Right now, my favorite London-based fashion blogger, Susie Bubble, is on holiday in Santa Monica. “Is it Blackpool? Great Yarmouth? No it's Santa Monica,” she writes.
Right now, my best friend’s plane takes off from Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport en route to Poland by way of Israel.
Right now, Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” repeats in my ear buds.
Right now, I’m writing from a balcony overlooking a rocky jetty in the Pacific Ocean where on July 6th a lifeguard named Ben swam out to save a swimmer and broke his neck. The swimmer survived. In one way or another, we are all "here."
Los Angeles is where you need it to be.
Right now: Sarah Conaway, Pearl C. Hsiung, Kim Fisher, Shana Lutker, Florian Morlat, Jon Pestoni, Mungo Thomson, and Mary Weatherford are all in The Outlanders, an inaugural group exhibition on view at The Pit in Glendale. Right now, The Pit is one of a crop of artist-run galleries speckling your Google Maps view of the Greater Los Angeles Area, along and around San Fernando Road.
The Outlanders is an exhibition that aspires to reckon with L.A. haze, suggesting “…the artists in The Outlanders make work with aesthetic references and influences that are part of L.A.’s history, geography, and reputation.” Ultimately, the formal resonances bounce around the gallery and into the limited edition Outlanders zine with white light prism rainbow leaks, lead feet, clumped color, and soft songs. With artful echos and harmonies, I am compelled to sing: L.A., "baby you’re the best."
Pearl C. Hsiung, Still from The Softest Thing, 2012; Courtesy of the artist and The Pit
Feeling something in the air, Pearl C. Hsiung presents The Softest Thing (2012), a single channel "driving video," otherwise known as a series of banal hypno-dissolves with a fixed horizon. From the windshield appear distant real-life rainbows. There are animated fat white raindrops and a vignette with a rain creature singing softly to the viewer. Calming, soporific, and medicating.
Shana Lutker’s five-footed sculpture Entr’acte (2014) gracefully affronts Richard Serra’s slung and poured lead. Entr’acte’s five heavy metal feet signify bones shifted to stand en pointe. Nobody walks in L.A. These bisected figures turn in the mind unlike memory, but like driving in L.A. The toe touch leaves rushing and halting impressions. Entr’acte is an impression presupposing memory.
When bodies couple, their hot skins change color, roughnesses and fluids exchange. All this and touch drag across Jon Pestoni’s Terminal Love (2014), where faded pink and deep bleak blue organize a figure/ground situation, finished-off with two thick transparent white bass clefs. There’s an elegy scale embedded in Terminal Love’s littered surface—a surface that grabs colors, pushing underpainting off the mixed media panel. Right now, the moon is pulling oil soaked, rainbowed tides.
Kim Fisher and Shana Lutker, Installation shot; Courtesy of the artist and The Pit
The Los Angeles horizon winks between banks of fog and smog. In L.A. presence is free-range and presence flows. Furthermore, in the context of art exhibitions, group show dynamics often addle one’s sense of an edge or boundary. For a gallery to declare its inaugural exhibition as “part of L.A.,” is nothing short of ambitious. Go feel it, rubber-meets-road at The Pit.
Right now Susie Bubble complains about the cold Pacific Ocean on Instagram, my best friend jetlags, that “Summertime Sadness” plays on, Ben the drowned lifeguard is survived by a swimmer, and the artists of The Outlanders all pass through the myth of solid ground, beneath a single thick blanket of looming marine layer haze.
(Image on top: Jon Pestoni, Terminal Love, 2014 , oil and mixed media; Courtesy of the artist and The Pit)