Opening Reception: Saturday, September 17, 6-9 pm
Exhibition Dates: September 17 – October 8, 2016
Curated by art historian Betty Ann Brown and independent curator Wendy Sherman, Fantastic Feminist Figuration opens at Groundspace Project on Saturday, September 17 from 6 to 9 and runs through October 8.
“Fantastic Feminist Figuration” (FFF) features the work of seven Southern California artists: Jodi Bonassi, Bibi Davidson, Enzia Farrell, Laura Larson, Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman, Tslil Tsemet, and Lauren YS. Larson is a sculptor, the rest of the artists are painters. All of them present human figures–most often female figures, but not always–in fantastical worlds that recall the work of Surrealist “Grandmothers” Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, and Remedios Varo. Much like the Surrealists, the FFF artists depict the special relationships between women and their animal familiars.
Echoing the wisdom of the Ancient Egyptians and Assyrians, the FFF women recognize that the human and animal worlds are indelibly interwoven, and we gain personal power through our intimate interactions with four-legged companions. Sphinxes (Egyptian human-lion beasts) and Lamassus (Assyrian deities combining human, eagle, lion, and bull features) embodied the protective powers of the human-animal connection. And just as the ancients represented spiritual power by combining human and animal features, Larson transforms a medieval model of mourning monks by giving animal heads–rat, bear, lion–to the robed religious figures. Davidson depicts women with bright red hair (painted avatars of the artist herself) with feline companions. And Bonassi allows cats and other mammals (especially giraffes) to emerge magically from the ether around her human subjects. Farrell depicts dark-haired beauties with dog and chicken comrades. (Not surprisingly, the artist herself lives with a dog and several chickens.) Sullivan-Beeman, Tsemet, and YS all depict women with animal allies, and do so in remarkably diverse styles, from the almost academically precise work of Sullivan-Beeman to the superflat, graphically impactful YS. (Betty Ann Brown, July 2016)
Groundspace Project is an artist-run alternative space located just east of the 4th Street bridge in downtown Los Angeles.
Exhibition hours are Friday and Saturday, 1-6 pm.
1427 E. 4th St. #4, Los Angeles, CA 90033