Claudia V. Solórzano: Urban Alchemy | Gronk: Ego Rising
Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Building B3, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Saturday, July 13 at 4:00 PM 6:00 PM
Ends Aug 24, 2024
In her first solo show at Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles-based artist Claudia V. Solórzano presents a series of modern artifacts: vessels, decorative gates, and domestic objects informed by global mythology and a curiosity about labor and ephemerality. Solórzano explores both interior and exterior worlds in her work, fusing the domestic and architectural, the feminine and masculine. Solórzano crafts the individual components of her pieces—often using shaping and extrusion processes that mimic domestic chores, like baking—then stacks, coils, and bonds her materials like a builder erecting a shelter or a passageway. Solórzano’s vessels are a combination of clay types and architectural elements which reflect personal and historical influences, including the Mexican and Salvadoran cultures of Solórzano’s family; the Chinese, Japanese, and Gothic architecture throughout Los Angeles; and Voudou vèvè symobology. Working with clay is always an alchemical process, and each clay body responds differently to salt-firing: one might take on a glossy finish, while another rejects the salt and roughens up. The visible stratification of Solórzano’s vessels resembles that of the earth—a nod to past geological and archaeological eras—as well as the stacked architecture of City Terrace, the L.A. neighborhood where she grew up. Miniature gates appear as specters of the large, wrought iron structures across the city, serving as thresholds or meeting sites; metal symbolizes strength and endurance, while delicate, woven elements allude to traditional women’s crafts. The pieces are all amalgamations, both humble and regal, ancient and contemporary. They are portraits of a place defined by cross-pollination. They are portals to the past, and conduits to the future. - Synthesizing elements of street art, modernist theater, and B-movies, Gronk creates dynamic, politically-charged work that spans mediums and movements. A native Angeleno and autodidact, Gronk began his art practice alongside other self-taught Chicano artists in Los Angeles. He was a founding member of Asco, a conceptual Chicano artist collective which infamously tagged LACMA’s façade with their names in 1972 to protest the museum’s exclusion of Chicano artists. He created the mural Tormenta Cantata, Echoes from the Past, live at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1996, and for the past 20 years, he’s devoted much of his creative talents to set design for the operas staged by Peter Sellars. These political and theatrical influences saturate Ego Rising, Gronk’s latest solo show at Craig Krull Gallery. The show’s title is a reference to experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising, an exploration of the relationship between sex, pain, and power. Gronk considers these themes through images of La Tormenta, a femme fatale figure he’s been painting since the ‘80s, who joins a rich art historical lineage of subjects such as the biblical Judith and Salome—women with physical, and therefore political, power. Gronk’s most recent series of large-scale, expressive Tormenta paintings call on Aristophanes’ tragic comedy Lysistrata, in which the titular character rallies the women of Sparta to refuse all sexual contact with men until they end the Peloponnesian War that had been raging for over twenty years. Created during modern conflicts, Gronk’s Tormentas become powerful agents of peace.