The second show at one of South Los Angeles’ newest gallery spaces, HILDE L.A., takes up a somewhat sinister image of “the edge of doom” set in one of those bleeding-heart, gushy romantic sonnet sequences of Shakespeare, at least as we usually like to read the Bard at face value.
Edge of Doom actually begins on the sidewalk of Washington Ave., outside the gallery. Nicole Reber, a friend of OCLA, shows a series of monochrome white bulletin sign paintings that develop into hybrids of concrete poetry a la Mallarmé. Reber refers to her work as optic compositions of text, a relationship which the subtleties of white forms on white ground enable, forming a sort of narrative guide to the other images in the show.
With a dedicated focus on painting and video the show excites the visitor, meanwhile presenting a colorful array of takes on the ups and downs in the journey of love: We see love when it is new and irresistible; when it is obsessive and pathetic. We see the naive language of adolescent crushes evolve into the postcoital intimacy whose romance lies in its banality; then a devastated poverty of language which must resort to disparate memories of someone lost and the accrued images of a lifetime of movies in order to grasp at representation.
While paintings outnumber the video pieces in the show, George Kuchar’s video holds it’s own. The late underground film icon feels contemporary compared to the other artists in the show for two reasons: First, the artist’s reputation is still emerging to such a degree that scholars of his have speculated that the scope of his filmography is only known in small part. Second, because of the themes of obsession, kink and repressed violence at the fringes of normative society. These themes formed a part of the camp aesthetic that Kuchar passed on along with technologies of low budget special effects to the new vanguard of young filmmakers that he taught and collaborated with.
Hilde Helphenstein, director of the gallery, showed her curatorial chops particularly in hanging Nick Farhi’s painting of Niagara Falls about 10 feet above the multi-panel one of psychedelic trees by Melanie Moczarski, appearing to water them through the blank space of the exhibition. All in all don’t let the gloomy title of the show fool you into thinking you’re only in for the depressing side of obsession. The opening’s invitation spoofs that of a fancy wedding featuring a Shakespeare sonnet, gilded cursive font and all—the words “Edge of Doom” jump out in a badass black Heavy Metal looking font. Taking on such a classically loaded subject in the equally traditional medium of romantic painting is one of a refreshing openness, a fearless sense of humor and optimism even while acknowledging the darker moments of human passion.
Visit The Edge of Doom at Hilde L.A.
from April 22-May 27, 2017
4727 W. WASHINGTON BLVD, LOS ANGELES, CA 90016