Ilana Savdie: Entrañadas

1227 North Highland Ave Los Angeles, CA 90038
Nov 06, 6 PM - 8 PM — ends Jan 29, 2022
Ilana Savdie
Opening reception is Saturday, November 6th, 6 to 8pm and the exhibition continues through January 29, 2022

Kohn Galleryis thrilled to present Ilana Savdie’s exhibition, Entrañadas, Savdie’s first solo presentation with the gallery. Known for her surreal and hot-colored, electrifying large-scale paintings, Ilana Savdie’s works contain central themes of ambiguity, the fluidity of identity and the displacement of power through invasion, control, and defiance. Her work manifests dysmorphic human bodies and elongated forms to the brink of near abstraction; it is a formula that beautifies disfiguration and embellishes the uncommon. By juxtaposing the endemic and the alien, Savdie’s work proposes several questions. What makes such organisms simultaneously seductive and dangerous? How do humanoid forms surrender in obedience and how do they exert authority? When does the familiar end and where does the foreign begin?

As a queer artist, painting for Savdie is beyond language - a union of color, texture, gesture, line, and surface, conveying tension as a state of being and exploration of the human body through painterly manipulation and reconfiguration.

Savdie’s paintings recall the lyrical and biomorphic forms of Arshile Gorky, the soak-stained expressionism of Helen Frankenthaler, the flowing wax reliefs of Lynda Benglis, and the raw, contorted bodies of Francis Bacon, yet establishes a truly distinctive voice in Contemporary Art. In a recent interview, Savdie states,

“…Our history is inherited in our bones, our cartilage, our diabetes and heart disease, our coded language, our ritual retellings, our inherited dread. Community that finds citizenship in the margins is the invented landscape somewhere between us and them. Shifting identities are intact in their state of flux, forever in a state of becoming. I am interested in the carnage that happens in those liminal spaces where the folkloric and the biological can cohere to propel power for those of us deemed impure, inconvenient, and culturally complicated.”

Raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Savdie moved to the United States as a teenager, yet her work remains inspired by the ethos of the annual Carnival in her hometown. The ambiance of the Carnival and idea of resisting societal norms, using the exaggerated body and features of the Marimonda mask (a folkloric figure that originated as a symbol employed to mock the oppressive elite), are all pivotal elements of the Carnaval de Barranquilla and play a role in how Savdie approaches her work. Savdie emphasizes the complexity of the character’s history within the context of Carnaval, a time and place where normative order is suspended and the queering of becoming is better embodied.

Savdie further explains:

“Painting serves as a reminder that I have a body…I can pervert, rescale, reconfigure, and reroute the paths of power in figures that co-exist intimately on the canvas as contrasting textures, gestures, and colors. I see these gestures as organs, fractured bones, unbound parts that displace the equilibrium of power and dependence.”

Queen Breeders, 2021, oil, acrylic and beeswax on canvas stretched on panel