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There is a light that never goes out—and it’s Amanda Ross-Ho’s “check engine” light. Writ large in lurid yellow neon, in a dark room of wall-to-wall, wiry automobile carpeting, Ross-Ho’s Eternal Flame riffs on the many blinking indicator lights which once shone within the walls of “The Pit II,” a former garage. Eternal Flame’s deserted-nightclub glow transitions into the dimly-lit Madames Electrics, a group show at The Pit (I), curated by Shana Lutker.
Lutker opens the show with a small, collaborative book in which the artists engage in the one-thing-after-another dessins communiques drawing exercise practiced by early surrealists. Continuing in the surrealist vein, Madames Electrics trades the everyday consciousness of Ross-Ho’s distorted dashboard for the groping shadow of the subconscious: engine for brain, auto-body for corporeal. The lighting, a low, somewhat suburban glow provided in pieces by Julian Hoeber, Jamie Isenstein, and Interior Theater, adds an incantatory layer to Lutker and Adriana Lara’s Hands Modeling Air series as well as Zoe Crosher’s mid-’90s C-prints, the latter stewing together the hard-to-resist aesthetics of foregrounded color printing and hazily imaged chunks of the body.
As you pass Virginia Poundstone’s inkjet prints on steel, a solid, single, thick line of light washes over the image—of a woman’s hand holding a rose—like the wave of a scanner. Madames Electrics’ dim, dispersive lighting is perhaps both reminder and rejoinder to the historical figuration of the female body as primarily unknowable. Physicists use light as a means to give both location and shape to material bodies: bodies both hard to see and to find, and often more mysterious upon discovery.
Madames Electrics shows June 12-July 24, 2016 at The Pit (918 Ruberta Avenue, Glendale, CA 91201)