February 14 – April 14
The Department of Cultural Affairs’ Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is pleased to present Gravity, a solo exhibition by David Alekhuogie (b. 1985, Los Angeles, CA).
The exhibition will feature a series of newly-commissioned works that use gravity as a metaphor for human struggle. This includes a series of backboard paintings, produced by the artist’s repeated attempts to jump and hit the canvas with his hand. The strenuous mark-making of this gesture, one that emulates the physical movements of a basketball player, undercuts the apparent precision of minimalist painting. In these works, physical striving and falling become a metaphor for the precariousness of freedom in America, a much-mythologized notion that remains out of reach for many.
Gravity also includes a number of photographs of models wearing low-slung pants that reveal the top of their underwear, a trope of urban hip hop culture that has been widely censured and even criminalized in some cities. The torsos in these photographs are juxtaposed with a series of concrete sculptures that have been cast from unclothed male underwear mannequins, a nude that is generally viewed as benign. Here Alekhuogie points to the ways in which black and brown bodies are singled out for containment and control.
The underwear motif is reframed in an installation of new mural photographs that Alekhuogie created by cropping the image and reducing it to horizontal swathes of color and fabric. Captured in diffuse light and printed on satin, these normally contentious garments become abstracted, painterly images that blur the line between flat photograph and sculptural object. The artist illustrates how transgressive imagery can be rendered palatable through artistic devices.
Alekhuogie explores the formal and conceptual history of media technologies and their impact on identity politics today. His recent work examines the visual poetics underlying the way intersecting cultures consciously and unconsciously assign value to race, and gender in America. Trained primarily as a photographer, Alekhuogie takes a multidisciplinary research approach that spans textiles, collage, video, photography, and sculpture.
David Alekhuogie received an MFA from Yale University in 2015 and a BA from The School of the Art Institute Of Chicago in 2013. Alekhuogie’s work has been exhibited and collected nationally and internationally. His work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Aperture, ArtReview, Time, Vice and The Los Angeles Times.
February 14 – April 14
The Department of Cultural Affairs’ Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is pleased to present the first institutional solo exhibition in Los Angeles by artist Mariah Garnett (b. 1979, Portland, ME). Surveying Garnett’s work to date, the exhibition includes a selection of her films and installations from 2010 to the present day, alongside related prints.
At the heart of the exhibition will be an installation of her new film Trouble, a feature-length experimental documentary about the artist’s burgeoning relationship with her father, whom she only met in adulthood. The film travels to his native Belfast, in Northern Ireland, where Garnett immerses herself in past and present political struggles, collapsing the city’s legacy of sectarian violence and her father’s Civil Rights activism with the landscape of the present day. The film highlights the ways in which people, as much as places, can carry traces of past histories. A deeply personal investigation, Trouble has been in the making for over four years and represents the culmination of all of the works in the exhibition.
Garnett’s earlier work ranges around seemingly disparate subject matter, from war veterans turned Hollywood stuntmen in Full Burn (2014) to a friendship with a gender-ambivalent ten-year-old in Picaresques (2011). What unites the films, however, is a conscious dismantling of the power structures surrounding representation in mainstream cinema. To do this, she incorporates the process of making the film into the film itself, often appearing on screen as both herself and impersonating her subjects. The works ultimately become portraits of relationships between unlikely companions mediated by the camera and the power dynamics involved in that exchange.
Garnett’s works deconstruct the conventional hierarchy between filmmaker and subject, a mode that has historically been the purview of directors who are economically, racially and gender privileged. By including her own image, Garnett positions queerness in relationship to subject matter that on the surface may seem disconnected from LGBT identity. The films simultaneously acknowledge a natural human desire for contact with ‘the other’ and the legacies of abuse that have surrounded the mediation of that desire through history. In this way, Garnett creates a space in her films where more than one thing can be true.
Mariah Garnett holds an MFA from Calarts in Film/Video and a BA from Brown University in American Civilization. Her work has been screened and exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the following venues: The Hammer Museum’s 2014 Made In LA, The New Museum, Goldsmiths College, Chisenhale Gallery, among others. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
There will be vibrant programming throughout the run of the show with an opening reception on February 10 from 2 – 5 PM. Established in 1954, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is the longest running institution in Los Angeles devoted solely to exhibiting art and has long been a hotbed for artists including John Baldessari, David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Catherine Opie and Andy Warhol. LAMAG is located in Barnsdall Park (4800 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles) and is open from 11- 4pm on Thursday through Sunday with free admission. For more information, visit www.lamag.org