Angles Gallery is pleased to present Despite intensions, an exhibition of photographs by renowned, Los Angeles-based artists John Divola and Amir Zaki. This is the first presentation of works by these artists at the gallery, curated to compliment an exhibition of films and photographs by gallery artist Judy Fiskin.
Divola and Zaki have long taken an interest in the architecture of Southern California, as has Judy Fiskin. Although of different generations, Divola and Zaki are colleagues in the Department of Art at the University of California, Riverside. Each of these artists takes considerable care in identifying, then documenting, architectural (and other) sites in and around Southern California that convey a distinct sense of place, less so a particular moment in time. Not that either artist desires to place an image in a specific time, nor to evoke a sense of being “dated.” What each body of work (many unique bodies of work, made over time) aims to encapsulate is the passage of time, the material nature of the field of view (even if fictive), and the organic qualities at the very core of even the built environment all around us. Divola, and Zaki, like Fiskin, each, has turned their gaze upon residential architecture; houses; homes. Theytake distinctly different approaches to selecting subjects, to framing images, and even, to making pictures.
Divola has long been respected and admired for his ability to look at distressed subjects and to see in them an index of forces, human and natural. His unapologetically romantic Collapsed Structures (2006-08) are a meditation on gravity and entropy, the frozen “instant “ of the photograph stands in an ironic relationship to the relentless and dynamic nature of change.
“Structure is a static concept of a process frozen in the specious present"
Zaki, conversely, presents the viewer with a collection of isolated entities, each tentatively connected to the land, to achieve the “perfect” vista. Organic in affect, yet pulling a genuinely graphic punch (echoing Fiskin), the images present the viewer with isolation and escape, retreat and freedom. Composed of multiple views (upwards of 100 individual images) stitched together digitally, the pictures have an uncanny perspective on the landscape, both telephoto and wide-angle. The artist creates views that contain more detail than the naked eye could see. To maximize the presence of the landscape, the artist turns his back on the exact view afforded to occupants of these heroic, irrational, absurd structures. Each image is remarkably full of architecture, while utterly devoid of the view. Structures loom large, even when barely visible, and the connective tissues (stairs, ladders, funiculars) scramble across the rugged, often unstable cliffs. Sometimes printed in color, and often in saturated black and white, the works suggest cinema, affording us the bird’s-eye view we would never find on a day at the beach. Zaki approaches his subjects, and his process, more like a painter than a teller of truth, piercing the veracity of the photographic medium.
John Divola’s work is included in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Chicago Art Institute; the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Henry Art Museum, Seattle; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; the National Museum of Art, Washington, DC; the Philadelphia Art Museum; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, among many others. His works have been exhibited in venues such as Charles Cowles Gallery, New York City; Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica; Patricia Faure Gallery, Los Angeles; the Palm Springs Museum of Art; Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco; the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; the Oakland Museum of Art; the Cincinnati Art Museum; the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography, Rochester, New York; the Orange County Museum of Art; the UCLA Hammer Museum; the San Jose Museum of Art; the Museo de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain; the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, among many others. Divola earned his BA degree at the California State University, Northridge, and his MA and MFA degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles. He teaches at the University of California, Riverside. Divola lives and works in Riverside, California.
Amir Zaki’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York City; the Mak Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles; Roberts and Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison; the Whitney Museum of American Art. New York City; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City; the Center for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, among many others. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the Orange County Museum of Art; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City; and the Madison Museum, Madison, Wisconsin, among others. Zaki earned his BA degree at the University of California, Riverside, and his MFA degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. He teaches at the University of California, Riverside. Zaki lives and works in Huntington Beach, California.