Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brenna Youngblood "The Mathematics of Individual Achievement " at Honor Fraser, Culver City, California

The Mathematics of Individual Achievement, is a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Los Angeles-based artist Brenna Youngblood.

Negotiating the tension between representation and abstraction through the language of photography, collage, painting, and more recently, sculpture, Brenna Youngblood's practice has explored and transformed some of the conceptual and formal strategies associated with American West Coast assemblage. Initially trained in photography, Youngblood began to treat her photographs as source material for large-scale layered collaged compositions that mined the relationship between the autobiographical and the historical. Invested in exploring the multidimensional qualities of materials, Youngblood soon began to expand her formal sensibilities, leading to unconventional treatments and juxtapositions of materials and forms. Photographs, wallpaper, textbook pages, wooden sheets, and paint, amongst other things came together to create Youngblood's unforeseen palette. Similar to predecessors like Rauschenberg, and perhaps more accurately, Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, and Betye Saar, Youngblood began introducing found materials to her work, translating the accumulative conditions of the studio into painterly objects with a raw sculptural quality.

While shaped canvases, plywood, and other materials began to serve as backdrops for Youngblood's painting exercises, more recently, Youngblood has furthered her investigations; the new materials that exist in the studio have called for a different conceptual approach to both painting and sculpture, one that Youngblood communicates through this exhibition. Like in many of her previous projects, Youngblood draws from documents and materials in her personal archive to establish both a point of departure and context for the work, a conceptual gesture that echoes the process through which materials are selected and used in her broader practice. In this particular instance, Youngblood takes her old elementary school math book as a point of departure. Intrigued by the visual composition of each page—her penciled problem solving marks and residue of erasers—Youngblood takes both the visual and material language of the math book to create a series of wall sculptures that take the form of familiar arithmetic symbols and equations. These works create an infrastructure for the exhibition that Youngblood playfully uses to speak about the human attempt to rationalize, solve, and reach concrete solutions—a self-reflexive process that she herself engages in through this show. A selection of paintings that demonstrate her signature approach to the utilization of photographic imagery as painting material are included alongside a new body of sculptural wall paintings of stars, clouds, and domestic icons, juxtaposing her now perfected material techniques with her ongoing interest in the everyday, the subjective, and the politics of personal narrative construction.

As the mathematical signs create a translating mechanism to reveal the relationships between these works, viewers will also be presented with a new sculptural work that marks Youngblood's most recent experiments with free standing sculpture. Taking on some of the iconography normally used in her paintings, Youngblood converts a symbol from the math book into a large-scale jungle gym sculpture. Youngblood hints at some of her more recent aesthetic investigations, allowing us for the first time to trace a historical trajectory of her creative process and its influences. In creating a seemingly rational system with which to read the work, Youngblood puts forth an interrogation of objectivity, more specifically in relationship to our ongoing debates about the condition of painting, its viability, and its relationship to other mediums. In this environment of sculptural paintings and painterly sculptures, Youngblood extends these debates even further, presenting viewers with aggressive interrogations of both painting and sculpture traditions that simultaneously remind us about the possibility of both mediums' intimate coexistence.

Brenna Youngblood earned a BA in 2002 from Cal State Long Beach and an MFA in 2006 from UCLA, where she studied with Cathy Opie and James Welling. Recent solo projects include exhibitions at Jack Tilton Gallery, Susanne Vielmetter Berlin Projects, Margo Leavin Gallery, Wignall Museum, and the Hammer Museum. Youngblood has also participated in exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Harris Lieberman Gallery, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, the 2008 California Biennial, and the California African American Museum.

10AM — 6PM


T: 310.837.0191
F: 310.838.0191

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Whitney Bedford at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City, California

Presenting some of her largest paintings to date, the exhibition includes new seascapes in which shipwrecks and lightning storms feature prominently. Bedford continues her explorations into the emotional potential of the landscape by charging up ocean paintings that are historically more often connected with themes of war or expanding frontiers. By projecting her personal fears and anxieties onto the landscape, Bedford creates an intense juxtaposition of restrained drawing technique and gestural bursts of paint that add an explosive tension to the work.

In this exhibition Bedford focuses on an elusive moment where forces collide and become ungraspable through distance - the moment when a storm gathers and unleashes its first raw energy or when emotions collide and trigger powerful charges. For Bedford, lightning functions as a moment of charged realization and her work aims to give expression to this powerful release where major forces are subject to dramatic change.

Also on view will be collaborative outcomes, produced with artist Dane Mitchell, in the form of works on paper, intimate sculptures and a scent - all of which act as votives and conduits. Bedford and Mitchell worked with famed French perfumer Michel Roudnitska to produce a scent intended as a medium to quantify vast distances. It contains molecules of ambergris collected from the belly of a whale, of seaweed dense ocean, and ozonic electrical notes of a gathering storm. This distillation is meant to act as a spell to evoke a shifting change.

Whitney Bedford received her MFA at the University of California Los Angeles in 2003. She was the winner of the 2001 UCLA Hammer Museum Drawing Biennial and received a Fulbright Graduate Fellowship from the Hochschule der Kuenste, Berlin, Germany. Recent exhibitions include "Houdini: Art and Magic, 1919-1949" at the Jewish Museum, New York, NY; "This Is Killing Me", at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; "X - Snow Falls in the Mountains", St Paul's St Gallery, University of Auckland, New Zealand; "The Triumph of Painting, part 5, Which Reality?", The Saatchi Gallery, London; "Step Into Liquid", Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, among others. Whitney Bedford has had exhibitions at D'Amelio Terras Gallery, New York, Galerie Lelong, New York, Art:Concept, Paris, France, and at Starkwhite, Auckland, New Zealand. This is her second solo exhibition at the gallery.

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is located at 6006 Washington Blvd in Culver City, 1 block west of La Cienega at Sentney Avenue, on the south side of the street. Gallery parking is available across the street from the gallery off of Sentney Avenue. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am - 6 pm and by appointment.

6006 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
phone 310.837-2117
fax 310.837-2148

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chuck Close at Blum & Poe, Culver City, California

Blum & Poe is very pleased to present new paintings, prints, and tapestries by Chuck Close. This landmark exhibition is Close’s first one-person show with Blum & Poe and represents the most significant body of work assembled in Los Angeles in sixteen years. Featured will be new large-scale oil paintings of artists Kara Walker, Laurie Anderson, and Zhang Huan; works from Close's ongoing self-portrait series; intimately scaled portraits of musician Paul Simon and arts patron Agnes Gund; a collection of prints; and immaculately crafted Belgian Jacquard tapestries. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity for viewers to experience Close’s stylistic range and technical capacity, while providing a deeper understanding of the human portrait.
Close’s nearly 50-year exploration of the human portrait is staggering in its breadth and level of dedication. Rather than landscapes or everyday urban scenes, Close has focused on his own image and those of his peers, differentiating his practice from photorealistic painters. His early paintings were predominantly large-scale and executed in acrylic on canvas. He has since evolved a process whereby these portraits begin as photographs, which are enlarged, transferred, and gridded on the canvas, allowing Close to work with his brush meticulously inch by inch.

Close moves freely between painting, photography (both analog and digital), numerous modes of printmaking and drawing, and most recently the art of Belgian Jacquard tapestry weaving. In an effort to capture his subject’s essence, Close has become fluent in myriad techniques, both traditional and exploratory. In 1972, his artistic practice extended beyond the canvas with an introduction to printmaking at San Francisco’s Crown Point Press. Following that collaboration, Close endeavored to expand his contribution to portraiture through the mastery of such varied drawing and painting techniques as ink, graphite, pastel, watercolor, conté crayon, finger painting, and stamp-pad ink on paper; printmaking techniques, such as Mezzotint, etching, woodcuts, linocuts, and silkscreens; as well as handmade paper collage, Polaroid photographs, Daguerreotypes, and Jacquard tapestries. His astonishing proficiency in a diverse range of media has firmly defined each new body of work as unique and progressive for its time.

Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, WA) lives and works in New York. He received his B.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle and his B.F.A and M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art and Architecture. Throughout his distinguished career, he has been the recipient of many honors, such as the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Art (1991), election to Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1998), and the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton (2000). He has been honored with numerous retrospectives, including Close Portraits, held at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1980-81), which traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Retrospektive, at Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1994), later presented at the Lenbauchhaus Stadtische Galerie, Munich; and most importantly Chuck Close, held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1989-99), which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., Seattle Art Museum, and Hayward Gallery, London. Close’s work is in the permanent collection of over 70 public institutions worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan; Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, amongst many others.

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