Servane Mary: American Cowgirls of the ’40s
Aaron Sandnes: This Hollowed Ground

Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles / United States

September 7, 2015

Servane Mary: American Cowgirls of the ’40s
Aaron Sandnes: This Hollowed Ground

September 10–October 24, 2015

Kayne Griffin Corcoran
1201 S La Brea Ave 
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present American Cowgirls of the ’40s by Servane Mary and This Hollowed Ground by Aaron Sandnes. This will be both artists’ first exhibition with the gallery.

In the main gallery, Servane Mary’s exhibition will include glass and plexiglas sculptures and a large-scale hanging banner, all incorporating appropriated images of American cowgirls from the 1940s.
In an article titled “Dude Outfit” from the April 22, 1940 issue of LIFE Magazine, the journalist tells the story of American women who have assumed labor positions previously designated for men who have left the ranch to go fight war overseas. Shooting guns, tilling the land and herding cattle, the women were photographed in various empowering situations. For Mary, working with images of women from the 1940s to the 1970s encapsulates a specific moment in time: the 30-year gap during which women’s traditional roles were being challenged by the Women’s Rights Movement. Using vintage imagery, she calls attention this societal change as well as the viewer’s own relationship to the time and place depicted.  

Mary prints the mined imagery onto a reflective mylar surface, intentionally low-resolution on a standard inkjet printer. Images are stretched over curved artifices of transparent glass or plexiglass, as if pulling and stretching the inherent content. The reflective and sometimes transparent surface of the mylar acts as a furthering filter to the gaze. The viewer is not only confronted with the portraits of archetypical, iconic women, but now finds his or her own image is saturated into the fabric of the object. 

On view in the south gallery, Aaron Sandnes will exhibit two new bodies of work, comprised of painting and sculpture. The exhibition, titled This Hollowed Ground, continues Sandnes’ investigation into the intertwined relationship between authority, anti-heroes, violence, and anarchy. 

This Hollowed Ground takes the shape of a satirical memorial, highlighting the complicated philosophical contentions between defense and damage from a war-based standpoint. Sandnes uses satire as an optimistic tool to consider the hardness of alienation and the dilemmas of a society after the death of ideology. Monochrome paintings hang solemnly on the walls like staggered soldiers, aligning in a ceremonial burial. Black nickel plated brass roses are scattered throughout the gallery, resembling covered graves of the deceased or the acclamatory aftermath of an audience throwing roses at curtain call—a duality the artist intentionally plays with to draw attention to perspective shifts.
In his series Death Marks the Spot, Aaron Sandnes creates monochromatic paintings with reductive marks on similarly sized panels. Each composition contains two layers of automotive paint, identical in color with different levels of gloss. Sandnes uses color pointedly; the color is coded from various hypercars, supercars and sport cars—man made machines meant to go fast. There is a foreshortening that happens between the glossy ground layer of paint and the four masked-out triangles that sit atop in a matte finish. The ratio of each triangle is reminiscent of folded American flags given to families of military soldiers killed in action. The four triangles of each painting are arranged to reveal the form of an X. Both a formal and political gesture, the punctuation conflates the suggestion of the folded flag with anarchism’s empirical symbol. 

The black rose installation continues Sandnes’ thread of anarchic symbols positioned against highly charged nationalistic tropes. Focusing on symbolic burial ceremonies and flowers used as a gesture of laudatory and honor, Sandnes continues to draw our attention to the hollow ground of war and organized political sanctions via doctrines, beliefs, and rituals. In this exhibition, by collating commemoration and aggression, the artist foregrounds the complexities of the nationalist fight.
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