Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Daytime Culver Crawl

My day job has been frustrating of late. The economy sucks and there isn't enough staff to do what needs to be done. Everybody is stressed out. I needed a couple days off before I acted on the fantasy of putting my foot through the CPU. So, I chilled out and did mostly nothing for a couple days except take a fun trip to the Culver City galleries. I had missed all the current show's openings due to intense busyness in my life so, some of what I'm going to write about won't be available to view much longer but, I thought it worthwhile to highlight the outstanding work I saw.

At Walter Maciel there was a fine group show called Valley of the Dolls. A diverse assortment to be sure. My favorite was Andy Diaz Hope's strange and meticulous works which were sort of photographic mosaics using dark and moody subject matter. What started as a large photographic print was cut up into hundreds of tiny pieces. Each piece was then put into clear gelcaps which were glued onto a perfect grid in correct order, reconstructing the picture. Talk about yer OCD! Beautiful stuff. There was actually another artist who did a similar piece in the show, Beverly Rayner, who used gelcaps but put a photograph behind them instead of inside (far right).

At Angles Gallery was a fascinating kinetic piece by Joseph Kohnke called launch. As you entered the installtion room a motion detector activated a series of antique lunch boxes to come alive. The boxes slowly open at different intervals creating a creaking, whirring din. Each box had inside a thermos that would rise and aim, then descend back into it's silo. The artist was inspired by North Korea's bleak reality of not being able to feed it's populace but at the same time building a massive army.

I was pretty tired and ready to split the scene until I walked into Honor Fraser and saw Israeli artist Shiri Mordechay's bizarro mixed media installation. This totally took my breath away. It's just one of those indescribable explosions of expression. A sculptural collage-maze set before me. A vomit of grotesque bodies painted on paper and shaped into some crazy floating and creepy world. Contorted erotica and mythological creatures caught in a spider's nest of string and scraps. A Bosch-esque parade of fuck-sexy vagina-cock corpses. All of it painted on paper, cardboard, and fabric. Glued, wired and sewn together hanging from the ceiling, and standing on the floor. I don't even want to read the press release, I'd rather go back to see if I could figure out what's going on. A must see. Go see it before it's gone. Quick!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Perform Now! in Chinatown!

I caught some groovy Performance Art at the Chinatown Galleries Perform Now! event last week. I'm glad they are holding this event yearly now. Also, last year I believe it was just one day but this time it was a three and a half days, Thursday night through Sunday. I didn't see as much as I wanted as I was all over the place during the weekend. But, I did catch a few interesting gems.

I've always liked Tiffany Trenda's work. It's well planned, thoughtful and compelling. She employs video projections, video cameras, bizarre costumes, and usually an interactive element. She was performing her piece Terrarium which included all of the above. Trenda was wearing a white body suit with an LCD and camera headdress. She crept around in slow motion on lucite heels reaching out to audience members behind a rope barrier mimicking their slow movements but never touching. All the while various futuristic city and environmental scenes were projected on top.

I've always liked Lucas Murgida's work as well. In his piece The Oracle he cuts out the wise sage middle man who is normally called upon to form riddles for you to figure out and thus find your path. In this version you are your own sage. The viewer is invited to enter a phone booth-sized box with two way mirrors. Inside, all your questions are answered. Lucas stands outside like a barker, the truth is his con to entice people inside.

Perform Now! is really a fun event. The Chinatown Gallery area is perfect for it as it has a nice inner courtyard and a large secluded cul de sac. Be sure to take the time to check it out next year.