Artists Represent the Human Landscape at Steve Turner Gallery
By Genie Davis
Through December 23rd
Three strong and vibrantly different yet thematically linked installations fill the Steve Turner Gallery through the 23rd, each with a unique and fascinating vision that includes medium as well as subject and form.
Pablo Rasgado’s Horizon links three bodies of work: the first presents the minerals that contain the same elements as those in the human body such as carbon, calcium, and magnesium, with those minerals placed on individual pedestals. Precisely measured, the amounts depicted relate to that same amount within the human body. The second work is a series of assemblages created from the same amount of each mineral mixed with pulverized calcium. These are almost eerie, the shapes somewhat sentient, a collection of sedimentary rock that the viewer expects will suddenly reform and rise. Last, there is a small sculpture shaped of iron synthesized from the blood of the portrait’s subject. It, too, is shown on a pedestal, with a glass cube around it.
The horizon revealed here is the landscape of the human form, life itself, its individual elements both raw, reconstructed as assemblages, and finally shaped into a minute sculptural portrait. We are literally and figuratively what we are made of. We are minerals, content, blood, a fusion of elements that become form. And yet we are more than that, the artist seems to posit. We are a limitless, untapped horizon, a landscape not just of our minerals and embodied substances, but something more permanent than blood, something within that is as strong as iron.
Peruvian artist Ishmael Randall Weeks offers his Constructive Resistance. This room-size installation is also rooted in the minerals of the earth and infused with a spiritual meaning. Here, large chunks of raw ore, silver, gold, and copper are drilled and attached to steel-pipe. The pipes themselves are bent into shapes meant to represent playground equipment in 60s-era Latin American housing developments. The effect is eerie, as if pieces of a body were fused with the metal of the jungle gym. On the wall are two shelves shaped from copper plating on steel, coated with mineral dust. The dust was taken from the creation of the sculptural pieces; the shelves hold a copper-plated mold of a calcified tree, a styrofoam plate, and mineral fragments. The copper plated tree is almost iridescent; the softness of the copper plating on all elements is appealing, almost touchable.
If Rasgado’s work is about the landscape of the human body, Weeks’ work represents the landscape of architecture that confines and defines us. We are contained in what we build, we are ready to work around and build for ourselves what we cannot otherwise have, we are the detritus of our own existence.
The gallery is also presenting Full Disclosure, a group exhibition featuring the work of four filmmakers. Curated by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Eugene Kotlyarenko, video artists Jacob Ciocci, Lu Yang, Bogosi Sekhukhuni and Eric Wedgewood tackle topics such as death, freedom, isolation, and lack of meaning with both humor and sadness. Ciocci uses found footage and presents a dark look at the lack of freedom in today’s society. Yang dissects herself and the practice of selfies. Sekhukhuni despairs of human nature in a series of manipulated clips from South African television. Wedgewood also utilizes stock imagery as well as stream-of-consciousness narration, to tackle a personal concept of mortality. In each of these four video works, the artists are looking at completely internal landscapes.
The exhibitions as a whole interlock; they are each depictions of and representations for the human landscape, be it the physical human landscape of the body, the landscape of where we live and the structures we’ve shaped for ourselves, or the landscape of despair and loneliness that stricture our souls.
The gallery is located at 6830 Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles.