A new season of exhibitions has arrived at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) with an opening reception scheduled for tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to celebrate the trio of new works.
In the Main Gallery, “Rudy’s Ramp of Remainders” is a new sculptural installation by acclaimed artist Michael Queenland.
In Project Room 1, a selection of new mixed-media paintings on paper and sculptural forms by artist Kianja Strobert will be presented in the installation “Nothing to Do but Keep Going.”
In Project Room 2, an installation of seminal drawings by artist Agnes Denes makes up the installation “Body Prints, Philosophical Drawings, and Map Projections, 1969 – 1978.”
SMMoA executive director Elsa Longhauser said she was excited for the new season of installations at the museum.
“Artists make us see the world in new and unexpected ways; their creative vision enables us to interpret and understand the complex times we live in,” Longhauser said. “They expand our consciousness. Each of the three artists whose work is on view this season – Michael Queenland, Agnes Denes, and Kianja Strobert – has created an original vocabulary of abstract form. They use the trace – a brush stroke, a mark, an impression – to reveal their particular narratives and points of view.”
Queensland’s installation is inspired by Rudis Resterampe, which roughly translates to “Rudy’s Pile of Leftovers” – a German discount store filled with surplus items that he discovered during his 2009 fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin.
Queenland allegorically transforms various found materials into “ramps” – loosely grouped objects composed into discrete sculptural assemblages.
These sculptures reveal how Queenland’s intervention reshapes the commonplace and embeds unexpected connotations into cultural material.
The installation is made of discarded newspapers, garbage bags, watermelons, inflated balloons, cereal, and other cultural inventory organized into a metaphoric and allegorical response to current events.
The exhibition continues Queenland’s poetic examination of cultural, communal, and biographical forms that are at once dislocated from their original context and repositioned in the collective imagination.
Meanwhile, in Project Room 1, “Nothing to Do but Keep Going” is Strobert’s first solo museum exhibition.
Strobert premieres work that explores the cyclical and inevitable process of failure, as well as the allegorical implications of training one’s body and mind for life’s marathon. She uses quotidian materials in combination with traditional painterly mediums to present a radical approach to abstract painting.
In some works, Strobert even shatters industrial cinderblocks, whose jagged shards serve as the ground for abstract, three-dimensional compositions. Strobert’s practice often alters a material’s original function to create fractured topographical surfaces and embed unexpected social content to unconventional materials, including pumice, pigmented sand, orange peels, and torn canvas.
“Nothing to Do but Keep Going” reveals how commonplace matter can transcend the expected boundaries of painting and mark making.
To round out the new season of works, Project Room 2 highlights the works of Agnes Denes.
For the past five decades, Denes’ practice has become synonymous with ecologically driven interventions into the landscape and socially driven approaches that symbiotically engage with the environment.
As a pioneer of the Environmental and Conceptual Art movements, Denes applies the exacting precision and unwavering consistency ofmathematics to the often subjective, tenuous, and unstable concepts of ecological awareness and environmental sustainability.
SMMoA’s newly appointed curator-at-large Jeffrey Uslip organized all three of the new exhibits.
The Michael Queenland and Agnes Denes exhibitions will run through Dec. 22 while Kianja Strobert’s exhibition will conclude Nov. 28.
SMMoA is located at 2525 Michigan Avenue G1 (Bergamot Station) in Santa Monica.
It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed Sunday, Monday, and all legal holidays. Suggested donation: $5; $3 for seniors and students.
For more information, call 310.586.6488 or visit smmoa.org.