Artist: Tracy Molis
Exhibition title: OSg-OSz
Venue: Night Gallery, Los Angeles, US
Date: October 24 – December 5, 2015
Photography: images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery, Los Angeles
Night Gallery is excited to present an exhibition by Tracy Molis, titled OSg-OSz. Having originated from a massive archive of four-by-five inch lantern slide negatives, the strong black and white gradations in Molis’s paintings resemble the way light shines through a transparency. While the collection of slides depicts numerous art-historical moments up until the mid-20th century, her most recent work is influenced specifically by the documentations of ancient sculptures and stone relief carvings—a box catalogued as OSg-OSz. The artist delves through slides with an archaeological impulse: as many of the detail photographs of the depicted carvings are not internet-searchable, she is driven by the discovery of locating moments within a tactile, material library of photographs that have not been widely circulated through digital means.
Most of the images are chosen for the characteristic of being hybrid creatures: half-eagle, half- lion, half-serpent, half-man. They are morphed figures that hold the unspoken air of authority, of heroes—designating portals and shrines, at once framing and beckoning-in. Magnified parts of these figures appear in the final paintings, closely cropped from images of stupas, processional friezes, and other architectural sites throughout South Asia. Other works are non- representational, isolating moments of abstraction like the lines incised into the base of a bronze Surya sculpture.
Molis makes a graphite drawing from each illuminated slide, translating the tactile experience of handling the slide to paper, the discrepancies inherent to the drawing process paralleling the variable image quality of slide film. Through drawing, she observes the negatives as pictures in themselves, preferring the devotional, mediating act of inscribing the inverted image by hand, cutting into it with light, melding forms into one another, leading to oneiric paintings that never fully cohere into a complete scene. In the final, airbrushed paintings, the gestures of the artist’s hand are magnified much in the same way as the original stone details, which are returned to an architectural scale.
Tracy Molis, Untitled (Griffin), 2015
Tracy Molis, Untitled (Woman with Serpent), 2015
Tracy Molis, Flashing Needle, 2015
Tracy Molis, Multiverse III, 2014-2015
Tracy Molis, Untitled (Lions), 2015
Tracy Molis, Flashing Needle, 2014