Jeanine Oleson: Can you feel it?
Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles
By Amy Kaeser
Through August 19th
Commonwealth and Council’s location is off the beaten path. A simple piece of paper taped to a glass front door, in an industrial neighborhood, somewhere off Wilshire Boulevard, is the only indication of the gallery’s presence. Up a steep flight of stairs, next to an apartment where women work with textiles, Commonwealth and Council offers artists exhibiting “out-of-the-box” ideas and navigating contemporary art through dialogues in interdisciplinary practices and collaboration. Jeanine Oleson’s Can you feel it? on view until August 19, looks for a break in our consciousness—a way out through an orifice, an ear, a bellybutton, the eye. Exploring the limits of awareness within personal experience, Oleson employs a mixture of media, 3D imaging, sculpture, blow-glass, audio, performance, and found objects to interrogate the body, identity, and technology.
The work Can you feel it? (2017), where the exhibition get’s its title, is a conch shell hung on the wall with copper wire exposed as a mixture of sounds emanate from within the form. Far from the imagined sounds of the ocean of childhood memories, the shell’s natural resonance amplifies the noise emitted by the embedded transducer speaker. Here, the shell’s function becomes utilitarian as a speaker, its technical use highlighted. Within the same space, two hand-blown glass objects, Breathe-lung (2017) and Breathe form #1 (2017), contemplate the bodies reaction to space and the function of the breath. Reminiscent of a science project with its wires and brass tubing, each work reacts to the body’s presence within the installation. Through the practice of phenomenology, Oleson creates an interaction between object and the body, which at its core explores the structures of experience and consciousness.
Both Breathe-lung and Breathe form #1 were part of a recent performance at the Hammer Museum where three performers utilized the objects to create sounds through breath and body temperature. The materials used to create each work is a collaborative effort in itself; the metal work created by Chuck McAlexander where as the artists worked with UrbanGlass to create the glass-blown pieces.
As much as this exhibition is about the body’s experience, it is also an inquiry into materials. Oleson employs 3D technology as a way to question the fascination with virtual realities. A screen hangs over a checkered stage, the pattern receding into a truncated distance giving the illusion of depth. Stage (2017) is real, made of wood and linoleum tile, crafted for the performance Breathe in the World (or, problems with you, me, we, they, hear and see) at the Hammer. The television levitating above the platform plays on rotation a 3D color video, Figures of Speech (2016) and is accompanied by 3D glasses. The viewer actively engages with the work, picking up the glasses and places them over their eyes. Once the transformation from the distorted Cyan and red images become contextualized through the mediation of the technology and the instrument of the glasses, the performance can play out. The interrogation here deals with the interest in rendering something that is already three-dimensional and repackaging it to be compatible with 3D technology for a virtual and alternative reality.
Janine Oleson: Can you feel it? is now on view at Commonwealth and Council until August 19, 2017. [Commonwealth and Council, 3006 W 7th St. #220, Los Angeles, CA 90005 (213) 703-9077]