Arts

Meet an Artist Monday: Senon Williams

Senon Williams, familiar to fans of Cambodian psych-rock outfit Dengue Fever as the band’s bassist, is also an accomplished visual artist. His ink and watercolor/acrylic drawings and a newly released zine share an edgy folkloric quality, with axiomatic bits of observational text and evocative existential commentary embedded in the organic color washes and visual puns of his ethereal images. L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist? SENON WILLIAMS: I don’t have recollection of becoming an artist. From my earliest memories I had the desire to make or destroy things. What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about? Humanity. What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist? Does being a musician count? Did you go to art school? Why/Why not? I did...

A Caribbean Present Steeped in a Colonial Past

Firelei Báez, “Love that does not choose you (Collapse the rooms and structures that depend on you to hold them)” (2018), Gouache on paper (Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta, Chicago) (all images by John Wilson White of Studio Picasso for the Museum of the African Diaspora) SAN FRANCISCO — Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox seeks to understand the enduring legacy of European colonialism in the Caribbean through the work of ten contemporary artists. The paradox named in the show’s title speaks to the commonality and cultural ubiquity of these materials  — the drivers of colonial slave economies in the Caribbean — and how their assimilation into contemporary society has enabled a forgetting of their primacy as cash crops of European coloniality. A further ...

Mediating the Consequences of a Former Filipino Dictator

Pio Abad (courtesy of the artist) SAN FRANCISCO — Pio Abad’s show at KADIST, Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite, examines the political consequences of Ferdinand Marcos’s dictatorship in the Philippines (1965–1986), and its effects abroad. Many Filipinos fled to California during that time, and Abad believes the authoritarianism of that time manifests today. With the exhibition, Abad’s first solo show in the United States, the Manila-born artist says he’s looking for accountability at a time when facts are being stretched and givens called into question. A letter from Nancy Reagan to Imelda Marcos (a congresswoman and the First Lady of the Phillippines) has been engraved on Carrera marble and on the floor. There’s also a large concrete reconstruction of a bracelet Imelda Marcos tried to smuggle...

Jamila Woods and Her Ancestral Spirits

Jamila Woods’s new album is an aural representation of community. The Chicago poet and singer-songwriter has expanded her musical palette: Legacy! Legacy!, out since May, bursts with rainbow-tinted beats, richly referential soul grooves, warmly layered voices joining to form a choir in a hall of sonic mirrors. With each song named after a Black culture hero (“Baldwin,” “Zora,” “Miles,” etc), she’s writing songs that capture how life is informed by history—art history. An established poet and community organizer, Woods first emerged as a musician as one half of M&O, her folk-soul collaboration with Owen Hill, with whom she defined a hushed, gentle sensibility informed by acoustic bedroom pop and children’s music. She broke through when she sang the chorus on Donnie Trumpet & the Soc...

An Unlikely Marriage of Science and Art

“Heather Dewey-Hagborg: At the Temperature of My Body” at Fridman Gallery, installation view, photo: Adam Reich (image courtesy of Fridman Gallery and Heather Dewey-Hagborg) In our time of epidemic Modernist and Post-Modernist retro — well-made art without a radical hair on its head — it’s refreshing to walk into something as different as At the Temperature of My Body, Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s exhibition at the Fridman Gallery. The street door opens into a space occupied by tall potted plants and an oblong stainless steel table upon which sit a dozen white bowls. An adjoining room contains a metal trolley, reminiscent of a gurney you might wander across in a hospital, but drenched in mauve light and laid with smaller varieties of plant life — at once low key and startling, appro...

A Curator’s Perspective on Davide Sorrenti’s Fashion Photography

Davide Sorrenti, “A Bird Tattoo” (1996), color analogue, 17.67 x 13.94 inches (all images courtesy of The Davide Sorrenti Archive) Jade Berreau can’t remember whether it was her idea to stand with her back to the camera or Davide’s. She poses against a seamless purple backdrop. Her arms are wrapped around her back and her head is lowered to reveal the faint line of a bird tattooed on the back of her neck. It was 1996. Davide was shooting a Marc Jacobs editorial for Detour magazine. She thinks he must have suggested the pose, because he photographed other models from that angle. “I do remember really loving that idea,” she tells me. We’re talking about Our Beutyfull Future, Davide Sorrenti’s solo exhibition at CC Projects. Berreau is the director of the gallery, which Havana Laf...

Dora Maar, More than a Surrealist Muse

Dora Maar, “Assia” (1934) (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic unless otherwise noted) “My wife with the hair of a wood fire/ With the thoughts of heat lightning/ With the waist of an hourglass/ With the waist of an otter in the teeth of a tiger…” PARIS — With its sparking, vertiginous imagery of a very particular femme, Andre Breton’s 1931 poem “Free Union” illuminates in both Surrealist and Cubist fashion what the psyche can see but the eyes cannot. Breton’s spouse, Jacqueline Lamba, was surely more than the sum of her parts, but, line by line, Breton presents her as no more (and, to be fair, no less — such “parts” so feverishly rendered that they certainly stir the brain). And then, according to Breton’s 1929 “Second Manifesto of Surrealism,” we have the persnickety i...

The Defiant Undercurrents of Feminine Art

Julia Kuhl, “explain to mother” (2019), watercolor on paper, 24 x 32 cm (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic) From a distance, Julia Kuhl’s watercolor “Domestic Textile Series,” in frosch&portmann’s small, one-room gallery, evokes the interiors of 1920s women’s sitting rooms. Kuhl’s works employ a visual language that is traditionally seen as feminine; she paints plaid and striped decorative patterns on small, rectangular pieces of paper. But a closer look at the paintings reveals something more nuanced. Each watercolor features clearly articulated lines of text in lowercase serif or elegant script. These lines are far from the sayings crocheted on a grandmother’s pillow. Sourced from songs, poems, or Kuhl’s dreams, they are sassy, tongue-in-cheek quips like, “I BEG ...

Our Love for Fetishes

Installation view of Margaret Wharton and Issy Wood: I came as soon as I heard at JTT, New York (all images courtesy of JTT) I don’t think Margaret Wharton (1943-2014) and Issy Wood thought much about Jasper Johns when they were in their separate studios. But I do think one way to see their works is through the lens of Johns’s well-known credo: “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.” Although Wharton was a sculptor based in Chicago, who first gained attention in the mid-1970s with her debut show at the Phyllis Kind Gallery, and Wood is a painter who was born in 1993, grew up in London, and began exhibiting in 2017, their pairing in Margaret Wharton and Issy Wood: I came as soon as I heard at JTT was interesting for the paths of conjecture their work led me down. Inst...

Our Love for Fetishes

Installation view of Margaret Wharton and Issy Wood: I came as soon as I heard at JTT, New York (all images courtesy of JTT) I don’t think Margaret Wharton (1943-2014) and Issy Wood thought much about Jasper Johns when they were in their separate studios. But I do think one way to see their works is through the lens of Johns’s well-known credo: “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.” Although Wharton was a sculptor based in Chicago, who first gained attention in the mid-1970s with her debut show at the Phyllis Kind Gallery, and Wood is a painter who was born in 1993, grew up in London, and began exhibiting in 2017, their pairing in Margaret Wharton and Issy Wood: I came as soon as I heard at JTT was interesting for the paths of conjecture their work led me down. Inst...

In Praise of Painting’s Ambiguity

Amy Bennett, “Our Town” (2019), oil on panel, 20 x 26 inches (image courtesy Miles McEnery Gallery) Shortly after my review of Amy Bennett’s exhibition at Miles McEnery Gallery appeared on the Hyperallergic Weekend, I got an email from Mollye Miller, who, I later learned, is a photographer and poet living in Baltimore. In fact, she and I were published in the same little magazine, Prelude, edited by Stu Watson, but not in the same issue. But all of what I know of her came after I read her email. It is not unusual to get a response from a reader, and it can vary from outrage and name-calling to praise and questions. I never know what I might learn or have to endure. I have heard from relatives of the artist, most often when he or she is deceased. I have been corrected when I hav...

World of Light

World of Light (WOL)  is an interactive art and technology exhibit located in Downtown Los Angeles. Global and forward-thinking artists have been commissioned to create boundless installations inspired by their individuality and diverse backgrounds. This exhibit has reached out and successfully gathered artists from Japan, Netherlands, New York, Colorado and Los Angeles. Some of WOL’s brilliant artists include Aaron Axelrod, Atsushi Kobayashi, Chika, Cloaking, DeepLight Labs, Discordian, Kesson and Noctvrnal. The installations at WOL have been featured in music festivals, The Dumbo Art Festival and most recently at The Mayan Warrior (Art Car) event. Each art piece provides a unique experience for the visitors. The installations can range from fluorescent walls to projection mapping, mixed ...

  • 1
  • 2
  • 9