December 12, 2015 - February 16, 2016
GRAVITY - the force responsible for the creation of our universe and the dominant cause for the formation, shape and orbit of astronomical bodies including stars, planets and even galaxies - provides the thematic thrust for a group exhibition featuring ceramics, cyanotypes, line drawing, photographs on newsprint and scratchboard by Laura Forman, Alia Malley, Elizabeth Orleans, Jason Peters and Karley Sullivan.
The exhibition is anchored by an installation from recent CalArts graduate, Karley Sullivan, illustrating the fifty-three named moons of Saturn. Culled from an ambitious project titled Mooning Scratch, in which Sullivan depicts each of the named moons of our solar system, Saturn’s Moons is comprised of fifty-three individual 5 x 7 inch scratchboards displayed in a grid format resembling a wall-sized classification chart. Sullivan’s references are drawn from found photographic images she seeks out via Google searches and Wikipedia, though previously unphotographed moons are rendered from the artist’s interpretation of empirical data and diagrams. Intimate in scale, the individual works are graphically striking examples of artful mark-making and meditational labor that together, form a compelling examination of dominant systems of knowledge.
Laura Forman’s cycle of twenty cyanotypes, also presented as a grid, records the earth’s rotation and revolution around the sun. Tracking the sun from her studio each day for twenty consecutive days at thirty minute intervals, the artist observes and captures our planet’s movement through the solar system using the simplest of materials; sunlight, water and light sensitive paper. The result is both a working experiment and an abstract meditation on our place in the universe.
Jason Peters is known for his large-scale, site-specific installations, which utilize light, and discarded items assembled into repetitive designs. His work invites a transformative experience whereby a feeling of disorientation gives way to the delight of solving visual puzzles and the enjoyment of graceful patterns that play upon the eyes. Like his installations, Peter’s intricate drawings, made with silver ink on black paper, exploit the rhythmic use of materials to generate a seemingly unstable field of geometric forms filled with tension and dynamism.
An imposing ceramic sculpture by Elizabeth Orleans also relies on geometry and repetition. At eight feet long, Growth Cycle, illustrates the movement of an orb through space. From one side of this double-sided work, the viewer experiences the convex form of a sphere emerging from within an opening or hole, while on the opposite side, the concave aspect of the sphere invites viewers to peer inward, where light casts shadows on receding negative space. An implied movement along a fixed trajectory, much like an orbit, and a sense of duration and transformation highlight this ambitious work.
Alia Malley’s photographs on newsprint are convincing depictions of distant planets combining the quality of newspaper clippings from the golden age of NASA’s Apollo program, with the pop sensibility of films like Star Wars. Propelled by the idea that our perception of the landscape is irrevocably mediated by images we’ve seen before, Malley’s work draws upon historical records of early space exploration, 19th Century survey photography of the American Southwest and Hollywood films from John Ford’s The Searchers to Capricorn One, to produce otherworldly landscapes that ask what is real and what is fiction.
LAURA FORMAN received her BFA from CalArts (2005). She is a multimedia artist and former studio assistant to artists Charles Gaines and Mike Kelley. Originally from Oak Park, Illinois, she lives and maintains a studio in Los Angeles.
ALIA MALLEY received her BA in Critical Studies from USC School of Cinematic Arts and her MFA in Visual Arts from UC Riverside (2010). She works with still photography and video and has produced two publications of her photographs to date. Born in La Jolla, CA, she lives and works in Los Angeles.
ELIZABETH ORLEANS earned a BFA in ceramics from Tulane University, New Orleans, and her MFA from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. Originally from Philadelphia, the artist maintains a studio in Venice, CA.
JASON PETERS received his BFA in Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD (1999). He has produced large-scale, site-specific installations around the U.S. and abroad at venues such as Pittsburgh’s The Mattress Factory and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
KARLEY SULLIVAN received her BFA in Drawing from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN and her MFA in Photography and Media at CalArts (2015). Raised in and out of a commune in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the artist currently lives and works in Los Angeles.