when art & architecture collide
the dance of the old and the young

works by Thomas Houseago in outdoor space at L & M Arts, Venice, CA

Lately, there is something in the air about Los Angeles. Los Angeles is on a serious roll. It's not a city for everybody, I can understand that. But for the time being, it's my home. The light and snow-capped mountains will confuse you, or at least help you forget about the traffic for a moment. And recently, there has been a serious abundance of art & design in Los Angeles. Take a deep breathe fellow traveler, this week in Los Angeles there is a ton going on.

Thomas Houseago's "All Together Now" opened last week at the newly opened L & M Arts in Venice. Have you been to L and M Arts yet? The two galleries are delightful mind puzzles. Bricks, light, and angles all come together in the masterful buildings. wHY Architecture is behind these works, and may I suggest you spend some time in their presence?

"I wanted to create a dance between the old and the new: The old is revived by the new, and the new lives within the old," says Kulapat Yantrasast, of wHY Architecture. (read more here) There is a unity of old bricks, black sheets of glass, and the outdoor area that makes L & M Arts such a delight to visit.

Thomas Houseago, a L.A. sculptor with international attention, is showing in these 2 spaces at the moment. Large scale bronzes, cast aluminum, and redwood sculptures are both inside and on the lawn outside. In my humble opinion, Houseago is one of the most important sculptors in Los Angeles at the moment, making use of the space of the city. Referencing the past, while attempting to push it forward.

A side note: I truly wish more galleries in Los Angeles would push sculptors to make outdoor works, and show it outdoors. In a city rich with nature, our next step is to adorn our public areas with more L.A. sculptors' works. Agree or disagree?

- David John

bottle II, 2010, bronze

taken from press release:

"Houseago is known for playing a formal game, manipulating volume and relief to create tension between two and three-dimensional space. Body parts are impossibly linked together, and realistically sculpted limbs lead to drawn representations of others. This visual play gives these hulking figures a sense of fragility and awkwardness while remaining imposing and dynamic at the same time.

These works often reveal the physical marks of fabrication, with skeletons of iron bars exposed, raw edges from jigsaw cuts, and plaster and hemp slathered on the forms. They are both sensually and crudely constructed, as if their maker is also in a physical battle with these figures. In the end, he gives new life to these classic forms.

Houseago acts as cultural sponge, taking his visual cues from a disparate number of sources from tribal art to Picasso. But this vocabulary is then synthesized through a 21st century lens, and merged with rock 'n roll, science fiction, and animation. The work self-consciously references the past, but remains utterly innovative and contemporary."

go to L and M here..