Working between Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California, artist Aili Schmeltz culls from a wide array of architectural and design iconographies, reducing and remixing them in paintings and sculptures, to question their ideological underpinnings. In A Future Perfect, her solo show on display now at the Los Angeles gallery Edward Cella Art & Architecture, Schmeltz toys with art deco and modernist visual languages that compose so much of the built landscape of Southern California. She pushes motifs from both styles into abstraction in order to trouble the “utopian” ideologies underpinning both the modernist architectural project and the United States’ westward expansion. The work in A Future Perfect was in part inspired by another, large-scale undertaking of Schmeltz's. According to the gallery, she had been working to turn “a homesteader cabin near Joshua Tree into an exhibition space and live-in gallery called Outpost Projects.” While painting the walls gallery-white, she “noticed an optical effect of the surrounding landscape shifting forward spatially through the windows while the walls receded into background.” This strange visual experience compelled her to play with flatness and three-dimensional architectonic forms with her paintings and sculptures designed to be interpreted as “both objects and windows.” It also pushed her to investigate the legacy of artists, architects, homesteaders, and others who have shaped the perception of our world, particularly of the post-colonial Western United States. Schmeltz is thinking through history and ideology not just with visual motifs, but also with ways of seeing. With references as wide-ranging as Louise Nevelson, Donald Judd, Le Corbusier, John Lautner, Richard Neutra, Hilma af Klint, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Schmeltz’s painted de- and re-constructions (all part of a series titled Object/Window/Both/Neither) challenge us in their total flatness, while the cinder block plinths that the sculptural forms sit on evoke the very fundamentals of the act of building, turning architectural decoration into strange objects. Schmeltz's geometric abstractions, in their obvious constructedness, toy with the artificiality of our own contemporary “landscapes,” universes that have been built and shaped by human action and that carry so many hidden meanings and histories. Aili Schmeltz: A Future Perfect Edward Cella Art & Architecture May 11 through June 22, 2019
Posts tagged with "Edward Cella":
Renowned Los Angeles gallery Edward Cella Art and Architecture, which left its six-year home on Wilshire Boulevard last year, is opening its new location on La Cienega Boulevard in Culver City on May 9. The new space, and its graphic identity, are being designed by LA-based Group Effort—a collaboration between Jessica Fleischmann/still room and Rachel Allen Architecture. In both cases they've created a "modern look," said gallery owner Edward Cella, that "plays with the texture and angularity of the building," and gives the gallery a fresh "new start." Cella has also commissioned sheet metal specialist Alex Rasmussen (of Neal Feay Company) to create a striking new aluminum reception made up of weathered, organic plates. The inaugural exhibit will be called UNBOUND, featuring new large format paintings by gallery artists Joshua Aster, Kendell Carter, Mara De Luca, Spencer Lewis, Donnie Molls, Ruth Pastine, Chris Trueman, and Jeffrey Vallance.
Known for his bright, modernist pieces, Venice designer and fabricator Ilan Dei gets up close and personal at his eye-catching pop-up on 1650 Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Made out of three converted shipping containers rendered in brilliant colors with an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living, the installation exudes an inviting appeal even on this busy, uber-trendy street. “1650 Abbot Kinney has been an empty lot and a site for pop-ups for many years. I drive or cycle by everyday to and from our design studio,” said Dei, who quickly pounced when the site became available. The shipping containers divide the store into three different areas. One section is reserved for selling Dei’s Cord Collection of outdoor furniture, his Namibia collection, and a selection of home accessories. Another section is open for curators: currently Wilshire Boulevard-based Edward Cella Art & Architecture Gallery, who will be showing new and recent works by artists including Brad Miller, Ruth Pastine, and Joni Sternbach. The final zone is a community area for classes and workshops. With the launch of his own product label, “Ilan Dei Venice,” the store provides the designer the chance to get real-time feedback. The pop-up, which will be running until the end of September, is also a testing ground of sorts for Dei's upcoming off-the-grid eco-hotel near Lake Isabella in the Sierras. The containers will become a permanent part of that project.