Art can be a reflection of many things. Art can reflect the past, it can reflect ourselves in a moment of intimacy, or it can contemplate life and death. Two solo shows, Annelie McKenzie "Man in Canoe and Grizzly" and Susan Silas "the self portrait sessions,"at CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles, California, present the viewer a mirror into both the artist's own exploration of life, fleeting beauty and the inevitable end, and art as reflective conduit where one contemplates an identity or a longing for place.
In "Man in Canoe and Grizzly," McKenzie paints images of old master paintings and well known Canadian works of art. The paint is applied thickly and visceral. However, the image is recognizable to the viewer who sees the various subject matter that McKenzie paints. The strategy is conceptual in that McKenzie's paintings are exercises in both remembering and contemplating the art that one loves. Old master works are a way of presenting a dialogue between the present and past. McKenizie wants to use her work to enhance the viewer experience and to share an experience in memory and longing.
In Susan Silas's "the self portrait sessions," in the age of selfies and social networks, the self portrait as a reflective vehicle of deep contemplation has become rare despite its now prevalent status. When one enters the installation, Silas presents the viewer with sculptures of her face; an almost death mask like objects. Just prior to the 20th century, a death mask was taken at the time of a person's death as a memento of both the life and death of the subject. Silas places the death mask in the context of the 21st century. Silas also shows photographs of her looking at herself in the mirror both close up and afar. Silas is exhibiting herself as both subject and object. There is a contemplation of mortality and the finality of the flesh; the aging body and the realization of inevitable end.
Both the art of Annelie Mckenzie and Susan Silas are meditations of memory and mortality. The works are dialogues between the artist and a subject, whether it be the old master paintings of the past or the flesh and the inevitable demise of our flesh. Two exhibitions are engaged in dialogues where the artists invites the viewer to participate. Although both exhibitions are different in their approach, medium, and subject matter. Both artists are similar in their intentions and their approaches to the subject-matter. McKenzie and Silas's shows are excellent. Both exhibitions are on view until July 17th.
1923 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021