The Awful Parenthesis

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The Awful Parenthesis
Curated by: Aram Moshayedi

2011 South Santa Fe Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90021
September 17th, 2009 - October 31st, 2009

downtown/east la
Tue-Sat 10-5
conceptual, modern


The Awful Parenthesis is a group exhibition of works by six Los Angeles-based artists.  Formed in response to a proposition initiated by Cirrus Gallery, it presents a selection of emerging artists without prior relationship to the space or its history.

The exhibition is organized around a concept of spatial and temporal dislocation developed by Thomas de Quincey in 1823, wherein a disruptive knock at the gate in Macbeth is described as “the re-establishment of the goings-on of the world in which we live.”  It is in this moment, he continues, that we are made “profoundly sensible of the awful parenthesis that had suspended them.”  Brian O’Doherty later used this oft-cited passage as the starting point of his important essay “Context as Content,” published in the pages of Artforum in 1976.  The activities that take place within the institutional frame of the gallery space, he suggests, undergo a suspension in time and space not unlike the stasis allegorized by de Quincey in the preceding century. 

The artworks in The Awful Parenthesis extend the engagement with material formations and conceptual bracketing in an attempt to redefine the relationships between a visual medium’s history and its institutional contexts of display.  The approaches represented here investigate the material conditions of images and objects as they relate to architectural and historical specificity.  Each artist’s contribution to the exhibition exists within and outside the suspended spaces of viewing, separately renegotiating how space is clarified, within both the picture frame and the context in which pictures, as objects, are looked upon.

In place of an ill-conceived curatorial theme or framework, The Awful Parenthesis attempts to recast the various institutions of framing which warrant the production of an exhibition.


Phil Chang received his BA from the University of California, Irvine in 1997 and MFA from CalArts in 2005.  Recent exhibitions of his work have taken place at Marvelli Gallery, New York; Hudson Franklin, New York; the Bolsky Gallery at the Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles; and Outpost for Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. 

Matt Connors received his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006 and BFA from Bennington College, Vermont in 1995.  Recent solo exhibitions include Enjambment at Canada, New York (2008); Pre-Echo at The Breeder, Athens (2007); and Freely Espousing at Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York (2005).  Connors currently lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin.

Sayre Gomez received his BFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 2005 and MFA from CalArts in 2008.  Recent solo and group exhibitions have taken place at Sandroni Rey, Los Angeles; Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago; and the Art and Culture Center in Miami. 

Nick Kramer currently lives and works in Los Angeles where he received his MFA the University of Southern California in 2008.  He received his BA from Bard College in 2001. He had a recent solo exhibition at Small A Projects, New York in 2009, and is currently underway on a solo exhibition to take place at the USC Roski Gallery later this year.

Kim Schoen received her MFA in photography from CalArts in 2005 and her Masters in Philosophy from the photography department at the Royal College of Art in London in 2008. Recent solo exhibitions of her work include Backing Down at Cite International des Arts in Paris (2007); and A Series of Catastrophes and Celebrations at Bank, Los Angeles (2006).  Schoen currently lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is also one of the founding editors of MATERIAL, a journal of texts by visual artists.

Erika Vogt received her BFA from New York University in 1996 and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia in 2003.  She has exhibited her work at Daniel Hug Gallery, Los Angeles; D’amelio Terras, New York; LACE, Los Angeles; and the Orange County Museum of Art, as part of the 2008 California Biennial.  Her films have also been screened at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the State Center of Contemporary Art, Moscow; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. 

Aram Moshayedi is a curator at LA><ART and a PhD student in the department of art history at the University of Southern California.

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