Charlie James Gallery, Dan Graham, and Emma Gray are pleased to present ZOE CROSHER’s For Ur Eyes Only: The Unveiling of Michelle duBois. The show will be housed in Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown, and will be supported by two other events in the neighborhood: an installation of work at Dan Graham at 506 Bernard, and a performance featuring actress Liane Balaban, working from a script by writer/curator Lara Taubman at the Royal Pagoda Motel at 995 Broadway, room #7 from 8:30 to 9:30pm. In this new iteration, comprised of images and ephemera bequeathed to the artist by confidante Michelle duBois, Crosher explores ongoing themes such as identity, travel, transience and obsolescence. She has extensively re-photographed, scanned and re-ordered duBois’ slippery self-portraits into a re-contextualized archive, thriving in the soft spaces between fantasy and fiction, documentation and theatricality, and individuation and anonymity.
Michelle duBois is one of five aliases kept by the aspiring flight attendant who turned tricks to sustain her travels across the Pacific Rim in the 1970s and 1980s. She took on many different costumed guises and kept fanatical documentation of her many dramatic transformations. Until one day, she didn’t. Which is where Crosher’s project embarks. The Unveiling of Michelle duBois opens with the final published photographs in the archive, to which the artist refers as “the last four days and nights in Tokyo.” The West Coast was Oklahoma-native duBois’ last American port of call before setting off for Asia. So it is perhaps fitting that Chung King Road’s Hollywood-ized take on Chinese culture should be the place to unveil duBois’ Oriental escapism. Crosher has fixed in on duBois’ transient obsessions, making pictures of pictures – of obfuscated faces, of repeated shadows in dark black & white doorways, of arched backs, of backs of backs of photographs and backs of necks, of notes taken and rewritten, scanned and scratched, kept and held and returned – all archives within archives through which we are momentarily granted access into one woman’s fantastical worldview and performed sexuality, framed and reframed by a medium disappearing before our eyes.
Zoe Crosher is an artist living in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited internationally in Vancouver, Rotterdam, Los Angeles and New York City. In addition to her exhibition practice, she has a monograph, Out the Window (LAX), examining space and transience around the Los Angeles airport, and an upcoming monograph on her newest project The Reconsidered Archive of Michelle duBois, to be published by Aperture Books. Crosher recently served as visiting faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA as well as associate editor at the journal Afterall. She presently has projects with LAXART (September 2010 billboard) and the 2010 California Biennial.
CROSHER holds a MFA in Photography & Integrated Media Cal Arts (Valencia, CA). She lives and works Los Angeles. In 2008 her solo exhibition The Reconsidered Archive of Michelle du Bois was shown at the Claremont Museum of Art (CA). She was included in the recent group exhibition Suddenly: Where We Live Now at the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College (Portland, OR) and the Pomona College Museum of Art, (CA). Her work is included in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Through a steady and impressive career that has incorporated sculpture, photography, fashion, and installation, Ala Ebtekar has continually returned to his initial passion of drawing and painting. With meticulous deliberation to conceptual intent and aesthetic execution, he creates fluid, graceful pieces that inhabit a realm where past and present / east and west collide in a dance of time and space.
Well known for his series of intricate paintings on pages of religious manuscripts, in which he situates scenes of epic battles of warriors donning helmeted armor, wielding medieval swords and modern day bandoliers, Ebtekar has created a hybrid world that references both past and present in a seamless fusion of mythologies and time. In recent solo exhibitions at The Third Line Gallery in Dubai in Fall 2009 and Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco in 2010, he created a series of multimedia works of women in resilient poses emanating strength, resolve, and determination, simultaneously hinting at ancient Persian epics and the most recent call for social justice by Iran’s youth – a movement led quite visibly by young Iranian women. He brought to the
forefront an often overlooked chapter of history and field of scholarship about the role women warriors had in ancient Persia – dating back at least 2,000 years to the time of the Parthians – while simultaneously honoring and highlighting the role Iranian women play today in the creation of history.
In his upcoming exhibition @ CJG, Ebtekar will bring all threads of his practice together, showing his epic paintings and drawings on mounted prayer book pages, his series involving re-mythologized Persian women, and a newly constructed installation piece(s).
A talented draughtsman since childhood, the artist studied traditional painting technique in Iran, and was an active collaborator in Tim Rollins’ K.O.S.(Kids of Survival) before attending the San Francisco Art Institute (BFA) and Stanford University (MFA.) Ebtekar has exhibited in Los Angeles, London and Dubai, and was chosen for the 2006 California Biennial. His installation “Elemental” travelled in the acclaimed exhibition “One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now” organized by the Asia Society.
Charlie James Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Travis Somerville: A Portion of That Field… opening to the public on Saturday, February 27, with a reception for the artist from 6pm-9pm; on view through April 17.
This show contains work from Somerville’s museum show in late 2009 at the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, entitled Dedicated to the Proposition. In concert with the LA opening @ Charlie James, Somerville will be opening an exhibition on the 20th of February at the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco entitled Rededicated to the Proposition. Each gallery will have roughly half the work from the museum show at Otis.
The exhibition presents a new body of work including painting, drawing, sculpture and installation. The exhibition title refers to Abraham Lincoln’s historic Gettysburg Address delivered during the Civil War: “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.” In this speech, Lincoln asks the nation to honor its fallen by challenging its citizens to fully realize and achieve “…a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
With this body of work, Somerville explores the complex inheritance of a nation trying to live up to Lincoln’s challenge of being a nation not divided, but truly “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The artist is interested in investigating the tension and contradiction in America’s realization of equality and freedom for all between the numerous examples of the nation’s success manifest in Obama’s election and first 100 days and the nation’s failure evidenced by the enduring and shameful aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Travis Somerville was born in 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia to white civil rights activists-an Episcopal priest and a school teacher, and grew up in various cities and rural towns throughout the Southern United States. The geography of his upbringing is important – growing up in the south during the 1960s, a period of immense social upheaval, has deeply informed the narrative content of his work. His work simultaneously tries to reconcile his own Southern Christian upbringing and the tumultuous racial politics of 60s with the more progressive but better concealed racial divisions of today.
Somerville studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and at the San Francisco Art Institute. Select solo exhibitions include Another Song of the South at University of Georgia, Athens; American Cracker Too at Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and New Work at University of Houston, Texas. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions including the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition In the Spirit of Martin Luther King: the Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Whiteness: A Wayward Construction at the Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California, and Lincoln: Man, Myth, and Memory at the Amistad Center for Art and Culture in Hartford, Connecticut. His work is included in the permanent collections of the di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, the Achenbach Collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Laguna Art Museum, and the San Jose Museum of Art, among others. He has garnered critical attention in numerous publications including Art in America, Flash Art, Kitchen Sink, and The Washington Post.