Steve Turner is currently presenting two separate exhibitions in each of their galleries. Although the exhibits are of different kinda of work, they share a commonality beyond physical distance. Both exhibits start with a strong conceptual base and inject elements of camp into the actual work, and both are collaborative efforts to one extent or another.
The ground level opening show is See Also: Lai Fun, List of Pasta, Soba by Parker Ito with additional pieces contributed by various artists. The show starts with a quote by Austrian artist Martin Kippnberger concerning the nature of art and the importance of interconnectedness in art. Ito uses architecture as an extension of the network of the art present and installs additional drywall sheets in the space. The walls show paint markings, a sign of art production. The first drywall sheet is scrawled with text, while before it hangs a bright bouquet of fake roses on a chain. The bouquet is buoyant while the use of chain calls to mind industrial production. The main pieces on view are abstract paintings done in vivid colors, also hanging from chains. The paintings often act as walls for other paintings by the contributing artists. The placing of works atop one another has the effects of expanding the network of art, as well as creating a festive, abstract space in and of itself. The expansion into space continues with the works on the floor beneath the paintings. These pieces by Body by Body are circular cartoon paintings of suggestive figures in frivolous poses.
The collaborative effort continues in the show on view in the upstairs level of the gallery. Here we find more of a literal collaboration between Lauren Elder and Amalia Ulman. The show, Immune Stability, is composed of survival objects constructed of protective materials. The work seems decidedly engaged with spectacle, in the Debordian sense and otherwise. This is best seen in the body suit, constructed of silk roses sewn to lightweight cloth, as well as in the use of a black light to highlight the symbols on a waterproof jacket. Decorative alterations were made to other pieces. A set of knives has been painted turquoise and arranged in a fan pattern, and a banner embedded with rhinestones creates a sense of youth and ornamentation. Other works take decoration to a purely superficial level. A set of white vests have symbols cut out and removed from them, while a pair of running shoes have a high heel added to them. The shoes create a paradox between decoration and protection with a layer of concrete spread atop, and reflective laces.
Seen together, the exhibitions parley the anxiety of meaning and use of art as well as of life in modern times.This speaking to and from a contemporary state of being gives the shows both strength and interest.
See Also: Lai Fun, List of Pasta, Soba and Immune Stability are on view at Steve Turner Contemporary, 6026 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, through March 9.