Starkwhite will present the work of Rebecca Baumann, Jonny Niesche, and Gemma Smith at Art Los Angeles Contemporary from 13-16 February 2020. Uniting these three Australian artists is an abiding interest in the interrelationships between form, colour, light, movement, and time.
The intimate relationship between colour and emotion is joined by movement and time as critical factors in Rebecca Baumann's practice. Her art works are never still. They ripple, flip, or burst in visually demonstrative examples of the passing of time. Often working with simple mechanisms, Baumann attempts to manipulate and programme the action to a certain point, then let the materials take over. Baumann's new kinetic works are created using flip-dot display, an electro-magnetic signage originally created for the stock market. As the early technology audibly flips and alters, colour constellations and automatic drawings form. Stripping this outdated technology of its function, the artist has reimagined it as a choreography where control gives way to movement and unexpectedly still intervals, the chance configurations of colour and pattern feeding anticipation for what comes next. In action the works feels like a code or pulse is being transmitted, one communicated in colour, sound, and motion.
The seductive, iridescent surfaces of Jonny Niesche's works hum and shimmer with pigment, colour that seems to float slightly above the voile surface. The effect is intensified by the indistinct edges between bands of colour that surround the dark middle ground. As one tone blurs and dissolves into the next, a silky insubstantiality of pure colour and sensation emerges. Niesche has long worked with the intrinsic relationship between colour, form and light to produce formal and optically charged works that challenge our perception of space. His is a body of work that draws on formal elements from twentieth-century art and the shiny allure of popular culture. Neiche's paintings offer a transformative formal beauty that is beguiling. The glowing neon tones and soft pastels that flow from a mysterious dark centre are finished with reflective gold rims, mirroring the viewer back to his or her self in a surprising encounter with the art work. These enticing colour fields and Neiche's sculpture offers shifting, sensory experiences of reflection, transparency, and movement.
Gemma Smith's practice is a journey of experimentation with colour. Her work takes the form of both painting and sculpture, known for its reworking of abstract codes and styles, the testing of colour and form, and formal and improvised gestures. Fittingly for a practice exploring colour theory, her colour choices are precise, although not always vibrant. In these works she has created a very pale surface, attempting to use barely any colour. Smith adds the smallest amount of pigment, then spreads it out thinly as if it were wet cement, attempting to eliminate brushstrokes. Working in layers, often up to six layers on a canvas, she increases or decreases the amount of pigment in each area so as to balance the work compositionally over the whole canvas. The works' delicately-hued surfaces offer soft and ambiguous shifts in tone, furthering Smith's ongoing exploration of pictorial depth and the perception of volume and depth through the arrangement of colour. "Perceiving colour is like exercising a muscle that is enhanced by use. I feel that one can become attuned to perceiving colour in a more nuanced way," says Smith.
After nine years in Santa Monica, this year's edition of Art Los Angeles Contemporary will be held at the Hollywood Athletic Club on Sunset Boulevard. The Club was founded in 1924 by Charlie Chaplin and designed by architects Myer & Holler. It was frequented by celebrities like Mae West, Groucho Marx, John Ford, Jean Harlow, Howards Hughes and Joan Crawford, and has played host to many notable events including the first-ever Emmys in 1949, the premiere of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill in 2003 and now the 11th edition of Art Los Angeles Contemporary. This will be Starkwhite's 6th participation in the fair.
We are also pleased to announce Jonny Niesche and Gemma Smith are now represented by Starkwhite.