WOMAN|WOMAN at Louis Stern Fine Arts
Victoria May and Lisa Diane Wedgeworth
Curated by Jill Moniz
Closing reception and artist panel with Victoria May and Lisa Diane Wedgeworth, moderated by Shana Nys Dambrot. Saturday, January 12, 2019 from 3:30 to 5 pm
By Genie Davis
The pairing of Victoria May and Lisa Diane Wedgeworth in Woman|Woman, now at Louis Stern Fine Arts, is an inspired one. Curated by Jill Moniz, both artists explore light, texture, and dimension, and in juxtaposition with each other, they complement and contrast.
Santa Cruz-based Victoria May uses fabric and stitching in mixed media sculptures that often utilizes found or repurposed materials, such as in “Mound,” a found canvas with screen printing, found fabrics, organza and ink. There is something ethereal about this work, in which fabric elements in circular, almost blossoming form, softly colored, seem to float like a moon against a tired beige circumference of sky. Ink and screen printing give the viewer haunting, pale images that look like birds or the currents of wind, or perhaps, other planets.
With “And the refinement of their decline,” her work is larger scale, wall-sized, utilizing screen printed organza, found paper and drop cloth, stitched horse hair, ink-jet printing, aluminum plate, silk chiffon, alpaca fur, horse hair, beads, foam, wood, and stained silk organza. The variety of material is reflected in the size of the work, which is both elegant, mysterious, and sad. The draped fabric the spills like a waterfall from the center of the piece, the layered elements, the sense of grace and refinement amid ruin is profound and poetic, a metaphor for life, and work, and in its use of fabric as form, the idea of “women’s work.” Previously unsung, perhaps this is its elegy. The patterns inherent in the piece resemble skin, scales, a tuft of sky; the aluminum plate from which the fabric spills looks like a portal to another realm.
Los Angeles-based, Lisa Diane Wedgeworth describes her own work as existing as a confluence of memories, consciousness, and observations. Abstract but relatable images of what appear to be planets create their own universe; the titles of the acrylic and oil on canvas works cue the viewer to look at a different kind of celestial world, that within us, mind, body, and soul. One comes to realize that these dark and dazzling works represent an interior world as celestial and vast as that of our solar system. In “Brown But Beautiful,” the perfect moon-like shape is dotted and freckled, has areas of light and dark; it is both skin and soul, suspended in an ink-black sky. “Mrs Johnson and Ms James” gives us a group of planets, orbits imperfect, sky between them. Are these literal planets or the orbs of thought and feeling two separate individuals – separated by a dark void – experience? “Sex, Lies, and Brooklyn Spies” gives us a half a planet, partially observed. Caught out of frame, this is both possible spy satellite and an object in an orbit not quite within our grasp to fully recognize.
As curator, Monith often creates a smart and savvy dialog between multiple artists’ works, and that is the case here. It is striking to observe the gallery space with these artists’ images hung so as to intersect but not intrude.
While the mediums are very different and the techniques both use strikingly disparate, to see what could be a shimmery night sky in May’s “All maintenance tools will be returned to” and then witness the swirling interstellar vortex of Wedgeworth’s “Sane Sister, Schizo Sister” is quite wonderful. The spacious, multi-room layout of the gallery contributes to an overall sense of discovery. In many cases, the large, lush works that Wedgeworth creates offer an urgent energy, while May’s work – particularly revealing in smaller, subdued pieces such as the three images that resemble both quilt patterns and land masses in “Separatism, Isolationism and Opportunism,” is also quite powerful.
Woman|Woman speaks to the work of both artists over time, and the universal and feminine elements in each of our human hearts. The show runs through January 12th, and is a destination.
Louis Stern Fine Arts
9002 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069