October 11, 2014
Review: Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, from many angles
By Christopher Knight | America in general and Los Angeles in particular have a reputation as places for a second chance, places where anyone might reinvent a self. Photographers and filmmakers Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst are emblematic – and in mind-and-body-bending ways. more
At Luis De Jesus Gallery, Drucker and Ernst show two videos and a selection of 62 color photographs that were featured in the Whitney Museum’s Biennial this year. “Relationship” documents theirs, over the course of nearly six years.
The pictures aren’t comprehensive, probing every nook and cranny of their lives together. Nor do they capture dramatic moments of interaction.
Instead, they are almost entirely capital-R Romantic portraits – often dreamy, preternaturally still and imbued with clear and gentle light – of one or the other, or of the couple together.
Some compositions are simply coded. A young man stands stock-still in a spectacular, unreal field of brightly blooming daisies. He loves me, he loves me not.
Others are more complex. A soft and seductive body dressed only in a camisole lies in a rumpled bed, shown from behind like a Titian reclining nude or the classical Roman “Sleeping Hermaphrodite.” A bracelet-bedecked arm is raised aloft and holds a syringe, which is being injected into the naked left buttock.
Further complicating “Relationship” is its status as a record of a transgender couple. Their bodies are transitioning in opposite directions (for Drucker from male to female, and for Ernst from female to male). The relationship triples. It encompasses each person’s physical interaction with him- and herself; the one between the protagonists; and, finally, the relationship of the photographs to a viewer.
Perhaps it even quadruples. Prior to their transition, Drucker and Ernst might have self-identified as homosexual. After, they might self-identify as heterosexual. Or they may well regard gender and sexual identity as instead far more fluid and ambiguous than most people do.
The setup for one of the videos underscores the point. Resting on top of the video monitor, where a meditation on the couple unfolds (the other, more elaborate video hinges on a drag-dream), a framed still-photograph shows them seated side by side in blue sling-chairs. Drucker glances to the side at Ernst, who looks straight ahead through the camera lens at you.
The actual sling-chairs have been placed in front of the monitor. Silently they invite a viewer to sit and watch – and, perhaps, to take a sidewise glance at whoever might be seated next to you.
There is something almost Pre-Raphaelite about the tone and feeling of the Drucker-Ernst display. Both noble and, in the best sense, moralizing, it offers the self-reflective pleasures of a secret society unveiled.
Luis De Jesus Gallery, 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-6000, through Nov. 1. Closed Sun. and Mon. www.luisdejesus.com
September 25, 2014
REVIEW: Kate Bonner: The Path of A Free Object
Situated between photography and sculpture, Kate Bonner’s work in The Path of a Free Object defies easy explanation. Neither the minimal sculptural mounts nor the haphazard photographs are compelling as individual objects. Rather, the magic in this compact show lies in the unexpected combination of the two: Bonner’s point-and-shoot photographic aesthetic at odds with the linearity and rigidity of the colorful sculptural mounts. [ READ ON ]
August 22, 2014
art review: "ABSTRACTION, UNNERVING: MATTHEW CARTER'S SCARY CLOWNS"
By JOEL B. POLLAK | Geometric forms typically add a kind of serenity to art. Matrices, grids, and colors establish comforting patterns that draw the viewer into a contemplative state.
Not so Matthew Carter's hellequinharlequinclown paintings, on exhibition at the Luis De Jesus Los Angeles gallery through Aug. 23. more
Clowns can be scary, Carter points out, noting that one of the paintings in the series, Pogo, takes as its subject the serial killer John Wayne Gacy, one of the scariest clowns ever to wear the harlequin mask.
Other pieces are more whimsical, including Nice Guy and Acid Bath, both of which balance primary colors in arrangements that suggest the makeup of a court jester, more the Fool of Shakespeare than the legendary predator of Chicago.
The paintings are composed from a variety of materials, including glitter and craft store paint, that give some of the images a "tacky" feel, Carter notes. He built the frames, too, from scraps, symbolizing the patchwork cloth of harlequin costumes and integrating the images with the physical structure of the paintings themselves.
The result is a series of works that feel mature, if somewhat unsettling--and deeply satisfying precisely because of how unnerving they really are. These are paintings whose draftsmanship points to the abstract but whose conception is brightly, frighteningly concrete.
Carter originally hails from Moline, IL, and attended Southern Illinois University and the Otis College of Art & Design. He has already had several exhibitions in the Los Angeles area, and hellequiharlqeuinclown has been widely covered and praised by a variety of local critics. Several of Carter's paintings from the exhibition have been sold already.
For more information see: www.luisdejesus.com and Matthew Carter's own website.
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August 22, 2014
ZACKARY DRUCKER & RHYS ERNST: POST / RELATIONSHIP / X
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to present ZACKARY DRUCKER & RHYS ERNST: POST / RELATIONSHIP / X, on view in Gallery 1 and Gallery 2, from September 13 through November 1, 2014. more
Relationship, an extensive photographic project created by Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst that documents their life together from 2008 through 2013, debuted at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, New York, and comes to Los Angeles via the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, where it is currently being presented as part of Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography through September 7th. The artists will also present a new video created specifically for this LA exhibition.
Relationship chronicles Drucker and Ernst's private moments as an opposite-oriented transgender couple, during which time Ernst transitioned from female to male and Drucker transitioned from male to female. Described by Drucker as "pure diary", Relationship positions the document as a malleable tool for producing narrative and counternarrative form, through snapshots that depict the artists in various states of attachment and moments of solitude. "My life with Rhys was perplexing and captivating, and I wanted to remember it," she says.
This exhibition includes images presented at the Whitney and the AGO along with many others that are part of the original series but have not yet been shown.1 Perhaps the complexity of this iteration lies in how stages of detachment and intimacy are signified through differences of mood and tone as opposed to chronology; whereas Relationship's previous presentations cultivated a more celebratory and sentimental portal into the artists' life together, this broader range of material speaks to Drucker and Ernst's more recent stage of individuation as they initiate a separation of their romantic partnership while continuing their creative collaboration.
Throughout the series, Drucker and Ernst portray each other and themselves as both whole and fragmented subjects—figures and bodies obscured by objects or reflected in mirrors, and situated within environments ranging from domestic interiors to lush, outdoor settings. The processes of performing and documenting, which are more in the service of "making worlds" than evidence-gathering, suggest a dysfunctionality to these documents which fail a clinical expectation.
While some of the images have already acquired a level of fictionalization and idealization in the public sphere—and the artists' self-selection seems to almost mythologize two bodies within specific times and places—the photographs' emergence was considerably more spontaneous. In Drucker's words, this practice is "a life collaboration" in which their rituals and routines overlapped existence, "weaving in and out of a creative space, a personal space, and all the lines converge with us." Rather than staging the desired effect, the performative has become slowly embedded within the documentation process through an awareness of and familiarity with the camera2, allowing for the mundane to be congealed by the medium.
Included in this exhibition will be Drucker and Ernst's newest video collaboration, titled X, a montage of footage
taken from the same time period as Relationship that references the intersection of their creative and romantic
collaboration as they move in mirror-opposite directions. Overlaid with a voiceover track developed from the
artists' personal writings, X functions as a parallel to the images' content and mode of accumulation—a compendium of fragmentation that dips in and out of abstraction and adds a textured, layered dimension to the stills.
The artists speak of this new work, which contains footage from the earlier period of their relationship, as "bringing
to life" the photographs in ways that are more atmospheric than narrative, and exploring Ernst's interest "in the
space between film and photography, where the movement between frames breaks down and films become images (and vice versa)."
Relationship comes to fruition at a moment when newly produced queer and transgender representations are appearing alongside those that have been cultivated, recalled and summoned from the past though networked digitization. A widespread convergence of the personal with the historical occurs as the world of images at large takes on an emergent quality. Through this crossing of past with present—of repressed and erased histories with the most recent forms of self-actualization—affinities and lineages begin to take form.
Drucker and Ernst, who come from experimental film and photography backgrounds, collate their sensibilities
through a selection of their own still and moving images that both deflect and navigate the greater world of dominant and recessive representation. Within the work's politic is the insistence that while performative yet private moments of being may become publicly 'found' at the point of reception, the work must maintain a kind of interiority, a protective sovereignty that disallows being defined by the outside world.
1. Relationship is an ongoing series. The artists originally planned to present 100 photographs from this series in the Whitney Biennial; due to space restrictions it was edited down to 46.
2. The photographs and video were shot with a Hasselblad, a Leica D-Lux, a Canon 5D (DSLR), and an iPhone.
NOTE: Relationship and She Gone Rogue will be presented concurrently at the Flaten Art Museum, St. Olaf College,
Minnesota, from September 12 through November 2, 2014. The series and film will also be presented at the Bonnefante-museum, Maastrich, The Netherlands, in the exhibition “Beating around the bush. Episode #4”, opening on November 6, 2014.
Zackary Drucker is a photographer, filmmaker and performance artist who uses a range of creative devices that all strive towards the portrayal of bodily identity, her own and that of others, obsessively infusing visual media--photographs, videos and performance art--with acute, masochistic emotional compulsions. Conceiving,discovering, and manifesting herself as "a woman in the wrong world", her work is rooted in cultivating and investigating under-recognized aspects of transgender history, locating herself in that history, and communicating her contemporary experience of gender and sexuality. Drucker earned an MFA from CalArts in 2007 and a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2005. Her recent films include SHE GONE ROGUE (created in collaboration with Rhys Ernst), presented in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, New York; "Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography" at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; "Feminine/Masculine" at ICA London; "Made in L.A. 2012",the inaugural Los Angeles Biennial at the Hammer Museum; and, At least you know you exist, presented at
MoMA PS1 and the 3rd Moscow Biennial of Young Art, among other notable venues.
Drucker has also performed and exhibited her work internationally in numerous museums, galleries, and film
festivals including the 54th Venice Biennale (Swiss Off-Site Pavilion); Curtat Tunnel, Lausanne, Switzerland; L.U.C.C.A. Museum of Contemporary Art, Lucca, IT; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tromso Kunstaforening,Tromso, Norway; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Hammer Museum, REDCAT and LACE,all in Los Angeles. She lives in Los Angeles and is represented by Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.
Rhys Ernst is a filmmaker and artist who works across narrative and experimental film, photography, animation,
and mixed-media, utilizing various forms and modalities to investigate masculinity, transgender identity and the
intersection of gender and narrative construction. Ernst received his MFA in Film/ Video at CalArts in 2011 and a
BA from Hampshire College in 2004. His MFA thesis film THE THING premiered at Sundance 2012 and his collaborative film with Zackary Drucker, SHE GONE ROGUE, premiered at the 2012 "Made in LA" Los Angeles Biennial at the Hammer Museum. Past exhibitions and screenings include the 2014 Whitney Biennial,
Oberhausen, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and in Los Angeles at UCLA Hammer Museum, REDCAT, and LACE. He lives in Los Angeles.
For further information and images, please contact Luis De Jesus at 310-838-6000, or email email@example.com. Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am – 6pm.
August 14, 2014
HUGO CROSTHWAITE AWARDED GRAND PRIZE AT 11TH FEMSA MONTERREY BIENNIAL
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is thrilled to announce that HUGO CROSTHWAITE has been awarded the Grand Prize at the 11th FEMSA Monterrey Biennial. The winning work is titled "Tijuana Radiant Shine No. 1", graphite and acrylic paint on panel, and measures 31 x 61 inches (79 x 176 cm).
Jurors for the 11th edition included the artists Betsabee Romero and Pierre Olivier Arnaud, the curator Gilberto Vicario, and the critics Ramiro Martinez and Agustin Arteaga. more
Since its inception, 26 artists have won the Grand Acquisition Prize, which is accompanied by a monetary award of 200,000 Mexican pesos. The winning art work becomes part of the FEMSA Art Collection, one of the most important art collections in Latin America. Founded in 1890, FEMSA is a leading beverage company in Mexico and Latin America and the world's largest bottler of Coca-Cola.
Established in 1992, the FEMSA Monterrey Biennial was instituted with the purpose of recognizing, strengthening, encouraging and promoting artistic creation in Mexico. Over the past two decades the Biennal has become one of the most important visual arts events in Mexico and has also gained international prestige on par with other international biennials.
Hugo Crosthwaite, born in 1974, lives and works in Rosarito, Mexico. He received a BA in Applied Arts from San Diego State University. His works are in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL; University of Arkansas at Little Rock, AK; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA; and San Diego Museum of Art, CA.
Recent exhibitions include California Pacific Triennial 2013, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Salon für Kunstbuch, Vienna, Austria; The New World, Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga, CA; The Very Large Array, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and, Behold, America!, San Diego Museum of Art; Brooklyn, NY; Studies for Carpas and Tjuanerias, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles; Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection, Chicago Cultural Center; and Brutal Beauty: Drawings by Hugo Crosthwaite, San Diego Museum of Art. Other exhibitions include TRANSactions: Contemporary Latin American and Latino Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; El Grito/The Cry for Freedom, Univ. of Arkansas, Little Rock, AK; Strange New World: Art & Design from Tijuana, Santa Monica Museum of Art, CA; VII Bienal Monterrey 2005, Mexico; XII Bienal Rufino Tamayo 2005, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; and The Perception of Appearances: A Decade of American Contemporary Figurative Drawing, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA.
For further information, please contact Luis De Jesus at 310-838-6000, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 13, 2014
ART REVIEW: MATTHEW CARTER - "HIS WORK SHAPES UP DIFFERENTLY"
CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT, Art Critic | Shaped canvases that deviate from a painting's conventional rectangular format became commonplace in 1960s abstract painting. They turn up again in new work by Matthew Carter - albeit in a wholly unexpected, challengingly original way.
At Luis De Jesus, seven large and three small paintings give shaped canvas a slyly expressive function. more
Carter's shapes are made from stretcher bars that are broken, split and cobbled together. Sometimes the painting's otherwise flat surface bends slightly off the wall. He still emphasizes the painting as object, just as his predecessors did, but irregular shadows now suggest the object's eccentricity.
The paintings employ very thin, loosely woven linen, nearly as loose as cheesecloth. It pulls at points of stress and even begins to shred. Gauze bandages, splints and tourniquets come to mind. Once, abstract painting was seen as art's most profound achievement. Here it performs as a magnificent invalid.
It's also something of a clown. With Carter's use of brightly colored diamond shapes in acrylic, graphite and glitter - shapes that derive from the warping of a rectilinear grid - the circus is invoked as a modern artistic metaphor for life.
In one work, the sophisticated harlequin gets frankly brutish. The specter of Pogo the Clown, alter-ego of serial killer and rapist John Wayne Gacy, hovers in the gauze.
Mortality also lurks in "Acid Bath," perhaps the strongest albeit ricketiest painting. An anamorphic human skull floating near the bottom adds blue and silver glitter to a motif famously - and puzzlingly - employed by Hans Holbein in "The Ambassadors" (1533), his complex meditation on the tumultuous social transformations wrought at Henry VIII's radical court. Carter, in his first solo show with the gallery, deftly brings the modern world's tumult full circle.
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July 31, 2014
Art Review: Matthew Carter | Hunter Drohojowska-Philp says don’t miss this and other shows of abstract geometric art in Culver City.
For an irreverent exploration of abstraction, check out Matthew Carter in hellequinharlequinclown at Luis de Jesus Los Angeles through August 23. Using the diamond-shaped patterns of the Harlequin costume intriguing to so many painters before him, Carter crafts rigorous and yet droll pictures. Some of the diamond patterns are filled with colored glitter and imposed on opaque scrim. more
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June 03, 2014
Possible Event: Kate Bonner at Luis De Jesus (Los Angeles)
The sun turned blue and fell, leaving an enigmatic black hole on the Los Angeles sky. Kate Bonner's "Possible Event" at Luis De Jesus imprinted this image in my head as if this phenomenon was a possible memory.
I look at one of Bonner’s works, In Two Places at Once. It contains a saturated photograph, which appears three dimensional on the surface because of shadows created by the bending of the photograph, and a piece of what appears to be blue leather. more
May 26, 2014
ken gonzales-day featured in: “Encounters at The Edge of The Forest” at UIC’s Gallery 400"
Encounters at The Edge of The Forest asks us to read the tree as the site where the capricious wild of the savage garden comes closest to resembling human architectures. This resembling pitches the tree at the deeply uncertain divide between nature and culture; in the symbol of the biblical Tree of Knowledge, on the boundary between paradisaical lackaday and the atrocities of human enterprise. more
May 17, 2014
ken gonzales-day featured in: "Even Trees Can Be Political / Chicago Photo Exhibit Demarcates Literal Boundaries
The anonymous narrator of Robert Frost’s 1914 poem “Mending Wall” wonders why his neighbor insists upon having an artificial barrier between their properties. “He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across and eat the cones under his pines,” he says. more
It’s easy to envision borders as templates imposed on nature from without, often in a manner that disrupts the landscape, but in art, nature has frequently been represented as itself delineating space — both sacred and secular.
Supernatural trees, such as the Edenic Trees of Life and of Knowledge, have long indicated holy spaces. A blinding light banishes the original couple from an idyllic garden in Thomas Cole’s 1828 “Expulsion from the Garden of Eden,” for example, in which the difficult path ahead of Adam and Eve assumes the form of gnarly, dying trees — a sharp contrast with Eden’s perfect symmetry and lush growth.
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