Two Out-of-the-Ballpark Shows at Charlie James Gallery
Upstairs: Gabriella Sanchez; By Any Other Name
Downstairs: “Other Worlds”, curated by Martin Durazo
Through August 18th
By Genie Davis
Charlie James Gallery offers two strong shows through August 18th, Other Worlds, an exciting, ethereal show curated by Martin Durazo, downstairs; and the bold text and commanding visual work of Gabriella Sanchez in her solo show, By Any Other Name, in the gallery upstairs.
These are both quintessentially Los Angeles shows; the Sanchez solo show with its visceral, SoCal-perfect color palette and an evocation of movie poster art, if such posters were from and for the soul. Other Worlds glitters, glows, moves, and shines, like the mirage of a Hollywood dream, both myth and fantasy.
Downstairs, first: the dazzling, multi-colored, multi-media works in Other Worlds serves as a launching pad for international collaborative works planned for a biennale launch and expansion of this show in Coyoacán, Mexico in summer of 2019. With visionary magical realism and shifting colored lighting, the show is a feast for the eyes and the senses. From video to performance pieces and spiritual, other-worldly images, the exhibition was a shimmery look at something beyond our own reality. With references to Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception,” the show has a hallucinatory and highly sensorial setting, from black lights and ambient lighting to the use of sound. Viewers truly feel as if they are entering a different world.
Artists in the group show include: Maura Bendette, Chelsea Boxwell, Mike Dee, Martin Durazo, HELL-(O), Rachel Lauren Kaster, Heidi Kidon, Thinh Nguyen, Lindsey Nobel, Dakota Noot, Anaeis Ohanian, Esther Ruiz, Jaime Scholnick, Emily Silver, Thaddeus Strode, and Osvaldo Trujillo.
Rachel Lauren Kaster’s “A Tenuous Grasp” is a steel and glass sculpture; suspended, it resembles an icicle from another planet, or a narrow, inverse pyramid. Bathed in purple light, it becomes a living light-creature, a prism into the beyond. Chelsea Boxwell’s “Keep it locked up inside” is a column-shaped hanging work suspended from pipes in the gallery ceiling with zip-ties. Using acrylic, house paint, and glitter on canvas, the work seems to float and sparkle. Maura Bendett’s “Double Green Eyes on Shelf” is also a delightfully surreal mixed-media work that invokes mysterious lifeforms. Curator Martin Durazo’s “Mothership Lounger” is a truly interactive sculptural centerpiece; viewers relaxed on the wood, leather, and pillow construction that also included a bong installation, lights, and blowers. Thinh Nguyen’s “Lord of War” digital print on light panel gives us a woman, back turned to the viewer, with a Vishna-like number of arms. The image that seems like a relic from the past or a portent of the future. Esther Ruiz’ “Summer Sun” is a neon and plexi-glass work with a futuristic sensibility. Dakota Noot’s colored crayon and pencil drawings on foam core are lushly detailed and richly surreal, illustrations that shape a distinct mythology. “Jam Sesh 666,” which required performers to complete the installation added a audio component to the opening; as performed by Durazo and Claudia Huiza, the music, played in front of an intense charvet light, added an additional, mysterious textural layer to the opening event. Heidi Kidon’s “Overcharged Ornament with an Appropriated Glow” was a kinetic, lime green puzzle piece shaped of LED-illuminated panels.
Individually and collectively, the exhibition was a wonderfully overloaded sensorial experience; one that resonates long after viewing.
Upstairs, Gabriella Sanchez’ By Any Other Name, is a radiant first solo exhibition. Her series takes its title from Shakespeare “a rose by any other name…”; and references the symbolic relationship of the rose in Latin culture. Mixing text with distinct images in acrylic, sharpie, pencil, and oil, the paintings are dynamic, with a palette that uses the very feminine color pink and a rich, grassy green that seem both floral and filled with a fecund California light. Some works, as with “A Hand Embraced,” feature only parts of words with visual representations of others – here, a hand – depicted visually. Others expand upon their titles, as with “Homes,” which uses the words “Co” and “homes” with arrows, a roof top a hand reaching out all a part of the painting. Her use of arrows and hands as images figure in many of the pieces, both seem to suggest the need to join, unite, lead the way.
Both exhibitions run during regular gallery hours through August 18th.
A closing reception will be held Sunday, August 19th, 3-6pm.
Artist talk by Gabriella Sanchez will begin at 3pm.
Followed by performances and music downstairs in Other Worlds.
Charlie James Gallery
969 Chung King Road
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-5pm.