, The Carmina Burana from 13th c. medieval monk preservation), European operatic and orchestral/classical music (Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, and the 666 album by Aphrodite's Child) as well as my own informative coming-of-age experiences surrounding myself with transsexuals and drag queens in New York in search of self, each play a major role in my creative process and thinking for this body of work.
From latex to wood to oil paint or Plexiglas, Sheppard uses materials in the service of collage and his narrative. Mannerist prints are fundamental source material. The narrative and flowing line quality of these historic prints mirror both his gestural drawing facility and iconographic strengths. In his largest work to date, the 10 x 18 foot the tour de force, Salmacian Looking-Glass, Sheppard incorporates wood carving, painting, sculpture, furniture making, and text into an elaborately adorned tableau of seduction and layered histories; a libido intoxicated stage for the 21st century.
In Greek mythology, Salmacia is the name of the water nymph that abducted Hermaphroditus and convinced the Gods to conjoin their bodies, and genders, into one. Sheppard convolutes both imagery and meaning in his expansive composition. The central image in the multi-paneled painting references an Alice in Wonderland tea party; now as an erotic afternoon dream where gender and roles are undefined and fluid, the adjoining panels depict a larger vision of the affair as a sensual and deadly cinema-scope; who and what is the courtesan, who is what gender, or for that matter - who decides?
The entire image is contained within a gold-leafed carving of another legend:
Beyond fantastical in recreating a crude version of Rococo, my frame surrounds this painting not only with its own adjoining exemplifier of narrative, but also places it into a physical and tangible realm for a "decorated" concentration of an object....
Upon the central frame is carved a selection from The Carmina Burana, (a satire on society and The Bible compiled of songs and poems mainly written and performed by students of the Catholic Church traveling across Europe during the 13th c.) This selection comes from Chapter XVI, which translates from High German into:
"Pedlar, give to me some rouge my cheeks to redden So I, with the boys, better can flirt."
There are references to Da Vinci's The Last Supper - 12 figures (perhaps apostles?) are depicted in the triptych each of who are placed behind a chaise lounge. The chaise suggests a central action upon the viewer to engage by sitting and therefore to become part of the work, seemingly to sit languidly upon a throne. The entire backside of the chaise is painted canvas with drips of red and pink. Is what is seen as a throne for pampering really a sacrificial alter?
The open ended aspect of the work and his intent to pose questions or possibilities for the viewer is Sheppard's generous gift. This is particularly evident in the sculpture, Füßchen, which in German means, little feet or tootsies. This is a mermaid figure; giving birth, breach, not to another of its kind but a legless boy and a penis. Legends of the mermaid suggest they lure men to their death with beauty and song, but here she is an armless serpent of mysteries and fecundity. Sitting atop a tiered Plexiglass stack, her enormous carved foam hairdo is a dense swirling beehive in contrast to her hollowed out eyes and torso of multiple orifices; in all, a hideous yet immensely glamorous siren.
Three large drawings of Psyche Abducting Mercury are after Jan Harmensz Muller prints of a 16th century sculpture. Sheppard's confident line work and emotive rendering turns the classical subject matter into a contemporary erotic dance and struggle. The life size figures seem either vagrants or adorned gods from a Venetian carnival or demonic party. Moist Gilding is a sensual paring of opposites, of identity and meaning; a sense of fragility with the humorous iron fist of the gods.
Aaron Sheppard is a recent recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation Achievement Award. He has had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria, Volume 1E Brooklyn, New York, and galleries in Tokyo, Beijing, London, Las Vegas and Washington DC. Sheppard has performed in "Conceptualizing the Body: Gaze, Masquerade, and Spectacle", at SUNY College in Old Westbury, New York, the Fringe Festival in Australia, and shown video in, Maid in China(town), Chinese Biennale, Ku Art Center, Beijing China. His work has been written about in BOMB magazine, Artillery, The Huffington Post, Las Vegas Weekly, among others.
September 7 - October 26, 2013
Veca is currently working on Year of the Snake, a major site specific installation for ARTPRIZE in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is also currently in the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial, curated by Dan Cameron at the Orange County Museum of Art.
November 2 - December 21, 2013
Western Project is proud to present the third solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist, Daniel Brice. Continuing his investigation of the coastal landscape, Brice has stepped up his geometric and rough-hewn works to cinematic size. In the lineage of historic artists interpreting western America, such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, Brice constructs large scale paintings to speak of the immense beauty and natural wonder of the California landscape. His minimal abstract language does not utilize the drama of Bierstadt's works, but lays claim to the same idea of grandeur. Saturated color is Brice's tool to relate the immensity of the Pacific Ocean; a fathomless depth of blue is bordered with simple borders; the artist owns his subject with eloquent suggestion. It is his luminous color - akin to Thomas' use of light in his landscapes, which relates the feel of specific climate and place.
Contrasting the sense of cool coastal weather, Brice uses intense reds and oranges to express the heat of California valleys and interior terrain. A solid block of intense reds, again thinly bordered, evokes the summer heat of Southern California and the claustrophobic Santa Ana winds off the desert. His green and white paintings relate more subtle seasons or temperature; soft spring or arid fall moments. Brice's particular use of oil paint echoes Brice Marden's 1970's abstractions; intuiting place and feel, scent and light. But the use of burlap instead of canvas gives these works a rougher, more 'Western' and hand made quality - less European, less precious, and innately more emotive. Landscape painting has never looked so calloused and alluring.
Brice has shown in galleries and museums in New York, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Atlanta, among other locations. He has twice been an artist in residence at the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico and is in numerous private and public collections.
WEST ROOM November 2 - December 21, 2013
Josh Bolin, Alec Egan, Ashley Hagen, Zachary Logan, Mandy Lyn Ford
November 2 – December 21, 2013 Reception for the artists Saturday November 2nd 6-8pm
Western Project is proud to present new works from a group of five provocative young artists in the West Room. Josh Bolin paints awkward moments and memories from his adolescent years, Alec Egan subverts the realm of ‘macho’ painting with romantic imagery, Ashley Hagen builds sculptural vignettes inspired by familial histories, Zachary Logan presents mythical visions with his self portraits, and Mandy Lyn Ford makes bold idiosyncratic constructions, giving fresh meaning to the term, hermetic.
These artists poke tradition in subtle and not so gentle ways; each intent to set a thorn underfoot to place wonder before consent.
MATTHEW PENKALAThe Day You Crossed A Nova: New Paintings January 11 – February 8, 2014
Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition of paintings by Los Angeles artist, Matthew Penkala. A 2002 MFA graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit, Penkala has spent the last few years refining his work into an eccentric minimalist territory. Reminiscent of 1960’s color field painting by artists such as Larry Poons and Helen Frankenthaler, Penkala updates the atmospheric language by suggestions of contemporary technology; hyper color and references to illuminated screens of lap tops, smart phones, monitors and televisions. He primarily uses an airbrush to create the abstract images, drawing compositional windows within a field of color to create the illusion of internal/external and artificial/natural spaces. The transitions between spaces are sometimes ephemeral and sometimes abruptly delineated; the use of color is intense and florid but in no way sentimental. The viewer must visually negotiate their surroundings in his paintings. Penkala shares a sensibility of the slip sliding videos of the late Jeremy Blake, where what you think you see becomes something else as the eye picks up more subtle shifts of surface qualities and hidden details of the whole; a seeming narrative but none. Penkala plays with optics and film conditions as visual bait to conflate the actual and the representation; fragmenting the visual experience into a series of changing moments, into a state of flux, into an ‘unfixing’ of conceptual models rather than concretizing them. The boundary blurring Penkala plays most importantly produces an awareness of experience, ravishing and intriguingly fluid.
Matthew Penkala has shown at David Richard Contemporary in Santa Fe, Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, Ruth Bachofner Gallery in Santa Monica, College of Creative Studies, Detroit, Arizona State University, Tempe. He was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant Award in 2002.
For images and more information contact the gallery: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Reception Saturday July 27, 6:00 - 8:00 PM [portfolio_slideshow click=lightbox]
Tim Forcum: New Paintings July 27 – August 30, 2013 Reception for the artist Saturday July 27 6 – 8pm
Western Project is proud to present a new body of paintings by Los Angeles artist, Tim Forcum. Heavily influenced by the works of Lee Mullican and Dynaton artists such as Gordon Onslow Ford, Forcum uses a personal pictorial language to describe a transcendental experience of nature. With suggestions of landscape and figuration, the artist also recalls historic modes of abstraction; the cubist faceting of the early 20th century is played reductively and subdivided in his eccentric compositions. Forcum embraces history to speak of the same organic wonders of the world as his predecessors. Not as just a formal language, but a metaphoric, alternative reality. Different from the luminous and visionary Southern California landscapes of Frederick Wight, Forcum’s work looks to describe the mystical yet universal; a micro/macro vision using naturalistic forms and abstract patterns. It is the rhythm and structure of his shapes which allude to the unseen; a suggestion of form and shadow, or movement implied by a scraped palette knife or a surrealistic inversion of color and forms. His surfaces range from highly burnished to scratchy, a kind of impolite yet seductive, methodical interplay, mirroring his painting process of moving back and forth between spontaneity and calculation. Each work contains an individual logic, sometimes recognizable, often more a subjective knowledge structured and fragile; or perhaps each work a mapping; space behind the physical plane, a seeing of the unconscious, or the unseen dance of the universe.
Forcum has previously shown at D.E.N. Gallery, Pharmaka Art, WEEKEND and the Zero One Gallery in Los Angeles, California. He has shown in conjunction with the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, California, also in San Francisco, Palm Springs and Barcelona. His work has been reviewed in Flash Art, The Los Angeles Times, Art Ltd., Coagula Art Journal, LA Weekly, Tema Celeste Contemporary Art and many more publications. He is an MFA graduate of California Sate University Fullerton.