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.