This group show was organized by Steven Hull and involves a number of artists who are friends and work together on a regular basis. For instance, sisters Tanya Haden and Petra Haden (triplets with Rachel Haden, not in the show) are musicians who have performed for Hull during his performance for Glow while Tanya played with Marnie Weber when she had her band Spirit Girls. Hull’s title for the show is based on the idea that the works “explore the sentiment of sorrow which can be the halfway point between sadness and distress.”
Right Facing with a Tinge of Sorrow. 2014
Gouache on paper, framed
41 x 61"
However, an unexpected development made that sentiment quite real. The Hadens are daughters of jazz great Charlie Haden, who died the night before their show opened. The other-worldly character of these artists’ works suddenly seemed dramatically enhanced. Consider Tanya Haden’s gouache of faces facing a distant sea. It is titled Right Facing with a Tinge of Sorrow (2014). And her wall-mounted medicine cabinet is filled with glass bottles, clumps of grass, and, on the top shelf, two anatomically correct red plastic hearts. The chest is positioned at the top of a wall rendering by Haden that could express the upward thrust of energy to the heavens or the downpour of watery emotion.
Sea Witch. 2010-2014
Wood, paint on plastic, fabric, rocks
As installed, 68 x 80 x 55"
Weber’s work has long engaged ideas about the spirit world and her sculpture, Sea Witch (2010-2014), a small boat carrying a uniformed pig, a despairing bird wrapped in gauze, and blue-faced woman draped in back, rests on a bed of rocks, as though ready to make passage to the other world. Jim Shaw’s shadowy untitled figure (resting) (2013) stands as a distant observer and there are pale skeletons cut from left-over plastic milk bottles by Tami Demaree. And there is Allison Schulnick’s always interesting stop-motion video, a 2014 piece called Eager.
Untitled figure (resting). 2013
Luan, pine, hot glue, stretched muslin backdrop material, wood support
56 5/8 x 30 x 15 1/2"
Hull’s own 13 Feelings (2014) features a large aqueous painting in marine colors that serves as backdrop to a blockish pedestal bearing the blistered head of Ted Kennedy. Chappaquiddick anyone? In an adjacent gallery, a turntable installation plays an album of the music, performed by the Hadens and others, that accompanied his performance with puppets at Glow last year.
13 feelings. 2014
Acrylic on canvas, acrylic on coconut, acrylic on plastic mask, wood, found objects, with light
Canvas: 89 1/2 x 124 3/4"; installation overall: 89 1/2 x 124 3/4 x 36"
Despite the sad circumstances of this exhibition, it brings attention to a group show worth visiting on any level. Open through August 9. For more information, go to rosamundfelsen.com.
It also serves as a reminder to visit James Ensor at the Getty, an artist of inspiration to Schulnick, Weber and many other contemporary artists. In fact, on August 7, Laurie Lipton and Tom Knechtle will be at the Getty talking about Ensor. More information is available at getty.edu.