Overduin and Kite is pleased to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Kaari Upson.
A process of recursion is at play in the work of the exhibition. These new works come out of a project that began years ago at the site of a burned down house and the abandoned archive of personal ephemera found there. The site has become a well of subjects, actions, images and materials that Upson returns to again and again. It represents the embodiment of a certain West Coast ideal from a few decades past and
its traces still remain embedded in the landscape. The site and its contents form the basis of the project and in the end, moving through the archive has become the work itself.
Upson’s project cycles through pop psych notions of the construction of the self - knowing the self through the other, mirroring, destruction and rebirth. Upson enters these subjects through a series of identities, building an image of a self and a series of “others.” The project is not focused on one subject but rather the endless gray areas
within relational intimacies, shifting in and out of multiple viewpoints using fantasy and trauma to contaminate sterotypes of coupling.
In a number of the works, Upson isolates and fixes fugitive materials - smoke, charcoal dust and molten wax are caught in transitional states. A group of paintings are made by transfering a layer of dark black smoke onto the surface of mirrored metal panels. Bodily impressions (elbows, knees, arms) and repeated actions (dragging, contracting, pouring) are captured in a series of charcoal tablets. In these works, charcoal dust is combined with molten wax which is then poured into malleable metal sheets, forcing an impression or imprint. The soft metal molds are flexible, affected and altered by the actions performed on them and the weight of the liquid pour. The tablets capture a substance between two states, transcribing a performative act and preserving this gesture. Other works are skins or traces of actions and fragmented elements from the site. Prosthetic pink latex casts of chandeliers and balconies drape limply from the ceilings and walls.
A video is encased in a room-sized box that Upson has built as a container for a series of actions involving a charcoal cast of a figure. Upson breaks down the figure through a set of repeated gestures and uses the fragments to mark the walls of the box, returning the charcoal representation to dust.
Kaari Upson received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia in 2007. Solo exhibitions include Maccarone Gallery in New York in 2009 and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2007. For more information and images, please contact Lisa Overduin or Kristina Kite. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 5pm and by appointment.