New Monuments is a series of three solo exhibitions exploring monumental absences in our cultural and built landscapes. Monuments have a long histories of evoking patriarchal power; histories that pose critical questions for the artists participating in the show as how to create sculpture (along with video and installation) that challenges rather than affirm long standing ideas of the monumental. Andy J. Brown, Lowell Nickel and Benjy Russell each incorporate aspects of the area surrounding Angels Gate Cultural Center into their work, anchoring their conceptual inquiry in the specific landscape of San Pedro. Additionally, we are proud to present work from the Syracuse University MFA Turner Semester and new installations relating to May Day themed performances for Open Studios Day | Spring on May 1st, 2016.
MAIN GALLERY I:
Arc by Andy J. Brown
In Arc, Long Beach-based artist Andy J. Brown will present a series of new sculptural works that when viewed together function like a spatial poem. Brown references local tide pools, fire pits, and land snails to look at what he calls “landscape as a portrait, and the portrait as a landscape.” Exploring both natural and man made traces on the environment, the show investigates the relationship between presence and absence.
MAIN GALLERY II:
Battlefield of Flowers by Benjy Russell
Battlefield of Flowers is a new multi-media work inspired by a visit to Angels Gate Cultural Center by Tennessee-based artist Benjy Russell. At the centerpiece of the exhibition is a film shot on location at the gun turret located by the Korean Bell and the basketball court that overlooks the Pacific. The film uses choreographed movement to transform aggression between men into tenderness. The film is framed by four photographs installed on alters, creating as Russell writes, “spaces where the audience is invited to step into a place of power and participate in a ritual where masculine energy is brought into a constructive state.”
“Well” Traveled (Unsettling Times) by Lowell Nickel
San Pedro-based artist Lowell Nickel often uses flotsam, or beach trash, as his material. The abundance of discarded shoes he finds washed up on the shore became a visually powerful metaphor for the current refugee crisis. He writes, “Most of us may only see snippets or hear epithetic sound bits or the crisis in the media. I for one cannot fathom the hardships of so many displaced people.” The washed up shoes reflect both the human aspects of the journey for asylum, which is so often denied, and the environmental crisis, which also displaces people. Nickel will create an immersive installation in the Project Gallery.
May Day Installation by Edgar Frias and James McCarthy
Syracuse University MFA Candidates will be displaying work from the semester
The opening reception on May 1st will be in conjunction with Open Studios Day | Spring. Up to 50 artists open their studio doors to visitors. There will be workshops for children and adults, performances, demos and food. In celebration of May Day, there will be performance by James McCarthy and Edgar Frias with corresponding installations in the Community Gallery.