Two Solo Shows at Chimento Contemporary; Kim Schoenstadt, Context v. Perspective and Cole Case, Riding Shotgun in the Sky
Through May 5, 2018
By Jody Zellen
Kim Schoenstadt is interested in architecture, perspective and point of view. To that end, she makes works that appear flat and dimensional simultaneously. In her prize winning installation at the 2018 Volta NY art fair, she invited viewers to participate in the creation of the work by adding blue string perspective lines that emanated from a wall drawing— combining line drawings of municipal architecture from all over the world— to other parts of the booth. The finished work became an entanglement of criss-crossing lines that hindered movement within the space.
The centerpiece of her current exhibition, Context v. Perspective is Exercise in Perspective #2, 2018. In this site specific wall drawing, Schoenstadt presents silhouetted and outlined municipal buildings with blue string site lines that extend from the work to the surrounding walls. To create this body of work she collected images of municipal buildings constructed between 1956 and 2012 by well known as well as lesser known architects. These include a museum, fire station, government center and the FBI headquarters in Washington DC. Rather than represent the buildings as is, Schoenstadt carefully reduces them to black outlines with gray fills and composites them into a single impossible structure of differing orientations and perspectives. The buildings become futuristic cartoon-like versions of themselves. Through this drastic transformation, Schoenstadt recontextualizes both how they appear and what they represent. She wants to call attention to graphical perspective referencing a vanishing point, as well as to the idea of subjective perspective, as in a point of view.
Using the large-scale collage of buildings as a point of departure for her smaller works, Schoenstadt beautifully combines two and three dimensional renderings. Often, her pieces juxtapose silhouettes of combined architectural fragments painted directly on the wall, with pen drawings that float in transparent frames bisected by blue string that articulates vanishing points. Schoenstadt wants her viewers to reverse engineer the work and provides a list of her source imagery which becomes the key to a complex puzzle. It is well worth the effort to match the photographs of the buildings to Schoenstadt’s collages as it is through these recombinations that her thesis becomes evident. Her choice of buildings and architects is specific— be it for the magnificence of their creations, or for their contributions (both positive and negative) to civic spaces and their field.
The works can also be read and appreciated formally, as Schoenstadt elegantly weaves disparate elements together. In Perspective #1, 2018 for example, a piece of wood attaches to the side of the framed two-dimensional rendering of buildings, extending the composition onto the wall, disrupting the integrity of the frame. Suspended within the frame by blue strings, atop the gray silhouetted background image, is another wood fragment whose gray painted surface is decorated with random blue, green, and flesh colored shapes akin to the Dazzle Camouflage used to hide ships during WWII. The vivid yellow painted on the wall behind Perspective #5, 2018 is jarring. It feels like a section of a map taken out of context. Over this shape is a framed drawing that is a mash-up of the buildings in Exercise in Perspective #2.
Through interruption and shifting perspectives, Schoenstadt creates complex works that reference specific public buildings while simultaneously presenting them in new ways. In her work, she deconstructs the structure of municipalities via their architecture and asks viewers to imagine seeing these structures from different vantage points and perspectives.
In the Side gallery, concurrent Schoenstadt’s exhibition, five exquisitely rendered pastel drawings by Cole Case are on display. The title— Riding Shotgun in the Sky — references the lyrics the song to Woodstock written by Joni Mitchell during the Vietnam War (“bombers riding shotgun in the sky…”). These works continue his fascination with airplanes, depopulated public spaces and intimate moments in private.
In Getty Fountain 1.16.18 Looking 255 Degrees West, 2018, Case pinpoints the location of a flock of birds, and other flying objects. The pastel depicts two empty chairs and a coffee cup on a table in the foreground. Looking past the table is a fountain spouting water, and above that, high in the sky birds and airplanes circle. Two travertine walls are located to the left and right behind the fountain. The Getty Research Center appears in the background leading to the silhouette of receding hills. The works present a moment of stasis amid the hustle and bustle of museum flow while simultaneously alluding to chaos in the sky.
Facing the horizon at the airport, an empty camp chair is the perfect vantage point to view a cluster of departing planes in LAX Qantas Hangar and Chair Looking Due North, 2017. Along the trajectory of take off, Case depicts multiple airplanes, as well as birds in flight, simultaneously occupying the sky.
A single airplane is caught in a triangular shaped fragment of sky framed by a roof and wall in Mission Dolores Cemetery 5.1.17. Again, Case introduces a parenthetical, yet also something jarring and out of place into an otherwise benign depiction of a garden cemetery. In Kurt Vonnegut Home, Indianapolis 5.29.17, the same is true. Here, Cole beautifully renders the suburban home of Kurt Vonnegut alongside trees and a nicely mowed lawn. Far off in the sky beyond towering trees, one’s now attuned eyes are drawn to two birds in flight.
The only pastel without a bird or plane is Eames Chair Studio Still Life 7.5.17, 2017. Here, an empty iconic black leather Eames Chair is situated next to an ornate side table populated with myriad electronics— headphones, a power strip, pencil sharpener and fan. While the context is unknown, the items resonate with familiarity. Like the other works, this image reflects a moment of quiet. Case’s pastels are isolated instants at once strange and familiar, each realistically rendered in exacting detail. While the works are poetic and peaceful, they also allude to the danger which exists beyond.
622 South Anderson Street, Space 105, Los Angeles, CA 90023
12am – 6pm Tuesday through Saturday