“New Iconography: Artists Raising Children” at The Landing

Harry Dodge, Big Bang (Song of the Cosmic Hobo),
New Iconography: Artists Raising Children, The Landing; Photo credit Joshua White

New Iconography: Artists Raising Children

The Landing, Los Angeles
through May 8

By Sydney Walters
In New Iconography: Artists Raising Children, Daniel Gerwin curates a range of artists in different career stages and unique specialities. However, they all have one thing in common: they are all parents. Gerwin whisks us away from the taboos and myths surrounding the impossibility of artmaking while parenting and delivers an arena ripe with vulnerability, frustration, and gentleness. New Iconography incubates a distinct model of transformation and integration. This comprehensive shift to parenthood presides over the collective artist’s body, mind, and spirit.

Bearing a touching relationship with the body, Matt Bollinger captures the intimate privacy of child/parent relationships. Bathed in the colorful romanticism and candour of Mary Cassatt, Bollinger paints quotidian scenes of fatherhood in “Sick Night” and “Movie Night”. Featuring a different kind of body relationship is Heather Rasmussen’s “Untitled (Zucchinis and belly on blue)”. Rasmussen skillfully uses mirror magic to crop out her face and to duplicate her leg and torso. The truncated body, staged vegetables, and mirrors results in optical trickery that presents as a cluster of meaty wedges, dismembered and ornamenting a blue stage.

Patty Chang, Julian Hoeber, and Rebecca Niederlander are some of the artists considering parental shifts in the mind. In “Things I Am Scared Of”, Chang stitched a list of worries and fears into a pillowy comforter. In this piece, she actualizes some of the worrisome dialogue plaguing parents’ minds, resulting in sleepless nights. In Julian Hoeber’s trompe l’oeil painting A Head of the The Game, he replaced the features of a head with torn and cut out images that appear taped to the linen canvas. This psychoanalytic diagram features an image of children on a playground slide as the replacement for a nose, an axe as the stand in for a mouth, and a rounded color field painting for the dome of the head. This collage of the discursive threads of the mind are thrust in three-dimensionality in his concrete “Brutalist Dollhouse (Transitional Object)”. The labyrinthine pathways in his sculpture are congruous with Rebecca Niederlander’s wood and steel sculptures. In “Safe Passage”, she creates a surging monolith suited with a constellation of wooden doorways, ladders, and stairs. The clustered assemblage alludes to a beacon, a slippage, and a journey.

Finally, Edgar Arceneaux and Eleanor Antin are some of the artists that consider the invisible transformation of the spirit. In one of Arcenauex’s films, “I Told Jesus, Change My Name”, he captures the dialog between himself and his mother while directing her in a solo performance of the same title. It is a candid documentation of loving critique and collaboration on set at his home. Antin’s “Domestic Peace” consists of seventeen pages of graph paper on which she cataloged the degrees of friction between herself and her mother during a visit in December 1971. Like a scientist charting a polygraph test, Antin takes meticulous notes about these interactions and uses fierce scribbles to convey raising tension. As far as parenting is concerned, we get to be time travellers in the work of Arcenaux and Antin. And this lens helps us consider parenting via cyclical patterns, inherited idiosyncrasies, and a determination to be integrated artists.

Complete list of exhibiting artists: Eleanor Antin, Edgar Arceneaux, JB Blunk, Matt Bollinger, Patty Chang, Harry Dodge, Tony de los Reyes, Amir H. Fallah, Victoria Fu, Daniel Gerwin, Julian Hoeber, Loie Hollowell, Paul McCarthy, Rebecca Niederlander, Catherine Opie, Umar Rashid, Heather Rasmussen, Matt Rich, Alison Saar, and Amanda Valdez.

The Landing Gallery
5118 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, 90016

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