Inglewood Open Studios 2018 Review

November 16, 2018

Off the beaten path of commercial art galleries in the city of Inglewood is a network of artist studios with an annual weekend “open house”. Exploring the open studios with no expectations, I was astounded at the artistic liberty and mastery of many of the artists. In the process of creating for the sake of creating, they are unbound from commercial art demands, which mostly amounts to palatable art.

 

Being the art critic that I am, beauty is a necessary yet insufficient condition for good art. Intellectual challenge from aesthetic stimulation of the avant-garde is titillating; and it is a requirement for the advancement of the arts itself. This is not to besmirch the commercial art world; we can see its important titrating role of the zany and exuberantly wild creations of fine artists. Yet such a filter, which guards against wasted space, loses the possibility for the public to consume daring and courageous creations. Hence for an art enthusiast, it is important to balance the diet with peeking into the artist’s workshops every once in a while.

 

 

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The first encounter of such radical experimentation is by Charles W Shaw. His collage of exposed light with the intense conscientiousness of shaping the exposure presents an almost microscopic inspection of an organism. We see each set of independent series as cellular smears underneath a microscope. And what is terrific beyond the organic representation of light – physically photons, which is an insightful commentary on the physics of nature being fundamentally organic – is the variety of species that are exhibited. Each shape, each color, is a new life form from the same root ingredient. The only difference is in the Mendelian tastemaker who chooses which genetics will appear before us.

 

 

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More on the outright ridiculously zany – and unquestionably cherubic – is Mr. Martin Durazo’s Flamboyant Casanova, installed specifically for the open studios. Mr. Durazo presents to us, in his words, a love-nest of a Casanova who is drenched in acid house culture. There are several notes of playful pop culture references thrown in to make the atmosphere positively absurd in the most playful sense. Imagining such a man who thinks this design resembles the romantic can’t help but bring a smile to one’s face, particularly with the piece’s immersive nature; yet again another instance of a welcoming participation of the subject to native reality over the digital.

 

Last but certainly not least from the studios I attended was Joan Robey’s. Her eclectic use of industrial media brings forth a commentary on the material abundance of Western Society. It’s strange to consider, for instance, the lack of salvaging of used metalworks which instead are commonly found simply discarded in junk yards. It is in the incentive of manufacturing to the end point of sale to continue to bring forth newly minted goods, and not recyclables. This prima facie enables continuous improvements in the marketplace, but in its wake is so much material that has life now dormant. To this end, Ms. Robey invigorates it.

 

 

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So, what is striking is the newfound opportunity for an artist like Ms. Robey to play with these materials, and in some sense elevate their displacement from mere debris, or mere vocational utility, towards sacredness; to take what these objects were designed or used for and to provide an artfulness; and with this end we have a reimagination of industrial consumption towards something precious and conscientious. That material abundance does not infer mindless consumption.

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