Los Angeles is represented to the world in carefully constructed ways, but those who have spent significant time here have a unique relationship to its complexity. An architect friend once described LA as a “city of dreamers.” Simultaneously, its pockets of injustice are undeniable. Perhaps these two poles fuel each other. Regardless, L.A.’s inhabitants tend to make meaning of this city. Site as Symbol brings together the work of seven artists working in and around Los Angeles. Each artist utilizes local sites as symbols for force and progress, explored as destructive and imaginative in realms political and magical-- as dichotomous as the city itself.
Melissa Thorne brings utilitarian architecture into conversation with modernist design, while Bari Ziperstein and Olga Koumoundouros create new connections between site, economics and class. With an allegorical approach to site, Charles Long and Jill Newman preserve and present place as symbolic celebrations of regeneration and wonder. Also focused on landscape as metaphor, Jed Lind and Pat O’Neill explore site as latent energy, and are invested in the tools needed to harness it. In these distinct and comparable ways, the artists address environmental and political landscapes, domestic spaces, and economics by investigating specific ideas of place. By transforming their subjects through context and material play, honor and imagination are reclaimed, critique of our current position comes into play, and site becomes symbol.