beta pictoris gallery / Maus Contemporary is excited to present new work by gallery artists Willie Cole, Irene Grau, and Travis Somerville, as well as a selection of important 1970's photographs by German artist couple Barbara and Michael Leisgen.
Willie Cole (American, born 1955) is best known for assembling and transforming ordinary domestic and used objects such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, hair dryers, bicycle parts, and recycled plastic water bottles into imaginative and powerful works of art and installations.
Willie Cole’s first Museum solo exhibition was 1998 at MoMA New York, and today his work is in the permanent collections of over 70 US Museums, including the Museum of Modern Art MoMA; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Guggenheim Museum; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; among others.
Through the repetitive use of single objects in multiples, Cole’s assembled sculptures acquire a transcending and renewed metaphorical meaning, or become a critique of our consumer culture. Cole’s work combines references and appropriation ranging from African and African American imagery, to Dada’s readymades and Surrealism’s transformed objects.
At ARCO, beta pictoris gallery / Maus Contemporary will present a selection of new shoe sculptures, as well as an important large scale Bronze, titled "The Worrier", and "Gas Snake Studies", a rare ca. 1995 Polaroid-based collage and drawing, commenting on our society’s dependence on oil, and a unique glass and photograph work, "Spirit of the Mask", using his iconic iron-shaped imagery in the form of sand blasted glass, revealing the artist’s portrait similar to an African mask, and commenting on his ancestry, having been brought over from Africa to the Americas as a slave.
Irene Grau (b. 1986) earned her MFA and BFA at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, and at the Accademia di Belle Arte di Palermo in Sicily, Italy.
Her recent exhibition "Lo que importaba estaba en la línea, no en el extremo" (What was important was in the line, not on the edge) at Ponce+Robles gallery in Madrid, was awarded the Photo España Prize 2015, and her recent exhibition in the United States, titled ▲, earned her curatorial attention. She has also recently been included on the Forbes.com list 30 under 30 - Europe 2016.
beta pictoris gallery / Maus Contemporary will premiere a new photograph from Irene Grau’s upcoming series "Yellowstone" (tentative title) at ARCO, a unique large scale photograph (ca. 150 by 250 cm) in a
limited edition of only 1+1AP.
Barbara (1940) and Michael Leisgen (1944)
In the 1970s, the early works of Barbara & Michael Leisgen came as a counterpoint to conceptual photography, notably led by the typological school of Bernd & Hilla Becher in Düsseldorf. The different photographs shown at ARCO are part of the "Mimesis" series, located in practices in operation since the early 1960s : the recording of a natural trace, research concerning the body and experiments related to Land Art. Barbara Leisgen’s silhouette is set, and leaves its fleeting trace in landscapes; the actions involve stretching out her arms to follow the contours of undulating countryside (the "Paysage mimétique" and "Mimesis series"), or to include the sun in an arc drawn by her arm while she is seen from behind in the center of the image. This is not merely imitating nature through its gestures; it describes, in the sense of tracing, and channels it as well. The (re)appropriation of the landscape is subjective, the silhouette of Barbara Leisgen being displayed in the landscape, inscribing its mark therein is ephemeral.
Barbara and Michael Leisgen's work has been included nationally and internationally in important exhibitions such as the 9th Biennale de Paris (1975); documenta 6 (1977); the 1985 exhibition “Lisible/Illisible” at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; and their 1987 and 2000 solo exhibitions at the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen, Germany.
Their work is discussed in numerous publications, including "Feminism Art Theory: An Anthology 1968 - 2014" (2015) by Hilary Robinson, "Video Art Historicized: Traditions and Negotiations (Studies in Art Historiography)" by Malin Hedlin Hayden (2015), "Une introduction a l'art contemporain" by Philippe Coubetergues (2005), "Le Corps photographié" by Jean-Paul Blanchet, Dimitri Konstantinidis, ... (1996), "Le sentiment de paysage à la fin du XXème siècle" by Bernard Ceysson (1977), "Chroniques de l'Art Vivant" (1974), amidst others.
Their work been the subject of several publications - mostly in conjunction with exhibitions, such as "Les Ecritures du Soleil (Sonnenschriften)" (1978), "Die Ägyptische Wand" (1980), "Stellungsspiel" (1987), "De la beauté usée : Barbara et Michael Leisgen, [exposition, Paris, Maison européenne de la photographie, 10 septembre-9 novembre 1997]" (1997), "Kunst-Landschaft 1969-2000" (2000), "Zeitsprung" (2000), and "Positions" (2006).
beta pictoris gallery / Maus Contemporary will present a selection of important 1970’s and early 1980’s photographs at ARCO, including the last available silver gelatin print of an edition of only 3 of the above shown work, "Sauvez le Soleil", an important photograph currently included in an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou Metz.
Travis Somerville (born 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia) has garnered critical attention in numerous publications including The Washington Post, Art in America, FlashArt, The Los Angeles Times, and Sculpture Magazine.
His work is included in numerous Museum collections, including SF MoMA; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego CA; the 21c Museum in Louisville, KY; the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA; the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The tumultuous history of race relations in the South has been, in large part, buried and left to fester in the years since the Civil War. While culture is intangible and abstract, its artifacts are available as evidence of its existence. Born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised throughout the South, Travis Somerville unapologetically picks at these old wounds by exposing the popular objects and iconography of Southern culture. Somerville’s use of imagery is complex and shaped significantly by his personal relationship to it. His critical eye works in the shadow of his own nostalgia and consequently attempts to reconcile the idealism of his religious upbringing with the racial and political turmoil of his past.
Travis Somerville’s exhibition The New World is currently on view at PONCE+ROBLES gallery in Madrid.
Travis Somerville's project includes three two new large scale paintings and mixed media work incorporating elements such as a cotton picking sack and flags, as well as one large sculpture addressing the ongoing refugee crisis and referencing Theodore Géricault’s 1818-1819 painting “The Raft of the Medusa”. One important large scale 2009 painting, titled "Great Expeditions”, which was included in the 2009 Los Angeles exhibition "Dedicated to the proposition..." at Otis College, will also be shown.