TAG Gallery Glows With Linda Sue Price’s Enlightened Systems
By Genie Davis
Through June 10
Tag Gallery launches its new location on Wilshire Blvd. in mid-city with strong solo shows from Donn Delson, Jerry Hardin, Gary Polonsky, and Linda Sue Price. Price’s Enlightened Systems features astonishingly supple and vivid neon works that are the artist’s direct response to fake news, alt-facts, and cynical manipulation.
Price notes “This series is my reaction to incivility. I started with a quote from Black Elk (famous Native American medicine man and holy man of the Oglala Lakota) as a gentle reminder to be respectful to each other and the world around us,” Price says. “Each additional piece illustrates an element of our world. For the first time, I used printed backgrounds that were created from photos I took. Many of the photos are merged images that were further manipulated in Photoshop and Studio Artist software.”
Price says that she was working towards the idea of abstract realism. “My background is in motion graphics and this was an opportunity to incorporate that skill set into my neon pieces.”
Positioning her works in a cluster is something Price has been wanting to do, “to create the sense of a larger work. The nine pieces in the grid are thematically related, and clustering them augments the relationship.” Works include the lovely “Sage,” featuring purple and green neon that look like the illuminated leaves of a magical plant; and “Wild Flowers,” “Weeds,” and “Clouds,” each of which evoke the image they are meant to depict. The vibrant colors glow like jewels, the shapes are supple and involving.
“With the neon tubes, I intentionally selected colors that were opposites because I like the contrast and energy of that look,” she relates, adding that most of the glass was bent without an intent other than to create interesting shapes and have the glass relaxed. “Relaxed glass gives you very smooth movements. I had extra studio time last summer, so I got to really play with the glass.” Her process is delicate and detailed. “After I’ve bent up a lot of glass that I like, I start grouping them together based on shape and color until they form a composition. Sometimes I will add another tube that is bent with intention to complete the design. Occasionally I will bend a free form shape to a loose pattern.”
Price’s bending technique is unique. “The way I bend has been described as dancing in the fires. I bend free form, not to a pattern. Traditional benders have a pattern on a work bench and come out of the fire onto the work bench. I bend in the air which helps me get the 3D loops.”
The artist’s piece “Seeds” is a perfect example of this technique, the shapes seemingly gestating before the viewers eyes, colors pink, orange, and yellow gleaming like a sunrise.
“It’s like a conversation with the glass. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes I have a direction but the glass doesn’t go the way I was planning,” Price explains. “I accept that it doesn’t always work. When it’s going well, it is like having a conversation with a best friend.”
Influenced by personal experiences, Price has been admiring neon since she was a child. Her technique of fusing color and movement is brilliantly fresh in Enlightened Systems, her neon glow taking on a spiritual quality reminiscent of stained glass in sunlight.
Price’s exhibition runs through June 10. Also on display: Donn Delson’s Aerials exhibition, which features large-scale, aerial photographs that offer unique, far-above-the-earth perspectives. Jerry Hardin’s Bone Sculpture is just that, graceful, mysterious bone sculptures that are curved and carved. Gary Polonsky, working in mixed media, offers the witty Munchies, three-dimensional wall sculptures of junk food, fast food, fun food served up as art.
TAG Gallery is located at 5858 Wilshire Blvd.