Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Culver Cluster

Culver City has been quietly but definitely building its own art scene, away from the more established sentiers battus.
Many artists, design studios and other creative outfits have established themselves in the industrial landscape, including a cluster of art galleries around La Cienega and Washington. Fellow blogger and art-hunter Fette recently opened her own gallery in the 'hood. And Lifescapes did an 8-page article in its November issue on what it calls "Chelsea West".
Last week's coups de coeur:
- Stephen Wilke's photos of Ellis Island @ David [above]
- Coleen Sterritt's sculptures @ d.e.n
- Lisa Durow's miniatures @ Taylor de Cordoba
Last but not least:
- Alexander Lee's first U.S. show @ Kinkead [below]
Lee's installation, made of volcanic sand and resin, projects a feeling of doom and destruction, with dead fish, bleached coral and severed limbs meshed into what looks like an apocalyptic world. Wrong: The Departure of Fish has a positive intent, directly inspired from the creation myth of Lee's native Tahiti. To paraphrase the press release:
The legend tells of a volcanic island that was transformed into a fish, swam from the mythological place of Havai'i to the South Pacific and then became land again; hence its name, Tâ-hiti, which means 'transplanted'. For Lee this myth has combined with the 1973 crash of a Pan Am airliner right after take-off from Papeete, whose victims were never found - save for the occasional limb pulled out of a shark's belly by a fisherman. These stories left their mark on the artist, who spent his boyhood snorkeling off Tahiti's black sand beaches... From death and decay, life springs in rebirth.
Quite a gripping show, with an added originality: it is sold piecemeal. Gallery owner John says he goes home at night telling his wife that he sold an arm, a foot, a fish, some sand, or a leg. Maybe that spooky feeling was not so far-fetched after all.
photos: top/bottom LAFrog, middle David Gallery

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