collaboration between the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department
and the Skirball Cultural Center, the exhibition features new work by ten
distinguished artists who received the 2000-2001 Cultural Grants to
Individual Artists/C.O.L.A. fellowships. Initiated in 1996, as part of the
City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department's Cultural Grants Program,
the fellowships support mid-career, local artists in the creation of new
work. The works in the exhibition are in a variety of media including
painting, sculpture, drawings, photographs, film, installation, photo-based
painting, and computer-generated projections. A series of related events
plus a comprehensive full-color catalog, underwritten by United Airlines,
accompany the exhibition.
The C.O.L.A. exhibition is the culmination of the year's Individual Artist
Grant-supported activities. Each artist received an award of $10,000 to
encourage the creation of new work, and in recognition of individual
achievement, impact in the field, and sustained dedication to art making.
This year's recipients for Visual Arts, whose works will be exhibited at
the Skirball are: Laura Aguilar, Sandow Birk, Tom Knechtel, Robert
Nakamura, John Outterbridge, Sarah Perry, Susan Rankaitis, Jennifer
Steinkamp, Bruce Yonemoto, and Liz Young. The panel of arts professionals
who selected these visual artists for awards was Jay Belloli, Tomas
Benitez, Sari Frilot, Karin Higa, Thomas Rhoades, and Erika Suderberg.
Margie J. Reese, recently-appointed Cultural Affairs Department General
Manager for the City of Los Angeles, comments: This year's C.O.L.A.
exhibition presents an exciting cross-section of the most current work by
some of the very best artists who choose to live in Los Angeles and
influence its culture. Over the past five years, this successful grant
program has been committed to representing the complexity of the artistic
experience in a way that reinforces the importance of individual
differences within the cultural fabric of our communities. While
financial need is not a determining factor for these grants, they do enable
artists to devote more time to a single piece of work, to work on a larger
scale, to acquire new materials and equipment, and/or to realize works that
could not otherwise be attempted.
Uri D. Herscher, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Skirball
Cultural Center, comments: We are delighted to host this year's C.O.L.A.
exhibition. We are dedicated to strengthening community and presenting new
ideas about art and culture to a broad, diverse audience. The exhibition
promises to be engaging, thought-provoking, and interesting to anyone who
cares about the art of our time, and the memories and personal histories
that inspire it.
For the exhibition, Laura Aguilar has created a new series of
self-portraits, Stillness and Motion, set in the desert landscape of New
Mexico and Texas. Snarled, weathered tree trunks, large rock formations,
and the spacious horizon create a potent backdrop for Aguilar's figure
Sandow Birk's new paintings and etchings are based on eighteenth-century
narrative engravings by the British artist William Hogarth. Birk has
produced his own morality play: The Rake's Progress -The Life and Times of
Rafael Perez. The paintings depict the complicity and eventual downfall of
Los Angeles Police Department officer Rafael Perez, the Rampart Division
police officer whose confessions and accusations have produced a scandal of
catastrophic proportions in Los Angeles.
Tom Knechtel shows a significant new painting and several drawings. The
Gaudy Presence is a densely filled canvas, a mix of ancient legends and
contemporary symbols that explore the inner world of human experience.
Robert Nakamura screens his new film, The Brighter Side of Dark: Toyo
Miyatake, 1895 - 1979. With this film, Nakamura presents the Japanese
American community through the photographic images and films of Toyo
Miyatake, whose career spanned several periods of cultural and social
change. By focusing on the life of this artist, who was very much engaged
with other modernists of the 1920s and 30s, Nakamura reveals the vibrant
artistic and intellectual life of Los Angeles's Little Tokyo district prior
to World War II. The film also explores the incarceration of Japanese
Americans during the war, and the turmoil of the social and political
activism of the 1960s.
John Outterbridge presents a re-creation, and reinterpretation of a public
art structure he helped create in 1970 for Studio Watts, which was later
destroyed. The original structure was intended as a place of healing in
Watts after the 1965 riots. The new structure, designed by Outterbridge
with the firm Raw Architecture, will be placed in a park-like area and will
include works by other artists who contributed to the original structure.
It will also serve as a place for meeting and communal development,
providing a sense of opportunity, of rebuilding, of community pride, of
self-sufficiency, and of collectivity.
Sarah Perry is showing a number of new works, all made from found objects
near her home in the desert, including old hardware, sheet metal, bird
feathers and bones of dead animals that range from miniscule remains of
mice and lizards to almost mammoth-sized cattle bones. The cattle bones
have been assembled into a nearly 9-ft. tall rocket ship entitled Beast
New mixed-media photographic works by Susan Rankaitis explore human thought
processes in concrete and abstract photo imagery. The questions that drive
Rankaitis' art arise as a result of new scientific thought and
technological developments. Rankaitis' new works include images of the
human brain derived from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and are contained
in an installation entitled Peripheral Memory.
Light artist Jennifer Steinkamp uses sophisticated computer animation
software to produce colorfully exuberant, site-specific projections. For
the Skirball Cultural Center she has produced an animated pattern of light
entitled Tra-La-La-Boom. Light, motion, and placement contribute to the
sensory illusion of both space and time.
Bruce Yonemoto's new works reflect his continued interest in both art and
film and their capacity to define identity and illusion. Yonemoto uses the
movie projection screen as an illusionary surface, like the surface of a
painting. Yonemoto's La Vie Secrete-Moi and La Vie Secrete-After Magritte
are Chromogenic (color) photographic prints that play off the art works of
well-known artists in combination with his own new images.
Liz Young is an installation and performance artist as well as a sculptor.
Young's art has often addressed issues of body modification and
replacement. Her new installation work at the Skirball is entitled Miss
Fits and Will Knot and includes a number of new sculptural works presented
within a paneled room. Here, she has crafted a business man's suit and a
nurse's uniform that have the look of what she terms: the birthday suit
that we all wear. Viewers are also presented with a number of animal
creatures whose imitation skins are made from a range of flesh-toned
materials including girdle fabric, plastic bags, and bandages.