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Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90034 | T 310 838 6000

Christopher Russell


Oct 23 - Nov 27, 2010

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Christopher Russell


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press release



23 October - 27 November 2010
Artist Reception: Friday, October 22nd, 6-9 PM

“The last man on earth isn’t preserving conventions, choosing social bodies. Rather, he’s an aesthete immersed in pleasant sensations, hunting for softness among rubble.” - RUNAWAY
Luis De Jesus is very pleased to present Christopher Russell in his first solo exhibition at the gallery, titled “Runaway”, on view from October 23 through November 27, 2010. An artist’s reception will be held on Friday, October 22nd, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Christopher Russell employs photography, drawing, writing, bookmaking, and digital printmaking to create all-encompassing environments that challenge the traditional divide between these practices and expand the very idea of a book. In “Runaway”, he continues his explorations of the darker side of the human psyche, using photographs as a drawing surface and negotiating Romanticism within the post-modern frame of mechanical reproduction. Russell’s latest fictional text is brought into the gallery through images of ships, trees and wallpaper that relate to longing for and domestication of new experiences--an unending desire for the unattainable. Russell likens childhood fantasies of running away to ideas of avant-garde utopias and horror movies in the disquieting calm for which he has become known. In Russell’s world, monsters are stable, cataloged entities, aesthetes are found wandering the roadside, and the apocalypse offers the greatest personal hope.

The exhibition will include several large-scale, multiple-panel photo murals and installations of framed photographs onto whose surface the artist has scratched, or “etched”, intricate drawings and patterns. The process involves using a sharp stylus to remove the top image-layer of the print, revealing the soft white paper pulp underneath. In some works Russell also slashes the surface and employs metallic spray paint. In addition, among the centerpieces of the show will be the hand-bound tome of Runaway, whose pages measure 18 x 24 inches. This unique, one-of-a-kind book combines 30 original images, hand-illustrated and scripted by the artist. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Gallery will publish a 72-page catalog of this work, including complete text and illustrations, with an essay by Mathew Timmons.

The following excerpt is from Runaway:

“The end of the world is a purely visual event; it’s intellectual legacy, the redefinition of significant form. Every smear, crack, puddle, clod, chip or shard is a part of the same monochrome of existence, each just as charged as any other. Grayness fused to insignificance; rubble is the greatest technological possibility. The coveted landscape of Abercrombie abs, sublime awe smoothed into deep cuts by the force of nature, harnessed on an Ab Rocket. But rigor mortis makes that taught musculature uncomfortably bumpy, harsh, less washboard and more cheese grater. The radiant warmth of suntanned perfection converts to the fractured pattern of a dried lake bed, flaking into jagged polygons. Sexy chaos among the fissured sheen of glass…

Tastefully draped and perfectly soaked. Jeans, exquisitely bleached and frayed in a Third World sweatshop to signify waspish rapacity, now cover a mess of separating sores too coagulated to comfortably slide one’s body against.

Sweetness becomes the primary concern in a post-apocalyptic necrology. Sky blue desiccated eyes, hollow in their longing, loose in their sockets, but good enough for a hard-on. He’s beautiful until his skin turns that particular shade of corpse black and his belly opens up to lesions and larvae, white worms muddling through a mass of pinkish fat. His ass is a different kind of breeding ground, no longer the worst smelling part of his body. And when I kiss his mouth I hear him speak…”

Christopher Russell received his BFA (1998) from California College of the Arts and Crafts in San Francisco and his MFA (2004) from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. Russell was the subject of a 2009 Hammer Projects exhibition titled “Budget Decadence” and this coming December will present a solo project with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles at NADA Art Fair, concurrent with Art Basel Miami. His novel Sniper, being edited by Amy Gestler, will be published in late 2010. Landscape, a monograph of his eponymously titled photographic series, was published in 2007 by Kolapsomal Press. Russell edited and wrote an essay for the catalog that accompanied his curatorial debut, Against the Grain, at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 2008. From 2001 to 2005 Russell edited, designed, produced, and distributed the “destroy-to-enjoy“ literary art zine Bedwetter. Additionally, he has written more than two dozen articles and reviews about art in Los Angeles. Christopher Russell’s work is included in various public collections, including the Hammer Museum/Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, J.P. Getty Museum Research Institute; Dennis Cooper Archive at The Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.