JAUS: 11858 La Grange Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90025
Through April 24, 2016
Featuring work from: Daniel Brice, Tim Forcum, Beverly Fishman, Dion Johnson, Joe Lloyd, John Schlue, Christian Tedeschi, Wayne White

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.

MARK DEAN VECA :EVERLAST: Paintings and Works on Paper - October 18-November 29, 2014

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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.

West Room: JESSICA WIMBLEY: The Belle Series - New Works on Canvas

Jessica Wimbley : The Belle Series: New Works on Canvas - West Room - October 18 - November 29, 2014

More on Jessica Wimbley

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.

Main Gallery: MARK DEAN VECA: EVERLAST - New Paintings and Works on Paper

ALEC EGAN: Luminous Opera - New Paintings

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.

CHRISTIAN TEDESCHI -5244 Baltimore - New Sculpture and Collages

May 10 – June 7, 2014Opening reception for the artist Saturday May 10th 6 – 8pm

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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: cliff@western-project.com / erin@western-project.com

Daniel Brice: New Paintings and Works on Paper

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.

Matthew Penkala: The Day You Crossed A Nova: New Paintings

MATTHEW PENKALAThe Day You Crossed A Nova: New Paintings January 11 – February 8, 2014

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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: cliff@western-project.com / erin@western-project.com


Tim Forcum: New Paintings July 27 - August 30, 2013

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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.