Exhibition News: DISCOMPOSURE at Richard Telles in LA
JULY 7 –AUGUST 19, 2017
Opening, Friday, July 7, from 5 to 7pm
Richard Telles Fine Art
7380 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
“Phantoms are the obsessional and constrictive fact for all those who strive to create.”
–Pierre Klossowski (1905-2001)
Posited by Klossowski, the “phantom” is an obsessional mental image produced by forces of impulse in the psyche. Discomposure, akin to anxiety and other emotive impulses, fuels these “phantoms”. Artist may use them to push otherwise representational images into unforeseen permutations, while allowing materials to help distort their appearances further. Each in their unique ways, Carroll Dunham, Victor Estrada, Elizabeth Murray, and Sterling Ruby have worked in this fashion with traditional materials, borrowing tropes from cartoons, modern figuration, and post-war abstraction, estranging them further through obsessive and prolific studio practices.
In two drawings by the late Elizabeth Murray, one of which is entitled “Whazzat #1,” a cartoony body splays across the picture plane, as if subjective reality contorted itself in response to a frenetic and tense urban life: they are cubist reveries gone awry. In his works on paper, Carroll Dunham submits to his id with renderings of contorted women, often revealing their engorged genitalia. His drawings, always signed with the month, day, and year, serve almost as a diaristic notations for his phantoms. Both Dunham and Murray exploit the atavistic tendencies in drawing and painting, reacting to a discomposure that cannot be understood intellectually.
Victor Estrada begins with similar cues, albeit twisting and exaggerating figures in an “American” landscape. Aspects of surrealism and abjection are paired with his anxious building of topographical textures with acrylic paint; he insists that his figures seemingly remain in state of primordial becoming. Similarly for Sterling Ruby, his polychrome ceramic work, entitled “Facial (6377),” feels almost pre-Neolithic. Here, the aforementioned “phantoms” are seemingly expedited into soft clay—and hardened by fire, an impulse of nature itself.
Carroll Dunham recently held a solo exhibition at Blum and Poe, Los Angeles in 2017 and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich in 2016. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Museum Ludwig, Cologne in 2008; Drammens Museum, Drammen, Norway in 2006; and at the New Museum, New York in 2002. He has been included in group exhibitions at venues such as The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He lives and works in New York.
Victor Estrada has exhibited since 1989, and was featured in “Helter Skelter” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1992. He has since held solo exhibitions at Shoshana Wayne, Los Angeles in 2003, 1998, and 1993, and at Friedrich Petzel, New York in 1996. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Elizabeth Murray had exhibited widely until her passing in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions of her work were presented at Canada, New York, curated by Carroll Dunham; and at Musée d’art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland in 2016. Murray was given a career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2006, at which point being only the fourth woman to be given this honor in the museum’s history. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999. She lived and worked in New York.
Sterling Ruby’s recently solo exhibitions were held at Gagosian Gallery, New York in 2017; Sprüth Magers, Berlin; and Winterpalais, Belvedere Museum, Vienna, both in 2016. Recent group exhibitions including his work have been held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; and Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Louvre, Paris, France, all in 2017. Ruby lives and works in Los Angeles.