Samuel Freeman presents Alice Könitz, Pamela Jorden, and Jeff Ono, an exhibition of new sculptural and painting works by 3 Los Angeles-based artists.
Working in relative proximity, Könitz, Jorden, and Ono share overlapping affinities, developed independently but recently heightened through inter-studio dialogue. They describe this common terrain as a place of ‘internalized geometry’ — a hazy zone that flickers between a critical (yet romantic) fascination with modernism’s all-out search for form, and a personally charged mental indexing of spatial, typological, and aesthetic references divorced from ideological grandiosity.
Now, placed together in the gallery, an alternate reading can be imagined wandering throughout the works.
In the films and novels of the western genre, whether through the movement of passing landscapes, the alternating shifts from saturated to muted tones, or the sparkle of a mirage set against parched earth, a dense yet non-specific sense of place is exuded. From the 1912 novel Riders of the Purple Sage to Jim Jarmush’s 1990s acid western Dead Man or Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surrealist Mexican films, what is remembered most is the movement through hazy, rugged spaces. In the works of Könitz, Jorden, and Ono, these atmospheres of movement are similarly palpable, whether abstractly captured in their visual connotations, or set up within the viewing experience itself.
The work of Alice Könitz explores the peculiarities in the formal language of generic objects, public spaces, and corporate or domestic architecture. Könitz creates idiosyncratic narratives by ‘taking one thing for another, pretending, claiming space, extracting something from its context, and inverting the public and the private’. Könitz employs an intimately handmade aesthetic, often using inexpensive and easy-to-manipulate materials that seem to stand in for something other than what they are. She often pulls from a body of internalized knowledge of public forms that she reorganizes in her work. For this exhibition, Könitz’s fascination with optical rhythms, reflective surfaces, and public sculptural oddities comes together with sculptures of varying scales that were inspired by exterior park-like elements and are now oddly domesticized indoors.
Pamela Jorden’s energetic, fractured paintings combine diverse forms, patterns, and colors taken from daily experience and conveyed through an idiosyncratic engagement with abstraction. In recent work, she has reexamined, explored and referenced the color theory and visual vocabularies of early 20th century abstraction, in particular the orphic cubism of Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, and František Kupka. Jorden’s new works begin with geometrically structured canvases of stained raw linen, and employ hot and vibrant colors; frenetic, contrasting brushstrokes; and alternating matte to iridescent finishes to a particularly personal effect — simultaneously structural and atmospherically charged. Combining the visual density of her surroundings with these subtle optical effects, Jorden’s work suggests the changing effects of light and shifting perspectives, and the transience of visual experience.
Through Jeff Ono’s hybrid sculptures of organic forms and rigid geometric structure, he explores and contradicts the hubris of the early to mid-century modernist imaginary. His sculptures are constructed from simple, traditional, and industrial materials ranging from paper, cloth, gesso, encaustics and clay to steel and poured concrete, and are displayed in conjunction with low-to-the-ground, handmade stands – a decidedly intimate quality he favors to challenge the typically hierarchical nature and scale of domestic furnishings, the traditional plinth, or the monumental modernist gesture in general. Using fabrics and paper to create abstract, handmade sculptural elements and deliberately working the surfaces, Ono imparts on the materials a transformational effect, both static and malleable, frozen and in movement. His work eschews any pop or easily recognizable imagery, and is instead based on vague recollections of specific and imagined sites – some of an almost ridiculously utopian vision – including the Triforium in downtown Los Angeles, the Palazzo della Civilta Italiana (Square Collisseum) in Rome, Brutalist architectural and public spaces, or the watered-down thematic versions of modernism seen in strip malls and bank buildings in any American city.
Alice Könitz (b. 1970, Essen-Werden, Germany) studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf and holds an MFA from CalArts. She has presented her work in numerous exhibitions including the 2008 Whitney Biennial (Whitney Museum of American Art, NY); the 2008 California Biennial (Joshua Tree/Orange County Museum of Art); and International Paper (UCLA Hammer Museum, LA). She has held solo exhibitions at Susanne Vielmetter Projects, Los Angeles and Berlin; The University Art Museum, CSU Long Beach; LAXArt; Hudson Franklin, New York; LACE, Los Angeles and Kunstverein Norden, Germany. Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, Frieze, Flash Art, Sculpture magazine, Art and Text, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and other magazines and newspapers.
Pamela Jorden (b. 1969, Knoxville, TN ) received an MFA from CalArts and BFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has exhibited widely in the United States including solo exhibitions with Klaus von Nichtssagend, New York and Romer Young Gallery, San Francisco. Recent group exhibitions include Forms of Abstraction, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA; The Subterraneans, Torrence Art Museum, Torrence, CA; and participation in several group exhibitions at WPA, Los Angeles, where she was a founding member. Her work has been recently reviewed in Art in America, amongst other publications.
Jeff Ono (b. 1973, Los Angeles) studied at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York. He has had solo exhibitions at Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles; Perugi artecontemporanea, Padova, Italy; Feature, Inc., New York; Asprey Jacques, London; and Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, and is represented by Feature, Inc., New York. Recent group exhibitions include Surface Sounding: 10 Curators, 10 Artists, See Line Salon, Santa Monica, CA; Ma Bete Noire, Phil Art/Objects, Los Angeles; Exit Music (for a film), Grimm/Rosenfeld, Munich; You Always Move in Reverse, Leo Koenig Inc., New York; and Flipside Exterior, Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles. His has work been reviewed by Artforum, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Flash Art, and other publications.
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