Mark Handforth: Zig, Zag & Flag
Peter Shire: Drawings, Impossible Teapots, Furniture & Sculpture
April 5–May 12, 2018
Opening: April 5, 6–8pm
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
1201 S. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–6pm
T +1 310 586 6886
Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present their spring 2018 programming with Peter Shire: Drawings, Impossible Teapots, Furniture & Sculpture in the Main Gallery and Mark Handforth: Zig, Zag & Flag in the South Gallery.
Born in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he still lives and works, Peter Shire is an institution unto himself. His work can be found throughout much of Los Angeles as Shire is very much imbued with the city’s ethos. A prime example being his installation Angel’s Point which sits atop Elysian Park along the Chavez Ravine overlooking Dodger Stadium and Downtown—encapsulating Los Angeles from a post-modern vantage point among the palm trees, smog, and other Los Angeles landmarks. During his formative years at Chouinard Art Institute, now CalArts, in the 1970’s, Shire studied under Ralph Bacerra and Adrian Saxe, whose influence can be seen in the levels of whimsy and contemplation that play into Shire’s own practice. It was in 1977 when Ettore Sottsass spotted Shire’s work in the new-wave magazine WET and invited him to join the Milan-based design collective Memphis. Shire was one of the youngest and only American members and through his work with the collective, Shire’s very specific language found light and his practice became global.
Shire’s self-proclaimed love affair with clay started early on, but was grounded by predecessors who had started to experiment with fired-clay sculptures already in the 1950’s and 60’s—artists like John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos who were all engaged with liberating the medium from its practical use. For Shire, however, practical use was not a disservice to the medium. His interest in Pattern and Decoration, a movement from the 1970’s and 80’s, brought to his work an amalgamation of decorative and folk-art traditions. Shire himself refers to his own style of work as “California high kitsch”—a specific kitsch that is able to mold and grow with the modernism that is already at hand within the Los Angeles landscape. His use of clay and his exploration with design and furniture all refer back to his larger interest in color and painterly techniques. Shire’s use of clay and other objects allow for him to engage with painting within a three-dimensional realm. His drawings, teapots, furniture and sculpture all exist on the same plane—the works on paper can act as plans for the objects that are forthcoming, engaging with his larger interest in the functionality and efficiency of his pots—getting everything to the last drop out.
Mark Handforth is well-known for his large-format and medium-sized sculptures. Using familiar objects such as lampposts (his first iteration created in 1999), telephone booths, vespas and flagpoles, his work is often a reference to the urban landscape. The artist’s poetic transformation and distortion of the scale and proportions of these objects into sculpture speaks to the identity of the object and its ability to evolve. They reveal something new about the ways in which these things exist and function in our everyday lives. Far from adhering to any rules and restrictions, they form the basis on which a flow of associations can be built. Born in Hong Kong, raised in England, and based in Miami since 1992, Handforth revels in the skewed perspectives and unintended consequences that result from cultural migration and displacement. His sculptures are a direct response, and at times a critique (i.e.; the twisted flagpole), of the complexity of civilization on earth and life beyond.
The three zig zag representations in the gallery space are comprised of natural and manmade materials collaged together that form narrative structures between opposing concepts, geometric and free forms, of the artificial and natural, of abstraction and symbolic representation, the concepts of continuity and change. Line is a dominant characteristic in the work. Light fixtures, such as fluorescent bulbs, are used as a drawing device. The light objects define edges but also illuminate and reflect onto the sculpture creating an oscillating effect between the permanent and the changing. The shadow of the light painted on the wall, the neon light itself, and the organic forms of a branch flowing into the rigid shapes of a metal tube, confuse the reading of background and foreground in each zig zag composition.
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