Space as a Space

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
Space as a Space
Curated by: Spencer Douglass

943 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
January 25th, 2008 - June 21st, 2008
Opening: January 25th, 2008 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Tuesday - Saturday 12-6pm
spencer, douglass


Bonelli Contemporary is pleased to present a large-scale group exhibition entitled   ‘Space as a space’ with work by Malisa Humphrey, Ben Shaffer, Karthik Pandian, Devon Oder, Tadashi Moriyama, Joshua Callaghan, Nikko Mueller and Justin Michell.  The show will be presented in both our current space at 936 Mei Ling Way and will serve as the inauguration of our new gallery location at 943 N. Hill St. adjacent to Chung King road.  The artists’ work being exhibited employ a variety of media and mediums to explore their surroundings, attempting to observe and detach, to render an understanding of space as a concrete form.  The sculptures, videos, paintings, and drawings use varied vantage points, attempting to record their findings at different levels of elevation, grappling with the notion that ultimately, outer space may be an inner one.

The small, intricate Polaroids of Malisa Humphrey provide the most intimate view, flashes of life, some poignant, staged, a holiday box of poinsettias, others impulsive, curlers in an old lady’s hair at a restaurant.  Their detailed accuracy in a small format contrasts sharply with the large-scale photographs of Devon Oder.  The prints of skies, lights, slivers of landscape are minimal in their content.  Expansive snapshots of a larger truth, obscured, blurred, questioning the nature of photography, and its ability to give clarification at any aperture.

Zooming out yet further is the video of Karthik Pandian.  In Yamei a camera is trained on a rotating fantastical cityscape.  A shot of Manhattan from the confines of New Jersey or the shores of Brooklyn, exposing the landscape from a safe distance, using nostalgic imagery in an effort to revitalize the conversation concerning propaganda in this age of ‘reality’ in media.

The other video of the exhibition, entitled Flight Home, by Tadashi Moriyama is an animated live-action mix of fantastical science-fiction drawings and grainy domestic imagery.  The shuttle lift-off in the piece gestures to the idea of an exploration of outer space, but once airborne the gaze of the lens is turned back towards earth, towards an intimate fleeting view from a car window. 

The aloof, sky born renderings of cityscapes by Moriyama seem like the next logical step of magnification next to Nikko Mueller’s paintings.  These lushly analytical works give the feel of a security officer or expert mapper flying over your suburban neighborhood.  Surveillance yes, but not in a militaristic fashion, instead exposing the sinewy lines of a road leading into a cul-de-sac and the monotonous beauty of dotted boxes as painted houses.

Much like a row of houses, Joshua Callaghan’s sculpture consists of a straight, prismatic row of the book Future Shock.  The physical properties of the book jacket transform the text into a technological fiction, straddling the line between Toffler’s vision of the future, and the archaic, organic form in which it is represented.

In Justin Michell's collages, paper and magazines morph into architectural structures that seem to form spatial conundrums.  The repetitive nature of his technique and abundance of source material transform spaces into abject, futuristic and maze-like shadows of their former utilitarian selves.  

This absurdity lends itself nicely to the work of Ben Shaffer.  His structures of mirror, light, plaster, and wood, act as both sculpture and installation inviting the viewer into an experience which defies logical categorization.  His works tend to welcome the new age in an old way, not disregarding spirituality as a conceptual case study, but as a real experience which is always laying in wait.