Talia Shipman, Margarethe Drexel and the Curated Loo at Chimento Contemporary
through March 10
Chimento Contemporary, Los Angeles
By Patrick Quinn
As the Los Angeles arts scene reinvents itself once again, Boyle Heights is currently the most exciting and controversial arts district in the city. Take a drive down Anderson Street and you’ll pass not only some of the best galleries in town, but also some of the biggest – massive industrial venues with rooms the size of sound stages.
In contrast, Chimento Contemporary is a wonderful example of the notion that “less is more.” Though small in scale compared to its neighbors, Chimento features a main showroom and an adjacent side room as well as what is easily the cleverest project space in town, a functioning restroom that houses regularly curated group shows. The relatively new gallery has already gained a reputation for mounting noteworthy exhibits. This month’s show is no exception.
“Meet Me in the Middle” is the first solo exhibition of Talia Shipman’s multidisciplinary works at Chimento. It is being presented in conjunction with the Back Gallery Project from Vancouver, where the artist was raised. For this show, the artist has combined elements of photography, video, and installation. At first, the viewer observes what appears to be a serene milieu. A wall-sized collage of photos and objects. Images that use cool tones of blue amidst an open desert sky. But then the questions make themselves known. Is an empty bag from the 99 Cent store a humorous jab at consumerism? Is the image of a swimming pool set against an arid backdrop a comment on ecological abuse? The artist has stated that the installation explores the environmental impact of human activity while also commenting on her own quest for identity in the face of global crisis. Both of those journeys are readily apparent and make for a memorable show. The results have led to “Meet Me in the Middle” being acquired by the HBC Global Collection as a permanent installation in New York.
In the side room, Margarethe Drexel is showing a collection of photos, prints, and objects that make up a mythos, of sorts. “Potentilla Erecta” is a pseudo-mock display of artifacts from an expedition mounted in 1887 to ascend the Jungfrau. It’s an intriguing show that rewards the viewer who takes time to read the artist’s statement and explore the work. One hopes the artist will have the opportunity to mount this show again in a space that allows for more artifacts and information.
Last, but certainly not least, is this month’s show in The Curated Loo. Tiny Men on Tits and Friends is exactly what you’d expect a show with a title like that to be. It’s irreverent, provocative, and there’s a bronze banana peel, so what’s not to like. Artists showing in the loo are Colin Roberts, Moeka Maeda, Isabel Theselias, Kara Joslyn, Lydia Maria Pfeffer, Joseph Lee, Conrad Ruiz, Holly Topping, Brian Cooper, Yaron Dotan, Jay Liza, Nevena Binney, Christopher Wilde, and Hung Viet Nguyen.