Opening: 28 April 2017, 6 – 9 pm
Exhibition: 29 April – 24 June 2017
Finding Bones is more than just the introduction of a newly rediscovered body of work by Grey Crawford. It’s an anthology of photographs that embody the creative spirit that was prevalent throughout the Los Angeles art scene at the time. Southern California in the early 1970’s was an island of its own creation. A mixture of surf and sea, concrete highways winding around an ever-changing cultural climate that was challenging our assumptions of what art is. It was a moment of new beginnings in various medias. The Light and Space movement combined with Performance and Ceramic art ushered in a fresh rawness to a seemingly tired media lending artists new age materials and issues to fuel their innovative experimentations. With the commercial realities lagging far in the rear of their creative counter parts, artists found themselves in a position not to compromise their artistic integrity for the hope of selling something that wouldn’t happen anyway. Conventional means for evaluating art no longer mattered as there was no script to follow. It was a time hiccup the art world would feel forever.
Los Angeles is a city with a sprawling suburban outlay that seemingly stretches forever. In its far eastern sector it hosts a small but culturally important city called Claremont. Home to five colleges and a graduate school it has been a mecca for artists of all disciplines since the 1920’s. This is where I first met Grey Crawford who we commonly call “Bones” as we were both growing up in this liberal thinking community eventually reuniting while attending the Claremont Graduate University. However small the town might be, it was wealthy with former professors and alumni that included the hard edge painters John McLaughlin and Karl Benjamin. Both were considered locals and it wasn’t unusual to see their paintings hanging in neighbourhood homes. Crawford who grew up with Benjamin’s children was exposed to these various shapes and forms at early age and absorbed them into his subconscious.
This is most evident in Crawford’s early black-and-white photographs that combine Benjamin’s sense of construction with McLaughlin’s zen-like capacity for reduction. By using the darkroom as his palette, Crawford chooses his selected backgrounds with a Lewis Baltz like sense of austerity as a means for introducing these hard edge shapes and using them as the building blocks for his own language.
Sometimes we find what we don’t expect in the most unlikely places. As a boy I used to dig in my own backyard searching for buried treasures that I only dreamed were there. After fourty years of searching, I finally found my “Bones.”
Opening: 20 January 2017, 6 – 9 pm
Exhibition: 21 January – 19 April 2017
Gallery Taik Persons is highly pleased to present Marked Sites, our first exhibition in 2017, featuring works by Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Jyrki Parantainen, and Anna Reivilä.
The exhibition and its title refer to Rosalind E. Krauss’ essay Sculpture in the Expanded Field (1979), in which she presents the theory of the ‘expanded field’ to explain the development of the definition of sculpture in contemporary art. In her theory, she refers to so-called “marked sites” as a “combination of landscape and non-landscape.” Krauss not only names Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) and Michael Heizer’s Double Negative (1969) in that context, but also works that “operate through the application of impermanent marks,” like Walter De Maria’s Mile Long Drawing (1968) or Robert Smithson’s Mirror Displacements (1969). All of them being assigned to the Land Art or Earth Art movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when artists took art out of the gallery context and photography, drawings, texts, and further documentary methods where often the only means to show the projects to a wider public due to their locations, their monumentality, or their ephemerality.
Jyrki Parantainen’s Maa [Earth] series from 1991 for instance reminds of the more monumental works. Parantainen, however, employs his camera not only as a mere documentary but rather as a creational tool. He used different materials from milk through crushed chalkstone to light and fire in order to ‘paint’ on the negative while using long-time exposures to track and trace what was in front of the camera.
Anna Reivilä’s Bond series (2014–ongoing) on the other hand reminds more of impermanent works like Smithson’s Mirror Displacements: similarly to his use of mirrors, in Reivilä’s rope-drawn lines, the beholder gets a different point of view by focusing on the shapes of the subjects, moreover the connections and natural tensions between them. Being furthermore strongly influenced by the Japanese bondage tradition of kinbaku [the beauty of tight binding] and Nobuyoshi Araki’s oeuvre, she marks in her works the “delicate balance between being held together and being on the verge of breaking,” as the artist states.
Jaakko Kahilaniemi’s works from the series 100 Hectares of Understanding represent a more subjective access point. While both Parantainen and Reivilä seek for abandoned places to leave their marks in, Kahilaniemi enters a very personal territory: an inherited piece of forest, owned by his family for generations. To reconnect with this for him previously unalluring land, he rediscovers it by measuring the 100 hectares in a rather abstract and experimental way. Kahilaniemi walks and interacts with the forest marking the sites and documenting his actions photographically to open up a topic apart from the urbanized world.