Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles based artist Whitney Bedford. This exhibition, Bedford’s first at the gallery, continues the artist’s exploration of how the personal and the historical intertwine and how painting is situated within this investigation. In this context, Bedford’s work has negotiated the territory between portrait and landscape, a realm where the forces of nature collide with the personal and the political. In her paintings of historical figures, shipwrecks, and most recently, utopian images of Arcadian landscapes, Bedford aims to negotiate the burden of history with the exigencies of contemporary life. In this new body of work, Bedford concentrates on a series of violently disturbed seascapes steering the work in a darker direction.
Divided into two bodies of work, the first group of paintings depicts surface eruptions of underwater volcanoes. These explosions represent only a fraction of the true volcanic activity, most of which lies beneath the ocean’s surface. By using toxic color hues and aggressive brush strokes, Bedford convincingly renders the powerful forces of the explosions, the boiling chaos and barely restrained turmoil underneath the surface. Her wild abstractions of wind and sea and her delicate pen marks floating over pools of color reveal the artist’s complicated relationship between the struggle for control over or submission to overpowering forces.
The second group of Bedford’s exhibition features portraits of Cleopatra. Culled from images of Cleopatra’s suicide, these portraits are less a document to the power of the Hellenistic ruler but rather read as images of an identity and an empire lost. Between the powerlessness of the individual and the barely repressed violence of nature, Bedford draws a powerful reflection of our uncertain times.
Whitney Bedford received her MFA at the University of California Los Angeles in 2003. She was the winner of the 2001 UCLA Hammer Museum Drawing Biennial and received a Fulbright Graduate Fellowship from the Hochschule der Kuenste, Berlin, Germany. Exhibitions include “This Is Killing Me”, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; “X - Snow Falls in the Mountains”, St Paul's St Gallery, University of Auckland, New Zealand; “The Triumph of Painting, part 5, Which Reality?”, The Saatchi Gallery, London; “Step Into Liquid”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; “CUT”, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, among others. Whitney Bedford has had solo exhibitions at Cherrydelosreyes Gallery, Los Angeles, D‘Amelio Terras Gallery, New York, and at Art & Concept, Paris, France. This is her first solo exhibition at the gallery.