Annabeth Marks: Continuous Time | Joseph Holtzman: Pictures from Literature
2441 Glendower Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Saturday, March 16 at 12:00 PM 6:00 PM
Ends Apr 27, 2024
“Color is an affirmation of presence so strong that it is almost human, almost alive.” - Etel Adnan Parker Gallery is proud to present Continuous Time, Annabeth Marks’ debut solo pre- sentation at the gallery. The exhibition will feature an ensemble of new constructed paintings, including the largest and most complex examples to date, marking a con- siderable scale shift within this body of work. Marks is known for her woven paintings in rich, finely tuned color. Constructed out of painted canvas, their final form is the result of a series of actions expressed over long stretches of time, in a process of constant revision and transformation. Cut, layered and woven pieces form the variably loose and tightly gridded structure of her paint- ings, which themselves can be viewed as meditations on change itself. Removed from and extending beyond the confines of the stretcher, Marks’ paintings encompass sculptural form and embodied presence. While the grid is a loose motif across her practice, each painting has its own unique internal logic and structural integrity, each its own specific color scheme charged with associative and emotive qualities. The artist hand mixes her own paint in order to achieve the desired vibration of hues within the work, in some cases highlighting a solid tone—as in Silver Spirit and Iron Rich Edge—or building on relational combi- nations to activate a different kind of energy. As Marks notes, “While painting, color structures this investigation of material and pictorial space, it is the matter that moves between forms and projects out towards the viewer. I create visual relationships in my work that weave the eye in and out, between solid, flat color and depth, between illu- sion and the material complexity of a surface. The paintings are high chroma - I am interested in the gut level emotional currency that highly saturated color provokes.” The largest works in the exhibition have a direct relationship to the scale of the human body, the woven elements knitting together like a rib cage. In Silver Spirit, a produc- tive tension between color uniformity and surface relief combine to create a work that relishes in minute gestures of difference. Another work, Slipper, features a central red abstraction on dark ground, surrounded by a contrasting matte application of solid pink. Tabs of varying widths and lengths extend beyond the stretcher, drawing the eye down just as the center draws you in. - Joe Holtzman is a passionate reader who returns to his favorite writers time and again. (Perhaps most of all to Marcel Proust, that curtain-loving, French fashion-hermit.) “Pictures from Literature” is the name of his latest solo show, the second with Parker Gallery. — And now it’s the turn of Virginia Woolf, Thomas Mann, and Henry James. In “Playwright Humiliated Onstage,” the last-named attempts to bow to a largely jeering audience after the premiere of his hopelessly out-of-touch drama Guy Dom- ville (January 5, 1895). Woolf’s modernist novel The Waves (1931) is evoked in a pair of works with their hinted elements of beach, wind, and water. These are action paint- ings: they record slow, meticulous strokes and hatchings as well as very rapid, wispy interventions that come into being “without mental guardrails,” as Holtzman explains. The waves keep coming, each its own unique, swirling, seething event—just as the painter’s brush returns to his marble support over and over—inasmuch as he desires to make himself one with those waves through motions and sea-shades of his own. “Magic Mountain I” and “Magic Mountain II” confront the viewer with Thomas Mann’s metaphorical sanatorium, under threat from the outside world and its warring ideol- ogies (those of 1920s Europe, so uncannily like what we face today). In Holtzman’s retelling, we look up towards the besieged retreat as upon a “towering escarpment impossible to scale.” Buried in the cliff-face strata of the Mann paintings are images found in nearly every Joe Holtzman work—where, in particular, birds and bird-like silhouettes abound. (The artist admits to a lifelong, fearful fascination with eagles, hawks, and owls and their lethal gaze.) The second of three self-portraits in this exhibition shows his right eye as a bird, while a more obscure bird-figure lies buried at the bottom of the painting. An- other recurring Holtzman motif: a pair of eyes, one red and one blue. “Self-portrait II” employs this motif in a striking fashion, but there are many instances in the paintings currently on view at Parker Gallery; they “just pop up, unplanned,” says Holtzman. His own way of seeing is color-discordant, i.e., the right and left eye are not equally sensitive to a given wavelength—one “likes red more, the other, blue.” He believes that this condition lets him tell colors apart with more precision—which to him seems a vi- sual parallel to perfect pitch in music. “Self-portrait II” also demonstrates his charac- teristic expressive use of exposed, untreated marble; here, the artist’s face is “laid bare” by means of the technique. “It does not let you go back” and therefore constitutes another, purely technical form of (self-)exposure that reminds Holtzman of traditional Japanese ink-on-silk painting.