Los Angeles—Sam Lee Gallery is pleased to present Screen, a group exhibition about portraiture by John McGuire Olsen, Scott Taylor, and Carrie Yury. Oil and acrylic paintings and color photographs will be on view. The exhibition opens April 7 and closes May 12, 2012; the gallery will host a reception for the artists on Saturday, April 7, from 6 to 8 pm.
Screen brings together 3 Los Angeles-based artists whose current work deals with portraits. This exhibition looks at the human countenance as façade, a slate that reveals and also conceals. Each artist employs the visage as a jumping off point. John McGuire Olsen explores the tenuous role of technology in our lives vis-à-vis the computer screen. Scott Taylor works in portraiture as a genre that relates directly to art historical practices, always looking to the past as context for his own art making. Carrie Yury examines portraiture from a political stance, challenging photography’s historical claim of excavating the real.
Olsen’s Perfect Information series—its title a reference to game theory—consists of 20 oil and acrylic paintings that measure 3x3” or 4x4” in size and are displayed salon style. Each human face is depicted in a tightly cropped and frontal manner. It is semi-abstract, caused by the reflections of data and grid-like shapes from video games on the computer monitor. The portraits are fragmented, exuding a sci-fi quality. The series is a nod to our technologically obsessed culture, one that strives to achieve the seamless.
Taylor presents 19 oil paintings of individual masks, invented as well as tribal ones originating from Native American, African and Oceanic cultures. In this series, Taylor—inspired by artists such as George Condo, Pablo Picasso and James Ensor—pays homage to painting history by focusing on the expressive ways in which the human face, disguised as masks, is depicted. Taylor revisits the traditional tropes of portraiture by using specific techniques and styles, ranging from the gestural to the highly rendered, the abstract to the primitive. Installed next to each other in a horizontal fashion, these masks resemble trophy heads—a comprehensive collection of caricatures that delights and frightens.
Yury’s photographic series focuses on men and women who struggle to be reality television stars in Hollywood. Photographed in these actors’ actual homes, Yury’s portraits (framed as triptychs) raise questions about vulnerability, exhibitionism, dignity, voyeurism and authenticity. The artist’s interest lies in exploring versions of the self. For Yury, what does looking at other people’s lives tell us about our own? What happens when things that are considered private are exposed in the public sphere?
John McGuire Olsen holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art from UC Santa Cruz (2003) and is a recent recipient of the Artists’ Resource for Completion Grant from The Durfee Foundation. His work has been shown in New York, Miami and also Santa Cruz.
A recent NY transplant, Scott Taylor garnered a master’s degree in painting from Rutgers University (2002) and a bachelor’s degree from Savannah College of Art and Design (1998). Recent solo exhibitions were shown at V & A Gallery (New York) and Jersey City Museum (New Jersey); his paintings have been in selected group exhibitions that include The Center For Book Arts (New York), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), and Contemporary Art Center (Cincinnati, Ohio).
Carrie Yury received her master’s degree in fine art from UC Irvine, California in 2006, and her master’s degree in English from the University of Chicago, Illinois in 1996; in 1993, Yury earned her bachelor’s degree with a double major in fine art and literature from UC Santa Cruz. Solo exhibitions were presented at Sam Lee Gallery in Los Angeles, The Office in Huntington Beach, California, and Swallow Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; Yury’s work has also been exhibited in recent group exhibitions at The California Museum of Photography in Riverside, Cerritos College Art Gallery in Cerritos, Pitzer College in Claremont, and University Art Museum in Long Beach, California.
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