A rogue wave is “An unpredictable, abnormally large wave that occurs on a seemingly random basis in the oceans.”
Rogue Wave ’05, an exhibition of work by nineteen artists that aims to capture the spirit and vitality of the new art currently being made in Los Angeles, opens Thursday at L.A. Louver Gallery in Venice.
This exhibition has been curated by Peter Goulds, director of the gallery, and Christopher Pate, its artist and chief preparatory.
The opening of Rogue Wave ’05 coincides with the approaching thirty-year anniversary of L.A. Louver, which was founded to develop an international exhibition program from its base in Venice.
Since 1975, L.A. Louver has organized 429 exhibitions and performances in Los Angeles, New York and at international art fairs. These presentations have contextualized the work of Los Angeles’ artists with that of artists from throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, South America and Japan.
While the recognition of the artists the gallery represents has grown, it has retained its abiding interest in the emerging art being made in our time and in the city of Los Angeles – this unique, sprawling, unfathomable place.
In that spirit, Goulds and Pate reviewed the portfolios of over a hundred artists and made 36 studio visits in curating this exhibition, which includes works made in a wide range of media.
Following up on Rogue Wave ’01: eleven artists from Los Angeles, Rogue Wave ’05: nineteen artists from Los Angeles includes painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation, and conceptual art, which have been installed in the first and second floor galleries, as well as the exterior spaces of L.A. Louver.
A gallery spokesperson said, “Like a rogue wave to the Californian surfer, this show aims to surprise. Represented in Rogue Wave ’05 are works by both established artists, who have exhibited for over a decade, such as Drew Dominick, Evan Holloway and Lucas Reiner, as well as artists recently graduating from college and art schools, including Tomory Dodge, Jessica Minckley and Nathan Mabry.
A large wrap-around banner on the exterior of the gallery created by B&T (Brooke Sauer and Tyler Ingle) heralds Rogue Wave ’05. Known for their carnivalesque and theatrical approach to performance, the duo presents a video (from which the marching band image of the banner is drawn) in the gallery’s second floor sky room. Video is also the medium of Joe Sola, whose subject, the Los Angeles County Museum on fire, directly reflects Ed Ruscha’s infamous painting. In addition, Sola shows work from his Ruins Series: ethereal watercolors of museums in which the artist has exhibited, depicted in a state of ruin. The subject of destruction is also explored by several other artists in the exhibition: Whitney Bedford paints shipwrecks and battlegrounds, which in their storytelling and mark-making, capture passion, violence, chaos and despair, while Violet Hopkins contributes two small, intensely wrought and meticulously painted volcanoes spewing fire and dense smoke, as well as a more expansive watercolor from her Fauna series. Lucas Reiner’s paintings depict the upper portions of wounded curbside trees that have been carved and cut by the Department of Transportation to ensure their growth does not disturb the flow of traffic or encroach on buildings. Painted in the landscape tradition, the trees possess distinct personalities and a quiet grandeur.
Surreal and at times apocalyptic landscapes are depicted in the sweepingly gestural oil paintings of Tomory Dodge. The surreal is also addressed in the work of Kelly McLane who is represented here by a single, large painting on paper (51 x 191 inches) that represents the artist’s light and detailed drawing style. An ethereal reality is conveyed in the mixed media works of Sean Higgins, who combines acrylic and laser print transfer within sanded Plexiglas to map mysterious landscapes.
Representation gives way to abstraction in Mark Bradford’s complex lyrical work, that incorporates dyes, end papers (small square pieces of tissue paper used for hair permanents) and stencils to beguiling effect. In contrast, Christopher Pate’s paintings on burlap create windows that reveal environments and atmospheres of enigmatic sensual content. Gestural abstractions, in addition to photorealistic depictions of found footage (such as newspaper articles and artistic icons), are present in Karl Haendel’s large format drawings that are variously displayed solo, in groups, leaning against the wall and, in this exhibition, to be walked upon. Rodney McMillian’s work is also conceptually driven, and draws upon a wide range of materials to address his interest in aesthetics as expressed through art and bourgeois concepts of taste. In Rogue Wave ’05 McMillian is represented by a single work, a “cake” composed of ornamented found mattresses in the gallery’s courtyard.
Drew Dominick creates complex tableaux using a diversity of found and fabricated materials such as children’s toys, wax figures, photographs and paint cans to compose simulacra of violent and magical realities. Evan Holloway’s delightfully humorous, wry sculpture addresses an ambivalent relationship with nature and the sustainability of our environment. The quietly ironic is also the basis for Tetsuji Aono’s figuratively based sculpture, which combines clay with cloth and found objects. The abject and erotic subsumes Tanya Batura’s haunting series of heads created from glazed clay, while Nathan Mabry works with clay, wood and plaster to create idiosyncratic figurative sculptures that express a playful sense of humor, often through the juxtaposition of ancient art forms with minimalist constructs from recent art history. Mindy Shapero combines material attributes in her sculptural work, which is rooted in her interest in how objects take on airs of fantasy and the fantastic as in a myth or fairytale. Jessica Minckley also addresses fantasy in her work, contributing a series of meticulously rendered ink and colored pencil drawings of child-like creatures that seem to have escaped from a larger narrative.
An 80-page full-color catalogue that documents both Rogue Wave ’01 and Rogue Wave ’05, including information about all participating artists and an introduction by Peter Goulds, is being published in conjunction with the exhibition.
An artists’ reception will be held tomorrow, Thursday, June 30, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the gallery, which, fittingly, is located at 45 North Venice Boulevard, a half-block from the ocean. The exhibition will run through the summer to September 3.L.A. Louver Gallery, 45 N. Venice Blvd. Venice, CA 90291 (310) 822-4955 FAX: (310) 821-7529 www.lalouver.com