Shipsearching, Mie Olise's awesome treehouse of an artwork at Honor Fraser gallery, stole the opening-night-in-Culver-City scene for me. You may be wondering, what's a treehouse of an artwork? Is that some newfangled whipper-snapper term for awesome? No, that would make me redundant.
A treehouse of an artwork is one you climb up and sit inside, as if hiding from the world below, with your trusty sleeping bag for comfort, while spying on the gallery-goers below through the spaces between wood slats.
Maybe "treehouse" isn't exactly the vibe it's going for, as the didactic says that Shipsearching speaks to the "intimate and poetic experience of being onboard a ship during a journey." That it does, too. There's a picture of a sailboat projected inside the constructed space.
The didactic also tells us that "Shipsearching explores the intertwined nature of truth and fiction, history and memory, and the personal and the collective."
The whole memory thing... it's remarkable how climbing up into a cozy fort-like space, even in the company of fancy artsy adults, brings you back to your childhood. Well, okay, I never had a fort or treehouse or sailboat to play in as a kid, but I totally always wanted one, and Shipsearching both brings back that longing and fulfills it. Now try to tell me you DON'T want to hit that up.
And on the note of fiction and memory, "Recrafting History: Nostalgia & Craft in the American Memory" at Taylor de Cordoba down the street is well worth checking out. Frohawk Two-Feathers' depictions of the (fictional) saga of the Frenglish Empire (yeah, you read that right) result in a witty and totally awesome-to-look-at set of drawings and paintings.
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I haven't been able to wrap my head around the complete relationship between craft objects in the show, like Jen Pack's constructions of sheer fabric and thread, and Two-Feathers' more literal re-crafting of our knowledge of history, outside of the apparent play on the word "craft." If you see the show and figure it out you can let me know.
Shipsearching is on view through Dec. 17 at Honor Fraser, 2622 S. La Cienaga Blvd., (310) 837-0191, www.honorfraser.com. See Frohawk Two-Feathers' work in "Recrafting History" through Dec. 22 at Taylor de Cordoba, 2660 S. La Cienega Blvd., (310) 559-9156, www.taylordecordoba.com/current/.
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