Christopher Michlig: White Noise
“The city was and remains object, but not in the way of pliable, particular and instrumental object: such as a pencil or a sheet of paper. Its objectivity, or ‘objectality’, might rather be closer to that of the language which individuals and groups receive before modifying it…” - Henri Lefebvre, The Specificity of the City, 1968
Marine Contemporary is delighted to present, White Noise, a solo exhibition by Christopher Michlig. White Noise engages the notion of urban fabric as a connotative starting point for a series of geometric, patternesque investigations. Each small abstract work pursues a unique compositional idea, referencing a range of fundamental visual strategies from city traffic to textiles.
Michlig’s work is firmly embedded in the visual and social architecture of Los Angeles. For several years, his source material has been merchant posters printed by The Colby Poster Printing Company, a company founded in downtown LA in 1946. These posters are a distinct Los Angeles visual, whose five fluorescent colors, punctuate the built environment. Michlig is interested in looking at the posters in the context of social space - stripping away the politics of language and focusing instead on its aesthetic qualities. He sees his process of attacking language as an almost militant activity, spending hours in the studio literally mutilating and cutting language apart, sometimes to the point of complete annihilation and destruction or “white out”.
Michlig’s recent group of collages make exclusive use of the bare, unprinted edges of the posters collected throughout Los Angeles. Discarding typographic and “design” content entirely, these works reinforce the distinction between the life of the city (people, groups, language) and the material form of the city (buildings, streets, objects). Insofar as the original posters might be considered a part of the city, at once social and material, Michlig in turn can be thought of as using the posters (and the city itself) as a raw material.
The work is also about interference, as the "noise" in the work is the result of disrupting the "space" of the posters. The initial removal of the linguistic content is the first alteration, resulting in a strict formalizing of what are otherwise very informal objects - informal in their layout, use of typography and placement throughout the city. The cutting away of this space in a sense organizes the space concretely. A Michlig collage proposes a new landscape - new possibilities. There is an underlying architecture that has been disrupted and rebuilt, re-ordered and re-routed. Much like a map or a piece of music, there is the creation of a new blueprint built upon another – a new structure erected on old territory, a new vernacular.
Christopher Michlig (b.1976, Alaska, USA) received an MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California in 2007. He has exhibited widely in the US and Europe. Recent solo exhibitions include Punctuality at 1000eventi in Milan, and Man Man Man at devening projects + editions in Chicago. His solo debut at Jail Gallery was reviewed in the May 2008 issue of Artforum. Michlig's work was included in The Long Range, curated by Jan Tumlir at ltd Los Angeles, which was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times in 2011.
About Marine Contemporary
Established in 2011 by Claressinka Anderson, Marine Contemporary focuses on vital, concept-led contemporary work in all media. The gallery has a particular focus on emerging and mid-career artists from the U.S and the U.K.
Marine Contemporary is an expansion of Marine Art Salon, which was established in 2009 and continues its salon program along side Marine Contemporary, focusing on collection-based shows in the domestic setting.
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