Galia Linn and Alexandra Grant: Stories in Clay and Paint

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Ceramic sculptures by Los Angeles artist Galia Linn hold one’s attention through a rather conflicting combination of opposites: strength and fragility, multi-colored glazes and monochrome natural clay, and the feminine and masculine.

Installation shot: Galia Linn: Evidence of Care. Track 16 Gallery. Image courtesy the gallery.

Linn’s solo exhibition at Track 16 Gallery shows her love – or if you prefer, obsession – with just one material: clay. But, looking at her small, medium, and large-scale sculptures on display, one sees that in the hands of Galia Linn, clay – the most earthly material any artist can use – is telling stories and keeping quiet, reaching out and hiding secrets.

L: Single horn guardian II, 2015. Untitled. Inside Garden III, 2013. Galia Linn. R: Come With Me VI, 2018. Galia Linn. Both, installation shots from Galia Linn: Evidence of Care, Track 16 Gallery. Images courtesy the gallery.

“Growing up in Israel instilled Linn with an intimate connection to a land full of ancient and contemporary relics of past and present civilizations” (Track 16). There is something in common between the archaeologist who excavates ancient objects from the earth and the artist who opens a kiln after firing ceramic sculptures – both of them should be ready to deal with unpredictable results.

 Come with me I, 2016. Galia Linn. Image courtesy Track 16 gallery.

Control and surrender, life and death – all that and more, hidden and revealed, in a handsomely installed exhibition by Galia Linn at Track 16, on the 10 th floor of the Bendix, one of the most beautiful buildings in Downtown LA.

 Installation shot: Alexandra Grant: Born to Love. Lowell Ryan Projects. Image courtesy the gallery.

Another solo exhibition that echoes the voices of ancient cultures is Born to Love by Alexandra Grant, the Los Angeles artist whose new large-scale paintings on paper are presented by Lowell Ryan Projects, a new gallery in the West Adams district.

 Installation shot: Alexandra Grant: Born to Love. Lowell Ryan Projects. Photo by Edward Goldman.

These paintings are inspired by Antigone, the ancient Greek tragedy by Sophocles, in which Antigone declares, “I was born to love, not to hate.” The dramatic combination of geometric abstractions and text creates multiple layers of storytelling that are up to us, the viewers, to interpret.

 L: Mike Weiss, Co-Founder of Lowell Ryan Projects, with Alexandra Grant, R. Photo by Edward Goldman.

What I find particularly appealing in these new works by Alexandra Grant is her combination of control and happenstance and her juxtaposition of muted and bright colors. Once again, I am looking at artworks which make me think of archaeologists digging through layers of earth to hear voices of the past, still tremendously relevant to the present.

I’ve been following the careers of both Galia Linn and Alexandra Grant for more than a decade and have reviewed their exhibitions on several occasions. Every time I talk with them about their work, either in galleries or in their studios, I am impressed by their eloquence, joyfulness, and humility. But even if you never meet these artists, these qualities will be there for you to discover and to experience through their art.



Kathleen Yore