Erica Mahinay — Thin Skins, Infinity Pools, and Sand Slumps
March 23, 2015 — May 7, 2015
Opening reception: Monday, March 23, 5:30-7:30pm
fused space is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by LA-based artist Erica Mahinay, titled “Thin Skins, Infinity Pools, and Sand Slumps.” This installation features paintings and sculptures that work as engaging abstractions on one level and evocative figures with allegorical associations on another. With the kind of intense physicality that feels like an antidote to digitization, the works address issues of splendor, narcissism, tragedy and desire.
Complimenting the conversation are Mahinay’s “Infinity Pools,” which consist of sand- encrusted staircases that ascend to mirrored platforms, which host sculptural still lives of cast-resin and silicon encased fruit along with ceramic oddities. Positioned to reflect the paintings, they re-frame the “Thin Skins,” creating another perspective from which to experience the work. Meanwhile, viewers who happen to peer down, find themselves caught in a Narcissus-like gaze. These sculptures are not stairways to heaven as much as lures that seduce their surroundings into a “vanitas” drama.
The visceral physicality of the show is extended by Mahinay’s “Sand Slumps,” which are fabric forms filled with sand, spray-tanned and crowned with objects on the cusp of legibility. These sculptures have a human, organic quality; sometimes coming across as dolls without features or appendages struggling against gravity in a way that suggests Claes Oldenberg meets Hans Bellmer.
Mahinay’s highly tactile “Thin Skins, Infinity Pools, and Sand Slumps” explores the nobility and ignominy of the body and the boundaries of self-obsession. Intimate and aloof, the exhibition pushes and pulls the viewer into a rich psychological zone characterized by conflicted emotions and oxymoronic thoughts.
Erica Mahinay (b. 1986) received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 2013. From 2009-2010, she was an artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center. Mahinay has had solo exhibitions at Loudhailer Gallery, Los Angeles, and T293, Naples, Italy. Mahinay was born in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and now lives and works in Los Angeles.
Bare Code Scan
January 22, 2015—March 14, 2015
Upon seeing the skeletal form of her X-rayed hand, Anna Bertha Ludwig exclaimed, “I have seen my death.” Wife of Wilhem Roentgen, the German physicist credited with inventing X-rays, Ludwig was the first human to be photographed using the technology. Roentgen’s X-ray of his wife is at once wholly remarkable and utterly quotidian in its empirical detail; the darkened ring of her wedding band poignantly domesticates the image of Ludwig’s phantom hand. For the four artists included in this group show, titled bare code scan, the field of embodied perception – and its meditation via mechanical and cultural means – is a central theme.
Barbara Hammer’s video projection, Sanctus, 1990, appropriates slides from the experimental X-ray films of Dr. James Sibley Watson. The film simultaneously refers to the ability of such technology to expose the body, while also forcibly laying it bare before the beholder. If Jacoby’s work can be understood to incorporate the embodied viewer through tactile means, Hammer distances the perceiving body, locating him or her within the regime of power-inflected observation that Michel Foucault termed the “medical gaze,” whereby the physical body is separated from the personal identity.
In a process that begins with her love of digital scanning, Lucie Stahl’s newest series takes on the formal attributes of the scanner process and applies it to straight photography and sites that have glass partitions. Naturally, the environment of the zoo, where one sees animals, reptiles and objects through an “invisible” wall, came to mind. The fingerprints and scratches from the gorilla in East of Eden or the reflections on the glass in American Grafitti stay within Stahl’s visual vernacular but take on a more voyeuristic sensibility. The photographs are subsequently mounted and coated with resin, creating a further barrier between viewer and the image. Connecting the interior gallery space with its outdoor environs, Stahl’s works foreground the gaze of the beholder, much like a microscope amplifies the ability for a scientist to observe micro-cellular structures. While the clinical observation of Hammer’s works is given over to the voyeur, the eye in Stahl’s photographs becomes free to gaze upon unknowing, unwitting subjects.
By contrast, Sam Lewitt’s copper-clad plastic sculptures bring to the fore the technologies that increasingly control and structure our everyday visual activities. If Stahl’s works foreground the eye as the principal optical mechanism, Lewitt’s work emphasizes the primacy of the computational.
Adopting fabrication techniques used in the production of computer circuitry, Lewitt’s oversized panels monumentalize the otherwise invisible microchips that regulate our optical devices. And, just as Descartes attempted to foreground the processes, which regulated the human eye through his illustrations Dioptrics (1637), so now does Lewitt seemingly do the same for the digital with his Pyralux sculptures. In many ways then, Lewitt’s focus upon circuitry continues the earlier investigations of Roentgen and Watson utilizing technology to lay bare the unseen.
In the case of the four artists exhibited in bare code scan, the reach of technology continues not only to expand our optical capabilities, but to collapse the borders that once demarcated the spheres of private and public visibility, whether via the penetrating gaze of the scientific apparatus or in the voyeuristic glance of the anonymous spectator. In response to this, these artists can be understood to simultaneously erupt and reconsider the complicity of the beholder and the beholden, eschewing a binary that divides the two in favor of a dialectics of perceptibility, which unites them.
Barbara Hammer (b.1939)
has an English Literature and Film degree from San Francisco University and a degree in Multi-Media Digital Studies from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. She is currently a professor at the European Graduate School Saas-Fee (CH) and has been included in numerous group exhibitions including MOCA (Los Angeles), MoMA PS1 (New York), and Kunsthalle Oslo. Hammer has had film retrospectives at The Tate Modern (London) and MoMA (New York). In 2013, she received a Guggenheim fellowship for her film Waking up Together, on the poet Elizabeth Bishop. Hammer lives and works in New York.
Cooper Jacoby (b.1989)
received his BFA from Bard College. He has been included in group shows at CLEARING (New York), BA&D (Dusseldorf), and Mathew (New York). He is in upcoming shows at High Art (Paris) and White Flag Projects (St. Louis). Jacoby lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Lucie Stahl (b.1977)
attended the Glasgow School of Art and Staedelschule, Frankfurt am Main. Stahl has been included in solo shows at Neue Alte Brücke (Frankfurt), Freedman Fitzpatrick (Los Angeles) and Gio Marconi (Milano). She has had work in numerous group exhibitions including Sculpture Center (New York), Meyer-Kainer (Vienna), Vilma Gold (London), and Night Gallery (Los Angeles). Stahl lives and works between Los Angeles and Berlin.
Sam Lewitt (b.1981)
attended the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has been included in solo shows at Miguel Abreu Gallery (New York), Galerie Buchholz (Cologne), and Gallery Taka Ishii (Kyoto). He was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial (NY). Lewitt has had work in group exhibitions at institutions such as Fridericianum (Kassel, Germany) and MoMA PS1 (New York). He has an upcoming solo exhibition at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco) and at the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum (Düren, Germany). Lewitt lives and works in New York.
November 19, 2014—January 10, 2015
Fused Space is pleased to present a new group show entitled “Openings”. Featuring works by Milano Chow, Chris Duncan, Owen Kydd and Lauren McKeon, this multi-media exhibition takes apertures as its thematic thread and explores the representation of absence, whether corporal or spatial.
Milano Chow (b.1987)
received her BA in Art History from Barnard College in 2009 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2013. She has been in included group shows at Wallsapce (New York), 356 Mission (Los Angeles) and LVL3 (Chicago) and has forthcoming solo exhibitions at Young Art (Los Angeles) and Chapter NY (New York). Chow lives and works in Los Angeles, CA where she runs a publishing imprint called Oso Press.
Chris Duncan (b.1974)
received his MFA from Stanford in 2013. Duncan has had solo shows at Cooper Cole Gallery (Toronto), Morgan Lehman Gallery (New York), and Jeff Bailey Gallery (New York). His work is in the public collections of MoMA (New York), MoMA (San Francisco), and The Berkeley Art Museum (Berkeley). He lives and works in Oakland, CA where he also organizes events and runs a small artist book press and record label called LAND AND SEA.
Owen Kydd (b.1975)
received his MFA from UCLA in 2011. He has had solo shows at Document (Chicago), The Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver), and Nicelle Beauchene (New York). His work was recently included in group shows at FOAM (Amsterdam), The International Center of Photography (New York), and Thomas Zander Galerie (Cologne). Kydd’s work is in the public collections of Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), LACMA (Los Angeles), The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), and the Metropolitan Museum (New York). He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
Lauren McKeon (b.1983)
received her MFA from San Francisco State University in 2014. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Root Division (San Francisco), Laurel Gitlen (New York), and Blankspace Gallery (Oakland). McKeon’s work is in the public collection of Deutsche Bank (New York). She is currently in residence at Headlands Center for The Arts and is the creator and editor of SPLITS, a publication to support new collaborations between dancers and visual artists. McKeon lives and works in Marin, CA.
A Topography of Chance
June 26, 2014—September 20, 2014
This group exhibition is inspired by Daniel Spoerri’s An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, a classic Fluxus artist book. Like Spoerri’s publication, the artworks suggest that chance is not random, but shaped by rituals and repetition. Through a broad range of media, Bruce Nauman, Brie Ruais, Rose Marcus, and Aaron Garber-Maikovska explore the predictability of the accident and the fortuity of pattern, especially those mediated by the body.
Bruce Nauman (b. 1941, Fort Wayne, IN).
In Setting a Good Corner (Allegory and Metaphor) (1991), Nauman constructs a fence on his ranch in New Mexico for the length of the fifty-minute video. The static camera captures the artist while he digs holes, secures foundations and sets tension wires. The work expands Nauman’s studio to embrace his backyard and captures his distinctive rhythms. Always a protagonist in his work, Nauman’s activity ends up framing himself with his fence.
Brie Ruais (b. 1982, Santa Ana, CA).
Ruais works with clay, kneading, pushing, kicking, tearing and squeezing it. The resulting forms are abstract and intimately tied to physical action. Double Fold and Unfold, 130lbs is partly titled after her body weight, while Holding a Good Corner, 266lbs (2014) shows the trace of repetitive gestures made by Ruais and her boyfriend. Her work suggests a battle between persistence and gravity, human determination and the power of materials.
Rose Marcus (b. 1982, Atlanta, GA).
Marcus’s photographs explore liminal times and spaces, directing our attention to the lulls in between the action and the locations that are rarely the main attraction. Printed on vinyl and adhered directly to the wall, the works in this new series capture reflections, positioning store windows and urban glass as lenses into another dimension. Often containing the artist’s own reflection, these photographs suggest the “aesthetic stubbornness,” as Marcus puts it, of our cities and ourselves.
Aaron Garber-Maikovska (b. 1978, Washington DC)
is a performance artist who makes works in a range of media, including videos of elaborate hand dances and abstract paintings that involve highly ambiguous gestures. Garber-Maikovska’s paintings are suggestive of graffiti, Chinese characters, anthropomorphic figures and pictograms. Composed from doodles drawn on acetate then projected at a totemic scale, they are charged with performative energy that has been described as a “future comedy.”
February 27, 2014—June 5, 2014
fused space is pleased to present “Inners,” a site-specific exhibition of new work by Julian Hoeber, curated by Jessica Silverman. Using a range of media, including installation, wall sculptures, paintings and works on paper, the show explores the formal and psychological aspects of symmetry, distortion, inside and outside. Rich in art historical associations, the work is in dialogue with artists as diverse as Hans Arp, Lygia Clark, Sol LeWitt, Mike Kelley and Joe Goode.
The show centers on an installation of two impractical staircase-like structures. One set of “stairs” ascends to nowhere; the other lies on its side, rendered as a zigzagged wall. Each staircase creates a sequestered space within the gallery. Hoeber has made enclosures that are both peculiar closets and hiding places, which have intense cultural connotations. Inside these “rooms” are paintings and works on paper that allude to more colorful, irrational, organic forms.
Julian Hoeber (b. 1974) holds a B.A. in Art History from Tufts University, a B.F.A from the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and an M.F.A. from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; Western Bridge, Seattle, WA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA; and Deste Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens.
October 9, 2013—January 10, 2014
“architecture undigested” features artists whose works engage with the built environment in surreal and thought-provoking ways. The exhibition presents a range of works that riff on building elements from moving walls and misplaced window blinds to casino carpets and anti-slip guards gone rogue. The cumulative effect suggests an imploded house - one that subverts the distinction between structure and adornment. Although these works resist the use of exotic and expensive materials and thwart the comforts of home, they bring an odd intimacy to what might otherwise be perceived as industrial.
The show includes works by Marte Eknæs, Petros Moris, Brian O’Connell, Ruairiadh O’Connell, Mitzi Pederson, Stephen Prina, Ben Schumacher and Hugh Scott-Douglas.
“architecture undigested” is curated by Jessica Silverman.
(b. 1978, Elverum, Norway). Eknæs’s Better furnished, more fortunate III (Gråmølna) (2013), is a ten-foot-long door-sweep hung six inches above the floor. Similarly, Anti-slip III (Gråmølna) (2013), is an anti-slip guard installed in the wrong place. Both works transform the practical accessories of public buildings into thought-provoking sculptures. Eknæs is known for her interrogative approach to materials and concern for the structure of man-made objects.
(b. 1986, Lamia, Greece). Moris’s Commons 2, 3 and 4 (2013) are three hybridic works, which fuse mosaics with pure gray colorfields. Moris has coated three foam construction panels with synthetic polymer plaster that has been reinforced with glass-fiber. He then mounts a mosaic of unglazed ceramic tiles onto the surface, creating a fragmented mural space. He uses pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial techniques to create works that look like science-fiction antiques.
(b. 1972, Leuven, Belgium). O’Connell’s “Concrete Paintings” are made by pouring concrete into wooden molds, which then twist and bend under the weight of the added material. The works refer to Brutalist architecture’s use of molded concrete, but further subvert their industrial materials by containing them within the framework of traditional painting. These “paintings” are connected to O’Connell’s practice of interrogating the interrelated natures of weight, pressure, and light—examining behaviors of various materials.
(b. 1983, Aberdeen, Scotland). O’Connell’s three wax-based silkscreens hijack their designs from casino carpets that are meant to keep gamblers awake and ambitious, transforming them into pure studies of motif and pattern. By transforming their materials and taking the patterns from the floor to the wall (thereby elevating their positions), the resulting artworks disrupt the intended spatial and psychological functions of their sources.
(b. 1976, Stuart, Florida). Pederson’s sculptures are made from shattered cinderblocks, arranged in low, horizontal configurations. Their edges are lined with black and gray glitter. In these works, conventional concrete masonry shatters and takes on a formal beauty.
(b. 1954, Galesburg, Illinois). Prina’s window-blind works, which are made on conventionally produced linen roller blinds, function both as paintings and sculptural installations. The application of brilliant colors with abstract, gestural brushstrokes on household material recalls the work of modernists such as Piet Mondrian and Barnet Newman. Positioned in the center of the room, their painterly surfaces double as architectural bodies that reorient the gallery’s space.
(b. 1985, Kitchener, Canada). Schumacher’s sculpture, Vogue Apr-Mar 1986 (2012) is a vertical, glass partition covered with perforated vinyl used in commercial advertising, held together by a cable-management rack. The work disrupts visibility, yet hints at transparency. The microfilm transfers and vinyl on the backside of the work simultaneously allow perception through a facade and create a surface embedded with information and imagery.
(b. 1988, Cambridge, UK). Scott-Douglas’s “road-cases” are multi-functional objects that act simultaneously as sculptures, movable walls and frames. The road-cases also display two kinds of Scott-Douglas’s paintings: Chopped Bill (2013) is made from a high resolution scan of the small ink stamps found on American $100 bills; the other, Torn Cheque (2013), is an abstract pattern on a white gessoed canvas made by a laser cutter. The works suggest the incessant travel of information, objects, currency, and people through space.
June 25, 2013—September 20, 2013
“Alchemy” is the power or process of transforming something common into something special. All three of the artists in “Formal Alchemy” have the ability to create elegant objects out of common ingredients through conceptually interesting processes. In a variety of twists on the tradition of being “true” to materials, Toren, Wermer and Dash exploit physical properties beyond their typical uses. The exhibition bears witness to a conversation about transformation, utility and the authority of pure form.
“formal alchemy” is curated by Jessica Silverman
(b. 1980) combines adobe, a material that is rarely used in painting, with the classic ingredients of art—stretchers, linen and paint. By these means, she probes and enlivens conventional approaches to painting. In Night Light 1 and Night Light 2, Dash creates a dynamic interplay between weight and sensuality of the linen and the careful application of hand painting, thus exploring the sculptural potential of the two-dimensional medium.
(b. 1945) is represented in the exhibition by his Stacks sculptures from the 1980’s. Toren’s totemic Stacks involve removing and puling one side of a cardboard box, adding pigment to the pulp, then applying the mixture to canvas in a way that cpatures some aspect of the box (e.g. “This way up” or “Fragile”), then stretching the painted canvas over the opening of the original box. The artist then stacks the paintings, both reasserting their identity as cardboard boxes and proclaiming their status as sculpture.
(b. 1971) starts with diverse natural and man-made objects, subverting them in formally intriguing ways that alter our senses of the everyday. With Water Shelf #1 and Water Shelf #2 (both from 2012), Wermers turns industrial shelving units upside down and transforms them into shallow troughs for holding water. Untitled (bench), 2010, is a transparent acrylic box in a branch-like form that contains three rocks that were handpicked by the artist. One can perch on the work but the plastic may scratch, so the viewer must wrestle with their desire for function. Many of Wermer’s works have a purpose beyond their art objecthood, but it is invariably an impractical one.