- Kathleen Johnson
- Laura Menz
- Rachelle Rojany
- Apr 16 – May 21, 2016
- Opening Reception
- Saturday, April 16, 6-8pm
- BAIK Art, L.A.
- 2600 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, Ca 90034
Baik Art presents Quarry, an exhibition of work by Kathleen Johnson, Laura Menz, and Rachelle Rojany, three multidisciplinary artists from Southern California whose artworks share the medium of plaster. The exhibition will consist of both abstract and figurative objects, some of which have been impregnated with sequins or pigmented with pastel print patterns.
The earliest known plasters date back to 7500 BC. Various types and mixtures were made from raw materials quarried in ancient Jordan, India, China, and Egypt. In Italy, plaster was one of the materials used in early decorative and religious sculpture. More recently, objects made from plaster may bring Roger Corman or Big Daddy Ed Roth to mind. In the Corman-directed film, A Bucket of Blood (1959) plaster made a psychodramatic entrance as the material used by bus boy and wanna-be artist Walter Paisley. Through an odd series of circumstances, Paisley’s art career takes off when he has to cover a kitty cat with plaster—a cat he accidentally snuffed. Around the same time Corman’s film was made, sub-cult artist Big Daddy Ed Roth sculpted plaster forms that he covered with fiberglass before coating the fiber with polyester resin. Rather than making a plaster mold, Roth carved into it to produce a positive form for his objects; he then drew a second positive from it using fiberglass. Roth’s process was associated with the socially marginalized subculture of auto modification and customization. And, not unlike Walter Paisley’s production that was born out of an accident, Roth’s creations tied plaster to social sidelining and exclusion.
For each artist in this exhibition, her manner of working functions in a specific way. She imagines what something might look like, but finds that her vision may change through a working process—through discovery. Visually and psychologically, process becomes a place between the imagined public eye (her audience) and the extradimensional space of the unknown. In the end, of course, the art represents an essence of something known only by the artist or, perhaps, the interior atmosphere of the artist’s mind—its concentration, compliances, omissions, and randomized opinions—no matter what it ends up looking like.
Kathleen Johnson’s imprinted plaster works, Remains of the Day, provide a balance to her predominant fiction and sound based practice. Made of household plaster and imbued with the faint residue of fabric pigments, these lush works read as formal abstractions, yet carry on an open-ended dialog with her other interests and greater vision. A selection of Johnson’s casts will be on view during this exhibition.
Laura Menz shows how childhood memories continue to impact an adult’s daily life. Dreaming of Keys and Scissors relates to family dynamics—how one connects or disconnects from them. A child’s empty rocking chair, no longer adequate for an adult-sized body, shows how the grownup is still tethered to its former place; body and feelings disappear, but the hands remain. A small plaster head in another work symbolizes the mental cargo that is carried into each succeeding family generation of a sibling that was lost at birth.
Rachelle Rojany’s Invisible blacks plaster wall works serve as a catalyst for her ongoing commentary on the deeper meaning in object variation and spatial order. The shadowy presence and delicacy of her variations play into each viewer’s relationship with the work and convincingly reproduce an observer’s current state of mind through plaster forms that often relate to the female body, its creation, and its rapport with culture. Rojany’s practice is always on a launching pad where something new is about to take off.