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CONTEMPORARY ART & DESIGN

ISSUE 24


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PA S A D E N A C A L I F O R N I A 9 1 1 0 3 6 2 6 5 7 7 0 0 4 4


C U R AT O R I A L . O R G


CONTRIBUTORS MASTHEAD

ARTRA CURATORIAL is a volunteer organization for the implementation of new modes of exhibition, locally, nationally and internationally, that feature artist-led emerging platforms and opportunity based interactions and community building via social practice type events. Founded by Max Presneill, Colton Stenke and Kio Griffith in 2009, the group has instigated large scale art events and exchanges, as well as the alternative art fair Co/Lab, throughout Los Angeles and has new projects being presented in China, France and UK in 2014, as well as the continuation of their MAS ATTACK series of events both in LA and other US cities.

Publisher Chris Davies Associate Editor Peter Frank Managing Editor Aparna Bakhle-Ellis Creative Director Chris Davies

PETER FRANK is art critic for the Huffington Post and Associate Editor for Fabrik magazine. He is former critic for Angeleno magazine and the L.A. Weekly, served as Editor for THE magazine Los Angeles and Visions Art Quarterly, and contributes articles to publications around the world. Frank was born in 1950 in New York, where he was art critic for The Village Voice and The SoHo Weekly News, and moved to Los Angeles in 1988. Frank, who recently served as Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum, has organized numerous theme and survey shows for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and other venues. McPherson & Co. -Documentext published his Something Else Press: An Annotated Bibliography in 1983. A cycle of poems, The Travelogues, was issued by Sun & Moon Press in 1982. Abbeville Press released New, Used & Improved, an overview of the New York art scene co-written with Michael McKenzie, in 1987.

Art Direction & Design Chris Davies and Paul Soady Contributing Writers ARTRA Curatorial Peter Frank Bettina Gilois Lanee Lee Phil Tarley

EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Editorial editorial@fabrikmedia.com Advertising Chris Davies: chris@fabrikmedia.com Contact 269 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 1234 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 http://www.fabrik.la

INFORMATION Fabrik is published by Fabrik Media Group, Inc., 269 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 1234, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Contents cannot be reproduced in part or in full without the written permission of the copyright holder. The opinions expressed are those of the artists and writers themselves and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Fabrik or Fabrik Media Group. Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN LOS ANGELES

ON THE COVER CONTEMPORARY ART & DESIGN

Overhead © Andy Summers Read a profile of Andy Summers and his photography in this issue of Fabrik.

ISSUE 24

BETTINA GILOIS is a Los Angeles based screenwriter and author, whose screen credits include the Disney/Bruckheimer production GLORY ROAD for which she was nominated for The Humanitas Prize. She is also a special contributor to the Huffington Post Arts and Culture section, writing about art. As an author, Bettina Gilois is currently writing “Billion Dollar Painter: The Triumph and Tragedy of Thomas Kinkade – Painter of Light” for Weinstein Books. Bettina Gilois is an art history graduate from Columbia University, who began working at Andy Warhol's Factory in New York. Bettina Gilois also teaches screenwriting as an adjunct professor at Chapman University. LANEE LEE is a Los Angeles-based writer who uses her craft to pursue her passions: travel, culture, cuisine, and discovering artisans from around the globe. You can follow her latest quest at www.laneelee.com and @wanderlushdiary. PHIL TARLEY is a Fellow of The American Film Institute and an artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association. As an art and pop culture critic: he regularly posts stories on The WOW Report; he writes about art and photography for Fabrik Magazine; and he is a juror on the Lark International Art Competition. Tarley is currently working on a book of narrative non-fiction travel stories and on a variety of photographic art projects. He has recently been appointed to a City of West Hollywood task force on Public Art Installation. Phil Tarley now curates for Artist’s Corner, Hollywood’s newest fine art photography gallery.


CONTENTS 8

80

Iconoclasts: Jerome and Joel-Peter Witkin

24 Profile: Andy Summers: Mysterious Barricades 36 Profile: Felice Willat: The Zen of the Land 52 Profile: Mirza Davitaia: A Good Place to Paint 64 Fresh Faces in Art: Emergent Presence: Eight LA Artists You Should Know 80 Photography: Uncommon Visions: American Aperture Awards (AX3) 114 Coming Out, Going In: Cherry and Martin Gallery: Coming Out: “Supports/Surfaces is Alive and Well” Going In: Lew Thomas: Structuralism and Photography 118 Art About Town: Peter Frank’s Museum Views


JOEL-PETER WITKIN • NIGHT IN A SMALL TOWN, 2007 TONED GELATIN SILVER PRINT • 24 1/2 X 31 1/2 INCHES


THE PRIMORDIAL ASPECTS OF LIFE AND DEATH IDENTICAL TWINS: JEROME AND JOEL-PETER WITKIN THE JACK RUTBERG GALLERY, MARCH 1—MAY 3, 2014

— WORDS PHIL TARLEY • IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS


ICONOCLASTS

IDENTICAL TWINS JOEL -PETER WITKIN and his brother Jerome have

lived their entire lives artistically and physically estranged. Born into a mixed marriage of Italian and Euro-Jewish parents on September 13, 1939, they grew up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Jerome is a practicing Jew; Joel-Peter is a Catholic. JoelPeter works out of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Jerome lives in Syracuse, New York and teaches painting at the University. He looks like a kindly professor; slightly rumpled, with a soft grey beard. Jerome seems genuinely caring and sweet natured. Joel-Peter, the bon vivant, presents as something of a rock star photographer, uber hip, in an understated way. Dressed in a chartreuse puffer jacket, he flashes a full-mouthed, sexy set of expensive white teeth. He wears wildly trendy glasses and has a devilish sense of humor; full of funny quips that he doles out with cutting-edge insight. Jerome is more serious, thin and white, while tanned JoelPeter can be deliciously Puckish. It’s hard to believe they are identical twins. The brothers, now, have a cordial, but distant relationship. Jack Rutberg has shown Jerome’s paintings for years, but never Joel-Peter’s photographs. This is the first time anyone, anywhere, has shown both brothers together. I spent the better part of three days with Jack, Jerome and Joel-Peter, talking, looking at the work, and thinking and writing about this arty troika terrible of twin brothers and their gallerist, himself quite a dapper, worldly fellow. Rutberg is keenly intelligent, a tad loquacious, but always at the ready with good copy and insightful talking points about the artists he is promoting. What follows are my notes, culls from bon mots offered by Rutberg’s press release, video and audio taped interviews, and an artist talk edited all together: a dapper collection in itself. Celebrating Fabrik Magazine’s Month of Photography issue, it is Joel-Peter’s photography that is the driving thrust of this reportage, despite the riveting quality of Jerome’s mesmeric paintings and bold charcoals.

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Jack: These are both artists who orchestrate composition. Both have an unfathomable visceral quality with a strong sense of gravitas, an element that seems to be missing in much of the work produced today. Their show is a privileged view you are allowed into that is evocative and that demands attention. It’s hard not to be familiar with Joel’s work. Joel is as much a painter as Jerome – utilizing photography as a medium, like a painter.

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JOEL-PETER WITKIN • VIENNA EYE PHANTOM, 1990 GELATIN SILVER PRINT • 33 X 25 1/2 INCHES


(ABOVE AND RIGHT) JEROME WITKIN • VINCENT AND HIS DREAM GIRL, 2012 OIL ON CANVAS (DIPTYCH) • 37 5/8 X 62 1/8 INCHES • EACH PANEL: 36 X 30 INCHES


ICONOCLASTS

ON DEFINING MOMENTS Joel-Peter: When I was six years old, we were living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It was Sunday and we were home getting dressed for church. We heard this loud collision and when we ran outside, we saw a car crash and I watched a little girl’s head rolling in the street. When, later on, I wrote about that moment, I thought about the primordial aspects of life and death. Jerome: When I was young and scruffy, my mother took me for my first visit to the Met. In a dark, out-of-the-way gallery, an old man came at me with a stick, poked me with it and said, “Dirty little boys like you should not be in museums like this.” From that moment on, I never doubted that we would have this life and that I would take my place in museums precisely like the one he poked me in. Joel-Peter: When I was a teenager, I was in my first big show curated by Alfred Steichen at MOMA. When I brought my slides over for him to look at, he thought I was the messenger. I should have told him that I was the messenger. Jerome: Identical twins are not very common in art history...but somehow we both punched through into becoming artists…I have to make art. I cannot help myself. I just have to do it. What drives us is that we have needs that have to be put down on photo paper and canvas. Joel-Peter: I was in the Bowery once, downtown, in New York and I saw police cars in front of a movie theater. Then all these people came rushing out, so I decided to stick around and see what was happening. Suddenly the big bronze doors to the movie theater opened and the crowds in front parted. Out came a man being dragged by the cops on both sides. A giant smile was on his face and I couldn’t understand why the guy was smiling. Then he came closer and I saw that his jaw was dropping and had separated from his head. Someone had slashed his face from ear to ear. His entire lower face was hanging down…it had separated in a strange arc, that made his jaw drop in a giant smile. ON PROCESS Joel-Peter: I am very selective about the people I photograph. There are dead people and there are dead people. There are people on the slab that are fascinating and then there are others that are boring! If you are boring when you are dead, you really are a loser! URBAN FIGURES NUMBER L1066518, 2011, PHOTOGRAPHIC MIXED MEDIA

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JEROME WITKIN • STUDY FOR TERMINAL, 1986-87 CHARCOAL ON PAPER • 84 X 48 INCHES


JOEL-PETER WITKIN • SATIRO, MEXICO, 1992 GELATIN SILVER PRINT • 28 3/4 X 25 1/2 INCHES


JOEL-PETER WITKIN • ABOVE THE ARCADE, 2013 GELATIN SILVER PRINT WITH COLOR AND ENCAUSTIC • 16 X 15 1/4 INCHES


JOEL-PETER WITKIN • FACE OF A WOMAN, 2004 GELATIN SILVER PRINT • 22 X 33 INCHES


ICONOCLASTS

Jerome: Be bad. Be brave. Have a marvelous vision like Caravaggio. Be blinded by the possibilities that you have to go through, so that you can see. Joel-Peter: I am a dramatist…I take the world and bring it to the studio, where I am creating a fiction…a narrative. Both our works are narrative, for me, and my brother. I get ideas…I make sketches and I can use them to change my concept before I finally put it together. The Raft of George Bush has 17 people in the shot. I like dealing with history. I use the historical continuum to serve as important milestones of our human experience. I really like history as subject matter and how it affects people today. Every age has its own consciousness and destiny, and its people live in an element that is honorable or dishonorable. They live in hope or despair. I don’t do objective work. I do subjective work. I have a degree in sculpture and that helps me to be able to understand and go beyond the medium. I want my work to be astonishing. I start with a concept. I often have a title like The Busboy at the Last Supper. It’s a bust of a guy with curly hair lit theatrically with a tray around his neck with fruit, and a scarf draped over him. It’s going to be printed on aluminum, and then painted. All the elements are symbolic. The production – because it is a production – is sometimes very simple, other times it’s elaborate. I keep it very open...depending on reality, which often brings something spectacular to it. I don’t shoot a lot. I see the print as I make the photos. I have everyone made up in white and the way I print the white shows up magically. I often distress my negatives. I spend 50-70 percent of my time in the darkroom. I wear respirators. I deal with the papers, the chemistry, and then I work viscerally. The components...the optics…the chemicals…the people…I respect it all. I rely on phenomenal luck and destiny to make my work. It’s not a technical process. It’s emotional. And it’s all a part of the magic. I have to know each and every millimeter of the work before I release it as done. I know what happens to silver, light and film, but it’s always a magical experience.

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JOEL-PETER WITKIN • LAS MENINAS, 1987 GELATIN SILVER PRINT • 28 X 28 INCHES


ICONOCLASTS

JOEL-PETER WITKIN • POUSSIN IN HELL, 1999 TONED GELATIN SILVER PRINT • 28 1/2 X 32 3/4 INCHES

FACE OF A WOMAN Joel-Peter: I found the head in a doctor’s office. I cleaned it up really well. It was beautiful. Very well preserved. You know, the French do wonderful things with preserving body parts and with food. Body parts and food, the French do those two things really well. Anyway, across from the doctor’s office was The Museum of Natural History, and I saw a great taxidermied monkey, so I borrowed that. Then, around the corner was a florist and an antique dealer. I got the table from the dealer and some flowers and it was all coming together. I made some sketches

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ICONOCLASTS

and planned it out. I like a departure of form. So I rounded the corners [of the matting] because I wanted the attention to be all on the subject. I give the dead beauty and purpose, power and evocation. It tells us about tenderness. I ascribe feelings and characteristics to the dead cadavers. This piece is a gift to me from the dead woman’s face and mine to her. FINAL THOUGHTS Jack: Joel-Peter Witkin gives beauty, serenity and empathy to the deformed and the grotesque. You offer them a heroic presence in your pictures. Jerome: Once you see Joel’s work, it s like a tattoo on your brain. Our work is overloaded in a time of the underload. Joel-Peter: My thought on our conjoining is that we are both joyous romantics… In the end, I am as good as my last photograph. Life is transitory. And age is a very positive thing when you have something to say and the juices to express yourself.

Joel-Peter Witkin’s work resounds with an epic thematic quest. As fearless artist, seeker of spiritual beauty, sexual love and existential enlightenment, he has fashioned a numinous oeuvre of postmortem resurrections, one that also deifies the living before we each receive our coup de grace. When he speaks about his process, I find myself deeply moved by a new understanding of the man, his art and the possibilities of the photographic medium. I ask Joel-Peter one last question: How would you like to be remembered? He thinks about it for an instant and flashes me an idiosyncratic Witkinesque smile. “As a photographer who always went his own way and did what he had to do, and as an honest and caring man. I hope I photographed images that defined my world and my own vision of it.”

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ANDY SUMMERS MYSTERIOUS BARRICADES

— WORDS BETTINA GILOIS IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

GAME © ANDY SUMMERS


PROFILE

“THINGS OUTSIDE YOU ARE PROJECTIONS OF WHAT'S INSIDE YOU, AND WHAT'S INSIDE YOU IS A PROJECTION OF WHAT'S OUTSIDE. SO WHEN YOU STEP INTO THE LABYRINTH OUTSIDE YOU, AT THE SAME

TIME YOU'RE STEPPING INTO THE LABYRINTH INSIDE.

—HARUKI MURAKAMI

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AS LONG AS ANDY SUMMERS has been a visual artist, he has been drawn to the mysterious and surreal, the otherness of the other, and the unknowable in the unknown. The unfamiliar throws up barricades to the strange, and frees the artistic sensibility to see in a way that only the stranger can see, free from context and conditioning, lending vision to the blind observer. In his photographic practice, Andy Summers has sought out this dialectic. Nights after concerts, nights on the road, he has headed out into the midnight black of Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore, London, or Rome, exploring the world with his camera in hand, capturing the unusual, the odd, the exotic, and the remarkable moment, and transforming his perception of these moments into his own artistic vision. In his unique visual interpretation, the changing environment and culture comes into focus as Andy Summers captures a raw moment, an immediate feeling, scaling the obstructing walls of culture and seeing into the essence of the other world. As Andy Summers evolved from his early influences of Diane Arbus, William Klein, Lee Friedlander, Ralph Gibson, Man Ray and the Surrealists, his eye was drawn to the demanding imagery of the Japanese Provoke School, and by the likes of Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu and Masahisa Fukase. A long time student of Zen philosophy, he traveled extensively throughout Japan and China, and his own practice began to evolve into a distinct visual vocabulary. His imagistic strength and tone embraced the freedom of the tenets of black and white Japanese Provoke photography, and the idea of seeking the enigmatic and capturing the ambiguous, rather than the constraints of the representative. It was like discovering atonal music, breaking conventional harmonies to bring forth images that are challenging and provocative. In his evolving practice, Andy Summers was excited by the idea of the anti-photo, of violating photographic boundaries. He was drawn to the aesthetic freedom from making a social statement, and embraced the creation of images that posed open-ended questions. He was greatly impacted by the avant-garde sensibility of Daido Moriyama and his book “Bye, Bye Photography.” In fact, he met Moriyama one night in Tokyo over dinner. Not much was communicated at the table, since Moriyama spoke little English. After dinner,


RAIN © ANDY SUMMERS


DOWNSTAIRS © ANDY SUMMERS


ELVIS © ANDY SUMMERS


CRATE © ANDY SUMMERS


FAN © ANDY SUMMERS


PROFILE

everyone went on their way, and Andy headed out into the night to take pictures. Rounding a corner, his camera poised for a shot, he saw Moriyama on the same street, his camera also poised, taking a shot. For a moment, the two men laughed in mutual recognition, and then went their separate ways, alone again with their cameras. One of Andy Summers’ favorite places to shoot is the brightly lit district of Shinjuku in Tokyo, with its endless neon lights and signs. He ventures out at midnight, wandering the seedy streets, past the many sex clubs, through miniature drinking holes just large enough for three or four people, through the narrow alleys, shooting advertisements offering everything for sale, seeking and capturing the quality of strangeness and ambiguity of the night, in the deepest registers of black. One dark Tokyo winter night, shooting an upcoming documentary about his life, Andy Summers heard the sounds of “Every Breath You Take” drifting into the snow covered street from a tiny karaoke bar. Andy and his film crew went inside, to see a group of young drunken partiers, singing to the Police song at the top of their lungs. Andy was still bundled up from the cold and no one recognized him as he went on stage, grabbed a mic and sang along. When the song ended, he removed his hood and the place went crazy as they recognized who he was. Cinema Libre is releasing the film, titled Can’t Stand Losing You, this summer. Chance glimpses into strange worlds around the globe, intersecting with the mysterious other: these things inspire Andy Summers. It’s like living life with more intensity, experiencing a place with more depth and feeling. People on the street often look at him like he’s mad, shooting a rag hanging off of a pole, or a bottle cast away on the sidewalk, but pulling energy from the enigmatic is what he enjoys most. It becomes a visual vocabulary of objects without seeming purpose, focal points that obstruct rather than inform, fragments of a moment, random but intimate. Andy Summers seeks the energy within the ambiguous and alienating, rather than from that which seeks to define. The process is always a solitary one: the act of being out in the night, tapping into the internal voice, reacting to things as they appear and capturing those feelings, like a visual journal of the inner perception. Andy Summers continues to explore the world through his artistic sensibility. He loves the process now as much as the first day he began roaming the streets with camera in hand. He has never grown tired of the hunt, nor of the labyrinth inside. As this year’s Honorary Guest, Andy Summers will be exhibiting his photography entitled: “Mysterious Barricades,” during the Photo Independent Art Fair, April 25-27, 2014.

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JAZZ ALLEY © ANDY SUMMERS


"NOSE", 2014. PORCELAIN, LAPIN, ACRYLIC PAINT, LACES, CRYSTAL GEM WITH SILVER PRONGS.

Exhibition: The New Baroque @ Gallery 825 March 22 to April 18 825 N. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles 90069


maracoleartstudio.com


JEMAA EL FNA, MOROCCO

WORDS PHIL TARLEY • IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST


FELICE WILLAT THE ZEN OF THE LAND


PROFILE

F Âť

OR FELICE WILLAT, the zen of the land unites a visual trilogy of country people, their landscapes and lifestyles in humanist, spiritual, pictorial harmony. Willat brings a centered, thoughtful and organic approach to photography and to the living of a purposeful artist’s life. The serenity in her images is both pensive and evocative; mirroring her contemplative intellect and ebullient personality. The artist’s best works percolate with a Mandala-full of life forces that emanate from her subjects, which she shoots in situ. Her most interesting pictures linger in the mind's eye. They move the viewer into spaces where we breathe deeper and slower- harmonizing with those who inhabit the visual world that Willat creates. 38

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PROFILE

ANGKOR MONK CEREMONY CAMBODIA

HALONG BAY VILLAGE VIETNAM

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CARDINALS, CENTRAL BURMA


HUANGSHAN VIEW


CLOUD DWELLING PAVILION


MASTER KOI, SUZHOU, CHINA


PROFILE

WATER BEARER, PINDAYA, BURMA

“I can get lost in the moment. The shutter seems to click on its own when I'm fortunate enough to capture someone at one with their environment. My favorite shots are not portraits and they’re not landscapes. I like to shoot people going about the living of their lives within their lands. They become defined by how and where they live. That’s what I’m known for.” Jemmaa El Fna, a cityscape of Marrakesh’s town square, is a pageant of humanity where horse drawn carriages, push carts and shoe shine stands are readying the famous marketplace for day’s end. It perfectly expresses the interchangeability of Willat’s desire to characterize those she shoots by the places they inhabit and to portray these places by the persons who populate them. In Cardinals, a flock of robed novices, young monks in training, become design elements. The robust reds shot against a field of white, a crumbling temple Willat uses as a background element, brings her arrangement of crimson birds into stark relief. In another graphic grouping, she renders her Master Koi, by bisecting its composition into highlight and shadow, catching us up in the wiggling of fish.

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PROFILE

KILLARNEY LAKESIDE, IRELAND

“I have traveled a good part of the world but Burma is the country I most revere. After a brutal repression, they have endured with a sense of tranquility. These people have accepted their lot in life. Even when things do not go well they are devoutly patient. I am patient, too. It’s my Buddhist quality. I feel one with them and Burma’s countryside speaks to me. The mountains have their own language.” The dome-shaped peaks in Halong Bay Village do seem to be softly whispering. Against a brooding sky, the floating village inhabitants take shelter from an impending rain as a ferry boat drifts lazily eastward towards the end of Willat’s frame. The photographer has published a book of images, The Quiet Between, Song of Burma; a portion of each sale is donated to Burmese charitable organizations. It has poetry by Lark, which punctuates the emotion tones throughout its plates. You can see her solo show at Photo Independent, an international photography fair that opens on April 25, 2014 at Raleigh Studios, in Hollywood.

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GLORIA DELSON CONTEMPORARY ARTS 215 W. 6TH STREETS, #115, LOS ANGELES, CA 90014 (ENTRANCE ON SPRING STREET) • WALK-INS WELCOME! 323-309-2875 • WWW.GDCAGALLERY.COM


WILLIAM BERRY

LUCKY DUCK • 24" X 37" • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

W I L L I A M B E R R Y. O R G EXHIBITING AT PHOTO INDEPENDENT ART FAIR APRIL 25-27, 2014 RALEIGH STUDIOS, HOLLYWOOD


Most of us are migrants who’ve succumbed to a sensual incubus flaunting L.A. as a paradise, teeming with art and cinematic totems, a Tinsel town sparking with warm sunny light… beckoning us.

BLACK CIRCLE • 2014 • MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS • 20 X 24 INCHES


MIRZA DAVITAIA A GOOD PLACE TO PAINT

— WORDS PHIL TARLEY IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST


MIRZA DAVITAIA, PAINTING IN HIS STUDIO


PROFILE

M

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IRZA DAVITAIA’S life’s journey epitomizes the struggle many artists face to reinvent themselves when they move their lives to Los Angeles. The plans, hopes and artful fantasies of the newly arrived so resonate with the spirit of this magazine. The promise of creative and financial opportunities that Los Angeles proffers is one that seduces the innovative and the visionary who want to come. After all the winter fairs and non-stop gallery offerings, the city of Angeles hums with potent pop-ups and brilliant openings that stretch from Chung King Road, maneuver through West Hollywood and Culver City and stop at lands end, in Venice Beach. So much art and so many artists. I tend to take our burgeoning scene for granted. That is until I meet someone like Mirza, who told me his story. I always say that everyone is like a jukebox and if you press the right buttons, we all have one good song to sing or story to tell. Mirza has many. His passage to Los Angeles makes me think about our community and what it means to artists who dream of coming here. Davitaia has been painting for as long as he can remember. Paint ran colors in his veins and his father’s too. Back when he was a boy, Davitaia Sr. ensconced his painter-son in the Elementary School of Art, in Tbilisi, Georgia, when it was part of the Soviet Union. He went on to study animation, developing a taste for narrative film. Then shortly after the Berlin Wall fell, Mirza enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg to paint. It was in his blood, and it was a most magnificent obsession. Painting, painting, painting…after six years of art school in the West, Davitaia returned to a shattered Georgia, then newly emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Block. As a literate, multilingual Western-educated, college graduate, he was drafted to serve his country – in Georgia’s Parliament. Web fabrik.la

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GOLDEN RAIN • MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS • 24 X 30 INCHES


ALL I REMEMBER • 2014 • MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS • 18 X 24 INCHES


ALL SEEING RAIN • 2014 • MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS • 20 X 24 INCHES


RESTART • 2013 • MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS • 15.75 X 19.7 INCHES


FAR TOP: ON THE SET WITH RENNY HARLIN ABOVE: WANTING A LIFE THAT WAS MORE RIGHT: ON THE RED CARPET WITH SHARON STONE


PROFILE

Being in the right place at the right time can be both good and bad. He was re-elected numerous times and rose to become Georgia’s Deputy Commissioner of Culture. Government service cost him. There was never any time to paint and little for his wife and children. For eight years, the increasing demands of a potent, international, political career left him lamenting the loss of his artist’s pallet. When I look at photos of him from that era, I can see it in his eyes – sadness and a wistful yearning for an existence that was something more. In 2009, Mirza Davitaia used his personal life experience of Soviet Georgia’s bitter battles with Russia and his newfound contacts as Deputy Cultural Commissioner to produce MISHA VERSUS MOSCOW, THE BATTLE FOR GEORGIA’S FUTURE, a USA–Republic of Georgia co-production. It gave him his filmmaking legs. Then in 2011, Davitaia produced 5 DAYS OF WAR, a widely distributed Hollywooden feature film that he got Renny Harlin to direct. Harlin and Davitaia brought a notable cast of actors, and high-end production values to a war-torn country that was happy, hopeful, and wanting to help Davitaia tell their story. It was during post-production on his war movie that Mirza made his first trip to Los Angeles. Our city’s vigorous international art scene and our cinematic raisin d’être delighted and inspired him. Over brunch at Mel’s Diner on the Sunset Strip, Davitaia sipped on a Cherry Coke and paused thoughtfully over his cheeseburger and fries. Then, with the most direct, hopeful and triumphant look, he told me quite simply, “I’ve come here to Los Angeles to paint and to make movies.”

Mirza Davitaia opens his first Los Angeles show at Gloria Delson Contemporary Art Gallery on April 1, and runs through May 1, 2014. Below is a selected list of his solo and group exhibitions. 2013

Hamburg Art Fair by Gallery Brunno Massa, Paris, France

20042007

Annual group shows of the Georgian Artist Union, National Gallery of Georgia, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia

2001

Solo Show, Kulturdach, Nuremberg, Germany

2000

Group Show Artistikum Gallery, Nuremberg, Germany

1995

Solo Show, Zeltner Schloss Gallery, Nuremberg, Germany.

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FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

EMERGENT PRESENCE BY ARTRA CURATORIAL | ARTRA Curatorial is comprised of Max Presneill (MP), Kio Griffith (KG) & Colton Stenke (CS)

JONATHAN APGAR Apgar has an intimate engagement with the process of interpreting the world via a conversational back and forth - that allows him the space to respond in ways that teeter between figuration and abstraction. The often large scale of the works provide a dynamic that can envelop the viewer but still retains that intimacy of purpose. These dichotomies exist in balance leaving a mysterious liminal space, where one thing becomes another, all with a vast reservoir of subtle and gestural applications of paint which draw the viewer into a somewhat hermetic world of intense and vibrant color, seeking to share the human experience. (MP). http://jonathanapgar.com

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(ABOVE) UNTITLED, 2013. OIL ON CANVAS. 84” X 60”. COURTESY ACME, LOS ANGELES. PHOTO: ROBERT WEDEMEYER (LEFT) UNTITLED, 2013. OIL ON CANVAS. 78” X 78”. COURTESY ACME, LOS ANGELES. PHOTO: ROBERT WEDEMEYER


FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

McLEAN FAHNESTOCK Singular events activate research-launch-pads for McLean Fahnestock’s heuristic expeditions transposing perpetuated myths  into  reconfigurated narratives questioning perceptual authenticity. Found footage, field recordings and collected institutional resources are systematically appropriated into contextual drifts sculpting the focal point of the exploration. Fahnestock’s editing prowesses capture microvisual indexes, accentuating gist knowledge and blinked oversights. Cued in sound bytes of presidential debates, meticulously organized with synchronized composites of all space shuttle lift-offs, her current  pièce de résistance taps into the Fahnestock history of explorers, grandfather and great uncle, in their own right, as purveyors of collected artifacts and data of the South Pacific. (KG). http://www.mcleanfahnestock.com

(ABOVE) GOOD DIRECTOR ISLANDS, 2013. ARCHIVAL INKJET PRINT, 24K GOLD, LASER ETCHED GLASS. (RIGHT) ROCKETLESS LAUNCH SERIES, 2010-2012. A SERIES OF ARCHIVAL INKJET PRINTS.

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FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

BEN JACKEL Violence, combat, safety, heroism, duty and physicality are all brought together in this sculptor's works of immaculate craftsmanship and taste. The capacity for brutality that humanity is capable of informs Jackel’s work, as much as the poignancy of our vulnerability, create a discourse between the pragmatic realities of this world and out own sense of mortality within it. The dichotomy between the aesthetic and the intent of weapons and tools has led his work to questions regarding the context of viewing and the nature of ourselves as a species. (MP). http://benjackel.com

(ABOVE) NEURON, 2012, MAHOGANY, GRAPHITE, AND EBONY, 5 X 34 X 48 INCHES. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND LA LOUVER. (RIGHT) FIRE HOSE (JAPANESE), 2013, STONEWARE, EBONY AND BEESWAX, 34 X 34 X 5 INCHES. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND LA LOUVER.

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FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

WILLIAM KAMINSKI The space between regular members of society and those deemed 'celebrity' is the source of Kaminski's often hilarious artworks, from sculpture to video works.  By injecting himself into standard situational tropes of movie making - the scenarios from this form of narrative - the common cultural mythologies of the 21st century are explored via the dynamics that separate the models of our difference and the Other through cinematic experiences. The inauthenticity of his filmed experiences forces us to re-examine our own motivations and perceptions of societal norms and where we establish our own ground rules for normality. (MP). http://www.williamkaminski.com

(ABOVE) DRUG AUDITION. VIDEO 24:28. 2014 (RIGHT) PARTY BOY. VIDEO 06:51. 2012

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FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

ANNIE LAPIN Piecing fragments of recollected dualities, transitional forms reshape interminably through Annie Lapin’s cogitative methods of playing out the physical and representational possibilities of painting as a real time medium mediating past with present. The semblant chaos is a force of colliding isomorphs resurrected from cancelled denominators of precepts, unchained of any references, deftly snapping back into an unfathomable true space of historical vestiges adapting to noetic dimensions of human ontology. Lapin’s work, as an archaeological paradigm reinvents object-spatial relationships that are never fully present, disclosed, final or conclusive: it is deferred, subject to redefinition and negotiation. (KG). http://www.honorfraser.com/?s=artists&aid=25

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(ABOVE) HERE TIMES THERE 2014. OIL AND ACRYLIC ENAMEL SPRAY PAINT ON CANVAS. 30 X 25 INCHES (LEFT) VARIOUS PEEP SHOWS (THROUGH) 2013. OIL AND ACRYLIC ENAMEL SPRAY PAINT ON CANVAS. 82 X 78 INCHES


FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

MOLLY LARKEY Sculptures and paintings by Larkey hum with the presence of the artist's hand reflecting decisions and alterations, gesture and engagement, and draw together multiple formal elements - a vast array of shapes, colors, patterns and materials - into a space which they learn to co-habit. The struggle to solve the object's need for resolution drives her intuitive practice. A journey without a known destination, each work becomes the site for this attempt at conflict resolution. Objects, shapes, forms and outlines provide a complex myriad of references while also embodying themselves alone - their own objecthood - in an elegant minimal sense. (MP). http://mollylarkey.com

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(ABOVE) RED ONE, TWO AND THREE, 2013. STEEL, PAINT. RED ONE: 120" X 24" X 24", RED TWO: 72" X 20" X 20", RED THREE: 48" X 20" X 20". COURTESY OF THE ARTIST. PHOTO: HEATHER RASMUSSEN (LEFT) AMPLIFY, 2013. ACRYLIC, PASTEL, AND CANVAS ON WATERCOLOR PAPER. 60" X 50". COURTESY OF THE ARTIST. PHOTO: HEATHER RASMUSSEN


FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

MARCOS LUTYENS Synesthetic codes interweave mind into matter plotting out the sensory itineraries of Marcos Lutyens’ pathways into psychoneurological fault lines. His osmotic experiments implement social interactivities to probe the intuitive networking of the unconscious and social dynamics comprised of advertisement, organized events, mathematical analysis and the rapidly changing technological mindscape. His unconventional use of hypnosis forges articulate passages between technology and mysticism, reawakening the animistic dimensions of perception. Lutyens’ interest is in disclosing the precarious ecological depths and sentience of nature, its evolving compromised relationship with humans, and the possibilities beyond our known senses. (KG). http://www.mlutyens.com

(ABOVE) FLAVOR COLLIDER AT THE FUTURE EVERYTHING FESTIVAL, MANCHESTER, UK. MAY 11-14 2011. (RIGHT) REFLECTING ROOM FOR HYPNOTIC SHOW AT DOCUMENTA 13, KASSEL. JUNE 6-SEPT 17 2012.

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FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

JOHN MILLS In the meditative balance of figuration and abstraction, John Mills engages mark making with new visual playing fields, an agile order of painted space and the ground it roots itself in. Colorful forms and gestural linework bleed into one another creating compositions of meandering romantic terminuses defying gravity over muted white ground, void but determined. Hinting without featuring signs of special sizes or shapes, Mills relies on intricate composition to create a subtle and harmonic garden. Its brilliance lies on its subtlety and transcendental sensitivities. Nothing is wasted yet there is ample space, all elements intertwine and are essential to the whole. (KG). http://www.weekendspace.org/john_mills.htm

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(ABOVE) SMASH YOUR HEAD ON THE PUNK ROCK, 2013, OIL ON CANVAS, 36 X 36 INCHES (LEFT) IDENTITY CRISIS, 2013, OIL AND GRAPHITE ON CANVAS, 30 X 30 INCHES


AMERICAN APERTURE AWARDS (AX3)

UNCOMMON VISIONS American Aperture Awards (AX3) WORDS LANEE LEE | PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS

ALIGNED WITH ITS MISSION of providing artists with opportunities to fur-

ther their careers, Fabrik Media’s AX3 photography competition launched in 2013. Celebrating the ever-evolving ‘iconic’ image, AX3 awards the photographic insights of new and emerging talent as well as professionals. There will also be an AX3 Exhibition at Photo Independent, an annual art fair produced by Fabrik Media and also making its debut this April in Hollywood, CA. With 1,100 entries from 63 countries for the inaugural American Aperture Awards (AX3), it was no simple task choosing only three recipients. The panel, made up of a creative professionals from diverse backgrounds, included: Graham Howe, Curator, Photo-Historian and CEO of Curatorial Assistance; Will Michels, Collections Photographer, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Maurice Ortega, founding member and director of The Queensland Centre for Photography (QCP) in Brisbane, Australia; Bobbi Fabian, photography chair at the New York Film Academy; Sarah Lee, longtime Los Angeles gallerist, art and photography curator; Daria Polichetti, co-founder of iPhoneart.com and Bob Weil, co-author of The Art of iPhone Photography – Creating Great Photos and Art on Your iPhone. “Our goal is to recognize emerging and seasoned talent in a range of photographic categories,” remarked Chris Davies, Founder and Director of AX3. “We were looking for artists with uncommon vision whose work is helping to shape today’s diverse photographic landscape. We are thrilled with the caliber of talent and enthusiasm from our entrants, making the final judging process a very difficult one.” Her photo collage work garnered Catherine Nelson the coveted Photographer of the Year award. Emerging Photographer of the Year was a tie, awarded to both Mattia Passarini of Italy for his piercing portraits and Kelsey Walsh of Australia for his viscerally haunting images. Britain-based Nettie Edwards with poetic black and white landscapes of Versailles’ Grand Canal claimed Mobile Photographer of the Year. 80

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AMERICAN APERTURE AWARDS (AX3)

In addition to the three major categories winners, AX3 also announced honorable mentions in 15 additional sub-categories, such as fashion, street and architecture photography. Announced last September, we caught up with the 2013 AX3 award recipients to talk cameras, creative inspirations and what’s next: Photographer of the Year: Catherine Nelson Belgium-based artist Catherine Nelson’s images are an amalgamation of reality and fantasy. Working with a combination of photography and digital ‘painting,’ she painstakingly assembles a work of art from hundreds of photographs. “A single photo is never a final product; rather, it contributes to a much larger assembled image,” says Nelson of her process. Her series “Other Worlds” was awarded the grand prize of AX3 2013, in which she received an honorarium and a new Lytro camera. What it means to win "Photographer of the Year”? I have worked more than 3 years on this body of work. To win an award like this is a great boost for me. What will you do with the prize money? The prize money is already spent. Because the work is so large, it is expensive to produce. Most of the money I earn, or in this case, win, returns to the work in some way. As the recipient of a new Lytro camera, what's your favorite feature about it? It’s such a clever camera and loads of fun. I really like the focus change capability after the shot is taken. Favorite camera you like to work with? I use a Canon 7D. And I love it. It is perfect for my work. It does not take full frame but it’s not necessary for the kind of work I do as I always cut up the photos I take. Source of creative inspiration? Definitely nature. It is an endless source of inspiration. I have recently done some shoots underwater and it has opened up a whole new world of image possibilities.

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AMERICAN APERTURE AWARDS (AX3)

What’s next? I have just completed “Expedition” – a new series that differs from the last body of work. The work continues to subvert the notion of horizon in landscape photography but in a different way. This series of five photos are about memories of a journey through a landscape versus straight landscape photography. These images describe my memories, feelings and interpretation of the place as much as the place itself. To view more of Nelson’s work, visit www.catherinenelson.net. Emerging Photographer of the Year: Mattia Passarini As the saying goes, the eyes are the windows to the soul. Like the famous image of the Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic in 1985, Passarini has a keen ability of capturing raw, human emotion. The subjects (mostly children) from varied cultures around the world – stare so boldly into the lens that the subjects seem to peer into the audience’s inner being rather than vice versa. What it means to you to win the award? Having won this first edition of AX3 was definitely very important for my future as photographer. Favorite camera you like to work with in creating your art? Nikon, 50mm lens. Why do portraits interest you? It’s amazing to me how an expression can excite me. My inspiration is the people and the emotion that they can transmit with their faces. What are you working on? I’m currently working on photographing tribal people from around the world and their body modifications such as tattooing, piercings and body paintings. To view more Passarini portraits, visit www.mattiapassarini.com

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AMERICAN APERTURE AWARDS (AX3)

Emerging Photographer of the Year: Kelsey Austin Walsh Based in Tasmania, Australia, Walsh has been an avid photographer since the age of 13. Although his Flickr albums are full of bright, cheery surf magazine-style photos, his Dali-like surrealistic style garnered the judges’ vote. The dark diptych personifies complex human emotions such as loneliness, rage and despair. What it means to you to win the AX3 award? It is a really great honor to win such an award, especially alongside other talented photographers. Go-to camera? My go-to camera is always my Nikon D800, lenses 50mm and 85mm. What inspires you the most? My greatest source of creative inspiration is music. Surprisingly, I have very few visual artist inspirations. Are you trying out any new approaches to photography? I have been doing a lot of self-portraits with water. I love the way you can never know exactly how the properties of water will be captured until after the photo has been taken. For more images by Walsh, visit www.kelseyaustin.com.au Mobile Photographer of the Year: Nettie Edwards Edwards’ iPhone photos will make the most staunch camera traditionalist a believer in the latest medium of photography. Mostly in black and white, her dreamlike images are poignant reminders of the mysterious beauty found in the mundane. Why do you prefer working with an iPhone versus a traditional camera? I previously worked with DSLRs and Photoshop but the combination of camera and art studio in one small mobile device provides me with a more intuitive and seamless creative workflow. My iPhone is a very accessible, intimate workspace, akin to a private journal that I occasionally allow others a glimpse into.

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AMERICAN APERTURE AWARDS (AX3)

Favorite photography app? For shooting: Hipstamatic, Cameramatic and Pro Camera. For Editing: Tiffin Photo. What inspires your work? Emotional engagement with a subject. Describe the emotional connection with the series you submitted to AX3? I visited Versailles, hoping to find the palace of Deborah Turbeville's "Unseen Versailles" photographs, but of course, it doesn't exist! I didn't connect emotionally with the Palace, not at all, but then I walked out onto the Parterres that overlook the gardens and saw the Grand Canal stretching out into the distance. My heart soared: it seemed so audacious! The geometry of it fascinated me and sucked me in. What future project are you most excited about? Over the coming year, I'll be undertaking an artist's residency at Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucester. I’ll be shooting mobile photographs of the garden and its produce, then creating anthotype prints (image created using the photosensitive properties of plants) with the pulp of the same flowers, fruit and vegetables. Anthotypes are not permanent; over time they will fade and disappear. It's going to be a very meditative process to create work that's so ephemeral and connected to the cycle of nature. You can follow the project on Twitter/Instagram @hortus_lucis More of Edward’s mobile photography here: http://www.lumilyon.500px.com The images on the following pages are from photographers whose entries won or are honorable mentions in the inaugural AX3 Exhibition. Further information about the competition and the winning photographers can be found on the AX3 website at http://www.ax3.cc

(Right) AX3 PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Catherine Nelson, Australia/Belgium 1. Mission II 2. Snowy Mountains 3. Beach

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AX3 PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY WINNERS

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Brett Price, Australia St. Kilda Skateboard Park Architecture/Cityscape

Warren Zelman, Canada The Future of Healthcare Documentary

Borys Makary, Poland Raw Fashion


Peter Lik, USA Inner Peace Landscape/Seascape/ Nature

Kristofer DanBergman, USA S_PACE’ Conceptual/Experimental

Jaime Travezan, UK Hotel B Advertising


WM Stetz, USA Lone Flute Street Photography

Chong Kok Yew, Malaysia Peep Abstract

Sasha Vom Dorp, USA Sound Bending Light Video/Moving Images


(Above Left) Tim Hawley, USA Heard But Unseen Still Life

(Above Right) Klaus Kampert, Germany Torsi Nudes

(Left) Beomisk Won, Korea Archisculpture Collage


AX3 NON-PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY WINNERS

EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Mattia Passarini, Italy Sguardi Series People/Portraits

(Above Right) EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Kelsey Walsh, Australia One Final Act of Self-Suffocation Conceptual/Experimental


Jewls Anderson, USA Nightingale Collage

John Eaton, USA English Medieval Cathedrals Architecture/Cityscape


Chan Kwok Hung, Hong Kong Playground Documentary

Guido Dingemans, Netherlands Ashura Mud Men Street Photography

Holly Harrah, USA Manhattan Abstract


Florence Leung, Canada Touch of Light Fashion

Mac Oller, Poland Land’s End Landscape/Seascape/Nature

(Far Left) Timofey Tararin, Russia Range Rover Evoque Advertising

(Left) Breckon, New Zealand Set This House in Order Still Life


AX3 MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY CATEGORY WINNERS

MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Nettie Edwards, UK Versailles Grand Canal Landscape/Seascape/Nature

1 David Ingraham, USA Big City Solitude Street Photography 3 Susan Tuttle, USA Birth Nudes 5 Lisa Waddell, USA Headstand Still Life

2 Ioannis Sidiropoulos, Greece Melting Dreams People/Portraits 4 Mattia Vacca, Italy Srebrenica Photojournalism 6 Sandi Wiggins, USA Wooden Life Architecture/Cityscape


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1 Tami Zeman, USA My Vermont Documentary 2 Eloise Capet, France Stocking and Black Shoes Fashion 3 Valerie McBride, USA 6th Street Study Collage 4 Cindy Patrick, USA H2O Conceptual/Experimental 5 Chong Kok Yew, Malaysia Untitled Abstract

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AX3 STUDENT CATEGORY WINNERS

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1 Won Kim, USA Abstract City Architecture/Cityscape

3 Donghyun Kim, USA Pier57 Manhattan Fashion

2 Karina Sechi, Brazil Projected Bodies Nudes

4 Ryota Kajita, USA Ice Formation Series Abstract

5 Kevin Novales, USA Mundane, Mundane Still Life


1 Christian Werner, Germany Punished by the Gods Documentary 2 Marcus Desieno, USA Cellular Self Portrait Conceptual/Experimental 3 Jessica Glover, USA Bituminous People/Portraits 4 Pawel Jaskiewicz, Poland Barcelona Street Photography 5 Laci Kent, USA Pickin Advertising

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SPOTLIGHT ON PHOTOGRAPHY In conjunction with Month of Photography in Los Angeles, Santa Monica Auctions is holding its first SPOTLIGHT ON PHOTOGRAPHY AUCTION, on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 4 pm. This auction is a milestone, marking the continued inroads of photography in the fine art marketplace. The auction house is offering more than 100 photographic prints for sale. Here are three of Fabrik’s favorites. WORLD #9 2005, is by Dutch artist Ruud van Empel. This big 47 x 33 inch Cibachrome print is rear mounted on aluminum and face mounted to Plexiglas. The Cibachrome printing method gives a lush saturation and fecundity to the verdant jungle green and tropical flowers in the scene. The artist’s most famous works are signature pieces of black children set in lush gardens, similar to World WORLD #9, 2005 • RUUD VAN EMPEL #9. Van Empel has produced countless books, has been exhibited in many international venues and is the subject of a documentary about his work called Beyond Innocence. This print is from an edition of 9. It is signed, titled, dated and numbered on verso. Its provenance is attributed to Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA. Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Lester Persky Attend Steve Rubell’s Birthday Party at Studio 54, New York, December 2, 1978, by Ron Galella. Galella is the infamous photographer who practically invented Paparazzism. Sued by Jackie Onassis numerous times and vigorously punched out by Marlon Brando, Gallella shot some of the most indelible celebrity images of his day. This vintage 9.5 x 7 inch print goes up for auction in a 12 x 9.5 inch frame. It is signed and studio stamped in verso. It was acquired directly from the artist. In 2010, a documentary was made about his work called Smash His Camera. A D V E R T O R I A L


Gothic Fantasy, 1979 Arthur Tress. Known for surrealist nudes of which Gothic Fantasy is one, Tress’s work is in the collections of Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris, France, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam Netherlands, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many others. Numerous monographs and photo books have been published about Tress’s work. To date, there has not been a film made about Arthur Tress but there should be as he is an important iconic American photographer. This vintage 11 x 14 inch gelatin silver print is from an edition of 25. It is studio stamped on verso and signed and numbered on recto. The print comes from the collection of Paul Bridgewater, Director of Smart Clothes Gallery NY. Previews of the photography for sale begin April 1, 2014, and can be viewed at Gallery A5 at Bergamot Station and online at www.smauctions.com. SMA continues to consider consignments of photographic works. For more information, visit the auction’s website.

ANDY WARHOL, TRUMAN CAPOTE & LESTER PERSKY ATTEND STEVE RUBELL’S BIRTHDAY PARTY AT STUDIO 54, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 2, 1978 • RON GALELLA

GOTHIC FANTASY, 1979 • ARTHUR TRESS

A D V E R T O R I A L


COMING OUT, GOING IN

CHERRY AND MARTIN 2712 South La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles WORDS PETER FRANK

COMING OUT: “Supports/Surfaces is Alive and Well” (January 18-March 15) France has been as dynamic a site for artistic experimentation since World War II as it was before, but since the École de Paris lost its dominance, developments in France have been obscured, unjustly, by activity elsewhere (especially, but not exclusively, in America). One of the most fascinating developments in French art, emerging in the mid-1960s, was a questioning of painterly practice – a challenge posed not only to the pictorial pretensions of painting but to the medium’s physical conventions. We may know the work of Daniel Buren and his cohorts, reducing painting to a minimal kind of branding; but the painting of their contemporaries, the artists of the Supports/Surfaces group, is all but unknown in the U.S. The group, flourishing in the 70s, unhinged the canvas from its supports, insisting on the physicality not just of the painting surface but of its contour, its material, and even its heft. For all their materialist – even Maoist – rhetoric, the Supports/Surfaces artists, including such accomplished painters as Louis Cane, Claude Viallat, Daniel Dezeuze, Noël Dolla, Pierre Buraglio, and Jean-Michel Meurice evolved visually engaging, even attractive forms and formats to drive home their point. Acutely aware of abstract expressionism, color field painting, and other American innovations, as well as the often-brutal paintingobjects of Fontana, Burri, Tapiès, and other European “physical” painters, the Supports/Surfaces artists were sold on the virtue not of ugliness, but of honesty. A painting could hang limp or be cut into eccentric shapes or have holes poked in it or be dyed and draped like a banner, but it could – perhaps even should – still glow with mysterious and beautiful hues. And the odd shapes such “sculpted” painting might assume could also be lively and witty, dramatic to the point of theatrical, and even elegant. These artists, who initially came together in the south of France, could not deny their Matissean patrimony. As a result, they generated a body of work distinctive, if not unique, in its buoyancy and grace. The Supports/Surfaces artists drove home the facture of the canvas – or gauze, or plastic, or whatever supporting material might come to hand – precisely by drawing our attention to the objects in the first place, countering the ascetic purity of minimalism per se with a willingness to appeal to the eye.

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COMING OUT, GOING IN

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(In this regard they paralleled Shaped Canvases and Lyrical Abstraction in the States and anticipated Pattern Painting.) It was a great delight to see strong examples of the aforementioned Supports/Surfaces painters hang in a Los Angeles gallery forty years after they were made. The gallery did not have to demonstrate that “Supports/Surfaces is alive and well” by interspersing the work of two current LA artists, Noam Rappaport and Jennifer Boysen, substantive and even relevant as these young artists’ work is; the work of the French postwar painters stands, if anything, better on its own. (Indeed, so does Rappaport’s and Boysen’s.) Conversely, a vitrine showing off avant-garde literature and book experiments by the Supports/Surfaces artists and their literary pals in the Tel Quel group would have revived and revealed their thinking even further.

ALAN SHIELDS • SUBWAY SERIES, 1984 • ACRYLIC, THREAD, GLASS BEADS, COTTON BELTING ON CANVAS • 71 X 71 INCHES. COURTESY OF CHERRY & MARTIN, LOS ANGELES. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT WEDEMEYER.

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COMING OUT, GOING IN

GOING IN: Lew Thomas: Structuralism and Photography (March 22-April 26) The “orthodox” conceptual art of the late 1960s and early 70s depended almost as heavily on photography as it did on language to convey its ideas and even construct its relatively ephemeral presence. Not surprisingly, conceptualism found its way into straightahead photographic presence –with the incorporation not only of language, but of ideas themselves stripped to their basics. Lew Thomas, based in San Francisco at the time, was one of the first photographers to take up such a “post-visual” style, one that emphasized the physical and technical reality of the camera and the print and juxtaposed that reality with the visual reality of the image. Experimental filmmakers were already exploring this approach, under the rubric of “structuralism,” a term Thomas adopted for his own work. (Not accidentally, his sequential pieces resemble splayedout film strips.) This survey of 1970s photoworks by Thomas – many of them reconstructed in the last few years – reveals how stark and lucid his “structuralism” was, and remains. It often seems more like Pop art than conceptualism, presenting objects – a yardstick, a vacuum cleaner – as unadorned, un-contextualized images and sequences of urban spaces, à la Ed Ruscha, as documents shorn of all visual interest beyond the circumstance of their existence. Of course, as Thomas knew – and wanted to demonstrate – visual interest always accrues to imagery, and the camera is as much an instrument of mystification as of demystification. Some of his works, such as Polaroid Hand – in which Thomas takes a Polaroid of his hand, then takes a Polaroid of the Polaroid, etc. – expose the process but play, mischievously, with the concept. Others, such as Light-on-Floor, a series of twenty-odd black-and-white prints following the diurnal passage of sunlight across an interior, record a visually moving but entirely quotidian event, concentrating our attention on the pleasures, and pleasure, of seeing. Thomas’ use of multiple photographs to construct a photowork – particularly in those pieces (such as Vacuum) in which the photos are assembled into a single coherent image – was also a logical but innovative step in the “structuralization” of photographic practice, again building on the practice of conceptual artists and structuralist filmmakers alike but turning the whole thing back on the medium of photography itself. Thomas, who has returned to the Bay Area after spending decades in

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COMING OUT, GOING IN

LEW THOMAS • LIGHT-ON-FLOOR, 1973/2014 • 24 GELATIN SILVER PRINTS, MOUNTED AND FRAMED • 1/5 (ED. 5 + 2AP) • 29 X 42 INCHES OVERALL. COURTESY OF CHERRY & MARTIN, LOS ANGELES. PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN FORREST.

other parts of the United States, was only one of a number of photo-conceptualists, in America and elsewhere, exploring these issues four decades ago; but this exhibition gives him his due as an artist, not just a historical symptom. It reveals how sensitive Thomas was both to the image itself and to the photograph as an object, recognizing that, if these central factors in photography were going to be deconstructed, they could not disappear into a cloud of intellectual postulation, but had to retain their presence as self-evident facts. Indeed, stripping away everything else but the thing itself and/or the picture of the thing was the result, if not the purpose, of “structuralizing” the photographic medium – exposing visual pleasure, or at least satisfaction, in a conceptualist practice supposedly designed to negate the visual.

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ART ABOUT TOWN WITH PETER FRANK

Peter Frank’s

MUSEUM VIEWS MUSEUM OF LATIN AMERICAN ART Frida Kahlo: Her Photos THROUGH JUNE 8

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It should be clarified at the outset: “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos” is not an exhibition of photography, it is an exhibition of photographic images. It is not an art exhibition, it is an exhibition that traces an artist’s biography. It is not an exhibition of originals, it is an exhibition of reproductions. As such, it works – although it might pose some problem for photographic and museological purists. It should also be clarified that only five of the photographs whose latter-day, stunningly faithful giclée reproductions hang on the wall here were taken by Frida Kahlo (and one of these is a tentative attribution). Reassuringly, two of those five are handsome, poignant still life shots – not what you’d think of as Kahlo’s work, but logical in light of her background and her milieu. Two others are scrapbook items, a portrait of her nephew and one of her dog. The attribution is a soaring shot of Rockefeller Center’s main building – a modernist image with personal resonance: 30 Rock was the site of Diego Rivera’s controversial, ultimately suppressed mural. Every item in the exhibition has been reproduced from Kahlo’s personal collection, currently archived at the Casa Azul museum dedicated to her legacy and Rivera’s. “Her Photos” culls from Kahlo’s mementos, from her keepsakes, and gives us details about her life and even work we may not already have known, or may have forgotten. For instance, the front part of the show brims with images of her parents and grandparents – in particular her German-born father Guillermo Kahlo, a professional photographer in Mexico City who seemed to specialize in portraiture (especially self-portraiture). But the elder Kahlo was also an accomplished photo-journalist, so what we see here is Kahlo and his family, intimately, through his daughter’s eyes. Indeed, we see everything through Frida. The turn-of-the-century portrait cards, the images of indigenous Mexican peoples, the various lovers on the beach, Diego at moments of repose, group shots with people cut out of them, Frida in various hospital beds, all document not simply Kahlo’s life but Kahlo’s point of view, her biases, her attitudes, her moods. Much of the show constitutes a visual autobiography of sorts, built of images taken by others. 112

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ART ABOUT TOWN WITH PETER FRANK

FRIDA PAINTING THE PORTRAIT OF HER FATHER BY GISÈLE FREUND, 1951 ©FRIDA KAHLO MUSEUM

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ART ABOUT TOWN WITH PETER FRANK

FRIDA KAHLO BY GUILLERMO KAHLO, 1932 ©FRIDA KAHLO MUSEUM

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ART ABOUT TOWN WITH PETER FRANK

The exhibition takes a less subjective turn in its last two sections, where Diego’s photo collection and that shared by Diego and Frida are displayed. Not surprisingly, Rivera’s personal assembly stresses the political and the social, and is pretty heavy on the Soviet propaganda and its Mexican revolutionary equivalents, although surprisingly light on documentation of Rivera’s own activity, artistic or otherwise. Frida seemed more interested in documenting what Diego was doing than Diego did. Who knew. The most visually (as opposed to narratively) gratifying section presents work by photographers close with or otherwise of interest to the couple, masters such as Tina Modotti, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Martin Munkacsi, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Brassaï, even Charles Sheeler. The work of some of these, along with that of Gisele Freund and Nickolas Muray, also appears in the more intimate sections (as well they should, given Kahlo’s purported liaisons with Muray, Freund, and/or Weston). The presence of these items, many of them landmarks in the history of modernist photography, poses a problem not posed by the other images in the show. Like those other images, these masterworks, part and parcel of Frida’s and Diego’s personal belongings, figure in their photographic history. But they also figure in the history of photography. Like everything around them in “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos,” these photographs are displayed in reproduction. But as stand-alone photographs, part of an artistic legacy far larger than that housed in the Casa Azul, they exist independently of this documentary. The fact of their reproduction thus seems to diminish them in the context of museum display. It would have been foolish, and hellish, and ultimately useless to have sent along the originals. Their close approximations here suffice to help tell the tale “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos” tells. But photo buffs and inveterate museum-goers alike will be jarred by their presence as reproductions rather than original artifacts. The entire show, these particular images seem to admit, could exist quite sufficiently as a book. (In fact, it does.) Pictures work differently on a wall than they do on a sequence of bound pages; but it’s precisely on a wall where they are challenged to present themselves as artifacture. The thrill of seeing an anonymous 19th-century portrait framed in its original printed cardboard may be beside the point here, but that of seeing an original Weston or Modotti – not to mention Kahlo – is not. Fortunately, this cognitive dissonance does not compromise the intention or effect of “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos,” but it does rankle a bit. For more information, please visit http://www.molaa.org

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ARTIST MARKET

Breckon |

PHOTOGRAPHER

Set This House In Order is a photographic archival series that dissects objects silently present during Breckon’s childhood and adolescence. With time, objects begin to store memories. They bear the scars and rewards of touch, movement, wear and age. The 1980’s briefcase bears the bruises of its lifetime. It is rusty at its metal edges, stained and worn in its retirement. As though someone could actually know an object and all its memories, Breckon photographically documents objects from the old family home, creating facsimiles of the touchstones of childhood in gloriously painstaking detail. Photographed from every possible angle, the objects reemerge, flat and glossy as though they have been dissected and then sutured back into anatomically correct, yet slightly disquieted models of themselves. Breckon is a New Zealand artist gaining reputation abroad with a unique style of photography.

View work online: www.breckon.co • Email: breckonart@gmail.com


Glen Wexler Photographer

Hilary Sloane Photographer

Artwork available on www.artcapitol.com

hilarysloane@gmail.com hfs.photoshelter.com

Andy Warhol by Karen Bystedt and Chris Saunders

John Waguespack Artist, San Francisco, CA

Artwork available on www.artcapitol.com

info@jwagart.com jwagart.com


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April 25-27, 2014 Raleigh Studios, Hollywood photoindependent.com

PHOTO: BOURGOYEN: EARLY AUTUMN © CATHERINE NELSON. 2013 AX3 PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR WINNER — WWW.AX3.CC

Making its inaugural debut in 2014, and running concurrently with Paris Photo Los Angeles, PHOTO INDEPENDENT is the first and only high-visibility art fair showcasing independent photographers.

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Fabrik - Issue 24