Report from the opening of an art show:
"Something With Women..." at New Puppy Gallery in L.A.
I thought that -- due to the utter lack of proximate parking -- I'd arrived not an hour late, in time for the first band, but an hour too late to the opening of the show. Nope! Still being hung when I walked in and no line for drinks. Or indeed, any dancing or a crush to see the pictures. I had time to look around.
My first question was women-themed works by women? just works by women? who happen to frequently mine women's themes (whatever those might be?)?
Too bad the card with power tools wasn't an installation.
You know, labels really do help, especially when there's no "map" in a group show. So I will try to do my own. Starting to the left of the entrance, Barbara Maloutas, also the curator, has presented (I think) her family names as "word clouds" printed in black, large format. These are on the exterior wall of the "texty" small room on the left entrance. Family names, largely erased for women, concern with family. The word clouds like maps, in a sense, without the same hierarchy (although there is a certain one: font size, distance of word from center our outside of cloud).
In side the small "text room," again moving from the left were Larkin Higgins' text works -- as well as a very Jess-like (but really interesting to my eye) collage. On the wall opposite were some color phots mounted to cardboard, with a single collage element on each photo. The over all -- and successful insofar as it reached -- effect was of those Baroque-to-Victorian era etchings of internal organs that pictured women, fully clothed with windows that "open" into the interior. Here the collage elements forst, by color, seemed internal, but on closer examination, were a "transport" away from the limbs and appendanges (legs and hands) of the background images.
The corner curio had chaps for donation to the ACS and a breast cancer theme -- on fabric cut with pinking shears.
The next small space had works with an illustrative quality, by turns early Warhol/Hollywood Regency era 60's fashion illustration (Paris, poodles, pink strip... etc.), more of a Beardsley updated sort, and a vintage 40s vixen with war planes, but herself marked with plane markings as those were tattoos (the planes of that era being commonly painted with vixens, not v/v).
On another wall of this same space were some color-prints-of-brushstrokes, of the sort of appearance I'm a sucker for -- a three dimensional quality to them. There were also two contractions/collages of the neighborhood around the gallery with found paper (stamps, gum wrappers, etc.) -- nice but I'm curious; a mother child project? Seemed to have elements of that. Or by someone who'd grown up in the neighborhood?
After that, in the next small room, I particularly liked the furniture ("domestic objects"), well chosen: magazine rack, plant stand, tabletop with lips and eyes as from a fashion illustration, self portrait and "topless" self portrait, respectively, drawn (and perhaps fired) on.
I'm shopping the photos for now.
OK, now I realize the curator is dropping blue folders that contain artist name post-its around. Labels to come.
Doubling back, the breast cancer corner also has a series of slides -- on topic but also an allusion to Eleanor Antin's "Blood of a Poet."
The outside wall of the last space on the left, the one with the tabletop, now faces into the large room containing an all female atonal / improvisational bank WITH AN OBOE. On it is a color field painting: gloss dark teal, glitter pink stripe, mauve fringe, and matte brown. I think the fringe is plastic and that I would like it better as fringed (cut) canvas painted that color.
There is more and more and it is still the children's hour at the space. I feel I should go -- I have -- seen it, but can't really comment more yet....