LAUNCH LA is proud to present Travels, a new solo show by Tanja Rector. In this exhibition, Rector retraces a month-long journey through the southwestern United States via painting and sculpture. The resulting pieces of art are as raw, intense and unadorned as the landscapes of California, New Mexico and Texas.
Travels manages to be simultaneously deeply personal and universally accessible. As one views her work, one begins to engage in, even feel the power of her perspective: "From California, through Texas, we follow the long thin thread that divides the road through this 4,000 mile, month-long journey. It is a line that takes me past vast plains and mountain country sides. They are marked by history...the landscapes are sublime in color and still. Through the broad window of this motorhome we drive, I imagine our human endeavors in these beautiful abandoned communities we pass." Her work exposes the heart of the Southwest; both the modern landscape and the untouched vistas before European settlement, even before the Comanche and Apache crossed its expanses - before it ever even had a name.
Most of Rector's paintings are barely polychromatic, utilizing minimal oil paint on raw canvas, linen and muslin. For all their technical simplicity, they are underpinned by an intuitive logic: "I like to work in untraditional ways...sewn textiles have taken over the work in this series...the translucency of the canvas shows the structure it is stretched over." Even a quick glance at the canvas is enough to convey some essence of each work. The stark geometry of canyons, mesas and immense stretches of sand takes up all free space. If one takes the time to trace these shapes, one discovers they invert and present new perspectives: flat spaces fall into depths or spring up as mountain ranges. These artful voids are there to be filled with our own responses. The accompanying sculptures catalogue the defiant manmade structures that dot in this emptiness - the blank road side billboards, disused industrial machinery and dilapidated homes. Viewed together, these paintings and sculptures collaborate in an incredibly immersive experience.
Though Rector draws parallels between Travels and the works of Agnes Martin and Donald Judd, it is possible to draw another, less direct comparison. Somewhere in all that resonant space and distance, one can almost hear the mournful music of the Doors and Jim Morrison's words: "Can you picture what will be, so limitless and free..."
LAUNCH would like to thank our 2013 partners Lagunitas Brewery, Olympia Medical Center, Tito's Handmade Vodka & AQUAhydrate.
Saturday, June 22nd, 6 - 8pm
RSVP essential, please email to:
Guest list at the door