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"Steven Travis: An Other Scripture"
2002-11-22 until 2002-12-13
Gallery 825
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

Titled "An Other Scripture?", Steven Travis' exhibition invites the viewer into a marine environment where a wondrous vision unfolds. Mermen, live ships, swimming trees, tuna clarinets, and other such nautical enchantments come to the surface, as the artist explores a visual metaphor for the theme of deliverance. The installation consists of paintings, ceramic tablets, and a 60-foot manuscript scroll.

The visitor is greeted by floor- to ceiling-high murals and several stoneware panels sculpted as an abstracted fleet of ships. Figures are painted onto, or above the sails of the vessels and forge directly toward an encounter with the largest mural on the facing wall. In the center of the gallery space is the unraveled scroll, the scripture which the images expound upon. The scroll, like the text of some ancient magical cult, both explains and mystifies, as it holds the secret to the events but does so in hieroglyphs.

Travis sculpts his ceramic panels in stoneware and porcelain with a variety of found and handmade tools. This gives an enriched texture to the architectural depth of the surface. Once the pieces have been glaze fired, he can begin the oil painting in the reserved central plane of the ceramic. The large murals on canvas are sails hung loose against the walls. The scroll is written in an old world manner with a dip pen onto Chinese rice paper. These sheets are then glued onto four-foot lengths of primed linen which are sewn together in chronological order, resulting in the 60-foot manuscript. The manuscript is never finished, but continues to grow. It is written in Tapissary, a hieroglyphic language the artist invented and has been developing for 25 years.

Travis is a Los Angeles-based artist. His work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Paris and Bordeaux.


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