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Using the unique scale of the proxy gallery, Jenny Ziomek has created an exhibition that you can only enter with your eyes. Five small paintings/drawings on plywood are placed on the three gallery walls. The drawings are intimate in size and also interior in subject matter. They depict women alone in the bedroom or bathroom engaged in some kind of grooming during private but not secret moments.

 The work is related to books and narrative.  Here this relationship becomes ambiguous: The paintings are small but you can’t really approach them, and they are quite big in scale in relation to the gallery. Size (absolute number) and scale (relational entity) raise the question of what sizes but also what subject matters are acceptable in a book, a gallery, or a museum; could we see the gallery as a book? Furthermore, what are the implications of looking at this work in these conditions?

Jenny Ziomek

JANUARY 10 - FEBRUARY 28, 2017
Opening Reception: Thurs. Jan. 19, 2017 6:30-8:30 pm

Bamber’s drawing of an unknown dead man’s foot was actually made while the cadaver was lying on a morgue table. Among many other things, here Bamber  humorously destroys the categorical division between Life Drawing (usually the living nude) and Still Life or Nature Morte (traditionally objects, plants, and/or dead animals arranged on a table). Moreover, Bamber pegs the drawing and her experience of the act of drawing, to a 1965 short story by Violette Leduc in which Clarisse, the heroine, lovingly attends to the body of an unknown dead man in her café.

The drawing is remarkable for its perspective of seeing a foot from underneath. Though “realistic,” it fades to nothing as it goes toward the heel and ankle, hinting at loss and grief, mixed with desire. Bamber experienced this work as intensely personal, relating to her own loss of her father at a young age. Marcel Proust (and Sigmund Freud) have taught us that the truly personal can only be expressed in a roundabout way: Here the truth of grief is indirectly conveyed through a work of fiction; a detailed drawing of the foot of an unknown cadaver is a way for the artist to negotiate the accumulation of loss that is the very prerequisite for desire. Mediation and im-mediacy lose their oppositional force and become tools for knowledge.

Judie Bamber

MARCH 16 - APRIL 23, 2017
Opening Reception: March 16, 6-9pm

Through a reworking of flags, maps, national anthems, and foreign languages, Renee Petropoulos has long mined the questions of nationhood and national identity. Her sculptures, painting, performances and installations show how symbols communicate; but she finds miscommunication equally interesting and revealing : what we say and what we hear are usually not in sync, and in that disjunction perhaps we can locate the workings of ideology and the formation of  subjectivity.

 In her video installation in Proxy Athens, Petropoulos approaches a new territory: through a large circular opening we see a digital vertically-split screen that is also divided by a crude chain supporting it in the air. The looping video is of uniformly booted feet dancing in sync and silence. The first jarring disjunction here is dance without music. Depending on our position, we might know that this is a Pontiac dance. It is a traditional masculine dance (no hip movement) originating in the Pontus region in the Black Sea, with its own roots in war dances.

 The relation to military warlike precision is inevitable: many men acting in unison as one. Herein lies the “risk” of showing work about heritage in the context of its origination. The idea is precisely to disturb the relationship one has with one’s own cultural history and its “place” or “non-place” in the present time.  It displaces classical antiquity (the “official” narrative) for another kind of identity and recognition of nationhood.

 Silence removes the video from the familiar, and this defamiliarization creates a distance between what this is and what it represents, coded as cultural heritage in terms of national and nationalistic pride.

Renée Petropoulos

FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 20, 2017
Opening Reception: Wed. March 1, 2-4 pm

From April 9-30, 2017, artist Rosalie Le Forestier is exhibiting a sculpture made by her mother, Kacha Legrand. One part of Le Forestier’s performative practice is to photograph this work in as many places she visits as possible (she has already placed it at LACMA and the Getty Museum). This is not meant as an act of appropriation, but as a way to honor the artist-mother, to practice feminism, and to call attention to the exhibition pedigree of an object in a humorous way.

 The sculpture is made of wood as a block with “steps” carved symmetrically on either side, reminiscent of Mayan architecture or Art Deco jewelry. Like jewelry and architecture, it is “scalable;” a fact that is made more apparent by the scalability of the Proxy Gallery itself. The institutional nesting mirrors the nesting of artistic practices: the work of Kacha Legrand is part of Rosalie Le Forestier’s work, which is now part of Annetta Kapon’s project, the Proxy Gallery.

Rosalie Le Forestier

APRIL 9-30, 2017

Proxy Gallery is pleased to present Strange Fruit, an installation by Sabree Woodward. Two stylized handmade ceramic fruits/flowers, fired and painted but not glazed, sit atop dried mossy branches, arranged in the white cube.  Beyond obvious binaries about nature and art, the natural and the artificial, or politics and nature, we must consider the title of the work, referring to the song about lynching sung by Billie Holiday.

Woodward’s installation is a memorial because it is unapologetically designated by her as such:  she believes that addressing historical wounds through art can and should be done in new ways, to avoid over-coding and reductionism.  Although fruits and flowers on branches are specific representations, here (and in the song) they function as poetic abstractions that the artist seeks to re-encode as hopeful monuments to those that have fought for freedom.   

 Southern trees bear strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees/Pastoral scene of the gallant south/The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth

Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh/Then the sudden smell of burning flesh/Here is fruit for the crows to pluck/For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck/ For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop/Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Sabree Woodward

JUNE 1-30, 2017
Opening Reception: Sun. June 11, 2017, 6-8 pm

The Meshki Collective exhibition DNC is the work of artists Shirin Bolourchi and Alex Kay, presented through multiple frames and frameworks: The exhibition venue is PØST, under the aegis of the July Kamikaze exhibitions; the Proxy Gallery is also presented inside PØST, framed as an image inside an iphone screen on one wall. In the iphone video we also see each of the two artists listening intently to a song that is played by speakers in the gallery outside the iphone, while the Proxy box appears empty, on a chair inside another empty room, ready to receive and also package the content of the exhibition. In fact, it would be fair to say that to a large degree the framework is the work.

 On the other two walls are grids of small framed delicate and abstract drawings and collages, and photographs of collages on pink paper in a square format reminiscent of Instagram. True to the spirit of a collective, it is not entirely clear where there might be collaborative or individual work; however, language plays a big role here: there is Farsi and Russian, and references to the Indian poet Ruskin Bond and the Persian poet Omar Khayyám. Such elements, and what appears to be a cut-up boarding pass in one piece, hint at an “elsewhere” and an “otherwise.”

Meshki Collective

JULY 20, 2017.
Part of July Kamikaze shows
at PØST, 1206 Maple Ave, Los Angeles, CA

“Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange…”  
 W. Shakespeare, the Tempest.

 A Koan is a paradox to be meditated upon; used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.

 A reliquary, on the other hand, is a container for the physical remains of saints (bones, clothing) as well as other objects associated with a person.

 Artist Raghubir Kintisch’s Proxy installation calls attention to this second, metonymic function of reliquary objects; in this case jewelry and other small things that her now-deceased mother gave her throughout her life. There is a sculpture made of costume jewelry awkwardly embedded in plaster- a paradoxical action that both preserves the jewels as one complete “package” but also destroys their objective value.  There is a video of the same jewels in motion, set to personally evocative “popular” piano music that her pianist mother used to play, with a narrative voice-over that meditates on the Koan - the sudden explosion in the mind that leads to understanding. In this case, relatively trivial objects are re-processed and designated by the artist to be a rich inheritance and to have a spiritual function, bridging the distance between connection and loss. Moreover, their gallery exhibition now transforms them into art and points to the ways that, perhaps like a reliquary, the daughter contains the mother.

Raghubir Kintisch

AUGUST 1-31, 2017
Opening Reception: Wed. Aug. 9, 2017, 7-9 pm

Percy Shelley's 1818 sonnet "Ozymandias" may be scanned either over the top or through various breaks in Sally Stein's childlike installation and forms both the backdrop and subtext for the work’s meaning. Written about a statue of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II, the poem is about hubris, how the legacy of a tyrant or despot disintegrates in history. Continuing the tradition of artists using toys for political and psychological impact (Kelley, Cattelan, McCarthy) Stein’s lego wall, both literal and metaphorical, blocks the entrance to the gallery and does not invite us in. So the wall isthe exhibit, and it proposes that we think generally and specifically about walls: how they discourage entrance and exit, how they exclude outsiders and imprison insiders, in this case into the phantasmatic monocultural purity of Donald Trump’s scheme.

This wall is also reminiscent of other famous political partitions, such as the walls in Berlin, and in Jerusalem. Its parapets, protrusions and “bricks” on the ground might refer to either the process of building or the process of demolition, leading us to search where and through what fissures we might insert our agency and our opposition.

Sally Stein

SEPTEMBER 1 - 30, 2017
Opening Reception Thurs. Sept. 7, 6-9pm

PROXY GALLERY is pleased to take part in the Participating Gallery Program for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, in presenting ANA RODRIGUEZ: Flowers, Rituals And The Romanticism Of The Abject. 
At first sight, Rodriguez’s installation has all the typical characteristics of Mexican iconography and symbolism, including wreaths of flowers, decorated cake, bright colors, Christian symbols and plastic figurines for weddings and baptisms. Rodriguez proposes a critical rather than a celebratory reading through her choice of objects and the use of scale and size.

 Looking more closely one will see that  the Styrofoam cake and wreath are huge, looming oppressively over the newlyweds and other figurines. The priest holding a candle (that looks like a club) stands over the couple at twice their height, while around them are standing a couple of bridesmaids, another bride and groom, and a woman holding a baby from a baptism ritual.

In the middle of the cake stands a figurine of the Virgin of San Juan de Los Lagos and another of the devil reminiscent of Halloween decorations. By grouping together so many deliberately stereotypical signifiers of Mexican ritual, Rodriguez points to the “romanticism of the abject” and to the subtle “othering” that Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA effects at the same time as it promotes and honors Latino and Latin American art. 

ANA RODRIGUEZ: Flowers, Rituals And The Romanticism Of The Abject is part of the Participating Gallery Program of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty.

Ana Rodriguez

Opening Reception: Sun. Sept. 17, 2017, 3-5 pm

Can this Marriage Be Saved? Here Beatriz Cortez disturbs the common assumption that nature and politics are safely on separate ends of a binary. We think we are looking at “just” a plant but the label and audio tell the story about the disciplining of plants and humans through institutions, corporations, and the entertainment industry, particularly with regards to ideas about race, marriage, and reproduction. That one of the plants is called Velo de novia (bride’s veil) is an added ironic twist.

The work engages with the life and work of Wilson Popenoe, who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an Agricultural Explorer and with the United Fruit Company as Director of the Panamerican School of Agriculture in Zamora, Honduras; and his brother Paul Popenoe, former secretary of the Human Betterment Foundation, an institution founded to further eugenic ideas in the 1930s in Pasadena, California. After World War II, Paul Popenoe continued with his eugenics agenda under a different front, The National Marriage Project, located at 5287 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, the first marriage counseling institution of Los Angeles, which was meant to ensure that the fit would remain married and reproduce.

Beatriz Cortez

Opening reception: Saturday November 4

Le sonnet « Ozymandias » de Percy Shelley (1818) s’aperçoit derrière les Lego de l'installation de Sally Stein, formant à la fois la toile de fond et le sous-texte de l'œuvre. S'inspirant d'une statue du pharaon égyptien Ramsès II, Shelley nous montre que l’orgueil démesuré des tyrans ne peut résister au temps.

Poursuivant la tradition des artistes qui utilisent des jouets pour faire un commentaire politique et / ou psychologique (Kelley, Cattelan, McCarthy), Stein construit un mur de Lego, mur à la fois littéral et métaphorique qui nous refuse l'entrée de la galerie. En fait le mur est lui-même le sujet de l’exposition, nous encourageant à penser aux murs et à leur fonction, à la façon dont ils empêchent l'entrée et la sortie, dont ils excluent les étrangers et emprisonnent les citoyens, évoquant la pureté monoculturelle fantasmatique de Donald Trump.

 Ce mur rappelle également d'autres barrières politiques, telles que les murs de Berlin et Jérusalem. Les «briques» au sol pourraient impliquer la construction ou la démolition, nous induisant à chercher par quelles fissures nous pourrions introduire notre agence et notre opposition.

Galerie Proxy est un projet (depuis 2013) de l'artiste américaine Annetta Kapon.

Sally Stein

DECEMBER 4 - 22, 2017
Vernissage: 4 Decembre 2017

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