Against the Grain
Curated by Los Angeles-based artist Christopher Russell, Against the Grain seeks inspiration from the seminal show, Against Nature: A Group Show of Work by Homosexual Men (1988), curated by Dennis Cooper and Richard Hawkins. In a politically and socially conservative era, Cooper and Hawkins responded to the AIDS epidemic with rich, decadent work, grappling with the subject’s inherent morbidity. Utilizing Against Nature as a point of departure, Russell has selected 12 local artists that seek a similar critical position in our social climate today -- Tom Allen, Brian Bress, Robert Fontenot, Wendell Gladstone, Julian Hoeber, Anna Sew Hoy, Brian Kennon, John Knuth, Ryan Taber, Ami Tallman, Kelly Sears and Cheyenne Weaver. Against the Grain is not a restaging of the prior show, instead Russell looks at the theme of decadence in a present day context. In turn, the artists use visual and narrative devices in their paintings, sculpture and installations to assert the individual, idiosyncratic worlds they have created in response to the one we all inhabit.