Four Artists, Four Perspectives for Exploring the Self

Pushing the conceptual limits of self-portraiture, “IPSUM” is a four-person exhibition currently on view at Edward Cella Art + Architecture in Los Angeles. With specialization in the intersections of architecture, art, and design, the gallery presents this show in order to explore ideas of “identity, absence, history, and spirituality,” through four disparate artists and a variety of stylistic influences.  

Los Angeles-based artist Jeffrey Vallance, who usually focuses on performance and installation, has included sculptural works that employ religious ornamentation, as well as politically symbolic imagery to bring cultural value systems into question. The pieces are part of a personal collection of objects that Vallance has been collecting since childhood. His works raise questions about both the nature of the art object and the indelible blurring of lines between art and daily life. 

Neha Choksi, who splits her time between Mumbai and Los Angeles, creates work immersed in the relationship between time and space. Included in this exhibition is a series of works exploring sunsets and lunar eclipses. Houseplant and Sun Quotation 9 (2013) juxtaposes a natural photograph created through exposing treated paper to sunlight with a digital image of an eclipse. Choksi’s pieces serve to highlight the nuanced web of relationships that make up both the technological and natural worlds.  

Also included are sculptures by post-minimalist artist David McDonald, pieces that serve as reflections of the artist’s lifelong self-searching process and employ objects like painted wood and cement to create representations of various tensions and existential struggles. The idea of the self is present in most of his works, often represented by an abstracted central figure.     

From a more microcosmic perspective, Patricia Fernandez creates objects and images that examine family history and genealogy. She taps into her Spanish upbringing, painting canvasses that have undercurrents of Spanish folk art, but with the symbolic blurring and hazy abstractions of contemporary figurative painting. May 10, Waxing Crescent (2012)depicts a spotlit, traditionally dressed figure as she passes, her surroundings fading away eerily as if the memory from a strange dream. Her vacant eyes gaze at the viewer and ask us to question ideas of tradition and heritage.  

While “IPSUM” is an exhibition of artists united under specific themes involving memory, growth, and personal identity, its intrigue is in how differently each of the artists tackle these loaded concepts. The subjective nature of the combined individual approaches to the show’s thesis invites us to employ our own subjectivity when viewing, allowing for a personal and open-ended experience.  

IPSUM” is on view at Edward Cella Art + Architecture in Los Angeles, Jul. 12th – Aug. 23rd 2014.

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Charlie Ambler

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