Tales of the Flesh 2: Born Adversaries : Carole Caroompas / Patrick Lee / Aaron Sheppard

October 13 - October 24, 2016
Open Thursday through Sunday, 12:00 - 4:00 PM

Opening Reception Thursday October 13, 5:00 - 9:00 PM

4619 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016

Carole Caroompas Fairy Tales: Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), 1989, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 84 inches

Carole Caroompas
Fairy Tales: Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), 1989, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 84 inches

Western Project is proud to present a group exhibition, Tales of the Flesh Part 2: Born Adversaries, featuring Carole Caroompas, Patrick Lee and Aaron Sheppard at FOUR SIX ONE NINE (4619 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016) Each artist works and lives in Southern California and has exhibited numerous times with the gallery. This special pop up exhibition highlights a second look at work that addresses the human figure as a narrative source. All three artists work with the body/figure as an origin of story telling for political, social, historical and/or erotic purposes.

Carole Caroompas is perhaps the most underrated yet influential painter of her generation, producing 30 plus years of hard-core figurative works unlike any other female counterpart. As an artist she is no Joan of Arc martyr of the early feminist moment, but more the Hindu Kali figure disrupting and fiercely reconfiguring ideas and images. Caroompas has never settled for simplistic questions or answers, and her work has never been polite. It challenges our notions of power and gender, and relationships between men and women, most often in large, epic scale works; monster-scale cosmologies dissecting our cultural assumptions of what is normal and/or true. Her use of collaged imagery creates a fragmented, non-linear narrative; on first glance appearing as the dream-like nature of the mind but is instead a highly organized composition. Her signature format is a visual and conceptual overload: a Surrealistic collage aesthetic on steroids.

Included in this exhibition are works from the series, Fairy Tales (1988 - 1990), and Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman That Knew Too Much (from 1991 - 1994).  In these pieces Caroompas reworks our assumptions - as she has written “to deconstruct sexist and authoritarian perspective in order to retell and reconstruct the narrative”. It is a kind of gleeful (and theatrical) remapping or rewriting of cultural binary norms: scripting alternate histories and myths as incisive new sets of possibilities. In both the Grimms’ Fairytale series and Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman Who Knew Too Much, the artist uses a heavy dose of humor to cajole the viewer through her kaleidoscopic imagery. Violence, sex and humor become a lethal combo, echoing the exciting and disturbing films of Russ Meyer or Quentin Tarantino. The difference is, she is not kidding. In the same way science fiction can talk about psychological and ethical issues (a la Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein), Caroompas’ tales evoke hopes of a new world; outlaw at first glance, ultimately as romantic as the Sex Pistols Here Comes The Bullocks. In our age of seven billion plus hall monitors, it is remarkable to witness conviction without compromise.

Patrick Lee Deadly Friends (Bullet Chain), 2014, graphite on paper, 16 x 1

Patrick Lee
Deadly Friends (Bullet Chain), 2014, graphite on paper, 16 x 1

The drawings of Patrick Lee have for twenty years dealt with the poignancy of human experience. Creating immensely detailed portraits of real people found on the streets of America, his work has a profundity and presence not typically found in academic portraiture. Quite possibly because he is interested in people on the fringe of American culture: the poor, addicted, abused or unlucky. His graphite drawings are typically one and a half size larger than human scale, producing a monumentality unassociated with depictions of the downtrodden. Using photographs of his subjects as well as long interviews, Lee is able to conjure a likeness that has tangible feeling more than pure accurateness. He is fascinated with ideas of masculinity: how it is acquired and developed for power and sex, along with its shifting qualities. His interest in the outer edges of society are its’ reflection; appearances mask the vital essence of our humanity. Unlike the bleak realism of Ingmar Berman’s films, Lee’s images are perhaps more similar to the humanist film work of Jean-Luc Goddard. Lee’s images point only to the subjects, not the artist or the art world. His drawings emanate a kind of dignity and respect that is not romanticized or illustrated. It appears only in the minds’ recognition of a tangible ‘us-ness’ of his images. They are us and we are them: scarred, tattooed, drugged and impoverished. But simultaneously magnificent.

Aaron Sheppard is an artist’s artist. His work traverses painting, sculpture, drawing, performance, and installation. The new Double Wide With Hydra, is his version of Dürer's Feast of the Rosary from 1506. Sheppard’s sensibility has always appeared profane, gritty and often taboo, but internally contains the humility of spiritual adoration. He thematically hopscotches across time, history and styles often using classical compositions as a trope to explore more fluid ideas about desire and sexuality. From the formal religious painting Feast of the Rosary, Sheppard has created a circus barge of characters:

“A Victorian mermaid queen with two vaginas allows Dante closer examination of her "second beauty". Baby Jesus fish crowns Captain Nemo while he himself gets crowned by the fangs of Leviathan. Eek the Geek waits in line to meet the Mer-Queen, as do characters from Alice in Wonderland, a pregnant Zulu princess, Judas, a dragon, a clown, a cannibal, Death...even Dürer himself. They flank her like kids at the mall waiting to sit on Santa's lap. A barker donning Gallagher's top hat hands out halos and urinates on the crowd."

Aaron Sheppard DETAIL: Double Wide with Hydra , 2016, mixed media, 90 x 216 inches

Aaron Sheppard
DETAIL: Double Wide with Hydra , 2016, mixed media, 90 x 216 inches

He often presents human biological variation as  gifted saints come to deliver a different message: life is all forms, and desires all forms. Mary as mermaid with two vaginas. Is this reverence, blasphemy or Bhakti? Is this a divine freak show? Dante is beguiled and bewitched by his desire as are all the figures surrounding the mermaid. This work addresses his question, “is it not possible to have earthly and heavenly delights simultaneously? Use and enjoy it all while still properly expressing love? Have your cake and eat it too (without losing/off with your head)?”

Sheppard’s enormous 20 foot painting is mural size, nearly identical to the scale of Ensor’sChrist’s Entry Into Brussels from 1889. Both share an expressionistic quality and energy; each event stylistically depicted with grotesque figures enhancing the pathos of human drama. Additionally, his paint quality is forcefully ragged yet calculated. It is a kind of pop or camp expressionism, able to suggest the emotionality and fervor of sex and desire; a fury of exaggeration in which Life is seen as flourishing.

The right panel of Double Wide may contain another moral tale: in a cave Hercules is battling the Leviathan threatening the mermaid, while his own penis is sprouting into the Hydra itself. Consumed by one’s own craving? It is perhaps the similar path.

Sheppard gives no answers except to suggest that the complexity of mortal life is to be enjoyed; variance is a gift, the pageantry is to be participated in, and living is immediate and vital. However in another moment, he writes, “I don’t know what it is all about. Fantasy and fish, piss and cherub cock…”


It is all good. 


Carole Caroompas’ work was recently include in, Romancing the West: A Legacy of American Images, William Roland Fine Art Gallery at California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California and Lore and Behold: The Art of Carole Caroompas, at The Boone Family Gallery at Pasadena City College, Pasadena California. She has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. She has also been the recipient of numerous artist grants such as, National Endowment for the Arts (twice), The Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. 

In September 2016, Patrick Lee is the subject of a Solo Exhibition and Drawing Workshop at the Huntington Museum of Art, West Virginia. He 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, the Georgia Museum of Fine Arts, Georgia, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. He is also a recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation grant for 2006.

Aaron Sheppard recently appeared in the Nameless Skypeband performing at Sraatliche Akademie Der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe (Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe, Germany), performed and inaugurated Bearded and Shucked, 1st Annual Mermaid Parade, Joshua Tree, California. He is a 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 many others.


Romancing the West: A Legacy of American Images : Featuring work from Carole Caroompas

Romancing the West: A Legacy of American Images

William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art

On view: June 10–July 11, 2016
This exhibition predominantly features work from the William Rolland Art Collection. Including paintings, sculptures and drawings, the exhibit highlights how Western-themed art influenced ideas about what America is, abroad and at home. Beginning with images of the late 19th-century frontier and early 20th-century works, the exhibition tracks the social, political and cultural implications of these images, while showcasing gorgeous examples of modern and contemporary works.

Artists featured include István Benyovszky, Carole Caroompas, Nicholas Coleman, Cyrus Edwin Dallin, Glenn Dean, Tracy Felix, David Grossmann, Logan Maxwell Hagege, Frank Tenney Johnson, Roy Kerswill, Jeremy Lipking, Albert Micale, Billy Schenck, Harold Shelton and Oleg Stavrowsky.

Source: https://rollandgallery.callutheran.edu/201...

Carole Caroompas: "Lore and Behold: The Art of Carole Caroompas" Exhibition Installation

October 7 - November 6, 2015 The Boone Family Art Gallery, Pasadena City College.

All photos: Richshell A. Allen

CAROLE CARROMPAS - Installation view of LORE AND BEHOLD: The Art of Carole Caroompas (Photo:  Richshell A. Allen)

CAROLE CARROMPAS - Installation view of LORE AND BEHOLD: The Art of Carole Caroompas (Photo: Richshell A. Allen)


Cool, As a Ticking Bomb

by Tucker Neel · 

May 5, 2015 · in FeaturesMay 2015

For 11 years, Cliff Benjamin and Erin Kermanikian have co-owned Western Project in Culver City. Together they exhibit work that’s consistently challenging and boundary-breaking, representing artists like Tom of Finland (before he was MOCA-acceptable), Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose (whose work is the best kind of shocking), and Ron Athey (who Benjamin accurately describes as “Promethean”). Kermanikian’s unflappable youthful insight compliments Benjamin’s experience, and their dedication to the art and artists they love is palpable every time they talk shop.

Benjamin isn’t like most gallery owners. His arms are covered in tattoos and his attire is often more leather bar than Moet VIP lounge. He’s as queer as can be, a walking assault on normalcy, and that’s just part of what makes him so compelling. He’s also been an artist, professor, art dealer, gallery director and gallery owner. For nearly half a century he's been part of LA’s cultural identity, making him a kind of griot, always ready with a story about something people forgot, don’t know, or refuse to talk about. That’s why I’m waiting for him in a Silver Lake cafe to ask for a story or two.

Cliff Benjamin at gallery with artwork, photo by Joe Schmelzer

Cliff Benjamin at gallery with artwork, photo by Joe Schmelzer

Artillery: Tell me how LA has changed in your lifetime and what do you think about the art world today? 
Cliff Benjamin: I never think of this as a competitive business. I didn’t when I was an artist, and I don’t now as a gallerist. Most gallery owners don’t come from a teaching or a working artist background. I taught off-and-on for six or seven years, and I always liked teaching. I think teaching is more about giving people permission. So I think my background lets me go into a studio, and if an artist is stuck, I know. I get it, and we can talk. I also like that I get to help artists be self-sufficient. I personally know how hard it is; being an artist is the hardest job in the world.

What do you think has been the biggest change in the LA art world?
The biggest change is the illusion there’s a big collector base here. All these galleries move here, and they think they’re going to do this and that. But they can’t make it. Unless you’re from here, you just don’t get it.

Why is that?
LA is so much about lifestyle and unless you understand that endemically, you won’t understand this climate, this culture. If Pace Gallery couldn’t make it—well… .

What do you think people fail to remember about LA’s art world? Who gets left out?
LA has zero memory. So, for instance, the Getty’s PST show had ad nauseam talk about the Ferus Gallery. You would think there would have been an equally huge chapter on Nick Wilder. He was barely mentioned! He was enormously influential. He showed Nauman, Twombly, Alberto Burri, John McLaughlin, David Hockney and so many more. And Nick had these famous openings and crazy lifestyle.

Carole Caroompas, Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman Who Knew Too Much: The Couple Who Had No Umbilicus, 1994, Private Collection, Los Angeles, California, courtesy Western Project

Carole Caroompas, Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman Who Knew Too Much: The Couple Who Had No Umbilicus, 1994, Private Collection, Los Angeles, California, courtesy Western Project

So why do you think he was so absent from PST?
Because it just didn’t have the same buzz as Ferus. Ferus was a press machine.

In terms of artists, who do you think deserves more historical attention?
I will say that PST did a great service to the artists from the late ’60s and ’70s who haven’t been part of the general dialog. But I’m going to be biased. It infuriates me that Carole Caroompas is not in the same dialog as Mike Kelley. Her work is just as crusty, incisive, beautiful and crazy as it ever was. She’s never flinched. She’s taught at Otis for almost 30 years now, and she’s been as influential a teacher as John Baldessari. But because she’s a woman—there have been so many women and people of color who haven’t been put in that hopper. It’s tragic.

Carole Caroompas, Uncle Lenny: Right as Wrong/Wrong as Right: Straight Men, 2010, courtesy Western Project

Carole Caroompas, Uncle Lenny: Right as Wrong/Wrong as Right: Straight Men, 2010, courtesy Western Project

In so many ways, there’s so little honesty and kindness in the art world. That’s what we need to cultivate. To do otherwise just seems like too much work to me. I mean, if you’re interested in power then maybe, but not me.
That drive for power, for being cool, is just a cover-up, a hungry ego. The whole notion of being cool is a ticking time bomb. Being cool is the booby prize. It really is.

11 YEARS - Anniversary Group Show: December 6 - 23, 2014

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.

Under The Big Black Sun - Art in America Review

Link to original post here: www.artinamericamagazine.com

ART IN AMERICA Under The Big Black Sun 12/22/11 / Geffen Contemporary at MOCA By Annie Buckley

Los Angeles As one of more than 60 "Pacific Standard Time" exhibitions, "Under the Big Black Sun," organized by MOCA chief curator Paul Schimmel, sheds light on the energetic, nonhierarchical ethos of California art during the years bookended by Nixon's resignation in 1974 and Reagan's inauguration in 1981. While introducing the sprawling exhibition, Schimmel compared it to a "block party," an apt analogy given the sheer number of artists included—more than 130—and its inclusive sensibility, evoking a gathering of neighbors who may not share more than a friendly hello but together constitute community.

The years highlighted in the show, although not characterized by catastrophe, were marked by convulsive change and a widespread and deep-seated uncertainty.For the art world, as Schimmel remarked, "The linear march of modernism [had come] to an unimaginable and disturbing end," and what was next remained unclear. "Under the Big Black Sun" takes its title from the third album of the Los Angeles punk band X and points to the dark anxiety and vibrant creativity of the time.

As the nation shifted from the idealistic tumult of the '60s to the hardened materialism of the '80s, a group of artists in California were engaging in a wide variety of new approaches to art. The exhibition effectively captures the intense eclecticism of the period and the breezy intentionality of the artists, who did not know at the time if their work would even be seen outside of the area. News photographs of iconic events displayed on large monitors and framed ephemera provide historical context. The artworks are loosely organized according to thematic groups, but Schimmel resists toppling the airy sense of possibility inherent in the time with the weight of strict categories. Though it includes more than 400 paintings, photographs, sculptures, films, videos, installations, crafts, zines, books and pieces of ephemera, "Under the Big Black Sun" feels surprisingly spacious.

The show offers the chance to see pieces by less familiar artists as well as early or underknown works by key figures, such as Mike Kelley's first installation, Untitled (from The Little Girl's Room), 1980, consisting of objects and images obliquely suggesting a young girl's bedroom, and Eleanor Antin's cardboard airplane with cutout figures that served as the set for her feature-length video The Nurse and the Hijackers (1977). At times, surprising relationships unfold between distinct and seemingly unrelated works. For example, visitors peruse the script and sculptural objects from Guy de Cointet's play My Father's Diary (1975) before turning the corner to encounter Stephen J. Kaltenbach's large painting Portrait of My Father (1972–79). At once fiercely realistic and ethereal, Kaltenbach's painting of the elderly, seemingly infirm man embodies the depth of intimacy and emotion that exists as profoundly but more subtly in de Cointet's work.

Views of society, culture and politics abound, and, with so many perspectives, the concept of "other" is refreshingly reflected as an aspect of a multifaceted whole. Ilene Segalove's videos and photographs feature elements of her day-to-day life. In the photos All the Pants I Had Except the Ones I Was Wearing (Front and Back), 1974/2010, the artist, dressed only in jeans, is surrounded by a baker's dozen of additional pairs, cannily critiquing the dispassionate chronicling characteristic of early male-dominated Conceptual art. Carole Caroompas's intricate collage series "The Dreams of the Lady of the Castle Perilous" (1978–79) takes the shape of mandalas and evokes the spiritual as readily as punk rock.

Chris Burden's powerful installation The Reason for the Neutron Bomb (1979), comprising 50,000 nickels each topped with a red-tipped matchstick, visually represents the number of Soviet tanks in the era of the Cold War.

That the exhibition shifts from process to punk to the personal, and from conceptual to collage to critique, is one of its charms, and though its pluralism seems to mirror the current state of art, contemporary practice is left wanting in comparison to the freewheeling experimentation and direct engagement resonating here. Perhaps it is unfair to look back through rose-colored glasses, but the show's vision of nonhierarchical acceptance is well worth revisiting at present.

Link to original post here: www.artinamericamagazine.com

Carole Caroompas: Uncle Lenny: Right as Wrong / Wrong as Right

For immediate release:

CAROLE CAROOMPAS: Uncle Lenny: Right as Wrong / Wrong as Right New Paintings and Drawings

October 15 - November 12, 2011 Opening Reception for the artist: Saturday, October 15, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Western Project is proud to be a participating gallery in Pacific Standard Time: L.A. Art 1945-1980 with an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles artist Carole Caroompas. Four years in the making, seven layered drawings and three complex paintings comprise a body of work based on the artistry of comedian and enfant terrible, Lenny Bruce. Entitled, Uncle Lenny: Right As Wrong/ Wrong As Right, Caroompas uses a cosmology of Pop culture figures in her non narrative, operatic images – a kind of psychedelic film noir. The work explores the role of the artist in society and the exposure of truth and deception. Using characters from contemporary and classic television, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and The Lone Ranger (and Tonto), along with John Waters, Divine, Gorgeous George the wrestler, and a cast of others, the works address the outrageous, the stereotype, the forbidden and the unspoken. Caroompas uses quotes by Lenny Bruce as the primary ‘voice’ in the work; his stinging language ignites her compositions and is furthered by the use of lace veiling in the works alluding to the covering of something hidden or untoward. Bruce is the perfect character for Caroompas’ themes of verity and paradox; the outlaw artist, unedited and aggressively frontal:

“The only honest form of art is laughter, comedy. You can’t fake it…”

“All my humor is based upon destruction and despair.”

“The ‘what should be’ never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no ‘what should be’, there is only what is.”

It is the desire for a better world, justice and equanimity which fuels Caroompas’ paintings and drawings. Her populated universe is of actors playing roles, artists playing themselves, and other roles; as in the writings of William Burroughs or Hunter S. Thompson: what is real is a shift of perception. Her storied canvases provoke alternate views; from the perimeter, from inside multiple perspectives, from another chair; a slippery and grinding poetry in the tradition of Frida Kahlo and Gabriel Marquez.

Carole Caroompas is currently participating in the exhibitions "Under The Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981" at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, curated by Paul Schimmel and "Los Angeles Goes Live: Performance Art in Southern California 1970-1983" Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.

Carole's work will also be included in the upcoming exhibition: "L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy" January 22 - May 20, 2012, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena California, curated by Michael Duncan.

Carole has exhibited widely in the US including the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. She has also been the recipient of numerous artist grants such as, National Endowment for the Arts (twice), The Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.

For further information and visuals, contact the gallery at 310-838-0609 or www.western-project.com

Western Project - The First Six Years / Group Show / 2009

November 7 – December 30, 2009 Opening reception Saturday November 7th 5-8pm.

Jason Adkins, Oliver Arms, Ron Athey, Tanya Batura, Heimir Björgúlfsson, Daniel Brice, Thomas Burke, Carole Caroompas, Cole Case, Exene Cervenka, Kris Chatterson, Justin Dahlberg, Michael Dee, Tom of Finland, Eric Freeman, Sush Machida Gaikotsu, Martin Gunsaullus, Ellina Kevorkian, Patrick Lee, Bob Mizer, Michael Reafsnyder, Nancy Riegelman, Chad Robertson, Joe Schmelzer, Aaron Sheppard, Arne Svneson, Vincent Valdez, Mark Dean Veca, Wayne White, Eve Wood, Yek

Western Project is pleased to present, The First Six Years, an anniversary exhibition of the gallery and its artists. Thirty one artists are included with new or recent works. The exhibition is also a celebration of the founding of the arts community in Culver City; Western Project being the third gallery to open its doors in November of 2003.

Tales of the Flesh: Group Show / 2009

June 13 – July 18, 2009

Carole Caroompas Kaitlynn Redell Aaron Sheppard Arne Svenson Liz Young

Western Project is proud to present Tales of the Flesh, a group exhibition examining the human figure as a narrative source. Each of these five artists work with the figure/body as an origin of story telling for political, social, historical and/or erotic purposes. Carole Caroompas has used the figure for thirty years to examine issues of power and gender between men and women. Her series, Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman Who Knew Too Much, reworks our assumptions of relationships and myths in ribald and collaged imagery. Her use of the figure is theatrical, incisive and verges on the taboo. Newcomer Kaitlynn Redell cuts and reassembles rock and movie posters to illuminate our notions of ‘the exotic’ and its racist implications in inherent in Western Pop culture. Redell’s constructions are unabashedly aesthetic and covertly seduce the viewer with tales of hubris and glamour. Arne Svenson’s forensic sculpture Portraits are both haunting and alluring. His subject is the dead and forgotten, and his images are strangely elegant reminders of the unfinished stories of real lives. Also included, Svenson’s book of genetically connected eyes is a slightly lighter kind of provocation; large color images floating in a text-less format. The cliché: the eyes are the windows of the soul, is charred with the artist’s new kind of taxidermy. Liz Young’s standing wood-grained male sculpture and small blood painted portraits are interpretations of family intimacy and history. Adept with materials, Young makes each work a loaded narrative, unveiled and raw. Aaron Sheppard’s elaborate paintings dredge Eros from the ether; monuments of erotic iconography, untamed and obsessive. His female imagery is Dionysian and fantastic, recalling William Blake’s dark and swirling watercolors, but huge in scale. Both Young and Sheppard navigate a territory personal and untamed.

Together these artists revel in the tradition of telling tales of what it is to be human in the 21st century.

Opening reception : Saturday, June 13th 5-8pm

Carole Caroompas: Dancing With Misfits: Eye-Dazzler / New Paintings and Drawings / 2007

November 3 – December 22, 2007

Opening reception:  Saturday November 3rd, 5-8pm

Western Project is proud to present new work by Los Angeles legend Carole Caroompas. Three years in the making, this new body of work addresses the taming of the West in the 20th century. Caroompas uses fragments from John Huston’s, The Misfits, Brian DePalma’s, Carrie, and a cosmology of Pop-culture images, layered within patterns from Navajo Eye-Dazzler rugs. It is the cosmic dance of good and evil, the desire for home and relationship, and the struggle for control and power in a convoluted universe with characters such as Carrie and Karen Carpenter or Clark Gable and Arthur Lee. Each plays a role in the Grand Scheme; each an actor, equally mythic – in art, as in contemporary life. Caroompas’ paintings explore the tragic and violent legacies of American history in the West as they echo the hope of a promised land. Her non-narrative works resonate like acid-fueled poems to nature and culture, honoring the lineage of artists such as Frida Kahlo, Walt Whitman and William Burroughs.

Carole Caroompas has exhibited widely in the US including the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. She has also been the recipient of numerous artist grants such as, National Endowment for the Arts (twice), The Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.

A full-color catalogue of the exhibition is available, with texts by Anthony Ausgang, Don Bachardy, Alexis Smith, Mike Kelley, Sandeep Mukherjee, Tom Knechtel, Roy Dowell, Karen Carson, Sandow Birk, Paul McCarthy, Thomas Woodruff and Cliff Benjamin.

In This house That I Call Home: Group Show / 2006

January 7 – February 4, 2006 Reception for the artists Saturday, January 7th 5-8pm

Oliver Arms Ron Athey Tanya Batura Carole Caroompas Cole Case Justin Dahlberg Katie Herzog Matthew Jordan Lisa Mraz John Scaraga Joe Schmelzer John Schlue Wayne White

Western Project begins the New Year with a group exhibition exploring ideas and experiences of the home. From heaven, to hell and back, it is interpreted by this group of artists with conviction and authority. Carole Caroompas realigns the myth of Rapunzal and her crumbling castle in a huge and complex canvas; accompanied by Ron Athey’s hair towels made of woven wigs - quite the untraditional handicrafts. Matthew Jordan photographs the silence and order of his bedroom, while Lisa Mraz hangs her linens out to dry on a most caustic laundry line. John Scaraga fatigues images of men and women from fashion magazines by hand – a lone and peculiar activity, equaled by Tanya Batura’s Inhale/Exhale S & M ceramic heads. John Schlue paints recipe cards from his Midwestern kitchen invoking a kind of high caloric minimalism, homespun and as purposely skewed as Wayne White’s Americana relic paintings. Katie Herzog dreams of her cat (XXX) and Joe Schmelzer continues the documentation of his life with his two partners. All in all, there are no rules, party or not, but there is a vibrancy of life that defies categories and boxes, and variance is the key and the practice. The mystery of life bubbles up through our own living room – fantastic, frightening and exhilarating – reasonable and fucked up – horny and monastic – loving and with a sharpened sword – the artists hold up the looking glass, and it is unexpectedly beautiful.

(Thank you Exene and John)

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Baby: Group Show / 2004

January 3 – February 14, 2004 Opening reception January 3rd, 6-9 pm.

Anthony Ausgang, Ron Athey, Carole Caroompas, Nathalia Edenmont, Tom of Finland, Sush Machida Gaikotsu, Ellina Kevorkian, Bob Mizer/AMG, Catherine Opie, Michael Perelman, Richard Renaldi,  Joe Schmelzer, Timothy Tompkins, Holly Topping, Wayne White, Eve Wood

Western Project is proud to present 16 artists in the first show of 2004. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Baby is a group exhibition presenting a constellation of images – a miasma of contemporary sensibilities addressing nature, humor, eros, violence and culture. The premise of ‘the garden of Eden’, filtered through the 17 minute opus by Iron Butterfly in 1968, was a psychedelic whirlwind – a kind of extended atmosphere pulsing and punctuated as a sensual, rhythmic, altered reality.

This exhibition is a grouping of hyper-real psychedelic images – at once disjointed, and yet connected visions of life. Perhaps not a garden of earthly delights in total, as there are thorns in any yard, but all 16 artists tend towards an unreasonable faith to create voraciously or intently in our splintered and spinning time. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Baby is a declaration, an attitude, a show, and possibly the most loving middle finger of life.

For further information and visuals, please contact the gallery at 310-838-0609 or www.western-project.com

Carole Caroompas: Psychedelic Jungle / New Paintings /2004

September 18 – October 23, 2004 Reception for the artist: Saturday, September 18th 5-8pm.

Western Project is proud to present the first exhibition of paintings by Carole Caroompas in four years. Meshing images from Tennessee William’s, Night of the Iguana and the 1960’s psychedelic rock and roll era, the artist has created eight works examining themes of freedom and the search for home. Using a kaleidoscopic play of tropical and counterculture icons, the paintings pose the notion of ‘Eden’, but are countered with darker film noir images.  Caroompas weaves a 1960’s optimism with her version of vanitas and nature morte imagery, making notions of art and culture, literature and cinema collapse in a river of free floating association. Each work is a journey behind the veil of order; and each a lush and exuberant trip of possibilities.

Caroompas has traditionally challenged assumptions about cultural roles for men and women yet in these new works, her populous appears vulnerable and searching – faith, belief, a way to assimilate the tornado of imagery around them? Scenes from the Iguana movie interrupt Caroompas’ compositions as static but poetic visions – a couple floating hand in hand in the sea or feet walking on glass shards – agony and ecstasy as interchangeable? Echoes of our mortality? Punk icons, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, and Henry Rollins are the muses – the outlaw artists reminding us of freedom, of home as a creative process; not a place but a way of being. Caroompas’ new work is aimed at the big picture of living in this mortal realm, fervently in hope of connection with others and most importantly, ourselves.

Carole Caroompas has exhibited widely in the US including the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C., and has been the recipient of numerous artist grants such as, National Endowment for the Arts (twice), The Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.

For further information and visuals, contact the gallery at 310-838-0609 or www.western-project.com