Project Space Zoe Crosher LA-LIKE: Transgressing the Pacific
left- Zoe Crosher, Transgressing the Pacific: Where Captain Bob Hyde Disappeared at Manhattan Beach, from the series LA-LIKE, 2008. Fujiflex archive print, 40 x 40 in.; right- Zoe Crosher, Transgressing the Pacific: Where Natalie Wood Disappeared off Catalina Island, from the series LA-LIKE, 2008. Fujiflex archive print, 40 x 40 in.
“The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past [. . .] Here is the last stop for all those who come from somewhere else, for all those who drifted away from the cold and the past and the old ways. Here is where they are trying to find a new life style, trying to find it in the only places they know to look: the movies and the newspapers.”–Joan Didion, Slouching Toward Bethlehem
What does one do when one cannot go farther west?
When one reaches the limits of Manifest Destiny––
where is one supposed to go after that? The endless
promise for once you reach that unreachable place,
and then you have arrived, but there is no where to
go anymore. Suddenly stopped by a line, a border––
a picturesque and endless border.
Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Transgressing the Pacific––LA-LIKE: a solo exhibition featuring photographic and project-based works by Zoe Crosher. Part of Crosher’s larger project, LA-LIKE, Transgressing the Pacific revolves around myth, legend, and the cultural imaginary of Manifest Destiny and the American West. Concerned with questions of what to do when one can no longer go farther west after reaching these limits, both geographically and conceptually, the work resultingly touches upon those who have elusively gone beyond them.
In these large-scale photographic works, Crosher explores and photographs sites of disappearance, in “real” spaces where “actual” (and some fictional) people––Hollywood legend Natalie Wood, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, a character from Raymond Chandler’s noir classic The Long Goodbye––have disappeared, swept away in the Pacific Ocean. Researched, mapped, scouted and shot by Crosher along the Southern California coastline, each at the approximate time of its subject’s vanishing, the locations are sites forever-embedded in collective cultural memory through literature, Hollywood films, and dissemination by the press.
Crosher will concurrently initiate a call for entries to launch her upcoming Manifest Destiny Billboard Project initiative, a series of artist-produced billboards (including some of her own) unfolding along the I-10 freeway and playing out over time, moving westward from the Arizona border to the California coast. Examining current and historical notions of “Heading West”––as well as how to map a place while going 80mph––the expansively scaled project seeks to explore and reveal over time and landscape the conceptual and particularly American fantasy-narratives of Manifest Destiny while reinvigorating the potential iconic power of both the photographic image and the billboard as medium. Crosher will be collecting billboard proposals–– exclusively at Las Cienegas Projects––and will choose 1 for inclusion in the project (click for more information).
Zoe Crosher is an artist living in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited in Vancouver, Rotterdam, Los Angeles, and New York City, including a billboard project with LAXART (2010) and inclusion in the 2010 California Biennial. She has been working on Los Angeles-inspired, site-specific photographic projects since 2001. Her monograph Out the Window (LAX) examines space and transience around the Los Angeles airport, and a series of four monographs on her newest project, The Reconsidered Archive of Michelle duBois, are forthcoming from Aperture Ideas. Crosher has just been announced as a 2011 recipient of LACMA’s prestigious Art Here and Now: Studio Forum (AHAN) program to support acquisitions by emerging Los Angeles-area artists. She holds a B.A. in Art & Politics from UC Santa Cruz, and an M.F.A. in Photography & Integrated Media from CalArts.Further Reading and Press: Winant, Carmen, An Interview with Zoe Crosher, Daily Serving, An International Forum for the Contemporary Arts (Dailyserving.com), 7/11/2011. Wagley, Katherine, Bas Jan Ader, Zoe Crosher, and the Art of Disappearing People. LAWeekly, 7/7/2011. Misraje, Jenee, Artist Project: Transgressing the Pacific, LA-Like, Zoe Crosher. X-tra Magazine, Vol. 13, No.1, Fall 2010
The speed at which we comprehend the letter Z and assign its task, whether as a hairpin turn or the beginning of a snooze, presents us with countless direct possibilities for interpretation. As the least used letter in the alphabet, Z can be compared to an ex-planet like Pluto, whose questionable stature seems to also walk the line between inclusion and exclusion. If you were to approach the letter Z at 500 miles per hour, what type of memory would you be left with as you pass through its jagged shape?
Language and speed are inherently connected. The rate at which one can receive messages is constantly increasing, coded characters continuously flung at greater invisible speeds. As I pass the road sign for ZZYZX at 100mph, I think briefly about a 1920’s spa, I listen to the music in my car, I text, and I smoke. All of this is liquefied in the desert sun. Is this so-called town at the end of the dictionary worth visiting? Maybe I would enjoy this experience more if my car was spinning seemingly out of control. -J. Patrick Walsh III
“Poetry, in fact, is two quite distinct things. It may be either or both. One is a series of words that are intrinsically musical, in clang-tint and rhythm, as the single word cellar-door is musical. The other is a series of ideas, false in themselves, that offer a means of emotional and imaginative escape from the harsh realities of everyday.”
-H. L. Mencken
Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present ZZYZX: an exhibition of new work by Sayre Gomez and J. Patrick Walsh III. ZZYZX is a highway town, ranch and spa located in the Mojave Desert somewhere between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. According to Curtis Howe Springer, a self-proclaimed minister and medical doctor who created the word and named the site in 1944, ZZYZX is the final word in the English language and the ZZYZX hot springs are to be the “cure to end all cures”. The word was created by Springer solely to function as a linguistic anomaly, and is an interesting example of a word defined through its use rather than a word used by its definition.
For their exhibition at Las Cienegas Projects, Gomez and Walsh present a series of paintings, collages, sculptures and video that loosely explore various relationships between speed and movement, language, image and the conveyance of meaning.
Gomez continues his ongoing investigations into the ways in which meanings are contextualized and disseminated. Included are new paintings and sculptures that cite as their source a process of mining image-based blogs and online image archives. Divorced from their original context, the images––now painted––become physical signifiers of how a blogger might reassign their importance through appropriation and reuse. The paintings are complimented with a series of text works in which Gomez pulls from websites that generate Greek, a tool used by graphic designers to generate dummy text based on Cicero’s The Extremes of Good and Evil. The passage is algorithmically processed using hundreds of random Latin words subjected to a variety of permutations within pre-existing sentence structures which work to create a never-repeating, potentially endless arrangement of words and pseudo-words and create the visual appearance of the English Language. Gomez then translates this pseudo-Latin language into English. The phonetic merits of the selected phrases function much in the way that these images do, as abstractions that resonate based on their aesthetic presence rather than on their linguistic definitions.
Walsh features a series of sculptures and a single-channel video. The works thread themselves together by relating to the body’s movement through space, whether seated in repose at 0mph, walking through a threshold, or speeding in a car. In Whisper, two wax tires attached to steel rims sit on a small wooden table, behind which hangs a modified fashion poster, a checkered flag now dangling from the model’s mouth. Season 3 combines performance and sculpture into one object by drawing the viewer in through its colorfully striated threshold, created by a process of melting, coloring and forming reclaimed wax. Additional works revolve around notions of car movement (or stagnation), including Stephen King Sun Shade (SKSS), originally intended as a personal fundraising project for car improvements, which promised to block the sun from a car’s windshield while also warding off potential crooks by “striking fear in their hearts”; and Knife’s Sun, a video in which the artist removes a moldy ceiling liner from inside his 1984 Volkswagen Scirocco, distracted in the moment by the sun’s reflection caught in the knife. Cobra Gimp and Cobra Gimp Double use the armatures of two Marcel Breuer chair knockoffs to create a friendship braid-like cover around the bent metal piping.
Sayre Gomez (b. 1982, Chicago, Illinois) currently lives and works in Los Angeles and holds a B.F.A from the School of Art Institute of Chicago (2005) and an M.F.A. from CalArts (2008). Recent solo exhibitions include Self Expression or Fog and Other Works at Kavi Gupta Gallery Berlin, DE, and Self Expression at 1430 Contemporary in Portland, Or. Recent group exhibitions include California Dreamin’, curated by Fred Hoffman as part of Arte Portugal 2010, Other People’s Projects at White Columns in New York, and The Awful Parenthesis curated by Aram Moshayedi at Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles.
J. Patrick Walsh III (JPW3) (b. 1981, Tallahasee, Florida) is a Los Angeles-based artist working in sculpture and performance. His work shifts between interests in science, sound, architecture, archaeology, and speed. He has exhibited and performed in and around Los Angeles and New York including at Actual Size, Los Angeles; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, NY; D’Amelio Terras, NY; Elk Gallery, NY; Wildness, LA; and John Connelly Presents, NY, among others. He holds a B.F.A. from the The School of the Art Insititute of Chicago and is currently seeking an M.F.A. at the University of Southern California.Press: Tuck, Geoff, ZZYZX at Las Cienegas Projects, Sayre Gomez and J. Patrick Walsh III, Notes On Looking, Contemporary Art In Los Angeles (Notesonlooking.com), 7/9/2011. Diehl, Travis, Critics’ Pick: Sayre Gomez and J. Patrick Walsh III, Las Cienegas Projects, Artforum.com, 6/30/2011.