Taking the name from the second chapter of Germaine Greer's landmark text "The Obstacle Race" from 1979, “How They Ran” brings together a selected group of LA-based artists whose diverse practices represent the heartbeat of the Los Angeles art scene today. Greer’s book presented an art historical account of artists who are missing from academic literature and how they overcame historical obstacles to achieve notoriety anyway. Through this lens, Over the Influence will present a group exhibition of LA-based artists from different backgrounds, practices, and generations.
In the early 20th century, the west coast attracted a group of misfits, poets, and artists who in turn helped shape a creative community based on a legacy of artistic freedom. As Los Angeles has become one of the most dynamic contemporary art cities in the world, it has drawn in a new group of artists who look to older generations of LA artists for inspiration and advice. Drawing together artists who were born in LA, those who’ve recently moved, and those who’ve been here for over 20 years, the exhibition is a selected microcosm of the LA art scene today. The exhibition is an exploration of a city through the artists’ interpretations of its architecture, individuals, and habitats. Together, the artists weave an intricate portrait of the city they call home and that inspires their current practices.
Divided thematically the exhibition begins with a group of artists working in the realm of architecture and mapping as psychological portraits. Contemporary German photographer Uta Barth examines visual perception of environmental settings. Her photograph of an outside wall is barren of human life, yet examines the results of human activity. Barth’s work is placed alongside other LA-transplants - Ali Silverstein, Kim Schoenstadt, and Dinah Diwan — all artists who have a distinct connection to the city and its environment. Interspersed are works focused on abstraction, natural geometries, and distinct atmospheric renderings of Los Angeles lining the hallway and back gallery space. Another room examines how existing power structures disseminate and manifest within individual bodies and identity narratives. Jo Ann Callis’s feminists' portraits from the late half of the 20th century sit beside Australian artist Alice Lang’s ceramic male figures sporting psychedelic marbled t-shirts. Vanessa Prager’s thickly textured impasto portraits sit perpendicular to Anja Salonen’s surrealist figures. The final room shows a group of artists whose work explores the symbolism of common objects and materials. Kerry Tribe will present her film “What I Mean to Say” next to Ke Peng’s photographs of her childhood playgrounds in China and Megan Whitmarsh’s embroidered fabric household objects.