Holding Up 1/2 the Sky
Echiko Ohira, Karen Hampton, Mika Cho, Blue McRight, Kyungmi Shin, Victoria May, Chenhung Chen, Lisa Bartleson, Adrienne DeVine, Maria Larsson, Rebecca Niederlander, Cole James, Camilla Taylor and Alexis Slickelman employ wood, clay, wire, glass, sound, fabric, paper and other matter to delve into the ways which materiality and divine energies converge.
Well-known Los Angeles-based artists Ohira, Cho and Shin share space with less recognized artists who have a large national footprint despite practicing in the west coast, especially Hampton and Larsson. Emerging artists James, Taylor and Slickelman emphasize how the contributions and confluence of multiple generations of women remain necessary for the fundamental practice of art and life.
Emphasizing Los Angeles as a dynamic and instrumental force behind three-dimensional narrative art, the artists in Holding Up 1/2 the Sky combine material and meaning into a complex visual language of beauty, weight, and allegory. The work is the antithesis of conceptual; here, the aesthetic object holds equal significance with meaning. Their sculptures capture the interaction between the physical construct and the emotional resonance of seeing and knowing. Intention pulses through these works, from form to titles like Sounds of the South and Weight of the Woman, that echo the emotional and political tension of Saar’s assemblages.
Holding Up 1/2 the Sky sculptures stand in contrast and conversation with Something Blue. Guest curator jill moniz eschewed assemblage artists, choosing instead to focus on abstraction so as to highlight the linguistic intersections with Saar’s practice. These considerations reify visual art as communal memory, and it is by holding up half the sky that humanity accesses the wisdom, nourishment and creativity we need to survive and thrive.