"Alien Organic" at compactspace

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Alien Organic
"Alien Organic" at compactspace

105 East 6th Street (near Main Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90014
September 26th, 2009 - October 31st, 2009
Opening: September 26th, 2009 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

downtown/east la
(626) 676-0627
by appointment
mixed-media, installation, sculpture


“Alien Organic”

                         solo show by Julia Westerbeke

Sept 26th-Oct 31st

Opening Reception: Saturday September 26th, 6-9pm


compactspace announces “Alien Organic,” an installation of sculptures and site-specific works by Julia Westerbeke.

In her obsessively detailed works, Julia Westerbeke creates terrains that are by turns organic and curiously alien, quiet yet chock-a-block with information. These abstract sculptures covered in crops of cilia-like drawings invite associations that run the gamut from microbes and scientific diagrams to Dr. Seussian flora and fantastical illustrations. For instance, a mountainous spill of white hot-glue adorned with patches of vinyl drawings might be a glacial landscape or Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. A slick, coiling tube that sprouts leaf-like forms could inspire thoughts of tropical vines or venomous creatures. Through a certain indeterminacy, each piece feels at once familiar yet foreign. The artist is interested in these subtle contrasts, tempering the beautiful with elements of the strange or the unexpectedly alluring. In kind, her use of materials could best be described as alchemical: burnt Styrofoam, melted plastic, paper dipped in resin and tiny units of drawings clustering on the surface.

The detail in each work pays homage to the intricacies of natural forms, while the obsessive accretion of elements gives a nod to the process of germination. It could be argued that the artist likes to “grow” these works, building them slowly from the ground up. This installation is filled with sculptures that yield more after closer inspection. While exploring ordered rows of drawings you will discover a neighboring plastic sphere encasing a nest-like form and translucent arches that bend toward delicate filigrees of dripped glue. Here, there are patterns within the patterns. The sum-total creates an eco-system of the artist’s making, one that is grounded in a specific visual vocabulary that has been influenced by cultures of fantasy and science fiction.


Julia Westerbeke has just recently completed her MFA at the University of California, San Diego. This is her first solo show in Los Angeles.


About compactspace:

compactspace Los Angeles and its sister space in Geneva, Switzerland are part of the the compactspace collective started 2003 in Berlin. compactspace Los Angeles opened 2004 in LA’s Pico-Union district and has recently re-located to historic downtown LA, where they promote a multi-media arts program that mainly features emerging and mid-career artists. compactspace LA is made possible by the contributions of the University of California San Diego’s Visual Arts Department.

105 East 6th St (near Main St)
Los Angeles, CA 90014