UNIT 5: MATTHEW BRANDT, HEATHER COOK, ALEXANDER KROLL, DAN LEVENSON, NATHAN MABRY, JOE REIHSEN, AMANDA ROSS-HO, JIM SHAW, MARNIE WEBER, BRIAN WILLS, GUY YANAI
I Dream My Painting and Then I Paint My Dream
Los Angeles, 13 October – 10 November 2018
Praz-Delavallade Los Angeles, is pleased to announce, “I Dream My Painting and Then I Paint My Dream” a group exhibition for Praz-Delavallade and 1301PE’s annex project space, UNIT 5.
“I dream my painting and then I paint my dream”, an ethos uttered by the late Van Gogh, famously articulates a process of grappling with the medium of painting to function as a conduit for larger concepts beyond the domain of reality. A dreamscape abstracts the ordinary to a world of possibilities, one where everyday banalities lose their index; unhinged from their clichés to the extraordinary world of the unfamiliar. This mediation of the mind’s eye does not merely present a fiction, but rather reorients our perspective to arrive at a deeper understanding (or truth). If the eyes, as we are accustomed to say, are the “windows of the soul”, could such paintings metaphorically construct these “windows”? A construct that makes it possible to enter a terrain in which color, geometry of the line, momentum of volume—along with the poetics of the observer—present opportunities for nuanced vistas. Unlike writers who try to decipher their inner space or that of their characters, artists have preferred for centuries to elect the external reality as the subject of their works. Though, besides the lived and observed reality, the artist can opt for an imaginable reality—strictly internal—that of the dream.
Matthew Brandt is inspired by the correlation between printing methods and the processes of making images from the beginning of photography in the nineteenth century creating his impressions using the physical elements of what he photographs. Brandt reinvents traditional photographic techniques through different production processes to tackle new series of works.
Heather Cook’s work investigates the process of how an image is socially, culturally, and materially constructed. She often does this through the context of painting by using its framing devices and materiality to create an image. Many of her works expand upon the traditional canvas support by either using found fabric or weaving her own canvases.
Alexander Kroll embodies a generation of painters who have assimilated legacies of abstract expressionism by conferring on a new spontaneity. Honing an impressive mastery of the use of color, Kroll revisits abstraction in his own way, despite many cynics’ capricious anticipation of the so-called, “death of painting”.
Dan Levenson, a painter, draftsman, performer, storyteller—and above all a mystic of talent—conceptualizes his artwork in the form of fictitious narratives to show a false reality that tells a tale of authentic disturbance.
The work of Nathan Mabry is expressed between drawings, models, paintings and sculptures where these oscillate between the grotesque and the sublime, the abstract and the figurative, Mabry plays with the icons of the history of the art while questioning the ideas of the spiritual, metaphysics, life and death. Considered as autonomous objects, his works acquire a certain expressionist dimension, even ornamental.
Amanda Ross-Ho is interested in the phenomenon of transformation. Huge, over-sized works staged alongside other scales, a skillful orchestration that lends itself to the material evidence of the artist’s gesture. A tableau of an XXL painting situated on an enormous easel, introduces a number of narratives and scenarios, simulated by the poetic logic of their arrangement.
Joe Reihsen belongs to a generation of painters that naturally integrated digital tools into their art. Using computer terms to describe his process, where he would copy and paste, distort, warp and rotate. His rough geometric compositions lend his paintings a near-mystical quality, while the tactile masses of paint applied as top layers possess an undeniable materiality.
Jim Shaw has long practiced a translation of his own dreams into writing, then into drawings (which will become drawings of dreams and objects of dreams). Shaw’s process perfectly embodies the distancing between a consciousness of the real and the imagined fantasy of the author.
Marnie Weber creates characters who populate a world of porous practices in the service of a singular poetic world: Clowns, animals, dolls or even scarecrows straight out of a world much more enchanted than it seems.