…And Suddenly he realized that all his life he had done nothing but talk, write, lecture, concoct sentences, search for formulations and amend them, so in the end no words were precise, their meanings were obliterated, their content lost, they turned into trash, chaff dust, sand, prowling through his brain, tearing at his head, they were his insomnia, his illness…
-Milan Kundera, Unbearable Lightness of Being
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by Los Angeles-based artists SAYRE GOMEZ, SEAN TOWNLEY, and BOBBI WOODS, on view at our new Culver City location, 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd, from September 10 through October 15, 2011. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, September 10th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The works of Sayre Gomez, Sean Townley, and Bobbi Woods engage non-literal ways of interpreting meaning from written text and language. Through the exploitation and abstraction of the graphic nature of text, the three artists examine how language communicates ideas through aesthetics and by way of formal variations on a word or a phrase—its malleability of meaning becomes apparent. Employing appropriative strategies and aesthetic permutations, they collectively explore the tension between linguistic communication and visual perception. Here a space opens up which engages possibilities of interpretation while the text seen as form oscillates between the gestalt and the jesuve.
Sayre Gomez's paintings site their sources from various online media. A site that generates "greek" text is used to create short nonsensical phrases in Latin which are then translated into English. Another painting uses a blog-based advertising campaign for a Mary Kay cosmetic product featuring the artist's name as a tag word. A large letter Z lifted from a blog featuring an alphabet of fonts designed to look as though they are bubbling up and oozing becomes the subject of the largest painting. Through an emphasis on both visual and phonaesthetics, Gomez's paintings become a platform for investigating how meaning is translated through signifiers such as surface, color, font, formatting, repetition, and framing.
Bobbi Woods's painted poster series "Waiting" makes use of silver enamel to conceal nearly all the information from a promotional movie poster—with the exception of the phrase "Waiting…" The text itself is depicted in a thick, viscous red pigment that nods to Ed Ruscha's liquid word paintings of the 1960s. Through Wood's isolating of the phrase a kind of duality becomes apparent: the phrase, through its own aesthetic presence, generates a potency or resonance which we can relate to on its own terms as a kind of sexualized seductive anticipation, yet simultaneously makes connections to art history and larger ideas about co-optation and appropriation.
Sean Townley's sculpture installation, "Act Two/Scene Seven", is comprised of a series of brass letters, bent and warped to the point of illegibility. This "act", or performance, is staged around a central black theatre curtain upon which numbers and letters set the scene and offer directions only to be further abstracted through the folds of the curtain itself. There is an intentional play here between figure/ground, figure of speech and literal interpretation, as well as a conflation between the visual, physical and textual experience. Taking its cue from Gertrude Stein's "Four Saints in Three Acts" this work plays with the structure of a script as a starting point to further investigate the relationship between theatre and the physical negotiation of sculpture in the round.
Sayre Gomez, Sean Townley, and Bobbi Woods are based in Los Angeles and studied at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
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