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In her essay “How to Install Art as a Feminist” Helen Molesworth critiques the oedipal narratives of traditional art history, and proposes instead a looser network modelled on the rhizome. Disparate art-historical nodes are here connected via “elective mothers”; artistic influence is mapped across time and space. 3 Women at The Landing brings together the work of two developing artists in conversation with an iconoclastic voice from the past—illuminating the powerful possibilities of such methods of curatorial inquiry.
The grande dame in 3 Women is Leonore Tawney, a student of Moholy-Nagy and maverick textile pioneer. Her precise line drawings bring to mind the work of her close friend Agnes Martin. But it is her monumental linen works that best illustrate her innovative techniques. Tawney freed tapestry from the wall to float in space, transforming flat planes into dramatic, figurative volumes. Spirit River (1966) in particular transfixes with nuanced color shifts from inky blue to black; a night sky reflected in the ripples of thread-made-water.
The paintings of Loie Hollowell likewise find their power in the interplay of line and texture. They often seem to vibrate along the sinuous swaths of rough and slick paint that twine through her compositions like intestines. Like Hollowell, Tanya Aguiniga’s works are equally bodily, but far less muscular. In the back of the gallery flesh-hued forms hang from the ceiling, cradled in improvised macrame slings. These works make use of the corporeal, organic forms of fiber pioneered by Tawney but rather than austere, monolithic figures Aguiniga gives us fragile, misshapen mutants. Freed from the false binary of the heroic individual or obliterating community the triangle of 3 Women gives space to a more nuanced conversation, one which allows a far healthier balance of individuality and interdependence.
3 Women runs July 23-September 17, 2016 at the Landing (5118 W. Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016)