Painting Fiction, Fiction Painting
Organized by Habib Kheradyar

Artists » Karen Carson / Sally Elesby / Alexandra Grant / Roger Herman / Habib Kheradyar / Anders Lansing / Jim Ovelmen

Opening: Saturday, May 20, 2006, 7-10 p.m.
May 20 - June 17, 2006
Hours: Fri./Sat./Sun. 12 - 5 p.m.
Where: The Brewery Project 676 South Ave. 21 #33

The Brewery Project presents Painting Fiction, Fiction Painting, a group show of works by seven Los Angeles based artists, organized by Habib Kheradyar.

Painting Fiction, Fiction Painting

“When I think about doing art, I think about it as an investigation of the function of an artist, or the function of myself as an artist. Each piece of work is a result of what I do in the studio every day, year by year. I think: “How do you spend your life being an artist?” and I attempt to be honest with myself about that, while having some sort of moral or ethical position and some integrity about being an artist. Individual works point at this from different directions, so when you experience a body of work over a long period of time, you get a little more understanding of what an artist is.” (Bruce Nauman)

”I want to imagine a life without structural, instrumental, political fear. I want to change the system I see around me because it doesn’t give priority to the things I find of human value. I want to join others in this resistance-and I want to know how I can.”
“What could be useful, perhaps, is the power of imagination and art’s unique purchase on how it may operate in each one of us.” (Charles Esche)

There are these oil paintings but not all the works in the show are paint on canvas-- something is painted and not always with paint.

The artists in the show are Karen Carson, Sally Elesby, Alexandra Grant, Roger Herman, Habib Kheradyar, Anders Lansing and Jim Ovelmen.

The title is trying to give a name to a kind of fiction that is being woven by these artists, either by chance or necessity. The fictional structure makes a more interesting expression. The title leaves open how fiction is painted or painting is painted, fictionalized.

Karen Carson’s paintings on silk of fires and wind are definitely impressionistic/ expressionistic. Painting from nature is hubris combined with a degree of disappointment. So she tries to use her sensate and kinesthetic relationship to the wind and light as well as her connection to art history to create a sense of nature’s surround. As she further states, “fabricating even an approximation of an entirely animated environment on a flat inert surface with paint and a stick with hairs on the end is a kind of joyful folly.”

Incidents are small figurative paintings by Sally Elesby in which paint is used to signal dynamics of human relationships, Each painting captures a glimpse at two or three people interacting in a situation, and each picture is created by painting agitated brush strokes over and around saturated color. The work shows a fleeting incident that evokes a moment of human recognition. It comes out of a feeling state – a memory, perhaps – that is elicited when looking back later, after a quickly passing interaction with another, and being reminded that something awkward happened.

In this work she moves away from wire work altogether. These paintings are clearly representational and provide an explicit venue to continue her investigation into the way one discrete thing (in this case a figure) has an impact on another.

The connection between Alexandra Grant’s work – that of a painter – and literature – is simply that she engages textual works visually, writing and rewriting, finding new forms for words, language to be stacked, layered, ordered and reordered. She has worked with many texts by writers that she has not known personally, and now, works with greatest frequency with her collaborator Michael Joyce, known for many things but perhaps most for his pioneering hypertext fictions.

The pieces she has chosen to show here are literally about return. In the two drawings she has returned to older work to rework and revisit certain themes. Going back into work is not just as a visual relationship, but a physical one, returning through the action of drawing (and redrawing). The Second works look, perhaps askance, at the sculptural work in an earlier installation of hers based on a text by Wislawa Szymborska, her words woven into wire filigree. The new work, maps of text painted and drawn on paper, push off the wall, connections between the texts in yarn.

Roger Herman’s paintings reveal themselves as the creations of an individual unabashedly invested in exploring the physical movements and material and formal awareness employed in the making of a painting, and are the products of an ongoing search for images that demand ever new and nuanced approaches. An avid collector of images he borrows from the highest to the lowest. Herman seems to paint his imagery not in order to show the subject matter but to work past it, be it Modern Architecture, muscle cars, family portraits, nudes, designer furniture, clocks, broad landscapes, and now lush, exotic plants.

Habib Kheradyar’s current paintings begin with construction of a strange fiction that becomes their image/subject matter. Then the image is painted with two different attitudes, one that is emotional and free, the other conceptual, restricted and intricately specific. In one set of paintings the painting itself stands out, in the other the subject matter. In both cases painting is explored, be it its formal approach or re-inventive possibilities.

Anders Lansing in his paintings continues to layer information, fragments of quotes or wrongly attributed quotes, misspellings and garbled interpretations of images and words. He has been known also for his fictional insertions of space into space, and unfamiliar architectural combining of familiar elements, then insertion of painting into that space into painting.

Jim Ovelmen has been incorporating rented costumes in his work for a few years now. These costumes would sometimes appear in videos as theatrical personas of heroic characters. (The references) for these costumes come from a rental house which services Hollywood and stage performances. He was most struck by how some of these costumes look so worn and stressed in person, yet may look so regal when photographed. More recently, he has been making “portraits” of close relations and friends in this alchemical stage of a deadpan “academic” pose. He wanted to catch a mood of direct engagement with the fictional character; an avatar of fiction used across cinema, theater, and in painting. He invited friends to wear the often mix-matched, and ill-fitting dress. Often he entwines eras of uniform to bring into prominence the fictional or mythological description over historical. He also thinks of this as a “collaging” of costume. The photographed friends are translated by hand into these colored-marker drawings, which can also be thought of as paintings. He wanted to see what would happen visually and emotionally by complication the references to the clothing as identity, and work within the essence of recognition, provenance, and exoticism.