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

COLE CASE: Flowers, Water and Other Places: New Paintings and Works on Paper

October 20 – December 22, 2012Opening reception for the artist: Saturday, October 20th 6-8pm

Western Project is proud to present the third solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Cole Case. Culled from two years of observing and drawing on site, the artist has created a body of work both eclectic and incisive. Intuitively traveling to locations throughout Southern California, Case has found the extraordinary in the familiar: cement river beds, high desert landscape, or sunflowers arranged in left over plastic water bottles. Beginning with small ballpoint pen and wash drawings, the artist uses his primary information (much as the Hudson River School artists) in his studio as notes to create a new vision of his experience. Different from the Impressionists and California Plein Air painters who made their paintings on site, Case uses iPhone and iPad app technology to isolate and match specific color elements.

Southern California has been a subject long attractive to artists such as David Hockney, Ed Ruscha or John Divola, each using landscape as the vessel or context for ideas. Unlike the many faux Hockney stylists, it is Case’s drawn line which enlivens his pictures with a distinctly subjective language and voice. It is the signature flow of his hand into elegant forms, countered by immediate swaths of paint that give the work a pleasurable and carnal urgency. His landscapes are void of human presence, each a stage for the mind’s projections. Case’s floral still life works continue a traditional lineage from Dutch masters to Manet to Warhol – some even on a Warhol museum-scale at nine by seven feet.

Landscape, water, and flowers provide a perfect mirror for the human psyche and have for hundreds of years as sensual traps for reflecting beauty, mortality, brevity or fear. Case uses the tactile and physical qualities of paint to engage the senses and his subject matter as a construct for language of emotions; bridging visual experience to classic themes.

Case has recently been included in The Painted Desert at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, curated by Andi Campognone, and Underground Pop at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York, curated by David Pagel. He has shown at Howard House in Seattle, Washington; University of California Irvine, Irvine, California; Cypress College Art Gallery, Cypress, California and the Luckman Gallery at California State University, Los Angeles, among other venues.

For information and images, contact the gallery at 310-838-0609 cliff@western-project.com / erin@western-project.com

Brian Porray --(\DARKHOR5E/)--

New Paintings and Drawings May 19 – July 7, 2012 Opening reception Saturday May 19th 6-8pm



Western Project is proud to present the first major Los Angeles exhibition of works by Brian Porray. Now a resident of Claremont, California, the artist paints and collages large-scale works influenced by his twenty-plus years on the neon streets of Las Vegas:

This work is sort of like the psychedelic memory of a psychedelic memory. All of these pieces are focused solely on the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas, an enormous black pyramid shaped mega-resort that was built during my first year of high school. Since I wasn't old enough to party on The Strip, my experience of Las Vegas at night was as a neon backdrop for chemically enhanced desert parties. I vaguely remember standing in the dirt staring up at the beam of light shooting out of the Luxor's peak - - after a minute my eyes adjusted and I could almost make out what looked like huge black bats swarming around the top of the pyramid. The light didn't dissolve the way a flashlight does - it was so much brighter. It felt solid, like I could climb up through it. I hadn't really looked at the light until that night, and I remember being terrified - - psychologically it totally fucked me up.

The Luxor and its beacon are central themes in this body of work as a point of conceptual origin;  the triangle is the basic unit of formal organization and composition. In the 1990’s the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas was seen as a premier example of post-modern architecture; the black glass pyramid intentionally recalling the history of other desert pyramids.  As pure architectural artifice on the Vegas Strip, the Luxor created an ominous, but transformational experience for the artist.

 --(\DARKHOR5E/)-- is a convoluted universe of spaces/atmospheres/images; conversely, made with economic means: painted, drawn, slashed and pasted together. Most of the works have a central point, radiating outwards, breaking space into a multitude of micro worlds and patterns. The notion of traditional grid space is usurped by triangular shapes which explode and multiply in myriad possibilities, as though science and technology have crashed and burned into a formal and toxic landscape. The artist also uses drawing and printing to reproduce or replicate motifs of space, all heavily collaged on canvas. The images can not be taken in by the human eye all at once due to the multiplicity of forms. Formally tied to the 1960’s Op art of Bridget Riley, Porray’s constructions move sideways and contrary: compositions burst with seeming chaos while bound together in a kind of Buckminster Fuller / tweaker architecture.

The work plays notions of ornamentation, systems, and orderliness into unexpected corners; humorous, apocalyptic and radiant. His vision is not of an organic nature, but conceptual, mathematic realms. While some of his geometric patterning mirrors folk art quilts, they also recall the futuristic films, Brazil and Blade Runner, yet any somberness is eradicated as the artist seems to have hacked Matisse’s color wheel to animate the darkness.

Using cyberspace language: leet or leetspeak (once an obscure language of computer geeks and hackers) to title his works, Porray melds notions of the digital and material worlds; techno language as a code to point to or locate objects and more, essence. In --(\DARKHOR5E/)-- , the veil has dropped, the acid too, and so the definitions we hold precious: now we see.

Brian Porray’s work was recently acquired by the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation, Los Angeles; he is a 2012 Fellow at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, Nebraska;  and a previous recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2010. Brian's work has appeared in New American Paintings #84, and #87. He was included in ‘Spectrum’ at the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery, Cal Poly Pomona, California, and has shown at Tomkins Projects, Brooklyn, New York, Trifecta Gallery in Las Vegas, and Sheppard Fine Arts in Reno, Nevada. Porray is an MFA graduate of the University of Las Vegas.

Brian Porray is an MFA graduate of the University of Las Vegas, and lives and works in Claremont, California.

For information and images, contact the gallery at 310-838-0609 cliff@western-project.com / erin@western-project.com

Dion Johnson: New Paintings

ARTWEEK  L.A.  August 1, 2011 Dion Johnson

Using bold planes of color, Johnson reaffirms the tradition of Southern California hard edge painting for this millennium. Aware of predecessors such as Karl Benjamin, and John McLaughlin, and their interest in landscape and the environment, the artist moves hard edge towards a more Pop language; flat planes of intense color merging and moving against another, shifting stratas of atmosphere and light echo the intersections of urban culture and nature. His influences are historic, from Matisse to Howard Hodgkin to Jeremy Blake’s videos....


Patrick Lee: Deadly Friends

Tracey Harnish,  Huffington Post,  July 27, 2011

Patrick Lee, Deadly Friends (Head #16), 2008 Graphite on paper 36 x 24 inches

Photorealism does not especially intrigue me, but in Patrick Lee's work, the technique is just the starting point for further revelations. Lee's graphite portraits of men are meticulous down to the very pores that sprout whiskers. The figures are set in a style reminiscent of the early 1900s, with heads floating in a limbo of whiteness, and I am reminded of the decades old black and white photos of my grandmother's family. Yet these portraits are startling contemporary insights into the society of men. Bald heads, scars, tattoos and ethnically diverse, these men virtually wear the stories of their lives on their necks, faces, and heads. In a culture where youth is trumpeted no matter the class or color of the individual, it's an interesting relief to see men, instead of kids, depicted here. These are men who clearly have lived lives of intensity and peril and are part of a society that signals their wounds with physical visuals.

The story of each image reads masculine and macho, yet with the squint of an eye or the tilt of a head, vulnerability is suddenly revealed. Not only is a personal story told, but a sliver of our society is laid bare as well.

One of the standout pieces is an image of the back of a shaven head, where a large puckering scar curls from the top of the head and ends at a big protruding ear. This declaration of violence survived is like the map of a life, one that most gallery goers are familiar with only through film and TV. By making this image worthy of a portrait, a portrait being something remembered, valued, and even passed down to future generations; it becomes a testament to the continuation of life.

-- Tracey Harnish,  Huffington Post



Robert Doran: Sculpture and Paintings on Paper

June 18 - July 23, 2011, West Room

Robert Doran


Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition by Robert Doran in Los Angeles. Relocating from Chicago, the artist recently moved and set up his current studio in Southern California. Doran’s sculptural objects and paintings are personal and idiosyncratic works which echo historic precedents such as Ken Price, Karl Wirsum and Robert Gober. His interest in Shaker ideas of utopian living and the architecture of communitarianism clearly add to his use of everyday materials: clay, cement, paint and ink; seemingly a kind of neo folk art steeped in story telling, memory and meditative communication. Doran writes:


“I am interested in the power of objects. The ghosts that haunt the vessel, the architecture, the photograph, give me life. I see the it in things. It can be found in the form or fetish. It is carved or written. It is striking or ugly. But it is always there, in some way or another. The personal pronoun in art…..some of it portrays a character, a setting, or prop, while some of it supplies a form for contemplation…..to communicate universal histories, the impossibility of death, an ancestral purpose, and cross‐reference the metaphors of immediacy.”


His is a language of reductive forms, patterns or text, in combinations often resembling equations; a cross pollination of cultural imagery and icons. His paintings recall 1970’s graphic design and HC Westermann’s illustrative drawings. Doran’s sculptural objects of cast tree limbs, pumpkins and cowboy hats have a distinctly ‘western’ appearance yet reference objects such as Hindu lingams, pre historic cave inscriptions, or mythological figures. He is interested in creating new myths from a cosmology of influences; similar to the legend of Orpheus charming the world with his music, Doran looks to unlock the ethers and reveal narratives which surround us all.


Doran graduated from Columbia College in Chicago in 2000, has shown at Bucketrider Gallery and Roots and Culture in Chicago, The Baltimore Art Center in Baltimore, Maryland, galleries across the US including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland, and Copenhagen, Denmark and Tokyo, Japan. He has been an artist in residence at Ox-Bow School of the Arts in Saugatuck, Michigan, Bethanien Kunstlerhaus, Berlin, Germany and Columbia College in Chicago.

Brian Porray / Supersymmetry for SP33D FR34KS / May 7 - June 11, 2011

[gallery link="file" columns="5"]  

For immediate release:


Supersymmetry for SP33D FR34KS New Paintings and Drawings

May 7 – June 11, 2011

Western Project is proud to present the debut of paintings and drawings by Brian Porray. Having grown up in Las Vegas and also receiving his MFA from the University of Las Vegas, Porray spins his history and obsessions with science and technology, and a graffiti background into a formal and toxic language. Using paint, printed papers and tape on canvas and panels, the work appears heir to 20th century Futurists such as Balla, Severini and Boccioni. However, living in Las Vegas for twenty odd years provides a particular ‘western’ perspective as the artist notes:

okay, so...i've been describing the work as a kind of astro-tweaker pastiche - meaning that i see it as describing a kind of hybrid techno-futuristic fucked-up landscape...one where our meanings and forms are derived from whatever piles of scrappy shit and detritus happen to be laying around

- - roll it up in a ball and light it on fire.

in a sci-fi post-apocalyptic type way, i think that we may do well to re-construct things around us with the formal attitudes of tweakers...slipshod with lots of duct tape and mountain dew, but also overly complex and highly sophisticated...i'm trying to describing this visually, so my paintings aren't really abstract at all, but more like psychedelic landscapes filled with broken technological assemblages -- they're like images of machines that have been stripped of any real function or meaning outside of their own visual complexity...kind of like looking at a car after it's been crashed.

basically, as things accelerate they become less and less stable - i like to make the work look as if it's about to meltdown or explode from it's own rapidly expanding architecture. everything in the work is suspect and corrupt - the op art-ish drawings are like snapshots of a system just before it collapses...i also like to say that as the variables in any given system increase, our understanding of that system escalates toward abstraction - - most of the work revolves around this central idea of simultaneously accelerated and attenuated scale. kind of how the stock market is an accelerated idea of the actual physical market - but the variables are huge and beyond calculation...so the images that i'm making don't describe facts, systems, or objects accurately – but in a much more obtuse and accelerated sense.....i think.

but also, i feel strongly that the work should have real visual consequence - like, it should be a real fucking trip to stand in front of...super active and maybe even a bit nauseating - but definitely not shy or passive...really crunchy and saccharine.

things that are grist for the mill: vegas/methlab decor/science fiction/psychedelic posters/the cramps/astronomy"

With a link to hard edge painting and Op art of the 1960’s, his voice veers and blends more accurately with the DYI legacy from the mid 1970’s: embrace all vices and virtues – possibly burn them down, and reconstruct them in a searing beauty; but transform them in to a more purposeful meaningful world. All bets are off but the game is surely and raucously on.

Brian Porray is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant 2010. He lives and works in Claremont, California. His work has appeared in New American Paintings #84, and #87. He was recently included in ‘Spectrum’ at the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery, Cal Poly Pomona, California, and has shown at Tomkins Projects, Brooklyn, New York, Trifecta Gallery in Las Vegas, and Sheppard Fine Arts in Reno, Nevada.

For information and images, contact the gallery at 310-838-0609 cliff@western-project.com / erin@western-project.com

Also on view in the main gallery: Wayne White: Sand Mountain Tractor

Daniel Brice at Western Project Reviewed in the Los Angeles Times




Daniel Brice at Western Project  

April 14, 2011

By Christopher Knight

Abstract painting never looked more beat up, knocked down, abraded and used than it does in six otherwise eloquent new works by Daniel Brice. In all but one case, their simple Minimalist spatial geometry is enhanced by multiple panels which give material heft to the vaporously painted rectangular shapes.

The heavy burlap canvas glimpsed at the edges of these unframed works also adds to their rough-hewed quality.

Visually, predecessors of Brice's work at Western Project are as disparate as California's Richard Diebenkorn and Germany's Günther Förg, although Diebenkorn's origins in landscape and Förg's in Conceptual art don't seem to apply. Brice is a materialist.

"OX 5," a diptych with a layered, cobalt-blue rectangle slightly off-center, features a strip of white along the bottom and up one edge, and it's anything but pristine: The thin surface is dingy from under-paint. The crimson-and-white rectangular shapes in "OX 4" look to have been put through a ringer, while the edges of a thin blue stripe down the middle tell of masking tape gone awry.

It's as if abstraction, once enthroned on a critical Olympus, is hanging on by its fingernails -- and turns out lovelier for its tenacity. Painting's death has periodically (and even ritually) been claimed ever since the camera was invented more than 170 years ago. But Brice's work reminds us of the coincidence between that unfounded assertion of mortality and the slow, steady emergence of abstraction as something beyond the otherwise wondrous capacity of the lens.

Western Project, 2762 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-0609, through April 30. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.western-project.com

See exhibition installation shots here

See the review on the Los Angeles Times website here

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.