Von Lintel Gallery is proud to present its inaugural exhibition in Los Angeles: Lay of the Land. The exhibition culls from artists, primarily based in LA, with a variety of perspectives on both photography and the city itself that reinforce the reputation of LA as a place for experimentation and of its landscapes as a well of inspiration. Los Angeles yields a rich field of practice precisely because its artistic history and sense of place have never been codified.
Ed Ruscha's Los Angeles Apartments of the 1960s are a crucial part of that argument: this work is photography but not beholden to the medium’s strictures conceptually or technically; similarly the work is of Los Angeles but not beholden to the city’s perpetuated myth. Looking at these pictures alongside Catherine Opie’s mini-malls, Florian Maier-Aichen’s altered image of a snowy La Brea Boulevard, and Peter Holzhauer’s close-ups of mark-makings on city surfaces suggest the broad parameters within which the landscape of this city and the photographic medium can be understood.
Many of the works in this show are generated by a conceptual framework but result in imagery that transcends its own rules. Anthony Hernandez’s images taken inside homeless camps become projects in abstraction and Sharon Lockhart’s photographs pulled from carefully constructed projects suggest two potentials for interior life: labor and pause. Zoe Crosher’s LAX series grounds dreamy lyricism in the banality of the airport motel; describing the investigation of LAX and its surrounding infrastructure as a “non-center, a metaphor for Los Angeles, captured from surrounding satellite positions.” Klea McKenna’s photograms of rain exist on the backdrop of California’s longstanding conditions of drought. Mateo Tannatt’s untitled image of jeans strewn in the branches of a lemon tree becomes a pictograph: a surreal moment of found visual poetry. These images go beyond the circumstances under which they were produced.
Photography can also be a tool that speaks to other kinds of image production. Brice Bischoff’s movements in the Bronson Caves, recorded photographically and producing a colorful haze, suggest opportunities to consider time and its mysteries as much as their environmental backdrop. Amir Zaki’s prints from Time Moves Still demonstrate the potent and quiet combination of multiple moments: fog obscures the architecture on top of seaside cliffs, while the viewer’s back remains to the ocean. Melanie Willhide’s images recovered off a stolen and improperly wiped laptop are deliciously corrupt and, like Zaki’s photographs, deny total access to the presumed content of the work. Soo Kim renders trees from cut paper that are not literally photographic but echo the forms and practices she developed through her photographic work.
Each of the artists in the show creates work with consequences reaching well beyond the borders of Southern California and the photographic medium at large. The legacy of such imagery is that as photography becomes increasingly conversant with other practices, Los Angeles becomes ever more a part of the world.
After discovering the Bronson Caves in Griffith Park and learning of their deep cinematic history, Brice Bischoff imagined them as a possible site for Robert Smithson's "Cinema Cavern" as described in his 1971 essay, "A Cinematic Atopia." Under the guise of the setting sun, Bischoff recorded his movements with large reams of colored paper using an extended exposure on 4x5 film; the final effect an homage to the blur of Hollywood films created in the caves over the last hundred years.
Bischoff's work is in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Orange County Museum of Art; and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Born in New Orleans, Bischoff currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Zoe Crosher's multifacted practice often uses the Los Angeles cityscape and the myth of going west as the basis for exposing the disconnect between the fantasy of an idea and its reality. The series Out the Window investigates LAX and its surrounding infrastructure as a point of non-center, a metaphor for Los Angeles, captured from surrounding satellite positions, specifically through the windows of 31 surrounding hotels and motels. In the compositions, the planes are incidental to the parking lots, empty balconies and cheap furnishings that characterize the local accommodations.
Public collections include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Crosher lives and works in Los Angeles.
Anthony Hernandez began photographing the social landscape of Los Angeles in the 1970s. Following two years of study at East Los Angeles College and two years of service in the United States Army as a medic in the Vietnam War, Hernandez took up photography while walking the streets of his native Los Angeles, observing its inhabitants, often focusing on odd-looking people staring right at the camera. In later decades, while Hernandez' photography may have shifted (from black-and-white to color; from wide shots to close-ups; and from people to places) his interest in urban environments and the implied cultural differences in class and race have remained firmly intact.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is currently organizing an exhibition of Hernandez' work in their new space opening 2016. Select public collections include the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Hernandez lives and works in Los Angeles.
Peter Holzhauer uses a wooden view camera and traditional darkroom practices to present straightforward photographs. Holzhauer might venture out with an idea of what he plans to shoot but most pictures are found on the fly like Table Top which depicts the surface of a table at La Estrella Tacos on Figueroa Street in Highland Park. His work guides our attention to the accidental, the forgotten and the misplacement and even defacement of the natural setting.
Holzhauer's work is in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Soo Kim's work in photography over the past decade emphasizes the possibilities of the photograph as a sculptural medium. Cutting, juxtaposing and layering prints - the lengthy process infuses the work with a "slowness" that finds its counterpart in the amount of time it takes the viewer to comprehend them. In Kim's series of cut and painted tree photographs shot in Elysian Park, parts of the tree necessarily fall away from the picture plane, leaving only the outlines and a picture of the sky. The cut tree branches then reconfigure themselves; hanging from the hinge in a different way than previously lived on the tree. Kim's most recent work evolves from that same process but instead begins with nothing: an invisible guide of where the tree would have been on the picture plane if the initial photograph existed. This emphasis on the material capacity of the picture calls into question the very function of the photograph.
Public collections include the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Broad Foundation, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego. Born in South Korea, Kim moved to Los Angeles in 1980 where she currently lives and works.
Sharon Lockhart uses film and photography to create poignant, intimate portraits. She carefully manipulates formal elements while exploring certain concepts with regularity: portraiture, the relationship between photography and film; and the combination of choreographed performances with unscripted moments.
The photograph David Gonzalez: Trabilcy Drywall, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, California, November 17, 2009, references an earlier body of work in which Lockhart documented museum workers in Mexico, Japan and Scotland to explore the role of labor in arts institutions. Finding inspiration in 19th-century realist paintings, Lockhart, who grew up in a working-class family, investigates the dwindling representation of labor in contemporary art even as it maintains a huge functional presence in everyday life.
Public collections include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Lockhart lives and works in Los Angeles.
Subverting the expected documentary quality of photography, Florian Maier-Aichen approaches the medium as a form as capable of illusion as painting by combining analog and digital techniques. In La Brea Avenue in the Snow, Maier-Aichen uses historical photography as reference material to create a scene of a snowy day in Los Angeles. A tribute to timelessness, it is also an examination of the photograph as a creator of nostalgia for the nonexistent.
Florian Maier-Aichen has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2007 and at the Museo Thyseen-Bornemisza as a part of Photo España, 2008. Group exhibitions include “The Artistʼs Museum” (2010) MOCA, Los Angeles; “The Smithson Effect” (2011), Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City; “Natural History” (2012) Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions internationally including the 2006 Whitney Biennial and exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA. Public collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Denver Art Museum; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Maier-Aichen lives and works in Cologne, Germany, and Los Angeles, California.
Klea McKenna uses light sensitive paper to reveal something unexpected about the natural world, transforming familiar elements into abstractions of light and form. She experiments with a number of strategies, including hand-made cameras and outdoor photograms to create images that convey a sense of place that is both visual and emotional. Her rain study photograms are composed outdoors at night in her native Hawaii and her current home in Northern California.
McKenna has exhibited over the past decade across the United States, including group shows at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, the Woodstock Center for Photography and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center. Her work has appeared in Esquire, the San Francisco Chronicle, National Geographic, and Art News.
Catherine Opie's photographs include series of portraits and American urban landscapes, ranging in format from large-scale color works to smaller black and white prints. Moving from the territory of the body to the framework of the city, Opie's various photographic series are linked together by a conceptual framework of cultural portraiture. In the Mini-mall series, Opie seeks to document the "Mom and Pop shops of the American Dream." Photographing at dawn on Saturdays and Sundays, Opie avoids the commercial activity that normally characterizes such spaces. The signs that identify individual stores and restaurants come to stand in for the actual populations and communities inhabiting the neighborhood.
Opie exhibits extensively both nationally and internationally. In 2008, a mid-career survey of her work, entitled "Catherine Opie: American Photographer," was on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Recent solo exhibitions have been organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, CT; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Saint Louis Art Museum; the Photographersʼ Gallery in London; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and the Long Beach Museum of Art. Permanent collections include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the San Francisco Museum of Art.
As Jonathan Griffin wrote in Frieze in 2011, Mateo "Tannatt subscribes to Johan Huizinga’s idea, developed in the book Homo Ludens (1938), that play is crucial to the development of culture." In much of Tannatt's work, the body is present only by implication and the viewer becomes an active participant through a sense of identification with these hints and absences across diverse media.
Mateo Tannatt’s work has been exhibited in “More Young Americans,” L’Enclos des Bernardins - Hôtel de Miramion, Paris, curated by Marc-Olivier Wahler; “When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes,” CCA Wattis, San Francisco, curated by Jens Hoffman; “First Among Equals,” Institute of Contemporary Arts, Philadelphia, curated by Alex Klein and Kate Kraczon; and “All of This and Nothing,” The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, curated by Douglas Fogle and Anne Ellegood. Tannatt conceived special works for Frieze Projects, New York in 2013. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Ed Ruscha's photography, drawing, painting and artist books record the shifting emblems of American life over the last half-century. While he made photographs in the 1960s, Ruscha did not consider himself a photographer. The images became source material for other works - in this case, a book. The deadpan presentation of modern California domestic buildings in Some Los Angeles Apartments celebrates the vernacular architecture of Southern California and proved influential for the development of both conceptual art and photographic practice.
Ed Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1937 and studied painting, photography and graphic design at the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts). His work is collected by museums worldwide. Major museum exhibitions include “Ed Ruscha: Photographer,” Whitney Museum of American Art and the Musée National Jeu de Paume, Paris (2006); “Ed Ruscha: Standard,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012); “Ed Ruscha: Los Angeles Apartments,” Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2013); and “In Focus: Ed Ruscha,” The Getty Center, Los Angeles (2013). Ruscha lives and works in Los Angeles.
Melanie Willhide's series To Adrian Rodriguez, With Love is dedicated to the man who burglarized her home in spring of 2010, stealing her computer and back-up. Remarkably, police recovered the computer, but upon its return Willhide learned the thief had erased her hard drive. When she recovered the lost data, the retrieved files were corrupted and the images distorted. Inspired by the visual changes, Willhide began to treat pixels like paint and embraced the idea of distortion, creating new work in which imagery is sliced and spliced, enhanced and destroyed to play with ideas of photographic authenticity.
Born in in Manchester, Connecticut in 1975, Willhide has an MFA in Photography from Yale University and has exhibited throughout the United States for nearly two decades. Her work has been reviewed and featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe. Willhide lives and works in Los Angeles.
Amir Zaki incorporates digital alterations that give a disorienting twist to pictures of familiar buildings and landscapes. In the Coastline Cliffside series, Zaki captures the convergence of natural and manmade elements on the Southern California coastal landscape. The architecture of seaside homes and the vastness of the ocean are eschewed in favor of the precariously active, albeit tectonically slow, cliffside formations. The black and white photographs are printed with a warm tonality to further enhance the atmosphere of late-morning; the coastal fog slowing burning off.
Public collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Zaki lives and works in Southern California.
Farrah Karapetian is primarily an artist and an occasional curator. Her art involves works with cameraless photography in a sculptural and increasingly relational field. Recent exhibitions include Trouble With the Index, California Museum of Photography at Riverside; Good Sign, Flint Public Art Project, Michigan; the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; and Rogue Wave '13, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CA. Upcoming group exhibitions: Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA, and the Torrance Art Museum. Curatorial projects include: Unsparing Quality (2014) and The Black Mirror (2013) at Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA. Karapetian received her BA from Yale University and her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Karapetian lives and works in Los Angeles.