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J E F F

R A U

H A Z E


H A Z E


Quietude. Beautiful Dream. Silver Screen. These words and phrases conjure a reverie particularly befitting Los Angeles and its associations with the idealized glamour of a Hollywood lifestyle. In point of fact, they are the romanticized names of paint colors that index local atmospheric conditions as chronicled in Jeff Rau’s series Haze. The fleeting experience of light and perceptual phenomena has long been a source of inspiration to artists working in Southern California, and Rau engages this trajectory and infuses it with fresh relevance for a contemporary audience. In this series, the artist documents the ineffable experience of light and atmospheric conditions over a two-year period in which he made a daily ritual of observing and photographing a landscape cloaked in haze. The temporal span of each month is condensed into photographs such as 30 Days over L.A. (June 2011), a single image that highlights the fugitive nature of this landscape and the faint shifts and gradations that are otherwise almost imperceptible. Juxtaposed day-by-day, the golden light of Southern California loses its appeal as the monochromatic bands of color expose it as a particulate-laden smog choking the landscape. At the same time, the month-by-month repetition of a single vista underscores difference among the sameness, heightening one’s awareness of the subtleties of perception. While Rau’s work evokes the often repetitive, spare forms of Minimalism and the typological tactics of Conceptual art, the series is deeply rooted in a painterly impulse, albeit filtered through the lens of a camera. Lush, color-field images belie the typological impulse by which the artist matches paint chips to the corresponding sky condition. Taking their titles from the paint chips and the date and time of their recording such as Beautiful Dream over Skyline Steel—December 31, 2010 1:49 pm., these works at first glance suggest lyrical paintings but, in a conceptual stratagem, are photographs of the paint chips themselves. One color bleeds into another, the blurred, out of focus image seemingly obscured by haze. Fiona Ragheb October 2013


I am fascinated by the ever-shifting cloud that cloaks the city of Los Angeles in an obfuscating haze: one day nearly opaque and the next offering visibility for miles; one day a blue misty fog and the next a distinctly gray-brown cloud of smog and grit. In June 2010, I began methodically documenting the color of this low cloud on the horizon (compared against the more vivid color of the overhead sky). Home Depot paint sample cards supplied a consistent external reference to describe the specific color experience. Daily photographs also captured a landscape that is ever disappearing into and emerging from the haze. After two full years, the daily rituals of color matching, photographing, and weather/air-quality data collection highlight the broad range of possible conditions and explore some of the factors that contribute to these varied results. This archive of documentation is presented in a variety of visual forms. Each image entitled “30 Days Over LA� represents one month’s worth of photographs in a single view, highlighting the disappearing/reappearing quality of this landscape. The resultant images are simultaneously alluring and subtly disturbing, as one is led to consider the ecological impact of our city. Also, a series of large color field images seem at first to be abstract paintings, but are in fact soft-focus photographs of paint sample cards that correspond to actual sky/haze colors observed at a specific date and time. Here too there is a certain attraction/repulsion as the highly romanticized color names call attention to idealized emotional color associations and at times add their own humorous or ironic commentary. Lastly, complete documentation of daily observations paired with air quality and weather conditions further allows viewers to investigate for themselves, seeking patterns that relate color and visibility to atmospheric conditions and air quality. Jeff Rau


C a l e n d a r G ri d Ju n e 2 0 1 0


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - Ju n e 2 0 1 1


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - Ju ly 2 0 1 1


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - Au g u s t 2 0 1 1


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - S ep t e m b e r 2 0 1 1


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - O c t o b e r 2 0 1 1


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - N ove m b e r 2 0 1 1


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - Ja nu a r y 2 0 1 2


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - Feb r u a r y 2 0 1 2


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - M a rc h 2 0 1 2


2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 2 2 ” x 3 4 ” - Fra m e d


3 0 D ay s ove r L A - A p ri l 2 0 1 2


C a l e n d a r G ri d S ep t e m b e r 2 0 1 1


C a s t l e M o a t o v e r G ray T i m b e r Wo l f

2 0 1 1 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 4 8 ” x 3 8 . 5 ” o n a l u m i nu m cl a d p a n e l


N ove m b e r 3 0 , 2 0 1 0 - 1 1 : 2 0 a m


Beautiful Dream over Skyline Steel

2 0 1 1 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 4 8 ” x 3 8 . 5 ” o n a l u m i nu m cl a d p a n e l


December 31, 2010 - 1:49 pm


L i g h t Fr e n c h G ray o v e r S i l v e r S c r e e n

2 0 1 1 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 4 8 ” x 3 8 . 5 ” o n a l u m i nu m cl a d p a n e l


Ja nu a r y 9 , 2 0 1 1 - 2 : 0 2 p m


Q u i e t u d e o v e r Tw i l i g h t G ray

2 0 1 1 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 4 8 ” x 3 8 . 5 ” o n a l u m i nu m cl a d p a n e l


M a rc h 2 3 , 2 0 1 1 - 5 : 2 0 p m


M a n h a t t a n M i s t o v e r R i d g e V i ew

2 0 1 1 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 4 8 � x 3 8 . 5 � o n a l u m i nu m cl a d p a n e l


M ay 2 3 , 2 0 1 1 - 1 2 : 4 1 p m


Flying Fish over Liberty Sky

2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 4 8 ” x 3 8 . 5 ” o n a l u m i nu m cl a d p a n e l


October 13, 2011 - 4:00pm


Flying Fish over Impressionist Sky

2 0 1 2 a rc h iva l i n k j e t p ri n t - 4 8 ” x 3 8 . 5 ” o n a l u m i nu m cl a d p a n e l


A p ri l 2 6 , 2 0 1 2 - 4 : 1 4 p m


Jeff Rau is an artist, curator, and educator, born in 1978 in the Chicago suburbs and now living in Long Beach, CA. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Valparaiso University, Indiana, in 2000. After moving to southern California he developed an increasing passion for the arts, soon leaving his engineering work to pursue a career in the arts. In 2011, Rau earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from California State University, Fullerton. Rau employs photography and other documentary media (video and sound) in a conceptual practice of archiving, mapping, and serial performance. He is also a founding member and active curator with Sixpack Projects, and he teaches photography and digital media at Biola University.


HAZE by Jeff Rau can be viewed by appointment from October 24th through January 17th, 2014.

5055 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, California 90036 323.525.0500 phone 323.525.0955 fax www.coarchitects.com


HAZE: A project by Jeff Rau  

HAZE is the catalog accompanying an exhibition of works by Jeff Rau at CO Gallery in Los Angeles. Also featuring an essay by Fiona Ragheb. E...

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