The Bonkers Devotional
Angles Gallery is pleased to present The Bonkers Devotional, a four channel video installation by Hilja Keading. The exhibition will be on view November 6th - December 23rd. A public reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, November 6th, from 6 to 8 pm.
Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is presented with the projected images of golden Quaking Aspen leaves shivering in the wind. These projections are cast upon the external walls of a room within the gallery. A small opening at the far end grants entry into a smaller room within a room: the ceiling is covered with a camouflage tarp, and the walls are filled with two life-sized projections portraying Hilja Keading interacting with a live bear, in what looks to be a confined bedroom.
We watch Keading and the bear in a position of radical trust; Keading places herself next to a 800 lb trained bear that is both dangerous and revered, while the bear resides with a woman whom he is not trained to obey or understand. On one hand, we are invited to ask questions about the relationship between nature and culture, the suppression of instinct, and the politics of control. Both the artist and the bear are "performing," yet we are not able to distinguish performing from responding or reacting, and we are constantly aware that at any moment, instinct may override training. Keading has edited the footage in a way that the bear and the woman become interchangeable: as aspects of each other, emphasizing the relationship between internal and external, body and psyche.
After completing The Bonkers Devotional video installation, Keading created a series of small-scale oil paintings that reveal her process of navigating the footage and her experience with the bear. By working with the paint in a direct and unrestrained way, Keading allows her psyche to transpose itself directly onto the canvas. In this way, the paintings become windows into the cabin, where we can look directly at the experience of the artist's performance.
Hilja Keading's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Renaissance Society, Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; Humlebaek, Denmark; Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany; Lyone Bienalle, Lyon, France; La Tôlerie, Clermont-Ferrand, France; Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles; RedCat Theatre, Los Angeles; Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; Barnsdall Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles; Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles; Sweeney Art Gallery, UC Riverside, and The Tom Bradley International Terminal (LAX), Los Angeles. Keading received an MFA from UCLA and lives and works in Los Angeles.