In a dazzling dance of wings, beak, body, and color, four corvids are stretched across a neutral cream sky, around a deep blue moon and encircling a yawning red void—the stripped and mythological depiction recalls superstitious themes of spirit, power, and story.

Clare Rojas: Here We Go

Jessica Silverman is delighted to present “Here We Go,” a solo show by Clare Rojas, the California artist best known for her magic realist and otherworldly abstract paintings.

“Here We Go” is the gallery’s first in-real-life exhibition in over a year; it marks the soft opening of an almost completely renovated, new gallery space at 621 Grant Avenue (between Sacramento and California Street).

Here We Go also happens to be the title of the painting above, an emblematic manifesto that depicts the dance of four corvids, highly intelligent birds capable of using tools and recognizing human faces. The acrylic-on-panel work bears witness to Rojas’s superstitious Peruvian heritage, her interest in animal neuroscience, and her deep concern for the environment. This complex choreography of black birds around a yawning red void and blue moon suggests coupling and copulation, sickness and health, snares and freedom, death and re-birth.

Below are two recently completed, small canvases that reveal Rojas as a dazzling colorist, who is not afraid of narrative, even in the ancient classical form of a journey. My Dream Home winks warmly at the California landscapes of Wayne Thiebaud and David Hockney, while Rainbow Path reflects the fact that the the yellow brick road of San Francisco is queerly multi-color.

“Here We Go,” the show, is a virtuoso display of Rojas’s formal and spiritual evolution in oil on linen and acrylic on panel. Her distinct style of high-folk, figurative-abstract art enlivens art history and elevates popular culture.

Clare Rojas (b. 1976, Columbus, OH) has a BFA in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in painting from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been awarded grants and residencies from Artadia, Eureka Fellowship, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. She has enjoyed solo exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; IKON Gallery, Birmingham, England; Museum Het Domein, Netherlands; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, MA; Savannah College of Art and Design, GA; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS; Knoxville Museum of Art, TN; Belkin Satellite, Vancouver, BC; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco, CA. Her work is in the permanent collections of MoMA New York, NY; SFMOMA, CA; Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens, Greece; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; Progressive Art Collection, Cleveland, OH; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Berkeley Art Museum, CA; and the Smart Museum, University of Chicago, IL. Rojas lives and works in San Francisco, CA.

Three abutting, rectangular-ish shapes painted in soft and subtle shades of earthy brown bring skin, intimacy, and identity together in a play of tension—in this work, closeness is more a distance.

Mia Farrington: Adaptations

The ten acrylic on raw canvas paintings included in ADAPTATIONS follow Mia Farrington’s long-time, meticulous examination of the relationship of form and color. For the artist, this relationship is a metaphor for human relationships. How do we reflect ourselves, and each other, through color and shape? How do conversation and emotions connect to visual form and experience? In this series, Farrington’s particular focus is the multiplicity of ways that women must change or conceal their true selves to adapt, conform, and survive. Gradual, seemingly gentle alterations in form and hue across the paintings reflect how women alter their energy, chameleon-like, in order to feel safe and accepted in certain situations. Farrington describes each painting as representing the different hues of a woman–from her truest, most vibrant form and energy to different, less intense, degrees of saturation and energy.

“For this series, my subject is why we, as women, are often required to adapt who we are in order to feel safe, be seen, be loved, find achievement. When I look at these paintings, the colors are speaking phrases that I and so many other women have heard for so long. Programming that is so deeply rooted in us to question our true selves so much of the time.”—Mia Farrington

At a distance, Farrington’s paintings appear as contemporary successors to the history of hard-edged abstraction, crisp and perfect. But imperfection as a form of beauty is a recurring theme in the artist’s work. On examination, we see that Farrington permits–even encourages–drips, canvas slubs, brush hairs. The artist describes these “errors” as a way to create intimacy between herself and us as viewer.

About the Artist

Mia Farrington (born 1979, Rutland, Vermont)  lives and works in Portland, Oregon. She received a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Painting, and a minor in Art History, from the University of Vermont in 2004. Farrington’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at Hashimoto Contemporary (New York), Stephanie Chefas Projects (Portland), Furbish Studio (Raleigh), and other venues. Her work is in numerous public and commercial projects including the Alexis and Andra hotels (Seattle) and in private collections throughout the United States.

An amorphous cloud of color and movement made up of various brushstrokes, including dabbed lines of purposeful drops of paint and more subtle, curved lines that weave and meander around, over, and with each other. The piece is sparse, the color choices bold and earthy.

Love Letter to Alexa Grambush

An amorphous cloud of color and movement made up of various brushstrokes, including dabbed lines of purposeful drops of paint and more subtle, curved lines that weave and meander around, over, and with each other. The piece is sparse, the color choices bold and earthy.
Alexa Grambush, Revive, Arise!, 2018. Watercolor and Pencil (140lb. cold pressed watercolor paper). 18 x 24 inches. Courtesy of Alexa Grambush.

Standing before one of Alexa Grambush’s paintings, I feel the piece long before I find time to think about it. There is no motioning toward higher meaning, no abstraction of the obvious, not even hints. There is only movement, color, texture, feeling. 

Any impulse toward understanding dissolves, and I am left only with the freedom and privilege of feeling alongside her. Her self bleeds through her art, in the same moment that she purposefully recedes from it, leaving behind only impressions of her presence. In this recession, she strips her art of arbitrary forms and instead wraps her brush around the poetic.

The 29-year-old Michigan native, now based in Southern California, described most audiences as seeming to search for a “familiarity of something mortal.” She insists that this lust for meaning misses the point. In her work, Grambush tries “to approach the absolutely corporeal and binding experience of being alive and the deeply mysterious nature of being so,” not by capturing or representing what it means to be alive, but by merely creating something that is itself living.

At once, her subjects expand, contract, inhale, exhale. Every brushstroke has a personality; but their vitality begins with their collaboration. She captures all the mythos and mystery of feeling, without strangling it, mummifying it. Her art arrests understanding, just as it releases it. And I couldn’t possibly begin to understand how. 

Photograph hanging on a white wall. Center frame, a Black woman wearing a striped t-shirt stands before a black background, facing to the right, evoking the image of a mugshot. Behind her head on the left hangs a newspaper clipping depicting a grid of headshots of people of color below the words "IS THIS THE END?" Just before her torso hangs another clipping, this one a grid with mostly white headshots, reading "WHY IS OUR CITY COUNCIL SO WHITE?"

Sites of Memory

UTA Artist Space is pleased to present Sites of Memory curated by Essence Harden in her first collaboration with the venue, featuring artists Noel W Anderson, Gideon Appah, Natalie Ball, Pamela Council, Janvia Ellis, Anique Jordan, Lebohang Kganye, Basil Kincaid, John A Rivas, Adee Roberson, and Muzae Sesay.

Sites of Memory considers how the act of remembering is a site of critical and generative excess. Contained to reverie, remembering resides in an illimitable space, extending out and in towards what was or what perhaps or what could have been. Finding utility in the photographic strategy of the snapshot, where spontaneity and chance hold the capacity to formulate volumes on otherwise ephemeral moments, this exhibition explores the sensory components in such wanted desires. Titled after Toni Morrison’s essay, “The Site of Memory,” the show is guided by her notion that “the act of imagination is bound up with memory” and that remembering is the modality of visions.

The exhibition pivots the work of image-making to a multitude of artistic mediums and materials. Images are exhibited as abstracted paintings, sculptural arrangements, print assemblages, photographic forms, installations, and collage. Diasporic pull, familial legacy, architectural scapes, queered futures, national belonging, and satirical gestures are surveyed as rich sites. The mark of the snap is considered here as an entry to other worlds of image making where snapshots are a task of memory, offering a litany of proof of what mattered then to suggest what is worth remembering now.

“Essence is a curator with an eye on the future of the art world,” said Partner & Creative Director of UTA Fine Arts and UTA Artist Space Arthur Lewis. “She creates compelling stories from the African diaspora in ways that never leave you. This show is a perfect example of how she is able to place her finger on the heartbeat of this cultural moment. We are really proud to be the home for her talents to shine.”

Harden has curated exhibitions at Human Resources, Oakland Museum of California, El Segundo Museum of Art, Eduardo Secci Contemporary, California African American Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and Museum of the African Diaspora, among others. She is also a contributor to several publications and has written catalog entries for several exhibitions, including Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrowBrave New Worlds: Exploration of Space; and What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts. Additionally, she is the recipient of The Creative Capital and Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and is an Annenberg Innovation Lab Civic Media Fellow.

As part of an exclusive print collaboration with Absolut Art, new limited edition prints from Gideon Appah and Muzae Sesay that relate to their works in the exhibition will soon be available on AbsolutArt.com.

Visiting the Artist Space is by appointment only, with a four-guest maximum at any time. All visitors will have to acknowledge via the online appointment system both the health and safety guidelines and their health status before they visit. All visitors will have to wear mask at all times in the artist space. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available on site for guest usage. All guests will have a 30-minute window for viewing the gallery. Guests will not be permitted to the gallery before or after their viewing time. If they arrive earlier, they will be asked to wait in their car until their appointment time. Guests must practice social distancing. There is ample signage throughout the space including arrows on the floor that tell guests which way foot traffic is flowing. Restrooms will be closed to guests and the Artist Space will be deep cleaned on a regular schedule following the close of business each day.

About UTA Artist Space:

UTA Artist Space is an exhibition venue in the heart of Beverly Hills that is committed to showcasing art by globally recognized talent. Since its establishment in 2016, UTA Artist Space has presented notable exhibitions with interdisciplinary artists and creatives, including Derrick Adams, Myrtis Bedolla of Galerie Myrtis, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Larry Clark, Petra Cortright, Conrad Egyir, Amanda Hunt, Mariane Ibrahim, Arcmanoro Niles, The Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, The Haas Brothers, and Ai Weiwei, among others. For more information, please visit UTAArtistSpace.com

About Absolut Art:

Absolutart.com sells signed, limited edition, framed prints by emerging and established artists from around the world. Building on Absolut’s thirty-year involvement with contemporary art (from Warhol to Damien Hirst, Keith Haring and Louise Bourgeois), the goal of their global online gallery is to expand access to contemporary art, support local artist communities, and democratize the art buying process. Recent collaborations include an exhibition co-curated with Wu-Tang Clan, a collection of re-imagined classic movie posters with Metrograph cinema, a series of prints to accompany The Hole’s “Meet Me in the Bathroom” show, a charitable editioned print with Kehinde Wiley to benefit Black Rock, and a large scale installation at the Oculus with Mona Chalabi and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Artists featured on our platform include Hank Willis Thomas, Shantell Martin, Francis Stark, Samara Golden, Kambui Olujimi, Rashaad Newsome, Brigitte Lacombe, Wing Shya, and Jayson Musson.

abstract painting, using acrylic, flashe, oil, graphite, and pastel on a panel, centering a large, geometric shape with sharp edges, whose sides are colored with a lush palette, primarily with dark shades of blue, warm greens and yellows, and off white.

Michelle Ross: I Am Your Signal

Elizabeth Leach Gallery is pleased to present Michelle Ross, I Am Your Signal, an exhibition of new boldly-colored abstract paintings. Ross’s paintings satisfyingly challenge the static experience of viewing through her enlivened, lush palette and dynamic formal considerations.

In Ross’s words, her studio practice seeks to “activate curiosity and tolerance through materiality, form, color and sign” and these new works are inspired by academic research and art historical writings on abstract painting. The works highlight the artist’s interest in spatial tension and disruptions of linear perspective through layered surfaces that hold the rigorous building, dismantling and reconstruction of diagonal lines and geometric shapes.

Deeply saturated blues, ranging from indigo to ultramarine to cobalt, complement icy whites, warm yellows and brilliant pinks. Ross’s addition of reflective silver leaf accents glimmer, disappear or darken through the viewer’s movement. Edges and outlines of painted shapes evoke origami-like paper creases, further emphasizing spatial considerations that allow the artwork to unfold before the viewer’s eyes.

Michelle Ross examines the boundaries between painting, photography, and popular media, creating new relationships, both conceptual and aesthetic, that mirror the shifting realities of our time. Her formal and abstract painting, as well as digital collages, have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (Boston, Massachusetts), The Art Gym at Marylhurst University (Marylhurst, OR), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR) and Rome International University (Rome, Italy). Her work resides in several collections, including the Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Rhode Island School of Design Special Collections (Providence, RI) and the Four Seasons Hotel (Abu Dhabi, UAE), among others. In 2012, Ross was named as a Hallie Ford Fellow in the Visual Arts. Her recent commission, four massive site-specific paintings measuring 16 feet tall by 7 feet wide at The Standard Insurance Company in 2020 marks her largest-scale project to date.

 

Alt text: Two square paintings hang on a white wall, above a concrete floor. On the left, a crowded painting, featuring numerous smiley faces, abstracted figures of people, animals, plants and trees. The paint used features an analogous palette of warm colors, featuring primarily yellows, oranges, blues and browns. The painting on the right works with a similar palette. Dominating most of that painting is a large circle to the left, divided by triangles of different colors and an abstract figure in the foreground. To the right of a circle hovers a smiley face next to a small rose and a human-like figure bending over. In the background, there is a plane of green grass and a yellow sky above it.

Ross Simonini: Refrains

Refrains is Ross Simonini’s first solo exhibition in the United States. The show features five of his Refrains painting series, which are created by repeatedly writing a single phase to construct an image. Each painting is a phrase. Every mark forms a letter. In this way, the show is a marriage of Simonini’s work as a writer and painter.

With the opening of the exhibition, Simonini will release the first album from his solo musical project ROOS, which is also titled Refrains. ROOS uses a parallel musical technique to the artwork, employing repetitive chants to create secular praise songs. The exhibition’s closing will coincide with the debut of a new music video collaboration with the artist, Rafael Delacruz.

Ross Simonini lives in California, splitting his time between Northern California and Los Angeles. He has exhibited at Shoot the Lobster (Luxembourg), Sharjah Biennial 13, Human Resources (Los Angeles), Jack Hanley Gallery (New York), Anonymous Gallery (Mexico), Fredericks and Freiser (New York), and elsewhere. Simonini’s first novel, The Book of Formation was published by Melville House Books and he contributes monthly dialogues to ArtReview and The Believer. He currently hosts the podcast Subject Object Verb and teaches cross-genre courses in Columbia University’s graduate department.

 

An abstract landscape painting with thick brushstrokes describing overlapping, rolling hills. The artist used ochre, pale pink, moss green, Kelly green, taupe, and vermillion for the different hills, with geometric highlights in white and pale yellow. Light blue hovers over the horizon, fading upward into pale yellow.

Love Letter to Bernice Bing

Bernice Bing, Mayacamas No. 6, March 12 1963, 1963.

One of my favorite aspects of the strict stay-at-home orders of March and April was the way that my Instagram feed became a portal into the inner lives of my friends. I spent hours looking at others reading, cooking, drawing, and lying in bed, seeing aspects of their creative and domestic lives that otherwise I would have never come to know.

The work of Bernice Bing (1936–1998) has the same effect on me. I think I can say I fell in love with her at first photograph: Bing on her stomach on a paint-splattered wood floor, legs crossed like she rolled into place accidentally, staring firmly at the camera, as though she was as curious about me as I about her.

But even more, it is Bing’s practically-forgotten, calligraphy-inflected West Coast abstract expressionism that captivates me. A Chinese-American lesbian, she defies abstract expressionism’s aesthetic white-hetero-male-ness, its pretense of representing the psyche stripped of context, by simple virtue of her biography. Bing makes abstraction a tool to interrogate philosophies of the mind and the self, ideas of interior and exterior, Chinese and US culture. At the same time, she breaks down the very duality of abstraction and realism. As her thick brushstrokes become ideograms—figures that mean something only after they generate an aesthetic response—she creates a new way of representing northern California, one in which the landscape opens up the inner worlds to which abstraction aims. “I am attempting to create a new synthesis with a very old world,” she said.

Bernice Bing’s work is what abstraction looks like when it is home alone, cozy, with no one watching.

An painting of two people sitting at a table rendered in geometric abstraction: the figures, objects, and lighting are all flat shapes. The painting has tones of creme, beige, green, and various brown hues.

Adrian Kay Wong: Through the Semblance of Normalcy

Glass Rice is proud to present Through the Semblance of Normalcy, Adrian Kay Wong’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery and co-curated with Sydney Pfaff of Legion Projects. Through the Semblance of Normalcy is a visual journey surrounding familiar isolation, continuation and incidences of beauty in the everyday, conceived and made entirely during shelter in place. Wong creates moments made up of shapes that when isolated, are abstract, and when looked at as a whole, become representational. By bringing these two elements together, Wong builds a unique visual language that allows both the primary subject and contextual elements to exist in a stylistically flat, yet dimensional world as equals.

In this body of work, Wong spotlights personal yet universal scenes of quiet, still and mundane moments spent at home as a means to lead into a greater narrative that is – normalcy. Wong implores his viewers to question what ‘normalcy’ implies and what it means for our future as many parts of our world currently continue to await its ineffectual return.

In posing this question as an undercurrent in his show, Wong uses space to guide his viewers through narration by portraying scenes of where the viewer might stand, areas where figures inhabit a space and scenes of doorways and archways where the viewer might peer or pass through to a place unknown; a place beyond what his subjects have experienced. This gradual movement from A, to B, to C and reverse can be seen in the progression of Hours to Days, Days to Weeks and Weeks to Months. In this triptych, Wong paints the same scene in three iterations. In Hours to Days, a figure is seated inside a home, reading quietly as illuminated arched windows in the background light the stage. As the viewer moves to Days to Weeks, the same figure is seated in the same position, however the book is now lain on a table nearby and the clock shows a different time. As the viewer moves through this narration to the final scene, Weeks to Months, the figure and book have not moved, yet the tone of the final painting feels heavier, melancholic even, as the color palette is now a few shades darker and the passage of time is reflected in the passing of daylight through the room.

Through the Semblance of Normalcy is a portrayal of familiar spaces and interiors we as humans occupy and use, allowing viewers’ personal experiences to navigate them through layers of depth. Wong highlights overlooked and banal moments in an effort to encourage viewers to reconsider what ‘noteworthy’ can be defined as and what ‘normalcy’ can hinder.

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Join us Saturday, November 7th from 11 am – 7 pm for the opening reception. In accordance with local measures to keep us safe, our gallery will be open with very limited capacity. Please email us at info@glassrice.com to reserve a time to see the exhibition. Masks absolutely required and hand sanitizer on entry.

 

An installation image of a large horizontal abstract painting. The background is swathes of pale pinks and peach hues. There are three large black marks crossing the canvas.

Max Gimblett: Juggernaut

Hosfelt Gallery presents a solo exhibition of work by the esteemed painter, calligrapher, and Rinzai Zen monk Max Gimblett. The exhibition, entitled juggernaut, opens September 8, 2020 and is the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery.