Three Tall Men Gallery Opening

Tall MenSpace 15 Twenty
1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Three Tall Men

Erik Bluhm
Paul Gellman
Peter Harkawik

Curated by Benjamin Lord
October 9 – 24, 2010
Opening Reception 7–9 pm
(video screening at 8pm)

The positive qualities correlated with height are well documented by sociologists, and include greater personal income, IQ, and overall happiness. But while these outcomes have been definitively scientifically proven, the mechanisms by which they occur remain wide open to speculation. Are there stereotypical personality profiles, or social expectations associated with height? Could these stereotypes, necessarily generalizations, be thought of in relationship to certain expressive modes in art? What commonalities occur, and what exceptions to these patterns might exist? This art exhibition is a totally unscientific display of the work of three unusually tall Los Angeles artists. Their work is not about the body in a direct or obvious way, but the viewer is invited to contemplate the question of height, as it distantly informs the subjective expressivity of art.

Erik Bluhm will show a large dipytch produced in his trademark fashion, fashioned of collaged colored magazine paper. The geometric pattern of the forms references traditional Navajo weaving, but the contrasting palettes of the two panels pushes the combination into the realm of pure color. This exhibition also debuts a significant new sculptural direction for Bluhm, expanding his collage vocabulary into a large sculpture made of fabric and concrete. Finally, the motif of the Navajo weaving is repeated on a hand-sewn sleeping bag that rests on the floor, concealing a mysterious figure huddled inside.

Paul Gellman will exhibit two elaborate, theatrical window displays of painting and sculpture, facing Cahuenga Blvd through the gallery’s front windows. These displays extend into the gallery space proper, defying the conventional separation between an object and its environment. Gellman insists his practice is essentially painterly, yet continually produces forays into sculpture and collage, and these works display a magpie’s eye for the detritus of consumer culture. The resulting agglomerations are oversize gestures, generous to the point of excess and fantastically beyond.

Peter Harkawik’s new piece Grow box w/lamp (René Block photographs John Cage at his home, 1992) is a large sculpture made of metal, fiberboard, canvas, acrylic, live edible plants, and illuminated by a high-wattage UV “grow” light that hangs from the ceiling. It is the second in an ongoing series of sculptural works that incorporate vegetation as a material and as a metaphor. The first of these was produced and exhibited during his studies in the graduate program at Yale. Harkawik’s work often plays design clichés against each other, to jarring, dissonant, or ironic effect, and this piece is an even further step in that direction.

On the night of the opening reception, the debut of a new video by the New Energy Encounter Group (an ongoing collaboration between Bluhm, Gellman, and friends) will screen in the outdoor courtyard area at 8 PM.

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