Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
Cool School
Catherine Wagley
The Rise
of the L.A.
Art Witch
Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
Mernet Larsen
Julie Weitz
Agnes Martin
at LACMA
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews:
Made in L.A. 2016
Doug Aitken Electric Earth
Mertzbau

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
Mark A. Rodruigez
The Weeping Line
Molly Larkey, Aaron Horst,
Keith J. Varadi, Katie Bode,
Stuart Krimko, Matt Stromberg
Non-Fiction
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
at REDCAT
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Hana Cohn, Eli Diner,
Claire De Dobay Rifelj,
Katie Bode, Molly Larkey,
Keith J. Varadi
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Reconsidering
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater
Diana Thater
at LACMA
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj,
Matt Stromberg, Hana Cohn,
Lindsay Preston Zappas,
Simone Krug, Keith Vaughn,
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word
F.B.I.
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
and LOUDHAILER
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
Share Your Piece of the Puzzle Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
Reviews Eli Diner, Jonathan Griffin,
Don Edler, Aaron Horst
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Reviews Benjamin Lord, Aaron Horst, Stephen Kent
Top-Down Bottom-Up Jenny Gagalka
Snap Reviews Aaron Horst, Char Jansen, Randy Rice, Lindsay Preston Zappas
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee
William Pope.L’s Reenactor
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
MEAT PHYSICS/
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
SOGTFO
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
@barnettcohen
Mateo Tannatt
Photographs
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
VESSEL // CINS and
VESSEL // PERF
Ben Medansky
I've been a lot of places,
seen so many faces
Nora Slade
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, Catherine Wagley, Keith Vaughn, Aaron Horst, Kate Wolf, Mateo Tannatt, Evan Moffitt, Cal Siegel
We’re in This Together Lauren Cherry & Max Springer
Distribution
Downtown
ARTBOOK @ Hauser Wirth
    & Schimmel
917 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Central Park
412 W. 6th St. #615
Los Angeles, CA 90014

CES Gallery
711 Mateo St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Cirrus Gallery
2011 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Château Shatto
406 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Club Pro
1525 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Fahrenheit
2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Ghebaly Gallery
2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

The Geffen Contemporary
    & at MOCA
152 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Harmony Murphy
358 E. 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

LACA
2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

MAMA
1242 Palmetto St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Mistake Room
1811 E. 20th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90058

MOCA Grand Avenue
250 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Night Gallery
2276 E. 16th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

The Box
805 Traction Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Wilding Cran Gallery
939 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
502 Chung King Ct.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

EMBASSY
422 Ord St., Suite G
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Human Resources
410 Cottage Home St.
Los Angeles CA, 90012

Ooga Booga
943 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mid-City
1301PE
6150 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Chainlink Gallery
1051 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Commonwealth and Council
3006 W. 7th St. #220
Los Angeles CA 90005

David Kordansky Gallery
5130 W. Edgewood Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

HILDE
4727 W. Washington
Los Angeles, CA 90016

JOAN
4300 W. Jefferson Blvd. #1
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Kayne Griffin Corcoran
1201 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

ltd Los Angeles
1119 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Marc Foxx
6150 Wilshire Blvd. #5
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Martos Gallery
3315 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Ochi Projects
3301 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

The Landing
5118 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Park View
836 S. Park View St. Unit 8
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Skibum MacArthur
712 S. Grand View St., #204
Los Angeles, CA 90057

SPRÜTH MAGERS
5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Underground Museum
3508 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

VACANCY
2524 1/2 James M. Wood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Visitor Welcome Center
3006 W. 7th St., Suite #200A
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Culver City
Arcana Books
8675 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Blum and Poe
2727 S. La Cienega
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Cherry and Martin
2712 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Honor Fraser
2622 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Klowden Mann
6023 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Luis De Jesus
2685 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

MiM Gallery
2636 La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Roberts and Tilton
5801 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Samuel Freeman
2639 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Susanne Vielmetter
6006 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Silverlake/ Echo Park
Smart Objects
1828 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Otherwild
1768 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Hollywood
Diane Rosenstein
831 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Family Books
436 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

GAVLAK
1034 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Hannah Hoffman
1010 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

LAXART
7000 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90038

M+B
612 N. Almont Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Mier
1107 Greenacre Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Moskowitz Bayse
743 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Regen Projects
6750 Santa Monica Blvd.
LLos Angeles, CA 90038

Shulamit Nazarian
616 N. La Brea
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Various Small Fires
812 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Westside
18th Street Arts
1639 18th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis
    &College of Art and Design
9045 Lincoln Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Christopher Grimes Gallery
916 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

DXIX Projects
519 Santa Clara Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90291

Five Car Garage
(Emma Gray HQ)

Team (Bungalow)
306 Windward Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Eastside
ACME
2939 Denby Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90039

ESXLA
602 Moulton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90031

SADE
204 S. Avenue 19
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Boyle Heights
BBQLA
2315 Jesse St.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Chimento Contemporary
622 S. Anderson St., #105
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Ibid.
670 S. Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Ooga Twooga
356 Mission Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
1326 S. Boyle Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Museum as Retail Space (MaRS)
649 S. Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Nicodim Gallery
571 S. Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Venus Over Los Angeles
601 S. Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90023
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Armory Center for the Arts
145 N. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103

Los Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Ave.
Valley Glen, CA 91401

Natural
15168 Raymer St.
Van Nuys, CA 91405

The Pit
918 Ruberta Ave.
Glendale, CA 91201

Laura Owens at the Wattis Institute

(L.A. in S.F.)

 

Laura Owens, Untitled (detail) (2016). Acrylic, oil, Flashe, silkscreen inks, charcoal, pastel pencil, graphite, and sand on wallpaper. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. © Laura Owens. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Laura Owens, Untitled (detail) (2016). Acrylic, oil, Flashe, silkscreen inks, charcoal, pastel pencil, graphite, and sand on wallpaper. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. © Laura Owens. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

The current Laura Owens solo exhibition, Ten Paintings, at the Wattis Institute in San Francisco, is a perplexing visual poem. What are the “paintings,” and how are they paintings? The walls in the first room are plastered floor to ceiling in 70 clay-coated, silkscreened, drawn and painted-on sheets of paper. Throughout the space, there are architectural nods to both Owens’ studio space and the exhibition space itself. Overt and implied optical illusions abound, but Owens never regresses to impressing, and this is perhaps what is ultimately most impressive. The show has been rigorously conceived as a totalized environment, filled with repurposed works and reclaimed spam e-mails. It reveals hints of intimacy, and revels in advertisements for detachment.

Despite the lack of discrete canvases on display, Owens still insists on deeming the works “paintings.” This insistence feels equally sincere and satirical, and the motif carries on into the next room, where she includes a few (now) semi-signature paintings and a salon-style installation composed of pieces made by her own family members (her grandmother’s embroidery, her brother’s childhood drawings) along with a curious collection of other sundry small-scale two-dimensional works. Even when she deploys a gimmick—visitors can send text messages to the applied wallpaper, eliciting a robotic response—the result doesn’t feel forced; it feels time-sensitive.

This sensitivity to time (and timeliness) is astounding, and can be tied to one of the simpler statements that the curator, Anthony Huberman, makes about this work in his associated text: “Many tag Owens’s work as ‘Painting 2.0.’” Largely, this refers to Owens’ actual use of Photoshop, her emoji sculptures, and Instagram-influenced subject matter. The literalness of this angling (by both artist and curator) is timely; i.e., hashtags pointedly tend to have a quick expiration date. Owens though, unlike most other contemporary artists infatuated with the mimetic processes of online networks, has figured out a way to utilize the ephemeral nature of browsing and scrolling.

Owens has made herself gradually, and increasingly, available in her work, while also understanding and citing history (painting and otherwise) throughout her most recent exhibitions. In Ten Paintings, her incorporation of vintage local newspaper listings (via back issues of The Berkeley Barb) becomes an explicit micro gesture, whereas her construction of a flattened-out, pastel-infused black-and-white pixelated labyrinth of muddled content, evocative of the ethos of ‘70s conceptual art, is more of an implicit macro gesture. This holistic approach allows her to be as generous as possible with her audience, while simultaneously acknowledging the myopic solipsism of a solitary studio practice—a complexly self-aware balancing act.

Laura Owens, Untitled (Installation view) (2016). Acrylic, oil, Flashe, silkscreen inks, charcoal, pastel pencil, graphite, and sand on wallpaper. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. © Laura Owens. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Laura Owens, Untitled (installation view) (2016). Acrylic, oil, Flashe, silkscreen inks, charcoal, pastel pencil, graphite, and sand on wallpaper. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. © Laura Owens. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Huberman claims, “Objects, images, or videos need a frame or a context in order for them to seem like art. Painting doesn’t.” Of course, anyone can recognize a painting as art, and often, they do; but context affects painting as much as any other art form. If one’s aunt or uncle purchases a painting from a thrift store, it ends up in their living room. If Jim Shaw makes the same transaction, the painting ends up in the New Museum. Owens does not overlook this ironic reality. Each aspect of her practice—the application or execution of any given idea—illuminates or complicates the others.

Since Owens first came to prominence out of graduate school at CalArts in the late ‘90s, she has continued to push on painting, sometimes taking multiple left turns, and often landing at unpredictable destinations. Yet, it wasn’t until the recession hit in 2008, and many people seemed to give up on the market (and, with it, painting), that Owens really began to own the medium. In the face of futile impossibility, Owens went into full-on swagger mode and began building the framework for her most confident and ambitious works to date.

These ideas sharply coalesced three years ago when Owens exhibited a series of large new works, 12 Paintings (2013), as the inaugural show at her own (then) newly unveiled warehouse space, 356 Mission, in Los Angeles. These paintings were bold in their Pop art color schemes and directed compositions, and brash in their unflinching, unwavering laissez-faire attitude. This relentlessly multifarious yet deferential outlook on one’s own standing in a bigger, broader community—again on both the micro and macro level—ideally serves as a generative point to cycle through ideas in a profoundly productive manner. In principle, this malleable form of reflexivity comes with some distance—the harder one squints, the clearer the picture. Although, the risk one certainly runs with this strategy is that so much time will be spent naval-gazing that the individual will simply develop astigmatism.

In any case, the past few years have seen Owens’ specifically squinted vision willfully straddle the printed and digital, the real and virtual, the personal and professional with egotistical dexterity and assumed vulnerability. In an extremely tenuous election year, in which galleries are closing, auction houses are scrambling, artists are being taken advantage of, and another recession looms as a real possibility, alternatives seem to be the only source of hope. Owens here, at the top of her painting game, in a city presently so sure of solutions, proves once again, with “paintings,” that alternatives must be sought and (can be) found.

Laura Owens: Ten Paintings runs from April 28-July 23, 2016 at The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (360 Kansas St., San Francisco, CA 94103).

Laura Owens, Ten Paintings (detail) (2016). Image courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Laura Owens, Ten Paintings (detail) (2016). Image courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Laura Owens, Untitled (Installation view) (2016). Acrylic, oil, Flashe, silkscreen inks, charcoal, pastel pencil, graphite, and sand on wallpaper. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. © Laura Owens. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Laura Owens, Untitled (installation view) (2016). Acrylic, oil, Flashe, silkscreen inks, charcoal, pastel pencil, graphite, and sand on wallpaper. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. © Laura Owens. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

 

2016-07-12

Originally published in Carla Issue 5.