T. Kelly Mason -- who will turn 50 this year -- has been an extremely important figure in Los Angeles for more than two decades. In 1994, Mason was included in the important and controversial exhibition, Pure Beauty: Some Recent Work From Los Angeles, curated by now-former Stedelijk Museum director Ann Goldstein at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Goldstein’s landmark show was the first of young artists’ work at the museum. The remarkable group Goldstein selected came to represent a new generation: the leading voices of a post-conceptual vanguard mentored by Mike Kelley, Stephen Prina and Christopher Williams. Re-evaluation of this generation, and artists like T. Kelly Mason, is one of the most important currents occurring in Los Angeles today.
T. Kelly Mason's Art Feature presentation will include four wall-mounted light boxes. Each of Mason's light boxes depicts the studio of a famous artist: Francis Bacon, Lucio Fontana, Giorgio Morandi. The very phrase, "the artist's studio," is one of art's most loaded. In a world in which not everyone can be an artist - someone has to bake the bread, deliver the mail, lay the bricks - society collectively gives "creativity" to a class of people called artists, who embody our hopes, fears and desires. T. Kelly Mason writes that the project, "is about using this fascination [with studios], and the archive generated by people's desire to reproduce images of this space. The archeology of these images reveals certain structures, types of movement" within the space of the studio, within the individual, and within society itself.
Each lightbox image is a hand-cut collage of lighting gels done by T. Kelly Mason. Lighting gels are commonly used in animation; they are not paintings. As Mason has noted, "I always had a problem with color in paintings. I grew up watching TV." The light source for these images is the transmissive magic light of lightbox advertising, common throughout Los Angeles and other world cities.
In addition to the four wall pieces, a floor-mounted lightbox sculpture depicts an abstracted artist's work table. There is also a bench. These floor objects use the language of sculpture to create an artist's studio of sorts. The result is an off-kilter, open-ended exploration of authenticity and creativity, commercialism and societal values. We see our individual relationship to these values and their representations through the ordering of space and objects, our fetishization of them, and their distribution.
T. Kelly MASON is the recipient of the 2013 Fellows of Contemporary Art fellowship. His work was recently included in A Point of View: Selected Gifts from the Laurence A. Rickels Collection, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. His work has been seen in exhibitions at Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA); Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA); Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego, CA); Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich, Germany); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, UK); Kunsthalle Dortmund (Dortmund, Germany); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA); Kunsthalle Basel (Basel, Switzerland); Suermondt Ludwig Museum (Aachen, Germany); Aachen Kunsthalle (Aachen, Germany); Salzburg Kunstverien (Salzburg, Austria); and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebaek, Denmark).