By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Brad Eberhard comes to his bright, dense, irresistibly jaunty paintings by way of instinct and free association. Using Dada as a model, he approaches each composition as a collage, assembling impressions from an idiosyncratic array of archaeological, art-historical and popular sources, and formulating elaborate, if not always obvious, schemes of interrelation. Paul Klee leads to Machu Picchu, he suggests, Hans Arp to the covers of Blue Note jazz records to Raymond Pettibon’s Black Flag logo.
“Concocting based-on-a-true-story lineages like this keeps me off the overtrod streets of literary theory,” he says, “lets visual content beget content, posits ‘meaning’ as local, subjective and weird, and places my work in the tradition of trying to iconically depict freedom and vitality without clichés such as eagles or drips.”
In deference to the legacy of early-20th-century abstraction — a time, he notes, “when experimentation, possibility, discovery and optimism were the most crucial qualities of art” — Eberhard works small. “I am all for the drawing-in that miniaturization produces,” he says. “How about a painting that you can put in your book bag? Delicious. Memorable. A rich experience that gives people a reason to look, linger and, ideally, feel better.”
Eberhard, who also makes collages and installations, is the front man for what fellow WMD Christopher Michlig calls “the coolest band in town,” Wounded Lion. They will play at the closing reception on October 13.
Our feet strike the ground a thousand times a day with so little effect that it’s easy to forget we have any impact on our surroundings at all. We see it only over time — in the hollows worn into the marble floors of old buildings or the paths carved across boulders on well-traveled nature trails — or else temporarily, in sand or mud that’s bound to wash away.
Jocelyn Foye wants you to appreciate these many points of contact, these marks we make on the world. Nearly all of the conceptually oriented sculptural work she’s made in the last few years revolves around some aspect of the body: its shape, its surfaces, its presence and absence. Her most recent series, the newest incarnation of which debuts at the Track 16 opening, focuses on its contact with the ground.
Each sculpture begins as a performance: an athletic interaction — fencing, wrestling and tango in the three she’s made so far — staged on a large mat of semisoft clay. When the clay hardens, the imprints of the participants’ feet remain, like fervent gestures in an Abstract Expressionist painting. Formally refined yet pictorially dynamic, this mat then becomes the sculpture: a frozen record of motion made visible.
Saturday’s performance will take the project to its most explosive level yet, with a choreographed battle between a pair of kung fu san soo street fighters.
?Patrick Jackson, USC
Patrick Jackson doesn’t mind if viewers don’t quite know what to make of his Civil War video Do No Harm. Starring action figures and beautifully (and comically) shot in a studio landscape of dirt, potted plants and the theatrical, saturated skies made possible only by lighted scrims, the 36-minute video is equal parts pathos and absurdity. Jackson, who studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture prior to USC, believes ambiguity carries a particular power. He points to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and his later Fire Walk With Me. Featuring a live Laura Palmer, the latter was a disappointment, Jackson says, whereas the first film, with Laura dead, “was alive with mystery.” And that mystery created the sort of bond — between film and audience — that Jackson is after.
“I want people to keep watching,” Jackson says, “but it’s not simply to get attention to the video, it’s also to get attention to specific issues — the personal versus the political, slavery, consumerism — just to name a few.” And a fully articulated event is not necessarily the most effective, he adds, given that people, once they believe they fully understand something, “are likely to pack it away into storage.” An inarticulate image, on the other hand, “can haunt people,” he says. “An ambiguous image might bring people to want to understand it.”
Do No Harm will screen at the closing reception for “MFA WMDs” at Track 16 on October 13.
Alex Klein, UCLA
“A lot of my work,” says photographer Alex Klein, “stems from the fact that the bulk of my teens and 20s were spent studying art history and critical theory while, at the same time, participating in the punk rock community. Although theory is relatively out of fashion at the moment, I am interested in rehabilitating or re-examining these issues through a different lens. So there is, I suppose, a hope to reconcile seemingly esoteric subject matter with their material presence and applications outside of the academy.”
The photographs that caught our attention, and that we’ve included in the show, come from a recently initiated series of “object portraits.” In one, a starkly designed copy of the 1969 book Bauhaus floats against a garish, rainbowed backdrop. The other, black and white, presents a worn paperback version of Ursula Meyer’s 1972 Conceptual Art. The term “portrait” is apt. As any bibliophile will recognize, these books have character.