Aaron Elvis Jupin: Possibility of Misunderstanding | Alexa Guariglia: The Outside World
743 N. La Brea Avenue
Saturday, May 18 at 6:00 PM 9:00 PM
Ends Jun 29, 2024
Moskowitz Bayse is pleased to present Possibility of Misunderstanding, an installation of new paintings, drawings, and sculpture by Los Angeles-based artist Aaron Elvis Jupin. The exhibition is the artist’s second with the gallery, and will be installed in our Viewing Room May 18 - June 29, 2024. In Possibility of Misunderstanding, Jupin imbues the gallery’s exhibition space with a kind of magic typically reserved for the artist’s studio. Walls painted by the artist expand a drawing to larger than life scale, only here to serve as an armature on which framed drawings hang; when the exhibition ends these murals will be painted over, erased like pencil marks on a page. Much of Jupin’s work hinges on this sort of tongue-in-cheek befuddlement. Humor vacillates from laughter to derangement and silly often stands on its head. Even in the exhibition title there is a kind of paradoxical hopefulness expressed in the word possibility when it is met with misunderstanding. Masks are woven throughout the exhibition as a recurring trope, standing as a compelling symbol that transcends its historical roots to embody a spectrum of meanings and interpretations. Across contexts, masks serve as liminal spaces, blurring the boundaries between reality and illusion, concealment and revelation. Jupin uses the mask as a means to backdoor into figuration, harnessing its ambiguity to explore themes of identity, obfuscation, and the interplay between fact and fiction. From the photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Cindy Sherman or the films of Paul McCarthy and the paintings of James Ensor to the funerary rites of ancient Egypt and the movie that helped launch Jim Carey’s career, masks have forever served as a deep probe into far off corners of the mind. Originally conceived as an exhibition of drawings, it was in the act of making these works that ideas snowballed into the gesamtkunstwerk that became Possibility of Misunderstanding. For the painter, drawing is often the genesis of creativity; it is where one can see, in its most raw state, the mind forming ideas. In Jupin’s drawings the first impression is one of pure confidence, like the decisive mark of Egon Scheile–his angular marks in lead are akin to Jupin’s sinuous lines in ink. Close inspection reveals that Jupin has intentionally left a partially erased world of unresolved forms in pencil; while he easily could have obliterated all traces of past marks reconsidered, this would contradict the essence of drawing in the first place. The impulse to leave drawings open ended can also be found in the artist’s paintings. Building upon airbrush techniques he has deployed in the past, he has here incorporated oil sticks into his process. These two disparate mediums thrust cleanliness and messiness onto the same surface, a kind of rebellion against the slick photorealism commonly associated with airbrush. Across works, Jupin leaves an uncanny amount of empty space that encroaches from all sides of the picture plane, conspicuously deleting backgrounds and leaving objects intentionally out of context. This deconstruction, simultaneously jarring and generous, leaves it to the viewer to complete the narrative of each picture. In an age overrun with fixed search engine results and algorithmically determined content, these works beckon us to find the pilot light and turn the dial. Across Jupin’s oeuvre, the question of why tends to be answered with another question, and the only way to contend with this feedback loop is by probing our own matrix of ideas. Whether through the striking simplicity of line work in a drawing or the spatial void into which an arresting object is precariously situated, the artist offers the viewer a compelling network of open ended visual spaces that give pause, inviting unraveling notions to weave with a flood memory that imaginatively fills this emptiness. - Moskowitz Bayse is pleased to present The Outside World, an exhibition of new paintings by Alexa Guariglia. The Outside World is the artist’s eighth solo exhibition with the gallery, and will be on view May 18 - June 29, 2024. In this new series of paintings, Alexa Guariglia embraces an anthropological approach to image making, setting her attention on what she refers to as “places of anonymity,” where human behavior conforms to collectively established routines. As both observer and participant, Guariglia examines the mechanisms of urban life, absorbing the complex symbols and taxonomic systems around which humanity organizes itself. She reinterprets typically quotidian scenes like the nail salon, the dog park, or an eyewear shop, as fantastically intricate worlds full of beauty and nuance. Her velvety gouache compositions present like jewelry boxes or treasure chests yearning to be rummaged through. In Fresh Eyes and Stage Hands, conical beams of light pouring from spectacle lenses and theater fixtures guide the eye across richly-toned scenes of human interaction. In following these suggested sightlines as they bounce throughout Guariglia’s imaginative ecosystems, entire worlds within worlds reveal themselves in even the most minute details. The repeated motifs wallpapering each venue and adorning her subjects’ garments melt away and reconstitute themselves into unique tableaux––both remembered and invented. In The Outer Shell, bottles of nail polish appear like precious gemstones impossibly surrounding the salon’s manicurists and patrons in a technicolor whirlwind. Here, Guariglia is not concerned with literal representation so much as capturing the essential sensory truths of this iconic locale. Guariglia possesses a hypersensitivity and idiosyncratic knack for pattern recognition that guides her creative practice. She fundamentally moves through life as a collector, cataloging noteworthy forms, textures, and movements, and adding them to her robust mental lexicon for later use. The patchworked vignettes in The Great Escape and Night Bloom exemplify this aspect of her approach, offering viewers a mesmerizing reprieve from their internal anxieties. In stitching together her personal memories and subjective impressions of the natural world, Guariglia creates sophisticatedly whimsical tapestries that equate to much more than the sum of their parts. In response to the overbearing overstimulation of contemporary life, Guariglia’s boldly feminine works generously illuminate new tools for processing one’s surroundings: earnest curiosity and radical optimism.
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