PRIDE shows at TAG Gallery

K. Ryan Henisey, Remnants, TAG Gallery; Photo credit Genie Davis

The Perfect Collection of Solo and Group Shows for PRIDE

TAG Gallery, Los Angeles

Written by Genie Davis
Three strong solo shows and two excellent group offerings focused on celebrating Pride Month at TAG Gallery.

John Waiblinger’s intricate altered photographic work Different from the Others (Anders als die Andren) is a lush, romantic tribute that arises from the artist’s own acknowledgement as a boy of the “differentness” of his desires. Desire, always subjective, is expressed in this solo show with graceful, often haunting, depictions of male longing and beauty. With a title that refers to a silent film that depicted homosexual desire as natural, the exhibition’s goal is to celebrate male beauty and tenderness without shame. Describing his work as “post-photography,” Waiblinger’s works here are a heightened continuation of other series, intricately patterned with elements of design and superimposition. His evocative, aching transformation of highly sexualized imagery to something refined and gracious allows viewers to experience a sweet yet passionate connection between and through his subjects, in a dreamscape of desire.

Working in a variety of mixed media including plaster, concrete, glass, and painting, K. Ryan Henisey’s solo show Remnants is a heady mixture of texture and transcendent beauty. Doves and cell phones, bodies and hearts are some of the subjects here, which offer a sense of the eternal sorrows and joys of love remembered, lost, or reimagined. These are both artifacts and memories, relics that alternatively ache and soar, as they visualize the past and presage hope for the future. Comprised of some eleven works, viewed together in the gallery’s back space, or as individual works including a delicately lovely window display, they form an elegiac but triumphant installation.

As highly textural as Henisey’s work is, the Pridepop group show is even more so. Curated by Henisey and artist/curator Sküt, the works are widely varied, consisting of both paintings and sculptures. Jeff Iorillo has worked in both mediums, but here it is his 8 x 10-foot, pandemic-created mural “The Shadow Men.” The vast work reveals overlapping images that were originally conceived of as full-figure self-portraits expressing his feelings throughout the locaked-down last year. This year, he views the figures in the work differently as “vaxxed, dancing, and raising the roof in celebration.” They’re absorbingly kaleidoscopic.

Alexander Peuchot’s works include a striking 6-foot mixed media sculpture, “Queen,” which is his take on the pandemic and a “manifestation of human vulnerability and strength.” Vividly colorful, it is an expression of vulnerability and hopeful strength. His vibrant, lush, pop-art-reminiscent paintings of lips are also riveting.

J Casey Doyle’s amorphous life-form sculptures almost compel the viewer to want to touch their nobbled surfaces in lovely, mysterious works including “Pride (cloud),” “Distancing,” and “Black Cloudscape.” Taylor Whyte’s more whimsical rainbow-arced ceramics are equally compelling. David Jester’s figurative paintings evoke water and fire; liquid and lovely, his mutable images are filled with light and color. Swirling color shapes Kelly Perez’ glowing work. Artists Nelson Munares, Nicole Uros, and Enrique Castrejon also contribute terrific pieces.

In the upstairs Sky Gallery space, a second group exhibit, Proud, includes a wide range of TAG artists’ work including pieces by Henisey and Waiblinger. Other exhibiting artists and works include the lustrous floral images of Chung-Ping Cheng, mosaic-like abstracts from Carlos Buitrago, Eugene Huffman’s layered, lush abstracts, the detailed and radiant figurative works of Buena Johnson, as well as works by David Stewart Klein, Edward Lightner, Susan Price, Justin Prough, Bruce Sanders, KW Sarrow, Betzi Stein, Douglas Teiger, John Waiblinger, Arlene Weinstock, Elyse Wyman, Joan Horsfall Young, Judy Zimbert,, Sküt. Shirley Asano Guildman, Michael Becker, Shalla Javid, and Liliana Dambrosio.

And finally, James R. Lane’s solo show, How to Make a Photograph consists of floral images that go far beyond the ordinary. He describes his dimensional work as “fluid…” and that to truly absorb his photographic images, viewers themselves should “flow over and around” their own traditional preconceptions of photography. Like the other exhibitions that are comprise the Pride Month installations at TAG, these are highly tactile; to look into his acid washed photographs and Yu-Base Relief work is to enter a new region that is entirely fresh, like viewing a flower for the first time.

His acid-washed technique combines the use of acetic acid with printer-based pigments and watercolors, creating a delicate translucency. Yu-Bas Relief Photographs refers to a paper type that doesn’t absorb ink, pigments or paints. Described as an erasable watercolor paper, these works can take months to dry, after which, Lane overpaints with oil mixed with impasto and/or oleopasto, constructing a three-dimensional, sculptural effect. Dimensionality and depth are the hallmarks of both lush techniques; overall, Lane’s work creates the illusion of seeing into and within a flower, almost touching the tenderness of the petals.

Tenderness exemplifies the qualities in both Waiblinger and Henisey’s solo works as well, and also so many of the images in each of the two group shows – in each, there is a gentle willingness to look beneath the surface and into the depths – of love, relationship, longing, and the vibrancy of humanity itself.

TAG Gallery
5458 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 90036

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