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

NEWS

December 11, 2018


REVIEW: PETER WILLIAMS: RIVER OF STYX

By Daniel Gerwin

"Four and Twenty Blackbirds" (2018) is subdivided by a tree whose branches spread across the canvas, filling it with foliage painted by means of closely packed green dots, patches of sky denoted by blue dots, and passages of red dots interspersed throughout. Among the branches are six birds and three human faces, two of the faces in profile are barely evident, the third, fully articulated face, looks out from the trunk’s base.   more

Written inside of a branch, the width of the rectangle, is the line “Four and twenty blackbirds—baked in a pie, oh my oh my!” Williams pushes this nursery rhyme into more troubling territory through the presence of the tree, which for Williams is an inescapable image of lynching. As these linkages sink in, the red passages in the painting suddenly become savage: “Blood at the leaves and blood at the root,” as Billie Holiday famously sang. [ READ MORE ]

December 06, 2018


INTERVIEW: CAITLIN CHERRY

Can a Painting Not Have Fun?: Caitlin Cherry Interviewed by Zoe Dubno

The New York-based artist discusses collaboration, deskilling, and life after the end of the world.

I first came across Caitlin Cherry’s work through her excellent Instagram account, where she jokes about her art (one of her paintings mocks her for ripping off George Condo), posts pictures of her sphynx cat, and displays new work (recently, a tote bag emblazoned with a W-9 form).

Her installation at New York’s Performance Space, A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN, brings her into collaboration with Nora N. Khan, American Artist, and Sondra Perry.   more

The artists have transformed the space into a projection of the world they will inhabit together after the apocalypse. Their trailer home is retrofitted with surveillance cameras, a faux stained-glass window, bunk beds, and a shared library that befits artists at the end of the world: survival manuals, art books, theory texts, monographs—among them, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, the anthropologist’s examination of the cross-contaminated conditions that the matsutake mushroom thrives under, and its parallels to the circumstance of inhabitants of the Anthropocene living among “capitalist ruins.” That book is also quoted in the show’s—co-written, of course—text. A video of the artists talking together is projected in the backyard, and copies of a collectively created zine are available throughout the exhibition. We opened our correspondence by considering this idea of cross-contamination. [ READ MORE ]

December 05, 2018


MARGIE LIVINGSTON Dragged Her New Paintings Facedown Through Downtown Bellevue

"Dragging a painting down the road is a comic gesture turned dark," artist Margie Livingston tells me. "Originally, I intended to harm a painting, so I could explore the rich potential of mending it. Enacting this gesture was more powerful than I anticipated."  more

This process by which these finished paintings come together, this dragging, is the focus of Livingston's solo show Extreme Landscape Painting in Seattle.

The Seattle-based artist fastens long straps to a canvas or wooden panel, which is usually covered in several alternating layers of gouache and acrylic paint. Livingston then attaches the straps to a harness inspired by those worn by body builders for strength training, and drags the painting facedown behind her across varying environments, like hiking trails, city parks, and asphalt roads.

There is something powerful, almost spiritual, about her work. The caustic character of her dragged paintings appears to reveal something through the eroded layers. It would be easy to imagine someone claiming to see the face of a divine being or spirit in them, such is their resemblance to holy water stains and the burnt surfaces of toast. [ READ MORE ]

December 03, 2018


EDRA SOTO AT UNTITLED MIAMI BEACH

Untitled Art, Miami Beach Preview: Creative Time's Justine Ludwig Picks Her Favorites

Edra Soto’s Open 24 Hours is an exploration of consumption, waste, and vernacular architecture. Discarded liquor bottles accumulated during Soto’s daily walks through East Garfield Park in Chicago are transformed into jewel-like totems. Rejas, decorative iron screens enclosing outdoor domestic areas in Puerto-Rico, also serves as an influence on the work—highlighting an interplay between security and ornamentation. They are beautiful, haunting, socially conscious works.  [ READ MORE ]

November 30, 2018


REVIEW: PETER WILLIAMS

Dot by dot, painter Peter Williams makes points about racial violence

Peter Williams’ pointillist painting technique, crowding thousands of tiny dots of enamel color within pencil-drawn contours of people, places and things, is not the same as the celebrated one pioneered more than a century ago by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. His look yields a very different feel from the measured, careful tone of those French Postimpressionists.

Brash color is plainly important to the 14 Williams paintings in his Los Angeles debut at Luis De Jesus Gallery, most (though not all) of which explode with pointillist dots.   more

Rather than the scientifically inflected approach of letting pure hues painted on a canvas mix only when they reach an observer’s eye, the Delaware-based artist, 66, uses staccato dots in an almost ritual way. [ READ MORE ]

November 20, 2018


MICHELLE GRABNER ON JOSH REAMES

In each of the four paintings in Josh Reames’s exhibition “BO-DE-GAS,” uniformly distributed idiomatic images floated graphically on raw canvas surfaces. Punctuating each of the intimate gallery’s four walls, the paintings were supplemented with three black, wall-mounted handrails that sported a selection of attitude-declaring bumper stickers.   more

The works are stylistically indebted to the appropriation work of the 1980s, such as the commodity-driven, logo-festooned work of Ashley Bickerton, Matt Mullican, and Peter Nagy, and to the later work of Laura Owens. Yet Reames's lexicon of found imagery is devoid of critical engagement with the updated questions of authorship, originality, and the authority of painting. Instead, his paintings imitate and aggregate languages of critique, not as a counterposition but as a nullification of those conditions of representation. [ READ MORE ]

November 14, 2018


CHRIS ENGMAN AT FOTOFOCUS BIENNIAL

Our Longing for Adventure & Shelter Merge in Chris Engman's Hallucinatory Photographs

To say that Los Angeles-based artist Chris Engman’s photographs are trompe l’oeil illusions would be a gross understatement. Created through an elaborate and time consuming physical process, his work evocatively merges indoor and outdoor environments into mesmeric compositions that both perturb and dazzle viewers with their non-binary disposition. Titled "Prospect and Refuge," Engman's series is inspired by what British geographer Jay Appleton believed to be two of our most basic and deep-rooted needs: our longing for opportunity and shelter.   more

In Engman’s work these two subconscious urges are metaphorically conveyed by images of expansive natural landscapes and familiar man-made interiors. Their hallucinatory fusion into a single photograph not only alludes to the paradoxical nature of the human psyche but also questions the function of photographs as records of truth. [ READ MORE ]

November 07, 2018


KEN GONZALES-DAY AT THE Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery AT Haverford College

‘The Legacy of Lynching’ : A groundbreaking Brooklyn art show is now at Haverford

Having seen two exhibitions of James Allen's collected photographs of lynchings — both of them in New York, in 2000 — I braced myself for "The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America," at Haverford College's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery.   more

The horrific images I saw 18 years ago are permanently seared into my mind.

I was curious how this new exhibition of works by prominent contemporary artists would treat such an appallingly inhumane period in American history and its reverberations today.

The first thing to know is that "The Legacy of Lynching," which originated at the Brooklyn Museum and which was coordinated in collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative and supported by Google, contains no photographs of lynchings. It's disturbing in a more nuanced way.

Video interviews with the descendants of those who were lynched expose the terror passed down over generations in black American families. The subjects describe the terrible details of their ancestors' murders as if they happened yesterday.

The past is brought to life as well, in written materials dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, among them newspaper accounts of lynchings and letters and pamphlets protesting them. We're reminded that the "Great Migration" was as much a flight from lynch mobs and other open hostility as it was about economic opportunity.

The contemporary artworks — by Josh Begley, Alexandra Bell, Sonya Clark, Ken Gonzales-Day, Ayana V. Jackson, Titus Kaphar, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, and Hank Willis Thomas — are haunting, too, though more oblique. Police brutality and the news media are front and center. [ READ MORE ]

November 06, 2018


CHRIS ENGMAN AT FOTOFOCUS BIENNIAL

Photographer Chris Engman is one of his landscape photos at a large scale in an unusual way: instead of showing it as a 2D print, Engman transformed a room into his photo by covering the wall, ceilings, and floors with prints.

It’s essentially what you’d get if you used a projector to project the photo into the space, except he used prints instead of light.

From a certain vantage point when looking into the room, you’ll see the entire photo as it was captured.   more

Walk into the room or view it from an alternative angle, however, and you’ll see how portions of the frame have been stretched out to provide the perspective illusion. [ READ MORE ]

November 06, 2018


CHRIS ENGMAN AT THE FOTOFOCUS BIENNIAL

THIS AMAZING 3D INSTALLATION USES ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHS TO CREATE A POWERFUL ILLUSION

Who doesn’t love a good magic trick?! Photographer Chris Engman masterfully demonstrated that augmented reality and light projections are not the only way to create mesmerizing perspective illusions.   more

Good old traditional photography will get you there as well if you’re creative enough!

Chris Engman transformed 2D landscape photos into awe-inspiring rooms, where each inch is covered with prints to give off a 3D perspective.

As you walk into the three-dimensional installation dubbed “Containment,” you’ll feel like you literally inserted yourself into Chris Engman’s landscape photography. Once you change your vantage point and walk around the room, you’ll notice over 300 photo prints masterfully arranged to create the perspective illusion. [ READ MORE ]