These Carnations Defy Language
Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden: “These Carnations Defy Language” began as a seed, a conversation between the artists regarding an anthology of the French poet Francis Ponge. This exhibition stems from that conversation, which presents new individual and co-created works by Grant and Roden that highlight their use of textual sources and their own conceptual systems to inspire and structure their production.
Grant’s paintings from her new series Antigone 3000 continue her inquiry of literary texts as source material for her imagery. The works in “These Carnations Defy Language” explore and map the Greek myth of Antigone from its original basis in Sophocles’s text to a current exchange on the importance of Antigone to future generations with Pasadena-based poet and artist Kate Durbin. Roden introduces a new body of work titled snowbirds don’t fly. His paintings, drawings, and video respond to various significant childhood images, experiences, and encounters, including Neal Adams’s artistry for issue 85 of DC’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow comic, a group of Domus magazines found in his father’s basement, and a Hebrew prayer book belonging to his great grandfather.
In addition, the exhibition includes a collaborative series of works on paper that explore a text that has inspired both artists: Francis Ponge’s Mute Objects of Expression, a book of poems from which the exhibition’s title is taken. Pushing the artists’ interests in language and systems beyond the gallery walls, “These Carnations Defy Language” will feature a brochure with an essay by Leslie Jones, Ph.D., Curator of Prints and Drawings at LACMA.
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