Stowaway is the second of two collaborative exhibitions between Transition Gallery, London and Weekend, Los Angeles. Each show is co-curated by the galleries and includes both LA and London based artists. Stowaway includes the works of Lisa Rybovich Crallé, Kyla Hansen, Cathy Lomax, Alli Sharma, and Mimei Thompson.
Stowaways rely on stealth. Unwilling to reveal themselves in their entirety, they emerge from their hideaways and disappear again to become assimilated by the surrounding environment or culture. But like grit in an oyster or a stone dropped into a pond, the ripples they create often result in unique changes and site-specific enrichments that may just produce that elusive pearl.
Indigenous customs, fashions, music, foods and ideas are constantly on the move and become integrated and transformed when they take root in a new location. The prosaic, everyday or clichéd, can shake free their mundane origins and transform into something new, fresh and exciting. On the other hand, the exotic export can develop into an unwanted invasive species. Considered dangerous and divisive, in extreme cases it has to be modified, destroyed or ejected. The impact of kudzo in the Southern US states or Japanese knotweed (imported to embellish Victorian gardens) along the banks of British rivers, show how some stowaways can become a public nuisance.
From European filmmakers in Hollywood, to Lancashire clog dancing in the Appalachians and Chicken Tikka Masala in the UK, the evidence of these shifts and collisions indicate global anomalies that have a profound cultural impact.
Cathy Lomax's dreamy paintings and sound piece are inspired by Rebecca (1940), the first Hollywood film by English director Alfred Hitchcock. The film is an adaptation of a novel by the quintessentially English Daphne du Maurier and centres on a Cornish mansion called Manderley. Although numerous English mansions were considered none were thought to have the right look and so miniature versions of the house were constructed on the very spot on the back lot where the Atlanta of Gone With The Wind (1939) had recently burned to the ground.
Mimei Thompson 's abstracted insect paintings are suggested by the historical concept of 'the Columbian exchange' - the transferring of animals, plants, people, technology and ideas between the American and Afro-Eurasian hemispheres following the voyage to the Americas by Christopher Columbus.
Alli Sharma takes her intro from Northern Soul for a new series of paintings. At its peak of popularity in the mid 1970s, Northern Soul clubs were in virtually every major town in the Midlands and North of England. The white working classes of Britain, spun, twisted and drop kicked to obscure, fast tempo, black American soul music. Rare recordings from the 1960s, already discarded by small regional American labels, were highly prized for their raw sound and rough edges. There is no American genre called Northern Soul. The movement was created by the dancers and DJs on the other side of the Atlantic.
Lisa Rybovich Crallé 's Fingers are a playful spin on ancient monumental statuary. Large and colorful, Crallé's sculptures perch throughout the space like tropical abstractions cut from a collage.
Kyla Hansen 's work explores the migration of meaning, mashing up cultural signifiers of place to create absurd objects that employ the hazy nature of belief, memory, and nostalgia. Her work focuses on the way specific regional, cultural phenomena of the West (i.e. music, aesthetics, attitudes, landscape, etc.) are made exportable or malleable to other cultures through the change of objects into signs. Working from personal narrative of desert suburbia she creates sculptures and installations with bits of architecture, debris, handicrafts and Hollywood casting materials that evoke the overlapping myths and realities of the Western Landscape.
Stowaway is one of a series of shows, under the umbrella of Project LALO , an exchange between London and Los Angeles artist-run spaces, organised by Campbell Works, London and Artra, Los Angeles. Transition Gallery and Weekend, Los Angeles, are co-curating Head Grammar in London and Stowaway in LA.
Transition Gallery Unit 25a Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, London E8 4QN www.transitiongallery.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 07718 259963 / 020 7254 4202
Lisa Rybovich Crallé / Kyla Hansen / Cathy Lomax Alli Sharma / Mimei Thompson
April 4th - 27th, 2014
Opening Reception: April 4th, 7-10 pm
Cathy Lomax, Last Night I Dreamt I Was , 2014, oil and acrylic on cardboard, 15x20cm (x12)