Friday, April 1, 2011

Liza Lou at L &M

I feel like an awful human right now even being inside long enough to type this up ... but Blogtown has been neglected of late (long story) and that ain't cool, so here we are real quickish. Because today is SO spectacular in Venice, California, that it needs to be honored. Truly. This morning, as dolphins flew through the air down at the beach, like they too were FEELING IT today, I found myself thinking aloud, "THIS is what it's all about". Like meaning of life style awareness and gratitude.

Actually HOT out. The smell of springtime blooms everywhere. Cerulean blue skies so bright they hurt the eyes a little bit. Good waves. Neighbors waving hello, the stoke clear on their faces. Oh, and it's First Fridays again, so everyone is feeling a little rowdy and ready to party.

I remembered a Bob Dylan quote while thinking about it all: "The purpose of art is to stop time."

I could leave you with that, and that would be enough. Instead, I'll tell you about how I love today so much that I decided to go try and stop some time at my friendly neighborhood gallery, L & M Arts. The new exhibition (opened last weekend, up 'til May 7th) is by L.A. artist, Liza Lou, and it is stunningly gorgeous.

Lou now keeps a studio in Durban, South Africa, where she gets help with her millions of beads, creating her unique and sparkly (right up my alley) works of art. From her press release for the show: Lou uses geometric structures in many of the pieces in the exhibition in order to reveal the humanity underlying repetitive labor, resulting in works whose imperfections display ineffable beauty and human tenderness. There you go, a perfect explanation as to why I loved this experience, on this day.

I walked into the East Gallery at L & M and it felt almost church-like holy. Alone in the glittering silence, I stood in front of a giant piece called Gather (one million), 2008-2010 that takes up most of the room. It consists of 150 square feet of nine million glass beads threaded onto wire to make up a million blades of golden grass, tied into sheaves. It's awesome, in the true sense of the word.

{I asked the lady from the Gallery if Lou does all the bead work herself, as I've gotten in many conversations recently about how much an artist can claim ownership - ala Damian Hirst - for their work when it's farmed out to a slew of laborers. That's how I learned about the Zulu women in South Africa working with Lou. I can totally get behind their being employed, I just like it when people do their own work the most. The L & M rep said Lou is very hands on with every piece. Ok then.}

The Book Of Days is another highlight of the show, consisting of 365 single sheets of beaded "paper", each created over one year, all stacked atop one another. It makes you stop to think about how each day can be easily forgotten, but so much goes into it, that it really should force us to think about the beauty within every day we are blessed to get to live. At least that was my take on it, all abuzz from the glorious spring just outside.

I tend to like art pieces that have words in them, so the Destitute:

... and Trust No One ones were particularly dug by me.

Another breathtaking piece was Zulu Love Letter, 2010, a grid of 24k beads on cotton, that tips its hat to the Zulu tradition of bead work actually being its own language - women will tell men their love vibes via a piece of jewelry done in a certain way. Romance!

I'm clearly in dreamy mode, due to the day, the world, and profound - if puzzling - gratitude for everything good in the world, so it was apt when I opened the guide to Lou's exhibition, that it was headed by a Langston Hughes poem:

The Dream Keeper

Bring me all of your dreams
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

Dreamy. And it helped me to do exactly what I set out to do this morning - stop time.

L & M Arts
660 Venice Boulevard
Venice, 90291

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update CJ, I also love typography in art, gonna go check this out this week, c ya around!