CARBON

ALLOTROPES: VISCERAL & ETHEREAL, AN ARTIST’S RESPONSE

FEATURING THE WORK OF:

TERRY ARENA


Terry Arena has spent most of her life in Southern California in areas rich in agriculture.
One of her most recent projects, Symbiotic Crisis, deals with the plight of the bees and the
ancillary effects of Colony Collapse Disorder on the environment and society. Hand-drawn

in graphite on round food tins, her work references industry, life cycles, and interrelation-
ships in nature, charting links between insects, economics, and the dinner table. The first

three iterations of this project were shown in the back of a box truck to reference the
transporting of the bees nationwide to pollinate crops. Working within the tradition of
still life, Arena draws on prepared metal surfaces with graphite and installs the drawings in
clusters reminiscent of bee swarms.

Symbiotic Crisis: Southeast (FOCA), 2016
Individual graphite drawings on metal

Variable 84 x 48 inches

JOAQUÍN BOZ

Joaquín Boz makes paintings that, in the words of gallerist and poet Stuart Krimko,
“celebrate closeness of touch and the humble, earthbound nature of material things.
Boz works with his hands and fingers, moving paint according to a subtle intuitive
logic that allows him to harmonize a vast array of conflicting moods and textures.
This process is the culmination of several years’ worth of focused experimentation
with the properties of oil as a physical—even sculptural— medium. It therefore
reflects an approach to painting that isn’t limited to seeing, and a take on
abstraction rooted in a fully embodied stance before the real world. The aesthetic
pleasures it generates are visceral phenomena that have as much to do with primal,
non-art- related activities like digging in the dirt as they do with studied
contemplation.”

Chapa #8, 2015
Graphite on paper
51.25 x 39.25 inches
Courtesy Steve Turner

JAMES GRIFFITH


James Griffith’s perennial subject is Nature, from its primordial origins to our
contemporary ecological crisis. He paints with non-traditional materials including tar from
the La Brea Tar Pits, pollen, volcanic dust, and ash. In a recent series called Natural
Selection
he paints a poetic interpretation of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Tar is a
primordial goo made from extinct organisms over geological periods of time; and making
depictions of living animals with tar suggests the transformative cycles of evolution and
extinction. Tar also reminds us of our own potential extinction as a result of the
ecological crisis caused by our need to burn petrochemicals to fuel our economy. The
interface of science and art continues to be the inspiration for his work as he seeks to
express empathy for all life.

Horse and Dog (Biophilia), 2017
Tar and white oil on canvas
84 x 52 inches
Courtesy Craig Krull Gallery

BONITA HELMER


Bonita Helmer explores scientific theories of physics, astronomy, the inner and outer
realms of existence, and the unseen elements of our universe. Mystical and
philosophical theories are interwoven as she represents aspects of space and particle
physics such as the crystal lattice, nutrino, sparticles, and star nurseries. Although
attracted to naturally occurring and theoretical forms that lend themselves to gestural
abstract painting, she paints real things and places that are in themselves abstract and
invisible. Technically she enhances the experience with expanded experimentation using
paint as her primary medium. The California Light & Space movement influence
Helmer’s work, yet she honors art historical influences such as Turner, and Caravaggio.
This methodology intertwines new ideas and old world painting aesthetics through the
use of color theory, light, and composition.

Crystal Lattice II, 2012
Acrylic and spray paint
on canvas
60 x 60 inches

Courtesy of George Billis Gallery Los Angeles.

LAUREN KASMER

Lauren Kasmer’s artwork is usually presented as an installation combining a variety of
media and processes such as photography, video, collaboration, sound, wearables,
furnishings, edibles and performance and is often accompanied by participatory events.
Inspired by her studies with masters of many disciplines, including Robert Heinecken, she
frequently references the belief that the process of creation often begins with
deconstruction, a credo aptly evidenced in her photographic interpretations of carbon
residue. Additionally as curator and exhibition organizer she has been responsible for
decades of display in galleries, museums and festivals as well as alternative and public
spaces.

Axis, 2018
From an installation of 45
photographic UV prints on aluminum
5.75 x 4.25 inches
Photo: Marten Elder

BRAD MILLER


Brad Miller’s attention was long ago captured by the spontaneous patterns that form in
the physical world. “With time,” he says, “it became apparent that certain of these
manifestations have been internalized and transformed into content-rich symbols across
thousands of years of human history. With today’s technologies we push the limits of our
sight to the edges of the universe, confirming that these ages-old patterns are found at
all scales of matter, time, and space. In my work I continually revisit these forms,
including spirals, packing patterns, and dendritic systems, utilizing a range of materials
and processes, and sometimes incorporating several systems into a single piece. My
intention is to permeate my work with these timeless and familiar symbols, as they—and
indeed all things—dance between order and chaos.”

Untitled (Stones), 2017
Ceramic, hand formed and tumbled
Dimensions variable, 250 lbs approx.
Photograph Courtesy of the Artist & Edward Cella Gallery
Photo: Jeff McLane

JENENE NAGY


Jenene Nagy has characterized her interest in drawing as being about the act, the
process and materials involved, more so than the idea of making a picture. “By using
graphite,” she says, “I am exploiting the inherent properties of the material. It is all very
simple. The pencil is used exactly in the way in which it was designed. It is the build up
of the act that creates the phenomena. Light, of course, is integral to this as well, which
is also where the role of the viewer comes in. When the viewer moves, the light moves,
causing the composition to reveal/conceal itself. I am also interested in slowness here.
The slowness it takes to make the work is similar to the slowness it requires to see it.”

flag (long surrender),2018
Oil and graphite on silk
Printed at Constellation
Studios Lincoln, NE
80 x 20 inches
Courtesy of Samuel Freeman

CHRIS OATEY


Chris Oatey holds a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Cartography and MFA—a
confluence of diverse interests, materials, and techniques informing his unique approach
to both art history and natural science, revealing new and compelling aspects of each.
For example, in March 6, 2015, a painting develops outdoors over the course of several
days. Falling snow covers the surface and subsequently melts to randomly distributed
layers of pigment. The temperature, humidity, and duration of snow are unknown factors
that ultimately determine the quality of the painting’s surface. Each snowmelt painting
serves as a vehicle for later drawings, made using carbon-transfer paper that acts as a
bridge between the painting and drawing. Together, the pairing combines opposing
modes of production—paintings assisted by occurrences in nature and laborious hand-
drawn images.

March 6, 2015, 2015
Carbon on paper/pigment,
acrylic and lacquer on panel
25 x 19 inches/60 x 40 inches

BRIAN ROCHEFORT


Brian Rochefort is a mixed media artist currently living and working in Los Angeles. Born
and raised in Rhode Island, he received his BFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island
School of Design. As critic David Rhodes describes in an essay for Art Critical,
Rochefort’s studio process is incredibly complex and painstaking, despite its aesthetic of
organic, spontaneous volatility. “The process used to arrive at particular colors and
forms is intuitive—clearly, Rochefort is responsive to results at each stage along the way
to a completed piece. These include breaking up an initial vessel shaped object of
unfired clay, dipping the parts into a mixture of clay and mud, and leaving them to dry
and crack. Glazes are then added using methods more or less familiar to ceramic
production—drips and splashes, airbrushed gradients of color and pools of melted glass.
The firing of each piece is repeated after another new layer of glaze is added.”

Nica, 2017
Ceramic
16 x 18 x 17 inches

TAM VAN TRAN


Tam Van Tran is a visual artist born in Vietnam who lives and works in Los Angeles. He
makes paintings and sculptural works with paper, ceramic, metal foil, and other
unconventional materials including but not limited to chlorophyll, glass, algae, staples,
crushed eggshells, white-out eraser liquid, beet juice, and other diverse ingredients
which lend texture and intricacy to his organically-molded abstractions. In Tran’s
experimental and intuitive lexicon, the unexpected recombination of materials and
methods explores allegorical and experiential aspects of migration and memory, as well
as a reexamination of the formal language of painting itself.

Untitled, 2009
Acrylic, staples, spirulina,
colored pencil on paper
64 x 71 x 22 inches
Courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter
Los Angeles Projects
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer