dayoutlast is a record of my direct engagement with mostly contemporary art, mostly Los Angelean.

As this blog has evolved since its 2010 inception, so has my perspective. What I once perceived as central within the investigation was what was central, literally, within the photographic frame that I shared here. While still an important consideration, such thinking has also given way to more peripheral considerations, ones also accompanied occasionally by text (written manifestation of thought) and the oscillations between them. What's missing here are larger unknowns surrounding issues of presentation and representation; the amount of time and space it actually takes to accomplish such first-hand observations; and the quandaries between documentation and interpretation.

Despite my attempt to communicate here with image and text what is essential in some respect about the artwork, neither representation should ever be considered a substitution for the primary viewing experience. Of course, occasionally there are exceptions.

Most of the time, these posts are merely remnants---residual fragments---from my last day out.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Min Song "Tromp L'oeil Depression" @ Young Art

Dubious Landscape, 2014
vinyl composition tiles, digital print on PVC vinyl
 23 3/4 x 17 3/4 x 17 3/4 inches, 48 x 49 1/2 inches

Country Pate in Black Aspic, 2014
vinyl composition tiles, digital print on PVC vinyl
23 x 19 1/4 x 19 1/4, 54 x 58 inches

Topiary with Horizon, 2014
vinyl composition tiles, digital print on PVC vinyl
24 1/4 inches x 24 1/4 inches x 24 1/4 inches, 48 x 48 inches

Humid Gardens (I) and Humid Gardens (II),  2014
vinyl composition tiles, digital print on PVC vinyl
30 1/4 x 10 3/4 x 10 3/4 inches each, 54 x 48 x 75 inches each

Country Pate in Black Aspic, 2014
vinyl composition tiles, digital print on PVC vinyl
23 x 19 1/4 x 19 1/4, 54 x 58 inches

Sol Lewitt and Carl Andre sprang instantly to mind when viewing this work in terms of depth and all manner of questions about the floor and whether the work was to be walked upon or walked around.  If the latter, then the exhibition becomes a very cramped one where viewing discrete works becomes nearly impossible due to volume of exhibition space in relation to scale of objects to be considered.

With the art historical and viewing concerns momentarily set aside, it was enjoyable to walk among the work and consider the multiple perspectives and the kinds of surprises around every corner (at least in terms of color and shape). I wasn't sold on the material choices (vinyl floor tiles out of the box that conjure various institutions also outside of the Art context such as hospitals, schools, generic office spaces, etc...). Rather than transforming the materials in some way physically/chemically, for example, they relied on juxtapositions that recalled collage and cubism (not a bad place to go all things considered actually) but without the integral layering and visual simultaneity that would come with such a view. I suppose if I were on a ladder, I could have found such a synthesis.  Instead, for one of my shots, I held the camera overhead to achieve about the same thing.  It's the fourth one from the top and the one I like the best.  It emphasizes the play at the frame between "object" and space.  I suppose, come to think of it, they were all doing this in different ways.

Thus, with initial thoughts and titles in mind, the work was less about structural systems and material sensation, per se, and more about metaphorical relationships between nature and culture, very generally, remote edenic landscapes more specifically.  How this was synthesizing was less clear, though such a disconnect between industrially processed materials and places from whence they may have, ultimately, originated was worth thinking about.

Phil Chang "Pictures, Chromogenic and Print" @ M + B Art

Replacement Ink for Epson Printers (Black 446004) on Epson Premium Glossy Paper,  2014
unique archival pigment print
60 x 41 inches

Replacement Ink for Epson Printers
a series of 5 unique archival pigment prints
(each unique in term of ink and paper)
22 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches

Untitled (16% Gray Monochrome),  2014
unique chromogenic print
60 x 48 inches

Untitled (50% Gray Monochrome) and Untitled (16% Gray Monochrome)

Untitled (Orange Monochrome), 2014
a series of 5 unique chromogenic prints
60 x 48 inches each


Replacement Ink for Epson Printers (Red and Yellow 446001) on Epson Premium Luster Paper, 2014
unique archival pigment print
60 x 44 inches

Dark to light... Black and white to color... The color field... The arrested brush stroke...  Serial repetition...  All such fragments have a relationship to time abstractly in terms of movement and change and also concretely, especially as it pertains to the history of artifacts (Linda Besemer's suspended brush stroke and Roy Lichtenstein's paintings/sculptures of similar subject and concern come to mind quickly) not to mention the activity of photography in all varieties which in some sense by definition captures temporal events and transforms them into discrete moments of fixed duration both now and extended.  Of course, such a photographic palette (grays and highly saturated yellows/oranges/reds) conjures James Welling more currently.  So, it is with such a lens that I looked at Chang's works shown here.

Note: As with anything framed in glass, the reflections (especially at the scale of the larger works) become difficult, if not impossible to ignore.  While I attempted to alleviate them with viewing angles (which is actually a nice way to push a viewer around in the space), I was less successful overall in the way that I wanted to engage them head on, and I'm not sure (in fact pretty certain) that Chang was not asking us to consider the site of reception in any integral way to the work, though the layout of the show did seem to read systematically (at least in my thinking) using the clockwise from left to right convention. Again, a thought about time in space...

More to what seems like the point of this exhibition, certainly formally as objects, is that these works are to be understood more by their technical provenance than anything else. Titles and material descriptions certainly reinforce an interest in how these photographically produced images contrast with the proliferation of online, shared digital photos (those sans palpable materiality and typically at thumbnail size) that exist elsewhere, in fact seemingly everywhere these days.  And so, such a concern may then reflect even my own activities of looking, photographing, thinking, and sharing (not necessarily in that order) within this very web log.  While I seem to run out of ink all the time with my printers, I never do here.  

Thus, with the passage of time and material emphasis we begin to think about what this exhibition of photographic prints suggest, ones that in some sense aspire to the language of painting at least in title, of course not to exclude scale and the primacy of pigment itself.  Certainly, somewhere in the process of making these, marks were made as most of these representations demonstrate. Granted, there is no tangible sense outside the visual as all photographs by default mechanically distance the transmitter and the receiver.  So, despite leaning towards paintings, prints, performance residue, and photographs per se, they seem to reside in a more remote, interstitial space, one without name, but certainly specific in their uniqueness, again, as most of the titles suggest here. 

Some are unique on account of material choice (ink and paper) and some because there are only one of them in existence, which is to say not part of an edition (a different way to serialize and monetize photographs).  In whatever case, there seems to be a significant point here, but at the moment, I can only think about it in terms of our times, the proliferation of digital imagery, questions of authenticity/orginality, and definitions of art forms by medium, the latter enhanced by a discourse that started at least forty-years ago with Donald Judd's essay, "Specific Objects," which attempted to label artworks encompassing three dimensions.  Chang's work, while technically having three dimensions, deals more so with two plus time.  So, it is with this pairing that I find kinship with works that I have made myself, ones that I have dubbed interdimensional objects for lack of a better term.  See here for my earliest examples (conveniently enough situated within my MFA thesis show titled, Pacific Objects).  As such, it may be worth more to think about comparative values rather than absolutes.  Certainly, this show offers such a reading. So, what does it mean to wonder about individual uniqueness when today's current technologies may suggest that there is none?

Bearing these observations and thoughts in mind (naturally biased from the outset), I hope I have at least coordinated a point or two about static artwork in relationship to time (present and historical) and further, reinforced the value of looking at complex objects and constellations of objects  in real space, in real time. Whatever the case, as the title of the show suggests and despite allusions to photographic histories,  these camera-less derived objects may not be a medium as we yet know it, and probably not photographs, unless we are to revert all the way back to 1839, in which case I might be wrong about what I just said.  Prints, yes, or at least somewhere in between...

Robert Irwin "Miracle Mile," 2013, Light Work @ Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Note: In order to think about this liminal work called Miracle Mile, I have elected to alternate the posted images between the work "itself" and its reflections to consider a point about light, place, and time (baby stroller included).

Situated in a transitional space between Chris Burden's Metropolis and a handful of Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses at LACMA's BCAM hangs Robert Irwin's filtered T12 fluorescent light installation called Miracle Mile.  In a series of vertically hung lamps that create a horizontal field as a whole, Irwin has created a visual rhythm of lights and darks in a narrow range of color (mostly reds, whites, and blues). In this way, it was difficult not to think of Nam June Paiks Video Flag Z, 1986 that is a representation of a US flag through a constellation of rapidly changing television monitors (each one a part of a larger whole) hung in this very wall previously (see here).  However, rather than fast-paced imagery, Irwin's current is slow, painfully slow in one respect if you want to think about the passage of time in relationship to the burnout rate of a fluorescent bulb, and the image is self-reflected, though clearly other interpretations are available as my own suggest.  Yes, there is gas flowing through each one of the fixtures producing light that holds on the interior of the phosphorescent glass of each one.  More than an engineering detail, it seems like a metaphor for the work, it's site, and the passage of a body (individual, group et al) at whatever scale you would like.  Fellow fluorescent light artist Dan Flavin was also counting on as much.

Speaking of gas, glass and speed, one is compelled, especially at certain times of day to consider the opposing wall of windows that looks onto Wilshire Boulevard, a section of the "Miracle Mile" in fact.  A mixture of cars (gas powered glass/metal human enclosures) whiz by as pedestrians (unencumbered by industrial armor) take a variety of paces both leisurely and more purposeful as individuals or in groups. I wonder how many passersby pause to look inside the window? Certainly, the opportunity is greater at night when the windows become more transparent from the exterior view in relation to the illuminated interior.  (See my post here regarding a demonstration of interior/exterior perceptions via glass from Irwin's 2011 installation of black granite in the Getty's rotunda).  

Whatever the questions here, knowing Irwin, all of this was taken into account when he installed Miracle Mile.  I think one can also think about the palm trees just outside the window that would allude to Irwin's other LACMA project regarding a variety of palm species, certainly icons of this locale.  At least I'm assuming he still makes artworks that are situated entirely by the conditions of the site of reception (perception/conception).  The reason I hesitate is that his 2011 show of similar works at L&M suggest otherwise (see here).  It was his first gallery exhibition in something like forty or fifty years.  Not to take Irwin to task on this point necessarily but in another way, why not, it does seem important to wonder about a shift in his studio practice, one that started with Abstract Expressionist styled paintings of the mid 1950's (see here) through spare painted then illuminated objects toward the sole conditions of specific spaces not to exclude programmatic landscape architecture, for example, again at the Getty.  

Grant you, this progression and investigation on the nature of light, space, and objects has spanned a now fifty to sixty-year art career and one who is now still creating Art well into his eighties seems perfectly entitled to loosen up a bit and do whatever he wants.  On this point, it's kind of refreshing.  It's just interesting for me to think about how long Robert Irwin has spent parsing the specifics of light in relation to surface and place in order to arrive at such works, which, for all intents and purposes, mark a return to painting, indeed, in light of the title of the work shown here, a signpost to commemorate in some sense both the life and times of a person, a people, and a place.