(Los Angeles – October 2009) Five Los Angeles artists who share a passion for surfing will exhibit works of various media, November 7th at Black Cat Gallery, in DARKWAVE—a group exhibition exploring the spiritual aspect of surfing and stark violence in Los Angeles. Participating artists include: Sandow Birk, Andy Moses, Steve Olson, Timothy Williams and Norton Wisdom.
For most people – especially those outside of California who view Los Angeles as an idyllic oasis of movie stars, bikini-clad beach divas, and a laid-back, sunny lifestyle – a connection between surfing and violence isn’t immediately obvious. So DARKWAVE has been carefully curated to challenge viewers to mine the artists’ work for such connections. Williams, however, can shed some light on the inspiration for the exhibition. “One evening I was painting in my studio in Venice Beach. I took a break, stepped outside the door and was held up at gunpoint by five men,” explains Williams, also curator for the show. “That’s when this wave of realization hit me: I could very well pay the ultimate price for creating art and surfing in L.A.—in an instant I had an immediate connection to all the unsuspecting people I read about across the city who have suffered from random acts of violence.”
From that harrowing experience, Williams learned to use a firearm: “between my own experience and stories about serial killers like BTK or L.A.’s own Richard Ramirez, I realized that a line needed to be drawn—there would be more than a cell phone in the studio to protect my wife.” The protective device also features heavily in Williams’ bullet-riddled, surfboard paintings for DARKWAVE.
In fact, process plays heavily into the work of all the participating artists. Birk’s most recent work is marked by an exhaustive immersion and research into his subject matter; Moses shuffles, tilts and coerces paint into striking movements across his convex canvases; Olson airbrushes directly onto defused bombs; and Wisdom has mastered painting to live music performances.
The opening reception will feature a fashion show with work by Torn by Teeth, Terrell Moore and Grace Havlak, a wine tasting courtesy of Shipwrecks, and a tequila and mescal tasting courtesy of Métl.
Media/VIP Preview Reception: November 6, 2009, 6 to 9pm
Opening Reception: November 7, 2009, 7 to 11pm
Exhibition Run: November 7 to December 10, 2009
Black Cat Gallery is open Thursday-Saturday, 11am to 6pm and by appointment