Launch LA is proud to continue its Chinatown exhibition programming with, Short Days Dark Nights, featuring the work of Kim Kimbro, Michael Rosenfeld, Theodore Svenningsen and William Wray. Focusing on a variety of figurative subject matter ranging from animals, trains, dirigibles and urban-scapes, a sense of ominous mystery pervades all of the works. Short Days Dark Nights delves into the foreboding quiet of winter and its melancholic wonder.
Kim Kimbro is an American painter who lives and works in Los Angeles. She received a BFA from the Parsons School of Design in New York, and has been exhibiting since 2007. Animal imagery is a vehicle through which the artist explores the darkest corners of the psyche, and grapples with meaning and emotion in her new series. For her, they often depict a moment in a dream or dark fairy tale, usually at a point where ruin and resurrection meet. Set against ambiguous backgrounds of umber and ash, owls, horses, bears and birds are avatars for a deep range of primal emotions. Early man scratched marks on the walls with ground pigment so that others could recognize the animal and conjure its spirit. That primitive bargain is the starting point for each painting, where it is decided, metaphorically, who lives and who dies. They are cyphers that stand in for the way we are — corruptible and faithful, fickle and steadfast.
Michael A. Rosenfeld earned his B.A. in studio art from Wesleyan University, later pursuing his MFA at Washington University in Saint Louis. A historical and cultural icon, the zeppelins that populate Rosenfeld’s work relate back to the years after the Great War, when the weapon of terror transitioned into a symbol of a utopian future strongly rooted in public imagination. At once apocalyptic and hopeful, the bird’s eye perspective in Rosenfeld’s compositions parallel the dream-like exploration of floating above shifting backgrounds of cityscapes, clouds and valleys. Likened to the monochromatic images of news clippings locked away in a forgotten space, the meticulously painted surfaces confound the distinction between reality and illusory surface.
Theodore Svenningsen holds an M.F.A. in fine art from Otis College of Art and Design, and is also a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at UCLA. Combining the elements of thought and formal technique, Svenningsen investigates the internal attraction to both the subject matter and stylistic principles of his works. The substance of the railroad paintings exists on three levels. One level involves the depiction of mankind as a participant in nature rather than the dominator of it. A second level, which is more or less purely the artistic level, the experience evoked in a viewer comes from intrinsic formal aspects such as colors, forms, lines, and shapes and not from attributes inherent in the subject of the work. And from a philosophical perspective, the trains in are no longer inanimate objects, but have become sentient beings, have become persons, moving through an empty expanse looking for some point of reference, without which, forlornness reigns.
William Wray has lived in California most of his life, and studied painting at the Art Students League in New York. Connecting with the imperfect beauty of parking lots, old buildings and debris of city life, Wray’s method of “realistic abstraction” enhances the gritty nature of his urban subjects. Whether a rooftop view of the iconic “Hop Louie” in Los Angeles, a passing highway making its way through Cleveland, or a rare view of Los Angeles transit in the rain, Wray deconstructs our perceptions of the everyday metropolis.
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