North Gallery- Air

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Wanderer in a forest of flowers and dots , 2005 Acrylic And Varnish On Canvas 80 X 80 In © Courtesy of RAID Projects
North Gallery- Air

602 Moulton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90031
December 1st, 2007 - January 17th, 2008
Opening: December 1st, 2007 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

downtown/east la
Open by appointment unless otherwise indicated per exhibition.

Stief Desmet is hunting the patina of “wildness” in Los Angeles. Already his canvases are laden with the scrapings of blazing fire decals, deer antlers, the looming forest, the electric power line. Desmet’s paintings read as catalogs of signifiers for the wild; that tantalizing space that invites every human to be its first pioneer. The wild is of course the product of human engineering. A place that has been contained within map lines. There is hardly a place unseen by the satellite, and so the world and its wonders have become smaller. Man is lonely in his power. Each new animal each story of the great outdoors again enlarges the world. In Desmet’s paintings, the graphic fossils of this fantasy are flattened and on the same plane as wallpaper patterns, images from americana, and pop culture from the 60’s and 70’s. His search for these utopic emblems is tangled with the history of his family. His Great Grandfather won and lost bets with Indian traders, got drunk and brawled on the floating casinos of the Mississippi. As a boy growing up in a small town outside of Ghent Belgium these stories of rough men from Mark Twain’s kingdom glowed in his young imagination. Later, as a young man, America glowed brighter with images of surfers and easy riders; the land of glass houses in the mountains. What better place to come than Los Angeles where simulacra is preserved like the stuffed owls at the Natural History Museum. Desmet’s work reads as postcards from the garden of modernist eden, from a perfect settlement at the edge of a great forest. A place where young girl can feed a caribou a pile of tab acid from her open palm…

- Brian Getnick, Los Angeles 2007