Black Mirror at Charlie James Gallery
Fighting for Survival
By Jacqueline Bell Johnson
Through May 13th
In the bunker-like basement space of Charlie James Gallery resides the exhibition, Black Mirror. Curated by Julia Schwartz, it is easily labeled a political show. However, the collection of works can be seen another way: an exploration of how to survive such times while alone in the studio, when you are stuck with you, your thoughts, your weight of the world, and your vision of the future; most recently fueled by a quick skim of your social media feed.
Elana Mann & Jean-Paul Leonard’s video The Real Donald J. Trump Presidential Library is hard to digest at first. A video using standard corporate visual flair, this piece presents Trump’s presidential library as if you were in the visitor’s center waiting in line to buy a ticket. Further viewing reveals the piece to be a tight-lipped satire incorporating things revealed during his first weeks of presidency as built-in features to the library’s grounds and architecture. Coupled with Mann’s Donald Trump(et), audiences are sure to be laughing out loud.
Julia Schwartz’s Parade’s End (the end of the course of an empire.) is an engrossing abstract that blends a soothing palate with strokes of rough texture. In context with the title, the painting seems to envision what the world will look like as the dust starts to settle.
Where to Run by Claudia Parducci ponders if there any escape from a humanity threatened. A handwritten letter to Mom and Dad rethinking her parents perceived paranoia in light of recent events lies under the bright red text.
Abdul Mazid’s Untitled (Hijab) takes the traditional covering and creates a ghastly figurative sculpture. The light shining through the black fabric resembles the gauze often seen shrouding the Grim Reaper. However, the association here is the risk taken by such women to wear these garments.
Kio Griffith’s Ember is a collage of altered books with burn marks obstructing the viewer from the text. While the burns appear to have been made by this piece catching falling embers, details from the gallery sheet reveal the burns to be made from Rong Wang cigarettes. Burns from cigarettes are often reserved for abused children, the act points to a cruelty needed to destroy such objects.
Andrea Marie Breiling’s Burn Baby Burn is a ferocious collection of paint strokes. Fleshy, spring colors on top devour darker, bloodier hues underneath. While the canvas is pure aesthetics, the aggressive movement it traces model the frustrations of the moment.
Warren Neidich’s The Search Drive is heard before seen. A laptop on a pedestal that seems self-propelled goes through facebook, search, and other internet browser tabs while you watch. The viewer becomes privy to the user’s information, a disturbing premise.
Black Mirror is at Charlie James Gallery through May 13th.
Charlie James Gallery, 969 CHUNG KING ROAD, LOS ANGELES, CA 90012
T: 213.687.0844 Hours: WED – SUN, 12 – 5 PM
Andrea Marie Breiling, Dani Dodge, Kio Griffith, Karl Haendel, Kenyatta AC Hinkle, Cole M James, Jean-Paul Leonard, Elana Mann, Abdul Mazid, Thinh Nguyen, Warren Neidich, Claudia Parducci, Julia Schwartz, and Thaddeus Strode.