work / WELCOME TO L.A. - READYMADE ABSTRACTION 2009
Welcome to L.A. / Readymade Abstraction continues my exploration of urban environments with objects collected and documented during a recent Australia Council residency at the Eighteenth Street Arts Complex in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. During the 12 weeks of my residency I produced a series of small paintings on plywood. These works are the result of my personal relationship with the city and my constant day to day navigation and experience as I traversed the L.A. landscape. I would usually leave the studio late morning and bus hop through the city for hours at a time often without any pre-determined destination, photographing and collecting reference forms. The distinct aspects of each area surrounding L.A. fascinated me. From Midtown, Downtown, Hollywood, Sth L.A., East L.A. and the beach towns from Santa Monica to Malibu. Each area appeared to have its own aesthetic, cultural and architectural differences. The shifts that occurred from the predominantly black area of Sth Central with it’s many handpainted shopfronts, to the faded glory of Downtown, the modernism of West Hollywood, the corporate culture of Midtown, and the wonderful Latino communities in East L.A. were a constant source of inspiration. My immersion in the city and the ensuing avalanche of reference materiaI encountered every day left an indelible impression. It enabled me to extend the way I looked at and considered abstract form within the landscape. Often these moments of discovery happened unexpectedly. On one occasion I found myself in the ubiquitous ’99 cent store’ in Beverly Hills and discovered a small box labeled ‘Medicated Cream’ with a sublime angular modernist design reminiscent of an early Eileen Gray textile design. Suddenly the endless world of American packaging, unseen or unnoticed to that point, seemed to reveal itself to me. Stripped from their original contexts the forms become a celebration and a re-evaluation of the overlooked, barely noticed moments of our day. Those incidental abstract elements that operate on a lower visual frequency, often to the point of being almost invisible. It is my relationship to the historical lineage of abstract form and the memories triggered by these dialogues that I find so interesting and which in turn informs my practice. The Grubb and Ellis Real Estate sign promoting a building for sale along Sunset Boulevard was appealing to me in part because it reminded me of the painter Sydney Ball’s ‘Canto’ series from the mid to late 1960’s. The small hardware store colour-card found on a street in Santa Monica reminded me of Mark Rothko’s late works on paper and so on through this series. These connections and exchanges within the language of form are endless and it is these personal interactions, associations and memories that underpin this new work. Welcome to L.A..
Complete 'Studies' for Welcome to L.A. - Readymade Abstraction 2009
Acrylic on plywood
33cm x 33cm each
Reference forms collected in Los Angeles during Australia Council residency at 18th Street Complex Santa Monica 2008
'Welcome to L.A. - Readymade Abstraction' Tolarno Galleries