Artist: Body by Body
Exhibition title: Virgin America
Venue: Château Shatto, Los Angeles, US
Date: May 28 – July 23, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Château Shatto
Facing an interior impasse, a result of the tacit understanding that artistic progress should be perpetual and that an artist’s subject/object should rise above all others, the artists have opted to remove the possibility of novel objects and materials, and produce works on paper in a quantity that must necessarily be sieved through to locate quality.
In the ensuing exercise of auto-production (‘on good days we could get as many as 5 or 7 drawings done in a day, on other days it was hard to just get one done’), subjects and formats emerge and sometimes recur. These reflect the trusted conventions of works on paper, mixed with the shifting attitudes or mental states or inclinations of the artists over the past months: still lifes, portraits, a few landscapes that are failed attempts to copy Peter Doig, female vampires, Frankenstein as a cigarette-smoking dandy (then pornstar, then dope-dealer), the American flag replaced with the color purple, portraits both of friends and celebrities, and a lot of pure abstraction and experiments with composition.
This material is used and discarded with what can best be described as a “warm indifference”. The output takes on the gestural whim and edgeless murmurings of a diary or even daydreaming, which is why some of the works just end abruptly.
When the artists paint Dover Street Market (twice), is it because they’re fervid customers or are they just recalling a time they used their bathroom to take a shit? The works don’t account for this in their tone. They’re catchments for the fallen material of representation and everything lands on the same surface. An extended study of Isabel Marant’s wedge sneakers takes place over several drawings and watercolors, seeming to overstay its welcome, feeling like a joke in search of its own punchline. Yet it is this insistent lingering on the surface that indicates precisely where the artists would prefer to remain.
Body by Body, Title on demand (5), 2016
Body by Body, Title on demand (29), 2016
Body by Body, Title on demand, (185), 2016
Body by Body, Title on demand, (1), 2016
Body by Body, Title on demand, (56), 2016