With artists spanning the media of painting, sculpture, photography, and collage, Night Swimming is a rumination on material’s role in translating and documenting records and information. The included artists use diverse material to track time accumulation or record fleeting yet precise moments and events. Producing documents that function as both mementos and translations that are organized and realized via each artist’s material and conceptual lexicon. The resultant works create an archive of fluctuating objects, translated snapshots, and material and visual accumulation. The show’s title, “Night Swimming,” alludes to the experience of attempting to navigate a murky and vast space while only being able to sense what is in your immediate vicinity. The memory of spaces once seen in the light, the instability of buoyancy, and the lack of stillness in the act of swimming in darkness mirrors the disoriented and vulnerable translation of recollection found in the works included in the exhibition. Like the world obscured by night and water, a clear understanding sits just out of reach.
Fig. above: Christine Atkinson, A Story you have already heard, 2023, courtesy Scotty
Atkinson deploys sculpture to collect and preserve debris of California wildfires into neat epoxy cubes, capturing a chaotic natural trauma into a minimal object. This creates a jarring experience for the viewer, who is seduced by the slick cube only to discover it is made of destruction. The cubes function as time capsules, the plants, animals, structures that perished in the fire are all present in the form of ashes. This intense history of the place is then both preserved and made accessible by encasing it in epoxy.
Ljungquist’s paintings all derive their source material from photographs that the artist takes himself or culls from family archives. Each references a very specific and personally important moment in time, yet the significance is not immediately clear to the viewer. The process of translating the photographic image into a painting has a devotional, contemplative aspect, and the painting’s materiality becomes a form of preservation of what might otherwise have been lost. These portholes into vanished moments create a feeling of being a voyeur into another’s memories.
Gentry’s layered abstract paintings are both entropic and systematic. Yet the particular rules that govern their structure feel just out of reach. Each references what they translate in their title, but the resultant composition often feels many steps removed from the object. Gentry’s work questions the value of both chaotic and rational systems, mimicking the natural interplay of the cycle of growth and death.
Baird’s photographic, sculptural collages are documents of things while existing simultaneously as another thing themselves, showing multiple perspectives at once, bringing into question what perspective is true or real, if any. The works both refract and build structures of disparate images, playing with the role of the duplicate as a mirror, shadow, reflection, and copy. Allowing the multiple realities in each work to unfold and contract as the viewer engages them from different vantages.
The artists all leverage the accessibility of information in their work, playing with more traditional hierarchies that govern information, addressing the interplay of recording the experience of information vs. presenting the raw data itself, and ultimately questioning the value of what is kept and what is lost, if the feeling and context of a document is a more important record than the information itself.
Christine Atkinson was born in Stockton, CA and raised in Northern California. Christine Atkinson received her undergraduate degree from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara California and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. Her works have been included in various shows across the United States and Europe, including The Aviary Gallery in Boston, SOIL in Seattle, Monte Vista Projects in Los Angeles, Focus Photo LA and has participated in “Art in Paper New York“ and the London Art Fair with Vellum. Atkinson is a current member of Monte Vista Projects. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Lucy Wood Baird lives and works in Chicago, IL. Baird’s work has been included in exhibitions across the country including Filter, Chicago, IL (2015); Aperture Foundation, New York, NY (2016); and Aviary Gallery, Boston, MA (2016), Harvey Meadows Gallery, Aspen, CO (2017), Soil Gallery, Seattle, WA (2018), Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL (2021), and Monte Vista Projects (solo, 2022). Her work is included in private collections nationally. She has been an artist in residence at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, (2016, 2022) and Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, CO (2017) and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (2020). She holds a BA from Harvard University (2010) and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design (2016).
Roberta Gentry is a Los Angeles based artist whose work is inspired by the natural world and the balance of order and chaos that exists within it. Using painting, she explores the connections and conflicts that occur between architecture and biology, and questions the divide between natural and artificial. Recent Los Angeles group exhibitions include Bozomag, Gallery Also, Track 16, LA Mission College, Durden and Ray, and The Brand Art Center. She has had solo exhibitions in 2020 with Ladies‘ Room LA and in 2018, at Elephant Art Space. Gentry has a BFA from the University of Arizona and an MFA from SUNY Albany. Selected publications include Flaunt Magazine, Fabrik, Full Blede, and Maake Magazine. Since 2015, she has been a member of the Los Angeles artist-run space, Monte Vista Projects.
Karl Ljungquist (born in Minneapolis, MN, lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) is an artist whose central concern is the relationship of photographic source material to lived emotional experience, filtered through the unstable processes of memory and perception. Focusing on the materiality of the painted surface and using a limited, unifying color palette, he links a range of imagery into a coherent yet imperfectly remembered, uneasy psychological space. He graduated from Brown University, and after a long hiatus from painting had his first solo exhibition, “Kathy,” at The Lodge in spring 2023.
ONLINE Artist Talk with Christine Atkinson, Lucy Wood Baird, Roberta Gentry, Karl Ljungquist, moderated by Juliane Zelwies
December 2nd, 7 pm in Berlin/10 am in Los Angeles
Meeting-ID: 821 3668 4603
D 10969 Berlin
Opening: Friday, 17 November 2023, 7 pm
Exhibition dates: Saturday, 18 November – Saturday, 23 December 2023
Thursday – Friday 3-7 pm
Saturday 2-6 pm