Reception for the artist:
Thursday, 17 January, 7-9 PM
L.A. Louver is pleased to present the first West Coast solo exhibition of Australian artist Grant Stevens. This exhibition also represents L.A. Louver’s first international Rogue Wave Project.
The interface between popular representation and lived experience continues to drive my practice. —Grant Stevens
Working in a variety of media, including sculpture, drawing and photography, as well as video, Stevens experiments with sound, text and imagery to explore and manipulate the conventions of narrative. At the core of his practice is a desire to understand how we construct and communicate our experience — lived and imagined, social and psychological. Stevens states, “I am particularly interested in how the verbal and non-verbal ‘languages’ of our screen realities shape our subjectivities and communications.” His work draws on the codes and conventions of various screen cultures — movies, TV and online — that inform our contemporary experiences and communications.
The largest work in the exhibition is a four-channel video installation that Stevens describes as “a visualization of a mental landscape based on abstract, spatial representations of text.” The viewer is immersed in a moving, abstract environment of text clusters that refer to seemingly diverse and dissonant topics: self-affirmations, an Indian restaurant menu, the periodic table, and common prescription drugs. As each cluster was sourced online, it bears the trace of how one navigates through online information. Another single-channel video features a flowing, animated waterfall, sentimental stock music, and text appropriated from a popular talk show host’s self-help advice.
In addition to the video works, the exhibition includes line drawings based on the geometric pattern underlying theoretical physicist Garrett Lisi’s hypothetical “theory of everything.” This proposes a basis for a unified field theory that may be mapped by an algebraic structure within a circular construction. A series of intimate collages that focus on a male figure apparently jumping into space provides a euphoric contrast to the formality of the drawings. And, inspired by the light and color transitions of Southern California, Stevens has also created a six-panel lenticular work that evokes the changing qualities of sunrise and sunset.
Selecting, appropriating, fragmenting, cutting, combining and splicing are the main ongoing considerations of Stevens’ practice, and make up this current exhibition. He embodies them, as he puts it, “in a constellation of different media, approaches and symbolic systems that all revolve around, and draw on some common ground.”
Born in 1980 in Brisbane, Australia, Grant Stevens earned a Ph.D, from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, where he now teaches. Stevens has exhibited extensively in Australia, including the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, and Institute of Modern Art (solo show), Brisbane; The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania. Stevens has also exhibited internationally, at the Sunshine International Art Museum, Songzhuang Town, and Central Academy of Fine Art Museum, Beijing; National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; and Il Ponte Contemporanea, Rome. In the U.S., Stevens presented a solo exhibition in 2007 at the Museum of Art, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
Screenings and public art commissions include Resfest: Digital Film Festival, ACMI Melbourne and the Opera House, Sydney, 2005; Boo Hooray, ABC television 2005; Artists versus Hollywood at Curzon Cinema, London (and traveling), 2006; Like Two Ships, Art39Basel (Art Unlimited Hall), Switzerland, and most recently Mingling, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia, 2012.
Artist Conversation: Grant Stevens will speak with curator and writer Paul Young about his work at L.A. Louver on Saturday, 19 January at 11 a.m. The event is free, but reservations are required. RSVP to Susan Yi at 310-822-4955.
Rogue Wave Projects: L.A. Louver initiated its Rogue Wave program to present emerging talent in Los Angeles, mounting group exhibitions in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2009. Since that time, the gallery has organized Rogue Wave Projects solo activities with Eduardo Sarabia (2009), Olga Koumoundoros (2010), and Matt Wedel (2010). Rogue Wave Projects will continue to create a project-based platform for local and international contemporary artists.