LAUNCH LA is proud to present Monochromart a new group show featuring James Griffith, Antonio Pelayo and Jennifer Celio. Despite being limited to a single color for their works, all three artists present unique works which, rather than being drab and uniform, are alive with an eclectic mix of perspectives and styles. An opening reception will be held Saturday, August 2nd from 6 – 9 PM. An RSVP is essential. Please email email@example.com
Griffith’s paintings explore Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection through skillful images of animals painted with tar on canvas. Executed with a depth of feeling akin to Durer’s famous naturalistic sketches, these animals blur and morph into each other; in some places the tar is thick and in other parts it seems to fade into the white background – a visual marker for the dance of evolution and extinction. Though some of these animals are locked in combat, humans, are markedly absent as apex predators. Sea-birds painted in a substance very similar to crude-oil are enough to infer the devastation our species is capable of.
Celio cobbles together her references from different photographs to create dreamlike landscapes: wild horses and snippets of famous scenic spots appear alongside ‘inconvenient and ugly elements of the urban environment’ like oil derricks, graffiti, low flying airplanes and food trucks. The nonchalant way both unnatural and natural elements coexist in Celio’s drawings is pleasantly absurd, yet it also exposes the fantasy that environmental issues disappear if keep out of sight and out of mind – in the real world this level of harmony does not exist.
Pelayo alternates between public figures and intimate portraits of family members for his drawings. His evident admiration for both is matched only by his reverence for technical perfection. He captures the ‘hook’ of each personality behind the face – emotional intensity, childhood innocence and nativity or the depth of his subject’s life. Without a single coloured pen or daub of brightness, Pelayo brings out the color in each character he draws.
Celio and Pelayo both chose to use graphite and yet still came up with strikingly different results: the ambiance of Celio’s work is that of a fata-morgana, her greys catching light like spider-silk, while Pelayo’s subtle lines emanate a sort of nostalgic warmth, as if looking back through the blur of memory at a loved one’s face. The tar Griffith harvested from the L.A. Tar Pits for his works, though still ‘monochrome’ alternates between amber and pitch-black depending on the fluidity of its application.
Diverse as its component parts may be, when viewed together this body of works reveals the fragile relationship between humanity, its environment and the other life-forms we share it with.LAUNCH Gallery 170 S. La Brea Ave., upstairs Los Angeles, CA 90036 www.launchla.org 323. 899. 1363