September 30, 2013
Heather Gwen Martin—“Pattern Math” - by Diane Calder | October 2013
What could you learn about a work of art by trying to envision it from its title alone? Try “Rising Suns and Stab Wounds.” Hold onto the first image that pops into your head while I feed you more information. “Rising Suns...” is one among the series of recent paintings by Heather Gwen Martin entitled “Pattern Math.” All ten are oil on linen, 82” by 72” and 72” x 63” unframed, hung centered at eye level. more
But by the time Martin has organized and invigorated these shapes with the carefully thought out linear elements she makes look effortless, a dissident chorus swells up, full of life, with plenty of mystery to compel the viewer to bring his or her own powers of imagination into play. With or without the aid of the artist’s wickedly witty titles, translating her work into words is troublesome. But the disparate experiences viewers have confronting Martin’s paintings will not easily be forgotten. (Luis De Jesus Gallery, Culver City). [ VISIT SITE ]
September 30, 2013
HEATHER GWEN MARTIN: Five Exhibitions to Anticipate in the Upcoming Season
September 4th, 2013 – By Mario M. Muller
While the Fine Art Landscape is really more of a 365 days a year affair, September still feels like a renewal of promise. Perhaps our affection for the academic calendar is in our aesthetic DNA. Perhaps cooling temperatures index a return to culture. Regardless of catalytic source, here are five excellent exhibitions which will grace the Los Angeles Landscape in the coming months. Don’t miss them!
Ms. Martin paints as though traditions and expectations didn’t exist. more
Heather Gwen Martin at Luis De Jesus. September 7th through Oct 12th, 2013. [ VISIT SITE ]
September 14, 2013
MIYOSHI BAROSH | BY ANNETTA KAPON
FEEL BETTER: The exhortation, wish, or command, chiseled in “stone” calls to me in huge upholstered capital letters from what looks like a black vertical gravestone in relief hung as a tapestry on the wall. On it and on the floor are shiny gold-colored nuggets or “rocks.”
Miyoshi Barosh’s 2012 installation concentrates in one piece her deft use of linguistic slippage, and the dark humor of double entendre. more
The clash produces in the viewer a Brechtian estrangement effect, as when we are obliged to stand at a certain distance from the work, a distance that prevents us from being sucked in by the face value of language or the seduction of workmanship in the materials alone. According to the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, “words are deeds.” Language is material; speech is not the opposite of action. Feel Better orders us to feel better (or else?); personal feeling becomes enforced as a marketable social product.
Labor also plays a big role in Barosh’s work—namely as the language of labor, and the labor of language. What appears as Pop craft such as knitting, sewing, or patchwork, is a gendered way for Barosh to engage in the labor that capitalist industry and high technology have supposedly liberated us from.
The meaning of the artwork results neither from the straightforward declarative function of a linguistic message, nor from the materials or technique: In Love (2007), the speech action is situated within an orgy of garish afghans, embroideries, and knitting. At once triumphant, pathetic, and humble, Love carries within it primarily the collision and collusion between form and content but also the contradictory messages of a number of discourses, from the cheerful psychedelic designs of the ‘60s, to the invisible, devalued, and discarded labor of other women (euphemistically renamed “labor of love.”)
If we think of J. L. Austin’s and John Searle’s concepts of Speech Act Theory, what we have in front of us is the productive friction of declarative, directive, and expressive meaning: language is always in danger of being swallowed up by the context, and the medium is always resisting the tyranny of the message.
— Annetta Kapon lives and works in Los Angeles producing video, sculpture, and installations. She teaches in the Graduate Fine Arts department at Otis College of Art and Design. [ READ ON ]
September 14, 2013
heather gwen martin featured in Super Saturated! | by molly enholm
It is nothing new to speculate that artists have found inspiration in "the unique light" of Southern California; it has been a defining factor associated with the West Coast from the so-called provincialism of the Eucalyptus painters to the innovations of the Light and Space icons. Likewise, Finish/Fetish and SoCal brands of Pop had a look of their own, with an equal infatuation with color, taking inspiration from man-made constructions as varied as surfboards, hot rods, beauty queens and swimming pools. more
Active within this proliferation, SoCal-based artists Yunhee Min, Heather Gwen Martin, and R. Nelson Parrish each posit a no-holds-barred approach to color, culling inspiration from such varied sources as sunlight, animation, and motion, respectively. Beyond sharing a passionate concern for color, these artists maintain a sophisticated and studied approach, reaching deep into the vast lexicon of modern "isms" to create contemporary mash-ups that simply reverberate with vitality, beauty, and--dare I say--touch of optimism.
HEATHER GWEN MARTIN
In marked contrast to the vertical linearity and translucent layering in Min's paintings, are the bold patterned, crisply delineated paintings by Canadian-native, San Diego-raised, Los Angeles-based Heather Gwen Martin. Martin's previous body of work might be best described as a buoyant Pop-Post-Minimalism. Confounding years of modernist experimentation, the large unmodulated planes of opaque candied colors found on Martin's canvases are decidedly not flat; while the forms may be reduced, they are not reductive in the typical Modernist blueprint. These unrecognizable organic forms could just as easily be read as zoomed-in detailed views of balloon animals or Technicolor-rendered cat scans. A unique combination to be sure, think: Jean Arp meets Ellsworth Kelly meets Tex Avery, with a dash of influence from veteran Pattern and Decoration painter Kim MacConnel, with whom Martin studied during her undergraduate years at UC San Diego.This season, Martin's work has been especially visible: as part of the recent "Rogue Wave 2013" group show at LA Louver gallery that closed August 23, and as the subject of a solo show at Luis De Jesus Gallery, opening September 7.
Standing with the artist in her studio overlooking the downtown skyline, surrounded by her new works the color palette maintains the luxuriant brilliance of her earlier series. And yet, there is a subtle shift. The frenetic energy of the previous series has evolved into a more lyrical sense of movement, pulling the viewer's eyes slowly through the canvas.
"What I'm interested in right now are the ideas of how twisting shapes and colors push each other around," Martin says motioning to the recently finished paintings hanging in her studio, "the harshness of bold contrasts, next to some of these really subtle shifts, and how the different colors inform one another." Further defining her interest and careful studies of color, she moves across throughout her studio, motioning toward different works, "How the green here appears to be lit from within" and how "the light blue here almost seems to be brighter than the white" in another.
Noting the consistently bright palette throughout her oeuvre, it seems fitting to learn that Martin had worked for years as a digital colorist for comics and animation. Though working with digital processes may have swayed many artists to further explore the possibilities of new media, it seems to have had the reverse affect on Martin, whose choice is most traditional: oil on sized linen. "I use an oil ground," she explains, "it's really smelly and really messy and takes a week to cure, but it creates a really nice surface to work on." Applying the ground with a palette knife creates an unusually smooth surface, with brief interruptions created by the knife's edge, adding a subtext of texture to the artist's sharp edges and exquisite line work.
Though the seamless edges and application of paint may suggest an interest in removing a sense of self in the work, the opposite is true. "I'm very interested in conveying the human experience,' Martin explains and recalls her delight upon first encountering a brick-and-mortar Mondrian; how the iconic painting style, after seeming so perfect in reproductions, was in reality so imperfect. Turning again towards her work, Martin points to the meandering lines of unequal thickness, organic forms, and how each often trace the arc of her arm moving over the canvas. "The paintings are quite reduced, but I wouldn't call them minimal," she states, "because they come from a feeling, a scenario, an event, where there is an energy that is very much related to the idea of being human."
[ READ ENTIRE ARTICLE]
August 14, 2013
michael kindred knight to appear in new american paintings
Michael Kindred Knight's work will be included in New American Paintings #109, Pacific Coast Issue. More details to come. [ VISIT SITE ]
August 03, 2013
heather gwen martin featured in Los Angeles Times Review: 'Rogue Wave' at L.A. Louver a micro-biennial at its best
By David Pagel, August 2, 2013 | Over the last 15 years, biennial exhibitions have gone from being must-see displays of the latest trends to the art world equivalent of Facebook friends: too numerous to care about deeply but too ubiquitous to ignore completely.
Over a slightly shorter span L.A. more
Aside from size, the biggest difference between the series of summer exhibitions known as “Rogue Wave” and conventional biennials is that the former is organized by a commercial gallery and the latter are mounted by public institutions.
Each type of venue has its pluses and minuses, but “Rogue Wave 2013: 15 Artists from Los Angeles” suggests that untested art is best served by institutions unencumbered by the idea that everything they present must make sense — the more authoritatively, the better.
Prepackaged insights and overcooked explanations are nowhere to be found in the jampacked show, which fills both floors of the gallery, spills onto the stairwell and overflows onto the building’s exterior, where Kim Schoenstadt’s wall painting calls on the imagination to fill the gaps between two-dimensional images and three-dimensional reality.
A charged sense of doubleness animates the best works, including Asad Faulwell’s dazzling depictions of Algerian women who fought against French colonialists only to be shunned by their own people, and Matthew Brandt’s 13 gorgeously damaged photographs of Wyoming’s Rainbow Lake, each of which appears to be simmering in an unnatural stew of post-apocalyptic ooze.
Heather Gwen Martin’s trio of 7-by-6-foot paintings makes your eyes flip back and forth, with wicked swiftness, between macro and micro. Sherin Guirguis’ mural-size triptych and mutant piece of ornamental furniture set up similar dynamics, playing lacy delicacy and explosive energy off each other.
Peter Holzhauer’s seven intimately scaled silverprints transform a seemingly outdated medium into the perfect vehicle for capturing the fractured reality we inhabit. To see the world through his eyes is to see that the abrupt cuts that once gave collage its kick are now a part of everyday life.
The works by Alison O’Daniel, Owen Kidd, Eric Yahnker and Farrah Karapetian seem to be overreaching, trying too hard to be clever and coming off as precious or, worse, self-impressed.
In contrast, there’s nothing self-satisfied in the figurative paintings by Sarah Awad and Laura Krifka, both of which treat the human body as a universe that is at once intimate and alien — as comforting as a lover and as disquieting as dread.
Making a virtue of inconsistency, works by Ashley Landrum, Christopher Miles and Kent Familton play functionalism against uncertainty. Internal conflict, rather than resolved argumentation fuels the best works in “Rogue Wave,” which far outnumber the duds.
L.A. Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., (310) 822-4955, through Aug. 23. Summer hours: Closed Saturdays and Sundays. www.lalouver.com [ VISIT LA TIMES ]
August 02, 2013
GEOFFREY TODD SMITH: "SECRET LIVES OF RAINBOWS", OPENS SEPTEMBER 7 - OCTOBER 12, 2013, 6-9 PM
In the Project Space, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by GEOFFREY TODD SMITH , titled Secret Lives of Rainbows, opening September 7 through October 12, 2013. An artist's reception will be held on Saturday, September 7th, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. more
In Secret Lives of Rainbows, Smith deploys an array of colorful media to create vibrant paintings whose complex arrangements of shapes, intricate patterns, vacillating spaces, and scintillating surfaces recall the wonders of basic school age geometry and visual trickery. Looking back at his own life, Smith channels his initial astonishment at first encountering simple one- or two-point perspective by using diagonal bands of shapes to evoke space. The dimensional complexity occurs when the viewer is denied vanishing points, causing the structures to simultaneously move forward and recede. As the color and compositional arrangement lead the vision back and forth through space, it is met with a net of decorative, obsessively drawn surfaces. Within Smith’s intimate, fetishistic surfaces lurks a devotion to the challenges of abstract beauty and its ability to confound expectation and provoke desire. Every composition is treated like a game with self-imposed rules and limitations regarding color and form. Though there is a grid present, its rigid structure and predictability operates as a foil to Smith’s often erratic and unplanned compositions.
Geoffrey Todd Smith lives and works in Chicago. Recent solo exhibitions include Western Exhibitions, Chicago, and Nudashank, Baltimore; as well as group shows at DCKT, New York; The DePaul Art Museum, Chicago; and Hyde Park Art Center; Chicago. Upcoming exhibitions in 2014 include a solo show at the Hughes Gallery in Sydney, Australia. Smith’s work is in the collections of Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City; The Jager Collection, Amsterdam; South Bend Art Museum, Indiana; and Harper College in Illinois.
For further information, please call 310-838-6000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 30, 2013
HEATHER GWEN MARTIN: "PATTERN MATH", OPENS SEPTEMBER 7 - OCTOBER 12, 2013, 6-9 PM
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by HEATHER GWEN MARTIN titled Pattern Math, opening September 7 through October 12, 2013. This will be Martin’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. An artist's reception will be held on Saturday, September 7th, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
In Pattern Math, Heather Gwen Martin continues her exploration of abstraction in painting. more
Heather Gwen Martin lives and works in Los Angeles. She was born 1977 in Saskatchewan, Canada, and studied at the University of California, San Diego (BA with Honors, 1999) and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2001). Recent exhibitions include Rogue Wave 2013 at L.A. Louver, Venice, CA; The Very Large Array at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA; and Theatrical Dynamics and Paradox Maintenance Technicians at the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA. In addition, the Gallery will present her work at the upcoming EXPO CHICAGO Art Fair, September 19-22. Her paintings are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Ron Pizutti Collection, Columbus, OH; Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City, MO; as well as in numerous private and corporate collections.
For further information, please call 310-838-6000 or email: email@example.com.
July 25, 2013
zackary drucker and rhys ernst's "She Gone Rogue" wins grand jury prize for outstanding experimental film at outfest la.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very happy to announce that Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst's SHE GONE ROGUE has been awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Outstanding Experimental Film at the OUTFEST LA 2013 LGBT Film Festival. The award ceremony took place on Sunday, July 21, at the Marriott Hollywood, and was hosted by HBO and Outfest. more
She Gone Rogue is an experimental semi-narrative short film and collaboration between performance/video artist Zackary Drucker and independent director Rhys Ernst, starring Flawless Sabrina, Holly Woodlawn & Vaginal Davis. She Gone Rogue premiered at the first Los Angeles Biennial, Made in L.A. 2012, organized by the Hammer Museum.
Drucker and Ernst, a real life couple, bring to life the story of a trans woman seeking to discover herself and the dualities that lie within. Engaging a world of dream-like magical realism, She Gone Rogue riffs on the classical narrative of The Odyssey and offers strong hints of Alice in Wonderland, collapsing into Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon. The film utilizes a space where singular selves multiply and expand, offering windows into parallel dimensions, with time and space collapsing into a whirlpool of divergent possibilities. When Drucker finally finds the white rabbit, the process of identity construction completes a full circle, offering more questions than answers.
For more information on She Gone Rogue and the artists, please contact the gallery at 310-838-6000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out Meredith Alloway's OUTFEST interview with Zackary and Rhys. [Click here]
July 25, 2013
IN THE MAKE INTERVIEW: HUGO CROSTHWAITE
“Each finished detail leads to another and another and of course a narrative begins to appear. This narrative is usually something that comes up organically as the drawing unfolds...”
Now looking back on the start of our WESTERN EDGE trip, I see that the feeling of big adventure kicked in right around the moment that Klea and I stood on the San Diego side of the United States-Mexico border waiting to meet Hugo’s studio manager, Pierrette Van Cleve. more
Along that 35-mile drive we somehow managed to get off-course more than once and all the while we listened to Pierrette’s fast and loose commentary on a wide variety of subjects that included her thoughts on the shoddy condition of Tijuana’s roads, the difficulties of single motherhood, the performative aspect of life, today’s new breed of feminism, and what it’s like to always feel like an outsider. She came to all subject matters with a wild and wacky mix of enthusiasm, comedy, poignancy, and bewilderment. To call Pierrette a “character” would be too cliché of a statement - but sitting in that car of hers, as her fervent voice boomed out the open windows and into the world, I couldn’t help but think that she was like no one I had ever met, and that I would remember that moment forever.
When we arrived at Hugo’s family home, we found him in his studio working on large-scale drawings on canvas for his upcoming participation in the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial exhibition that just recently opened. Though much less exaggerated in manner, like Pierrette, Hugo is an easy talker. We discussed his childhood spent in his family’s curio shops and the visual aesthetic that those surroundings imprinted on him, and we also talked about his recent five-year stint in New York and what it has been like for him to be back in Tijuana, making art. My conversations with Hugo seemed to expand outwardly, like concentric circles. Often he would answer my questions from a personal, intimate place but then his ideas would widen out into history, politics, and culture… but always the center stayed the same - very personal, very specific.
Hugo’s work mirrors his conversations - it is so singular, distinctive and personal and yet it manages to reach out far beyond its place of origin. His voluptuous, sometimes grotesque figures seem to push against the edges of canvas or paper and immediately reveal the particular kind of rawness, claustrophobia, and melodrama that so often characterize a border town. But Hugo’s everyday “theater” of Tijuana people loitering on street corners, in doorways, in bedrooms and cars… could actually be anywhere, because the stories being told, the questions being asked are relevant to all of us. In order to be universal, you must pay close attention to the specific.
How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?
I’m a draughtsman. The most important reason I make art is my love of drawing, something I have practiced since very early in my life. The subject matter or content in my work is derived from my practice of drawing. The process in which I work is one where I draw something and get it to the point where I consider it to be finished and then I move on to another detail and proceed as such until the entire work is finished. Each finished detail leads to another and another and of course a narrative begins to appear. This narrative is usually something that comes up organically as the drawing unfolds and can be determined by whatever I hear or feel and is often prompted by news I’ve heard on the radio or television.
Also there is a personal aesthetic that always seems to come through my work, one that is influenced by movies and artwork that I like. Movies have always been quite influential— Blade Runner made a huge impression on me aesthetically, particularly in thinking about urban environments. It’s dark, baroque, crowded - and in many ways that was why I wanted to live in New York - I wanted to experience what it was like to live in a layered, overpopulated city with subways systems and skyscrapers and tons of people on the sidewalks. I wanted to live in that visual aesthetic for a while and really take it in.
What mediums do you work with?
I work with pencil, charcoal, ink and more recently acrylic paint. I make drawings on paper, wood panels, canvas and walls.
In general my work has always been big, but when I moved to New York I began working in sketchbooks for the first time because I obviously didn’t have as much space. So I just started filling up these sketchbooks and I realized that I don’t actually do “sketches”— I couldn’t leave them alone, I had to finish them so they are in fact quite articulated. They became like little stories that I had to complete, sort of like visual diaries. Once I started doing the sketchbooks I began working with ink and now I’m really engaged in keeping up this work; it’s become a daily practice. I’ve noticed when I’ve included sketchbooks in my shows people have really been into them— people seem excited by them, so that’s been great to witness. So my time in New York (where I had been living for the last five years before recently coming back to Tijuana) was quite informative for my work, in many ways, but certainly this sketchbook work has been new and important.
You grew up in Tijuana - how has your personal history worked its way into your art?
I was born in Tijuana and lived in a curio shop in Rosarito Beach. My entire childhood was spent taking the public taxi everyday up to Tijuana for school and then coming back in the afternoon to work in my father’s curio shop selling handicrafts to American tourists. I learned English in this way and was constantly surrounded by a very baroque setting of colors, figures and textures. Ceramic pots, cartoon figures, glass and iron works, all portraying angels and demons. A way for me to fight off childhood boredom was drawing.
Your work isn’t necessarily explicitly political, but it does speak to the realities of a border town: cultural, social, and economic collisions are definitely present in your work. How are these issues explored in your work?
Tijuana is part of my personal aesthetic. Its realities, for better or worse, are part of me. My drawings also reflect things that I’ve seen and experienced in other places, in Atlanta and New York, cities that I have lived in. I don’t necessarily set out to explore specific subject matter in my work. I mostly just try to keep to what I honestly like to see in my drawing. I usually just make up things as I go along.
I’m interested in the myth of Tijuana and my work does address it at times. People have lots of associations about it because it’s a border town - drunkenness, sex, corruption, sin, chaos, etc. For me I don’t think of Tijuana that way… but now I recognize that when I was growing up so much of the economy was dependent on the U.S.; there was a lot of looking to the north for opportunities and that created a kind of subservient role for Tijuana. Now things have changed, in this past year the usual spring break madness of tourists just wasn’t what it used to be. Some people say this is a dark time, no American dollars are coming in, but to me this is a good time because Tijuana is turning in and looking at itself again and so the culture here is changing, growing, and developing in a different way. It feels like a really good time for me to come back and work.
I recently finished an installation for the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial that was based on the carpa theater that was popular in the 1920s and 30s in Mexico. After the Revolution these vaudeville-like acts toured the country and were well-loved by the urban underclass - the performances often revealed (in a comedic manner) the way in which the system was failing the public, so they were quite political and questioned things like class structure, authority, and corruption.
Do you intend your work to challenge the viewer?
I try to do the best work I can with each drawing I make and I am confident that good work will always inspire and move the viewer just like the work of artists I admire inspire and move me. It makes me very happy when someone else identifies with my work, where they see something that relates to them in a personal way. I think that when you tell a good story there will always be someone that appreciates it.
But I am of course examining bigger ideas and stereotypes in my work - myths of the wild, wild, west - notions of Tijuana, ideas regarding morality, gender, identity, violence, etc. I’m interested in all these things because I have questions about these topics and I hope that my viewers can engage with these questions along with me.
What are you presently inspired by - are there particular things you are reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
At the moment I’ve been thinking and dreaming about Julio Cortázar’s short story La Casa Tomada it’s a story about a brother and sister who live in this old house that is being taken by unknown and unseen persons, instead of confronting them they retreat from one side of the house to the other until they are forced to leave the house by the front door. This story gives me a sense of urgency. A beautiful fear that reflects my ambition of unseen projects to come - I want to make the best drawings I can possibly make, and I always believe that my best work is in front of me.
Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?
I have just finished a series of drawings on canvas and a mural for an installation for the California-Pacific Triennial at the Orange County Museum of Art.
How do you navigate the art world?
I do the best work I can and trust that this work will find its public. Fortunately, I have encountered wonderful supporters that have helped me navigate the art world.
Here in Tijuana it was simple in a way - you get invited to shows, people want you to be involved and you can approach people and show your portfolio and ask for opportunity. But then I went to New York and tried that same approach and I couldn’t even get past the receptionist. It is so hard to get people to see your work there. I had to get more creative and strategic with my approach and I did, and luckily for me it worked out and I was able to get Joe Amrhein at Pierogi Gallery to take notice, and then this created a dialogue. Then Luis De Jesus Gallery Los Angeles asked to show my work in LA, and those experiences made me realize that sometimes it’s not always about the work just being good, it’s about getting your work in the door and getting the right people to see it.
Do you see your work as relating to any current movement or direction in visual art or culture?
Which other artists might your work be in conversation with? I didn’t really know there where art movements until I was 26 years old and was forced to take art history as part of my graphic design studies at San Diego State University. There my love of beautiful drawing was reinforced and I became an admirer of most of the artists from my 19th Century Art History book - Francisco José de Goya, Théodore Géricault, Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix, etc… As time passes and I see more art, I understand that really important and relevant work is not always found in what is most recent or what is labeled “new.” But a few of the contemporary artists that I admire are Neo Rauch, Kara Walker, William Kentridge, as well as others that practice excellence in drawing.
Do you have a motto?
I don’t really have a motto. I think we are more complex than one single rule to follow or live by. I try not to be so orthodox, after all artists are supposed to be free. But I do want my grave to read Hugo Crosthwaite—Gave his Life to the Pencil.
Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
Where can people see your work?
Luis De Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles
Pierogi Gallery in New York [ VISIT SITE ]