Figura: Micro Macro Offers Stunning Art from Luxembourg and the U.S.
Durden and Ray, Los Angeles
through August 24
Written by Genie Davis
Closing August 24th, Figura: Micro Marcro at Durden and Ray is a rather glorious exhibition, a celebration of work featuring artists from both Luxembourg and the U.S.
Riffing on the idea that the U.S. is geographically large and Luxembourg’s 998-mile size makes it one of Europe’s smallest countries, both large and small works are exhibited in a jubilantly curated space that celebrates window light and organizational conversation.
Each of the works speaks to the human condition. According to gallery notes, the differences in scale of these works alludes to the fact that both the smallest cells seen through a microscope and a vast view of the solar system address life itself.
Starting with the exhibition title – a “figura” is a thing representing an idea – and moving into the lovely mix of mediums, this is an exhibition that is both inventive and immersive for viewers. Featuring other works, the exhibition format will debut in Luxembourg at the Neumunster Gallery in September.
Curated by Durden and Ray artists Alison Woods, David Leapman, and Carlos Beltran Arechiga in conjunction with Luxembourg curator Ivana Cekovic, the show is in some instances a truly collaborative process.
Nestled in a silvery window intervention by Arechiga are Cekovic’s astonishing paintings on several layers of plexiglass, their diminutive 4x6x1 inch size playing off the view of downtown Los Angeles high rises and fashion district shops as if floating through or on top of them. Luminous and inventive in their own right, Cekovic’s images glow in the setting, transforming the view and being transformed by it.
Also hailing from Luxembourg, and also relatively small scale are Karolina Pemar’s three-part photographic works “From Never to (Now)here.” The works in this series series are black and white images that glow from within their black-box frames, and juxtapose two landscapes in scenes of urban life as dazzling small mysteries.
Luxembourg artist Katarzyna Kot’s small sculptural works of resin, wood, and paper are wonderfully layered. Contained within blocks of resin, these works, positioned in a window-well infused with natural sunset light, glowed and absorbed their illumination during the exhibition’s opening. Two of the three works include verbal components; each resemble a sea creature or flower, preserved within their clear and radiant containers.
Moving to some of the large-scale works, Woods’ “Psychostasia VIII and IX” hang suspended from the ceiling like haunting giants. Comprised of mixed media on paper, fabric, wire, string, and trash, these fascinating, creature-like sculptures change composition and seemingly mood depending upon the angle viewed. Working with some of her own painted works deconstructed, Woods’ dimensional work here includes glowing elements of gold and pink, red, and salmon within a primarily brown/black/grey palette.
Joe Davidson’s wall sculpture “You Don’t Know the Shape I’m In” features cast hydrocal, rope, and powdered graphite with grey-toned, sausage-like forms dangling from the ends of long ropes as if they were distended, distorted fingers or components of a mysterious musical instrument.
Tom Dunn’s “Floating Downstream #44” is a layered, complex black and white oil on canvas that edges between abstract and surreal, its images requiring an extended look to fully explore.
As if composed of elements taken from Dunn’s work and rearranged into perfect sculptural form, Luxembourg’s Bertrand Ney’s “Untitled” sculptural series of white resin shapes are positioned on wall shelves like wayward symbols from a science fiction future. Jeff Desome’s “Video for Father John Misty” is a model with video that is amusing and inventive, both architecturally perfect and wildly witty, a tribute to the musical inspiration of Misty.
Other images were equally compelling: the glowing, fur covered fluorescent light of Brian Thomas Jones’ other-worldly “Aversion,” the vast, universe-like silvery richness of Leapman’s “Still Searching for Buried Treasure,” a texturally fascinating acrylic and interence on canvas work; and Ian Dawson’s digital animations. From the UK, artist EC offered two collage on canvas works that played like abstract, opaque mosaics.
Woods also offers the space-agey “Vinyl Elvis Suit for Ian Dawson Videos;” while Cekovic’s video “Pairau” also gives viewers another evocative moving image.
Combining concept, setting, and light-awareness, Figura: Micro Macro is a bravura collection.