Moments of Comfort and Awkwardness at Elephant Gallery

Twiddle, Poke, Hold. Liz Nurenberg. Elephant Gallery. Photo Courtesy Liz Nurenberg

Moments of Comfort and Awkwardness at Elephant Gallery

By Patrick Quinn

Through April 29th


When discussing the Los Angeles art scene, the word gentrification comes up quite often.  Galleries are always on the hunt for large spaces with low rents.  That search inevitably leads them to areas that others have dismissed as Industrial or Lower-Income.  Ideally, the gallery will embrace and involve the community as Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park has done.  But an influx of galleries can often be seen as a threat, as is the case currently in Boyle Heights.  Everyone knows that where artists dare to lead, bohemian cafes and hipster bars are sure to follow.  In a mostly residential section of Glassell Park, Elephant Art Space has managed to blend into the neighborhood as surely as the local beauty salon and the Jumbo Market just down the street.

Twiddle, Poke, Hold. Liz Nurenberg. Elephant Gallery. Photo Credit Patrick Quinn.

Established in 2010, Elephant is a contemporary artist-run space that houses six working studios, a central exhibit space, and an outdoor event area in the back.  Decades earlier, it was one of Ed Ruscha’s first studios.  The building’s somewhat generic grey exterior offers little hint of the creativity that one finds inside.  One could say that the show currently on display is similar in that its appeal reveals itself with further investigation.

Twiddle, Poke, Hold is an interactive display of 16 pieces and an accompanying video created by artist Liz Nurenberg.  At first glance, they seem to be simple handmade objects.  But it isn’t until the viewer breaks art gallery rule no. 1: Don’t Touch, that we discover the show’s real endeavor.

In her gallery statement, the artist explains- “In the 21st century we have become accustomed to holding our social interactions in our hands. These interactions are slick and technological; they limit the physical intimacy that is possible through touch. These sculptures explore texture and handmade form through material play, both hard and soft. The objects suggest ambiguous function and are meant to illicit moments of intimacy between two people or between a person and an object.  These hand holds reference product design, representation, and ergonomic form.  Participants are asked to interact and investigate the objects in order to find moments of comfort and awkwardness through touch.”

Twiddle, Poke, Hold. Liz Nurenberg. Elephant Gallery. Photo Credit Patrick Quinn.

For further details on Elephant and other alternative art spaces in L.A., Art & Cake posted this comprehensive overview back in 2016.

Liz Nurenberg: Twiddle, Poke, Hold will be open Saturdays in April including April 22nd and April 29th.

Gallery hours are 12-4 PM.

Elephant Art is located at 3325 Division St., Glassell Park CA 90065

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