"Caught Looking" Group Show with Simone Gad, Tracy Nakayama, Ruby Neri, Lauralee Pope, Mary Weatherford at the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, California

Caught Looking: Simone Gad, Tracy Nakayama, Ruby Neri, Lauralee Pope, Mary Weatherford - A group exhibition celebrates openings, assumptions, and the feminist gaze.



In conjunction with its 25th anniversary, Armory Center for the Arts presents Caught Looking: Simone Gad, Tracy Nakayama, Ruby Neri, Lauralee Pope, Mary Weatherford, an exhibition of works by five painters who have taught or led workshops at the Armory during its tenure as one of Pasadena’s leading arts institutions. The exhibition includes painting, collage, and sculpture by five artists working at different stages of their careers. The exhibition opens in the Armory’s Caldwell Gallery on Sunday, February 16 and runs through Sunday, June 8th, 2014. A reception, free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday, February 15 from 7-9pm. Caught Looking: Simone Gad, Tracy Nakayama, Ruby Neri, Lauralee Pope, Mary Weatherford has been organized by the Armory’s chief curator Irene Tsatsos.

The title of the show references a feminist catalogue, published 25 years ago, that challenged the existing assumptions of second-wave feminists around the relationship of provocative imagery to the objectification of women. Caught Looking engages with the expectations of the gaze and focuses on the way that the artists simultaneously meet, and defy those expectations. The viewer is challenged to consider their relationship to the image, whether salacious, provisional, or deeply personal, in an attempt to preempt the automatic nature of “looking.” Though it may be an almost involuntary act, if a viewer is able to maintain awareness, conscientiously and explicitly, and with a willingness for reflective delay, looking can be understood as more than an immediate sensation.

The show’s five painters are invested in excavating assumptions of the visual experience through different avenues. Simone Gad’s exploration of portraiture, celebrity, and stardom through pin-up photography, painting, and collage interposes her drawing between the image and its audience. She retrieves the pin-up within a personal symbolism both obscuring the image by imposing her mark, and at the same time, inviting the viewer to look closer. Tracy Nakayama’s paintings readdress the idea of sexuality through the use of prurient imagery. She has re-edited found scenarios to include the erotic and the practical, the fantasy and the mundane toward a female iteration of sexual archetypes. Ruby Neri approaches the body through experimental technique, and with a strongly Bay Area figurative aesthetic, parsing together nude figures from mismatched components, expressing womanhood through gesture and colour, asserting imminence, and an undeniable physicality. Mary Weatherford’s depictions of the cave at Pismo Beach have been called “frankly sexual” and given the subject matter, it is unsurprising that a viewer could see the work as symbolic. However, Weatherford’s images are dependent upon the materiality of the paint, and canvas. She focuses on an entry point, a void, bringing the viewer into a depicted space, but her use of flashe paint -- intensely matte and vibrant -- adds optical depth, to her otherwise thin veils of colour. The subject matter becomes a venue for the visual exploration of colour and space, opacity and transparency, layering and staining. Lauralee Pope’s playfully flitting propositional installations evoke the glance through edges, layers, and levels of finish. She creates a visual titillation for the viewer that is engaged in innuendo and tease, taking inspiration from glancing looks, art history, and adventure. Her creative mode is successive yet synchronized, independent yet interconnected.

Curator: Irene Tsatsos
Exhibition Dates: February 16 through June 8, 2014
Opening Reception: February 15, 7-9 pm
Location: Armory Center for the Arts, Caldwell Gallery, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103
www.armoryarts.org

Mary Weatherford

Ruby Neri

Simone Gad

Ruby Neri

Mary Weatherford


Tracy Nakayama

Tracy Nakayama

Mary Weatherford


Tracy Nakayama

Lauralee Pope

Lauralee Pope

Lauralee Pope

Lauralee Pope

Lauralee Pope

Ruby Neri

Simone Gad

Simone Gad

Lauralee Pope

Tracy Nakayama

Tracy Nakayama

Tracy Nakayama

Mary Weatherford

Mary Weatherford



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