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Los Angeles
Group Exhibition
Charlie James Gallery
969 Chung King Road, Los Angeles, CA 90012
July 21, 2012 - August 18, 2012

Summering City, Cryptic Languages
by Arely Villegas

"It's a show about winter in summer," replied the woman behind the gallery counter. Summer in Los Angeles, where time seems inescapable...

This exhibition seduces the spirit of the summer group show, drawing out the cryptic parallel lines of the poetics of the physical (objects) and fantasy (desires).

The longing and anticipation in Ian James Elements of Fractal Topography #8 (Chair throws), 2008, a distorted landscape of photograms, might be tinting towards desires/obsessions in its hyperbolic magentas, reds and purple hues. Bobbi Woods takes the movie poster and alters its image to create a type of sculpture. One that is often humorously dark and marked with a perpetual anticipation, always coming soon.

The video Every Artist I’ve Ever Wanted to Have Sex With, 2012, by EJ Hill visually reads like a movie's closing credits. Name after name scrolls up, some familiar others foreign. The sensibility is clear—desires are as simple as they are complicated psychic forms. Real or fantasized, the video delivers the protagonists to Hill’s crossword puzzle of social/sexual desires.  

This show is a love letter to the cryptic language of our needs and wants as much as it is to the city of Los Angeles.

In Thom Andersen’s iconic visual essay, Los Angeles Plays Itself, 2003, Andersen quotes Roman Polanski on the city as seen from atop the hills, perhaps of Hollywood overlooking the city in the way a historian or two lovers would see it: "There’s no more beautiful city in the world provided it's seen by night and from a distance.”

Calvin Lee, Her Time Between Floral Bougainvillea and a Moment of Vanilla Sky, Los Angeles, 2012, 24 x 30 in / 2 ¼ x 20 ¼  in, Lambda Print, Edition 1 of 3; Courtesy of the artist.

This might be the case with Peter Holzhauer’s All the Lights, 2012, where a photograph overlooking the city at night reveals its flaws and charm. Or with exhibition curator and contributing artist Calvin Lee’s re-photographed magazine collage, Her Time Between Floral Bougainvillea and a Moment of Vanilla Sky, Los Angeles, 2012, which, in the vein of a subtle Robert Heinecken, lures the contrast darkness between the real vs. fantasy in Los Angeles. I note the contrast in Lee’s work since he has closely documented the streets of Rodeo Drive, a platform that perhaps only lives with tourists and reality TV culture. Though, Lee’s photographic documentation does arise an array of fantasy, one that only belongs to that section of the city, but nothing is really ever in sync in this town anyways.

This atttempt to understand the coded language of romance troubles and fascinates.

Arely Villegas

(Image on top: Ian James, Elements of Fractal Topography #8 (Chair throws), 2008, Type C Prints, 59.5 x 39.5 x 6” ; Courtesy of the artist.)

Posted by Arely Villegas on 8/18/12 | tags: figurative digital photography

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