VSA Group Show Review by Jenna Bao

January 23, 2016

June 4, 2016

9:00 To 17:00

2558 North San Fernando Road, Los Angeles, CA 90065

Event Description

The Broad brings a remarkable collection of postwar and contemporary art to Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. Keeping a watchful eye over the museum’s 200+ artworks on display and engaging the public about the comprehensive collection are the museum’s Visitor Services Associates (VSAs), a diverse group of individuals brought together by their passion for art. Since the museum’s opening this past September, the VSAs have maintained a close bond. The group is made up of artists, students, and art enthusiasts, many of whom hold BFAs or MFAs from the likes of RISD, ArtCenter, Otis, and USC.

The exhibition is not endorsed by The Broad, but the Opening Reception on January 23rd attracted overwhelming interest. Founding Director/Chief Curator Joanne Heyler, Assistant Curator Ed Schad, Director of Marketing & Communications Alex Capriotti and Associate Director of Visitor Services Lauren Girard joined the large crowd of friends, family, and art lovers.

Spearheaded by VSAs and artists Sacha Baumann and Sarah Gonsalves, VSAs: A Group Exhibition is produced, curated, and features the work of the museum’s talented associates at Keystone Gallery. Located in Glassell Park, the gallery is within Keystone Art Space, where Baumann is the Operations Manager. The warehouse features over 65 art studios along with the 1,600 square foot gallery space with natural and artificial light. Coordinating the show with her fellow VSA Gonsalves was a fulfilling experience for Baumann who found that “the exhibition came from a positive impulse amongst VSAs to share work, collaborate, and participate in a venture that had brought us all together: a love of art.”

The exhibition was curated by a group of VSAs who discovered interconnection and extracted variance through a plethora of submissions. Over the course of four weeks, works were reviewed, delivered and hung with great enthusiasm. The show consists of various emerging and established artists, with diversity encouraged in individual practices.

Elise Fahey’s paintings explore an uncanny yet enslaving emotion beyond nature’s subliminal ambiguity. Poured Lake 4 enchants us with a pool of clairvoyant blue as mountains split open at a few determined strokes. “Simply the idea of pouring a lake directly onto the surface and showing nothing more than how it is made out of (was the idea).” An immortal sky cascades down with the imminent tint of orange. The edges are blurred, with the pool flooding upwards onto the green while simultaneously the hills roll down into the blue.

Seven bronze bras represent seven phases of a woman’s life, with a “nod to Marcel Duchamp’s Bottle Rack” in Trinity Singer’s words. Jugrack fuses literal womanhood with underlying delicacies of growth through frequent re-visitations of judicious stages of maturation.

Intertwined with touches of shapely elegance, these undergarments celebrate femininity and analyze constant additions to identity, with society as a larger backdrop.

Adrian Barrientes stirs a cauldron of colorful HD images that bombard our daily lives in buoyant disregard. “I wanted to act as if I’m scraping crud build-up off a toilet. The gathering of viscous images mushed together.” Food, diseases, flesh – grotesque elements agglutinate and form prosperous lumps, which are vivified by a swelling soundtrack of euphoric burps.

The obligation of self-display is portrayed through the logic of actions – the artist’s mother washing her hair in the kitchen sink. Violet Overn investigates social exteriority, namely the expected poise of a woman. “The slouching, the hand on the head, the closed eyes… It seems as though she is sulking or suffering of some kind.” Overn’s research on bodily maintenance carries a subtle refinement of vulnerability. The simple movements of digging fingers through strands of hair seem like a breach of commitment to appearance, for the gestures captures the woe of bedecking as a everyday chore.

Marni Selmanson unravels the struggle of adaptation via gestural spills on canvas that dwindle in tadpole drips and lull smudges. The idea was triggered from an unexpected notice. “My husband came to me and said he wanted to sell our 1912 Craftsman home in Pasadena, and all of our belongings, and move to a loft in downtown L.A…” The painting, according to Selmanson, was a harbinger of the storm she soon had to face. However, it was also the turning of a chapter and a documented stage of remembrance. Downtown, through the impalpable discord of hurried footsteps, records a coming of age for the artist in rouge and noir, while echoing the hardship of parting ways.

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