Artists have long turned to art as a space to contemplate existence and the passage of time, perhaps nowhere more iconically than in Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory. Contemporary artists continue this tradition in innumerable ways, creating compelling landscapes tied to a specific time of day, using materials like newspapers headlines to establish a time frame, or referring to time in an abstract way that is not necessarily evident to the viewer. At Los Angeles’ Artspace Warehouse, four artists offer new works concerning time in “SCOPE - SILENCE - TIME.”
Recalling the ephemerality of life, Colleen Sandland and Greet Helsen offer tranquil contemplations that allude to transience. Sandland paints delicate floating flowers that appear on top of resin-covered planks. Suspended in time and space, vibrant daisies and begonias appear at their peak before falling and wilting. In a related vein, German artist Helsen thins out acrylic paint so much so it resembles delicate swathes of watercolor to create an abstract, ethereal landscape within a bright white background, calling to mind the white light that supposedly precedes death.
L.A. artists Courtney Raney and Robert Lebsack capture specific moments in time through stylistic and material means. Raney employs a graphic style to capture recognizable cultural references like Marie Antoinette proclaiming “Let them eat cake” or Cary Grant acting in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. In her architectural series she paints typical mid-century modern homes to denote a specific era, and places them in idyllic orange sunsets to offer a sense of nostalgia. Placing his figures within sheet music or newspaper clippings, Robert Lebsack builds a physical timeframe within his works. Using the text of news stories and the rhythm and timing of musical notes, he offers time-specific contexts, within which subjects like a tree or a woman walking along a telephone wire are frozen.
“SCOPE - SILENCE - TIME” is on view at Artspace Warehouse, Los Angeles, Dec. 14th–Jan. 28th, 2014.