Los Angeles can often be found hosting two person shows, typically an artist in the front and a second artist taking a smaller room in the back. This is common practice; Susan Vielmetter does this with her backroom and Steve Turner with his upstairs space. For the viewer, this means an extended commitment – to move around and about the gallery, often away from crowds in order to discover the complete show. These exhibitions, often called solos, make us wonder if the gallery intended to connect the works of the two artists.
Night Gallery manages to do this seamlessly in their new and significantly larger downtown location. Walls in the middle of the space create an inner and outer architectural experience as pieces get discovered by way of turning corners and walking around. The ergonomics of the gallery allow for a separation without creating a hierarchy between the artists, allowing the pieces to compliment each other from their separate show vantage points.
In the outer arena is SKECHERS SHAPE-UPS WORK, the project by Anna Rosen, a recent Columbia graduate and painter. She explores the Skecher shoe by slicing and distorting its shape in order to understand the product’s underlying agenda and mystique. “Skechers shape ups work (sad)” is the Skecher shoe after having been dissected and placed onto a flat canvas. By removing its functionality as a wearable object, Rosen is able to demonstrate that the Skecher still holds commercial value – not as a wearable, but as a recognizable force found through its branding and branding history. Rosen believes that with this excavation the shoe is strengthened in its design and its symbolism can be properly examined.
Turning a corner in the gallery brings us to a cement site specific work entitled, “Wall (Up)”. This bent shape is curved into the recess of two gallery walls and creates a new walkway for exiting and entering a part of the gallery. The material, similar to materials found in the gallery, makes us examine our own footwear, or lack thereof of Skechers, as we climb or become blocked by the piece.
The inner walls of the gallery house Matt Connolly’s paintings, the second part of the title, WORK. Connolly attended Sarah Lawrence and now resides in Los Angeles. He describes his practice as similar to that of a farmer’s relationship to his garden, in reference to his laborious marks and ample amount of time spent building his pieces. He tries to allow the work to develop, sprouting from its own system of logic. Paper strips are woven together repeatedly and then given details by way of tiny red marks, as seen in “Food Studio”. Acrylic painted dots layer upon each other with a glowing green back wash in “Hand Sand Painting (Blue)”. A framework is important to the paintings and little change is desired once the laboring over them has begun. Connolly puts value into the process of making these works and lets the finished pieces be a gift of his patience.
SKECHERS SHAPE-UPS WORK, WORK is on view until June 22th 2013 at Night Gallery.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12 – 7pm or by appointment. For more information visit here.
-Contributed by Hailey Loman