My favorites of her Orthodox Eros series: erotic and homosexual undertones but photographed in an Old Masters’ light that is romantic and yet uncomfortably real. They are nostalgic, dramatic and very baroque. The last, with it’s clown collar, mocks the institution of religion as fanaticism. It also goes a step further as a reference to the Shakespearean collars of a by-gone era. We are at once reminded of how antiquated some of these systems are and how silly they may appear to outsiders.
A recent acquisition of the Hammer Museum, the work of UCLA Photography Professor James Welling is simply enthralling to look at. Tinted filters distort our perception of exposure for this series, focusing on the 1949 Glass House of architect Phillip Johnson. Recently, I prefer his abstract works, but the colors on these are captivating.
Israeli choreography Noa Eshkol was recently rediscovered by Los Angeles-based artist Sharon Lockhart. Eshkol’s Wachman notation system was largely dismissed by contemporaries. And yet, her dedicated followers continue to practice her meditative dances to the rhythm of a metronome. The performances are stoic and spiritual in their monotony. We get a better sense of Eshkol’s strict discipline and extraordinary preliminary processes through Lockhart’s presentation. The images above were presented alongside videos of Eshkol’s troupe dancing. The small spherical objects are sculptures meant to emulate the movement of particular joints in the body. The posters are drawings that bring these visuals into a context that is easier to interprete. Lockhart photographed the miniature models and elevated them to the status of sculptural artworks in their own right. Lockhart also documented Eshkol’s dances for the first time. In an effort to preserve and continue the choreographer’s legacy. Projecting them onto huge blocks acting like blank canvases, Lockhart beautifully captures this rhythmic and ritual-like language. At the foreground, the dancers entrall us with their slow, exacting interpretations. Behind them are displayed tapestries, or “wall carpets,” as Eshkol calls them. They are composed on found materials, but laid out precisely by Eshkol herself. She then would have her community of followers sit and sew them together in a gathering reminiscent of the work ethic of early kibbutzes.
I visited Matt Lipps’ studio back in 2010 with a group of students from the Hammer Museum’s student association (HSA). He has developed a very sharp photographic process. For this series HORIZON/S, Lipps very delicately cuts out figures from vintage publications and props them up to create miniature sculptures, which he then arranges int0 groups. Using direct, vibrant lighting, he shoots this groupings and produces images of pseudo-still lives. I am drawn to them because of his romantic selection of subjects: ancient sculptures, black and white portraits, ethnographic likenesses, and others. His montages are decidedly without narrative, thus forcing the viewer to relate and interprete these pieces in a fresh context.