Kahn + Selesnick / Rachel Bess


Exhibition
September 5 – October 28, 2017

Opening reception with the artists
Saturday, September 9, 2017, from 7:00 – 9:00pm

Lisa Sette Gallery’s fall exhibit marks the year’s diurnal progression toward a darker season with Rachel Bess’ oil portraits and the photo-collage constructions of collaborators Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick. Bess and Kahn/Selesnick revel in historical and retrofuturist aesthetics of the occult, marking resonances with our present moment of ecological and moral insecurity. In disparate media, these works demonstrate the irresistible intrigue of the fantastic and unknown in times of cultural upheaval.

Kahn/Selesnick’s meticulous photo-collages function as immersive cosmic systems from which the viewer may divine their own meaning or narrative based on a constellation of esoteric details. Each image catches an enticing fancy, mid-flight.  Their series, Madame Lulu’s Book of Fate, follows the continuing adventures of the Truppe Fledermaus, a motley, bat-masked crew that has featured in the duo’s recent works. Kahn/Selesnick explain Truppe Fledermaus as “A cabaret troupe of anxious mummers and would-be mystics who catalogue their absurdist attempts to augur a future that seems increasingly in peril due to environmental pressures and global turmoil.”

Writing in the New York Times, Vicki Goldberg described the adventures of Truppe Fledermaus as “apocalypse soon, delight in the meantime.”

For while a shining margin of rising floodwaters encircle many scenes of the Truppe, still its members seem to take pleasure where they can, traipsing in fancy-dress across wasted, watery, or overgrown landscapes, encountering last-of-their species creatures and attempting feats of technological transcendence with charming analogue contraptions.

Performing the roles of commedia del’arte and adhering to the democratizing customs of carnival, the costuming and elaborate backgrounds of Truppe Fledermaus explicitly recall 18th-century France; remarks Richard Selesnick:

“We see a correlation between that time period and our own, with the world teetering between enlightenment and violence. We often find it helpful to view our own anxieties through the lens of history in this way.”

Fortunetelling may also offer comfort in times of civilizational confusion, thus Madame Lulu’s Book of Fate comprises a deck of tarot cards and a bocca della veritá—a mouth of truth hearkening to the original Roman artifact. Madame Lulu’s visions are caught within a circular frame, as though through the lense of a sightglass, all the better to catch a glimpse of a possible future, or a substitute past, that somehow makes sense of the absurdity of the present moment.

A notion of existence outside the limits of time is also central to the eerie portraits of Rachel Bess. Bess remarks:

“I nearly always try to have my figures in a time that is not specific…and extends the possibility that [each portrait] may be set in the future, or I suppose an alternate ‘futurepast’.”

In Bess’ moody and precise oil-on-panel portraits this embodied “futurepast” seems to have sprung from our contemporary world, still grasping enchanted artifacts and treasures from beyond history. Amulets and magical talismans, poison bottles and turn-of-the-century cabaret costumes adorn the central figures of the portraits, each depicted in a moment of atmospheric hesitation, ensconced in the infinite cosmic darkness of myth or dreams.

The portraits’ subjects are young and attractive, with unconventional faces and bodies; their dreamy expressions and enigmatic background adds to their fascination. The luminous delineation of these figures in the shadows becomes an enchantment that commands further consideration. As viewers of both Bess’ and Kahn/Selesnick’s works, we are compelled to follow into the unknown realms they direct us toward. These are places of darkness but also beauty and seductive whimsy. And such strange loveliness begs the question: what do we have to lose?

The opening reception with the artists will be held on Saturday, September 9, 2017 from 7:00 – 9:00pm

Selected Work




Exhibitions


More from Kahn/Selesnick
More from Rachel Bess

David Kroll / Jessica Joslin

David Kroll / Jessica Joslin


Exhibition
May 2 – August 26, 2017

Opening reception
Saturday, May 6, 2017, from 7:00 – 9:00pm

The works of David Kroll and Jessica Joslin are decidedly different; Kroll’s delicate oil paintings appear at first reminiscent of the still-lifes of the Dutch Golden Age, while Joslin’s oeuvre comprises a menagerie of bone-and-bauble creatures, unheard-of biological specimens pieced together with a metalsmith’s precision. Yet the artists share a detailed knowledge of mysterious, timeless inner worlds, and both dive deep in order to bring forth scenes and creatures from their enchanted subconscious.

David Kroll’s still lifes are continually unfolding mysteries, portrayed with a sure and immaculate compositional hand. Kroll’s deft touch as a realist belies his works’ constant internal magic: in each still life there is an otherworldly intervention or compositional sleight of hand; a landscape echoing from background to vase, a fluttering of ethereal wings in the darkness that indicates the ceaseless motion of the living world.

“I paint personal refuges and interior landscapes… I try to create a connection – however fleeting – between the viewer and the power of landscape, the web of life, the idea of nature itself.”
– David Kroll

The natural world in Kroll’s works is frequently mediated through man-made objects or references–vessels, globes, and memento mori, portrayed with the same lush elegance as the natural environment surrounding them. Yet Kroll’s paintings recall the experience of meditating for a moment on a purely natural setting and witnessing as a broad landscape sharpens into a series of dramas and details, as the profound multitude and variety of the natural world reveals itself to us, and life goes about its ceaseless project.

In the formative years of her childhood, the sculptor Jessica Joslin could only see the details of the natural world in one of the many science museums in her hometown of Boston. Joslin explains that she was too nearsighted to glimpse natural life in any detail in the wider world, but within the vitrine of museum glass she could study the miraculous detailed anatomy of taxidermy specimens.

“At the natural history museums at Harvard, with their Victorian-era passion for collecting and labeling, I discovered the animal kingdom…magnificent, inscrutable, magical and…dead. The taxidermy animals that I saw were far more fascinating than any animals that I could see in ‘real life.’ ”
– Jessica Joslin

Joslin’s extreme nearsightedness was eventually discovered and corrected, but her fascination with the enigmatic mechanics of natural biology continues, in a zoological garden filled with odd and magical creatures of her own creation. Holding endearing and lifelike poses, Joslin’s strange pets and specimens are made of skeleton parts and antiquated fixtures, sweet baubles and disconcerting anatomies, recalling a reliquary of turn-of-the century circus attractions.

Remarkably, Joslin uses no soldering or welding in the creation of these works; mechanical fixtures of various kids are their uniting and animating force. Brass, steel, bone, glass and leather combine to give character and an entreating kind of charm to each piece, a coy invitation to look very, very closely. Though domesticated, each creature retains the wild and slightly fearsome aspect of one who cannot be categorized in any earthly taxonomy.

The opening reception will be held on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 7:00 – 9:00pm

Selected Work




Exhibitions


More from David Kroll
More from Jessica Joslin

Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why (Why Can’t We Live Together?)

Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why (Why Can’t We Live Together?)


Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why (Why Can’t We Live Together?)


Exhibition Dates
March 4 – April 29, 2017

Public Preview
Saturday, March 11th from 12:00 – 5:00pm

Evening Reception
Saturday, March 11th
7:00 – 9:00pm

What do we do when the news makes us cry?

Art remains a source of solace, explanation, and surprise. In Tell Me Why, a diverse range of contemporary artists consider our present moment of conflict, addressing narratives of difference and resentment as well as hope and beauty. The show’s title is a lyric from the 1972 Timmy Thomas recording “Why Can’t We Live Together?” which Lisa Sette calls “a beautiful lament of a song.” The song’s central question resonates throughout the show, with responses in the form of conceptually rigorous work from artists including: Enrique Chagoya, Sonya Clark, Jamal Cyrus, Binh Danh, Claudio Dicochea, Angela Ellsworth, Maximo Gonzalez, Siri Devi Khandavilli, Mark Klett, Carrie Marill, Luis Molina-Pantin, Ann Morton, Reynier Leyva Novo, Kambui Olujimi, and Charlotte Potter.

From the rollicking paintings of Claudio Dicochea, which reimagine the Colonial-era ethnographic paintings of Central and South America as modern-day pop culture operas, to Angela Ellsworth’s glistening, pearl-tipped explorations of Mormonism and feminine sexuality, the artists of Tell Me Why are connected by their fearless approach to experimentation, beauty, and political engagement, and their insistence on artwork as a means of cathartic reconciliation.

“Everyone is born somewhere. I’m not so interested in the idea of a shared origin, I’m interested in the idea of a shared destination.” -Claudio Dicochea

In a state of anxiety over our country’s state of affairs, painter and printmaker Enrique Chagoya took up transcendental meditation; his practice gave a new direction to his Illegal Alien’s Guide series: works that take their multivalent pictorial form from the pre-Columbian codex. The codices, remarks Chagoya, contain a series of “self-portraits as ethnic stereotypes from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America among others…addressing issues of xenophobia, gender, and racism, in a style that I call ‘reverse modernism.’” His work is a “conceptual fusion of opposite cultural realities that I have experienced in my lifetime.” This approach informs much of the work in Tell Me Why, as artists explore identities and cultures in conflict.

Artist Sonya Clark exhibits Unraveled Persistence, a Confederate flag meticulously deconstructed, yet even in its unraveled state projecting our nation’s most powerful symbol of divisiveness. And in a literal perspective-switch, Charlotte Potter’s Lenticular America consists of hand-engraved portraits on glass, spliced together and mounted using lenticular technology, so that, says Potter, “when viewing the work straight on the portraits… are only revealed by physically changing perspective.” Moving around the piece, the viewer glimpses the ghostly visage of Michael Brown, a young man killed in Ferguson, MO, as it shifts to a depiction of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot him.

In Kambui Olujimi’s newest series “Killing Time”, an installation of adorned handcuffs act as lyrical drawings to highlight the plight of mass systemic incarceration and the ties between those caught within a cycle they cannot escape.

Jamal CyrusKennedy King Kennedy triptych features excerpts from the Chicago Daily Defender newspaper’s reports on the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert F. Kennedy. Laser-cut into Egyptian papyrus, one of the earliest known writing materials, Cyrus lends historical weight to the seemingly disposable news cycle we experience on a daily basis.

Maximo Gonzalez’ “Arqueologia de la prensa / Archaeology of the press”, evokes the contemporary “multiplicity of repetition” idea on which today’s tendentious news culture is built. The repeating squares are created from the white borders of out of circulation currency and give the impression of a group of people, holding banners in demonstration and repetition. The empty banners can be filled with all the different fears, injustices, and claims that every group, minority or majority, in any country of the world are screaming out.

Bangalore-based artist Siri Devi Khandavilli mimics traditional Hindu temple figurines in her series of cast bronze sculptures. Khandavilli remarks, “These works are about religions and their relationship with violence and need for control and power, and human brutality disguised in the name of religious duties.” The series shows the incarnations of Vishnu, each brandishing a different weapon.

Cuban artist Reynier Leyva Novo uses reappropriation in his series “Margin Notes”. Each day he reads the highly censored Cuban “Granma” newspaper and clips figures or texts of interest and then alters the original meaning by rearranging the clippings to create unprecedented images of strong political commentary, interspersed with irony, poetry, and humor.

Mark Klett’s Fence separating the US/Mexico border south of the Gila Mountains, May 2015 captures the existential absurdity of political effort toward division: a lone steel wall crosses a gully while around it stretches the boundless, bare, and politically indifferent geography of the desert.

Meanwhile, across the border, Venezuelan artist Luis Molina-Pantin’s Untitled (Doorbells from Mexico) / Sin título (Timbres de México) series explores his droll observations of fear and personalized security varying from house to house.

A close examination of our human condition and current political situation may be dispiriting, but for some of the artists of Tell Me Why it serves as an opportunity for deeper aesthetic engagement. Carrie Marill says of her immaculately patterned acrylic on linen canvases, “My work is about symmetry and balance and pattern, and when I reflect on that familiar visual language in terms of questioning our society, I’m often lead back to meditation in order to calm my overthinking mind…”

Binh Danh, works with experimental photographic processes to capture “mortality, memory, history, landscape, justice, evidence, and spirituality.” Danh’s luminous daguerreotypes become mirror-like, an occasion for reflection and contemplation. “The daguerreotypes allow viewers to see themselves in the Buddha and for us to see ourselves awaken,” says Danh.

In an essential way, Tell Me Why is a united act, presenting contemporary work by artists from Bangalore to Mexico; the borderlands of the Southwest to California’s immigrant shores. While valuing conceptual exploration over a specific or exacting agenda, the artists of Tell Me Why converge in the shared practice of working to make sense of our common humanity.

“All we want is some peace in this world” -Timmy Thomas

Featured Work




Exhibitions


Luis Gonzalez Palma / Carrie Marill

Luis Gonzalez Palma / Carrie Marill


Exhibition
January 10 – February 25, 2017

Opening reception
Saturday, January 14, 2017, from 7:00 – 9:00pm

Lisa Sette Gallery is pleased to present new works by contemporary Guatemalan artist Luis González Palma, whose altered photographs are entrancing forays into the diverse intellectual histories of Latin America. A widely recognized artist on the global stage, González Palma has exhibited with Lisa Sette Gallery for over 20 years, and his work exemplifies the timely international aesthetic the gallery is known for.

In the works comprising Luis González Palma’s Möbius series, frank and emotional photographic portraits of indigenous Guatemalans are presented at close range, each filling the frame with visages, and featuring a symbolic graphical overlay. Each anonymous face presented in this series is compelling in its own right—González Palma describes the portraits as “intimate, introspective, and conscious of their emptiness before the world” —and the same portraits are often repeated in the Möbius series, each altered by a different formulation of bisecting geometric lines and shapes. An encounter between two streams of 20th Century Latin American thought—the rationalism of the Concretist movement and the romance of Magical Realism—is the subject of this series, as González Palma proposes “to generate a symbolic reconciliation between these two artistic currents, activating tensions and creating relationships between two ways of representing reality from diametrically opposed perspectives.”

“The important thing is establishing the relationship between the emotional, figurative portraiture and the abstracted, geometric imagery. These two systems represent our craving to understand the mystery of life from different perspectives.”
– Luis González Palma

While González Palma’s intellectual vision speaks to a complex and evolving interplay of artistic works and historical circumstances in Latin America, the Möbius series stands alone as a profoundly moving collection of images that can be experienced without historical or geographical reference points. The pieces themselves, along with González Palma’s inquisitive willingness to alter the repeating portraits in order to bring forth a new imagery within each frame, are enough to keep the viewer within this body of work’s intimate, infinite loop.

Carrie Marill’s newest series, Unbalanced, was created in response to Luis Gonzalez Palma’s Möbius works. Marill chose crystal structures and geometric forms to explore the challenges of machine-made vs. hand-hewn. Marill, like Palma, attempts to bridge the gap between the natural and the technological, the emotional and the rational.

“In this series I am playing with these patterns and restricting my palette to let the hand and digital world compete in an aesthetic tease of balance and imbalance.”
– Carrie Marill

The opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 7:00 – 9:00pm

Selected Work




Exhibitions


More from Luis Gonzalez Palma

More from Carrie Marill

Mayme Kratz / Marie Navarre / Hunt Rettig

Mayme Kratz / Marie Navarre / Hunt Rettig


Mayme Kratz


Exhibition Dates
November 5, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Opening Reception with Mayme Kratz
Saturday, November 5th
7:00 – 9:00pm

For over thirty years Lisa Sette Gallery has served as a hub of the Phoenix contemporary art scene. Sun-sliced and spare, in a building designed by the Arizona modernist architect Al Beadle, the gallery boasts a roster of widely recognized international artists, including several Arizona artists whose works and lives represent the unique aesthetic circumstances of the urban desert. This November Lisa Sette Gallery will exhibit new works by Mayme Kratz and Marie Navarre, Arizona artists working in diverse media who address nature, longing and beauty, and who speak unflinchingly of the central role of mortality and loss in our collective experience.

Mayme Kratz embeds biological detritus in thick, luminous layers of polymer resin. Her initial process is that of a naturalist; rambling the landscapes of the Southwest, collecting specimens from the desert floor, tracking rates of decomposition and dehydration among the many collections in her Phoenix studio. Then, working with viscous and chemically caustic material, Kratz expertly embeds her samples in wall-hung works and sculptural forms, elevating the landscape’s diminutive biological structures to the function of spiritual reliquary.

“The foundation of my creative process never changes. My work celebrates the endless cycles of change and rebirth in nature. My walks in the wilderness reveal fragile ecosystems, strange beauty – insights in detritus. Most of the time I focus on beauty, sometimes on memory, and recently on longing – for that which has gone missing – or what I feel, but cannot see.”
-MAYME KRATZ

In recent works Kratz is concerned with the notion of “absences or disappearances” that may be sensed both materially, in our changing world ecosystem, and within our own transient human life cycles. Inspired by a quote from writer Tim Walsh, “Many things are known indirectly through what they leave behind, by their lingering effects on whatever remains in their absence,” Kratz’s attention has turned to the empty places in her works; how they may delineate forms in and of themselves, and tell stories of longing or memory.


Marie Navarre


Exhibition Dates
November 5, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Opening Reception with Marie Navarre
Saturday, November 5th
7:00 – 9:00pm

The photographic constructions of Marie Navarre also examine the paradox of absence and presence, loss and recovery, and the work of building a world inclusive of both experiences. Printed on handmade digital vellums and opaline photographic overlays, with occasional collage-like interventions, Navarre’s images often depict the vast expanses of sky and horizon framing a smattering of natural features, such as a conflagration of spare branches, or a terse flock of migrating birds. Her images convey the disorienting and dreamlike experience of gazing just above the earth’s horizon, catching mainly sky.

Speaking to her recent series, Navarre states, “This work is informed by loss and longing. These feelings began to be guided by a tenuous sense of wholeness.”

Navarre’s work to be debuted at Lisa Sette Gallery includes photographs shot in Japan, in an unusual flurry of image-making. Navarre reports that when she returned from the trip and began the task of sorting through her almost 500 images, she found sets that seemed to belong together, such as two nearly-book-matched angles of a plum tree, pictured in an atmospheric and spare work titled season of longing:

“I don’t remember taking pictures of both sides of the umeboshi tree or making the decision to photograph one side and then the other. There’s this sense of fracturing or shattering that has been with me for a couple of years…I was not thinking about that or the split pictures while I was photographing, but when I got back and looked at the images, they started to gravitate toward each other, and that had a resonance for me.”
-MARIE NAVARRE

In coupling these images, Navarre creates a tableau in which a vital sliver of information is absent; the images do not match up perfectly in a calm panorama, but rather join together two distinct angles of a similar vision, as if in acknowledgement that no single moment or expectation may encompass an entire truth. There is an enigmatic and profound power in addressing the fracture:

“What has emerged as I look at the work, and in the process of making it, is a larger sense of wholeness that is made more whole by loss.”
-MARIE NAVARRE


Hunt Rettig


Exhibition Dates
November 5, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Opening Reception:
Saturday, November 5th
7:00 – 9:00pm

Hunt Rettig’s three-dimensional, mixed media assemblages are startlingly unique. He uses materials such as polyester films and synthetic rubber to create works that feature looping, circular shapes and biomorphic forms, showcasing his sensibility for the organic, the cellular, and the sensual shapes of our natural world.

“Within my terrain I see cross sections of cross sections, impossible confluences, unnavigable borders, unrestricted constriction and breath-like expansion. Living forms appear invisibly visible, out of reach, out of context and infinitely reproducing. Combined, unnaturally natural landscapes manifest themselves. Settled or unsettled? The process is a slow unfurling, like a fern.”
-HUNT RETTIG

Featured Work




Exhibitions


More from Mayme Kratz
More from Marie Navarre
More from Hunt Rettig

Mark Klett: Border Markers

Mark Klett: Border Markers


Exhibition Dates
September 10 – October 29, 2016

Opening Reception with Mark Klett
Saturday, September 17, 2016
7:00 – 9:00pm

The photographs of Mark Klett are consummate depictions of the untamable, immeasurable Western horizon as it intersects with our human experience of light, landscapes, and time.  For nearly four decades Klett has documented the demanding environments and idiosyncrasies of life in the Southwest.

In his latest exhibition at Lisa Sette Gallery, Klett showcases his mastery of the medium in his new color “Saguaros” imagery, a series related to his “Desert Citizen” black and white photographs originally conceived as saguaro portraits.

Although the saguaro is seen as an emblem for the Southwest, it is truly a unique species confined to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, Sonora, Mexico, and part of California.  The hardy saguaro soaks up water and stores it to consume slowly, especially in times of drought – with a sense of survival and human-like ingenuity engrained within its spines.

Klett says, “The saguaro cactus is the icon of the Sonoran Desert…Individual cactus may grow as tall as nearly 40 feet and live over 200 years. For centuries desert people have considered saguaros to be the souls of lost ancestors. Their longevity marks time on a larger than human scale.”

Also featured in the exhibition will be a spectacular 30-foot wall expanse of hand-made “artifacts” by the artist.  Each piece is a physical representation of a specific desert camping trip, used to predict light, mark time, and commemorate human experience:

“These sticks are used in the “Sunrise Stick Game.” I often play this game with traveling companions while on camping trips throughout the West. The game was invented as a way to settle campfire arguments about where the sun would rise in the morning (a subject of interest to landscape photographers). At night a circle about six feet in diameter is scraped into the ground and a stick is placed in the center.  Players then put markers onto the circle in the exact spot they think the sun will cast the first shadow of the stick in the morning.”

Klett began making these sticks in the late 1990s and has made them on almost every trip to the present. The early sticks used in the game were discarded. But over time he began to carve them by the light of the campfire and adorn them with objects found during the day. Each stick represents a unique location and experience. Almost all the sticks make some kind of reference to the history of the land visited and the stories of the journey.

Klett has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Buhl Foundation, and the Japan/US Friendship Commission. His work has been exhibited and published in the United States and internationally for over thirty-five years, and his work is held in over eighty museum collections worldwide such as the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; the International Center of Photography, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.

He is the author/co-author of fifteen books including Camino del Diablo (Radius Books 2016), Reconstructing the View: the Grand Canyon Photographs of Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe (University of California Press 2012), The Half Life of History, and Saguaros (Radius Press 2011 and 2007), After the Ruins (University of California Press 2006), Yosemite in Time (Trinity University Press, 2005), Third Views, Second Sights (Museum of New Mexico Press 2004), Revealing Territory (University of New Mexico Press, 1990), and Second View, the Rephotographic Survey Project (University of New Mexico Press, 1984). Klett lives in Tempe, Arizona where he is Regents’ Professor of Art at Arizona State University.

Featured Work




Exhibitions


More from Mark Klett

Forbidden Futures

Forbidden Futures



Claudio Dicochea

Exhibition
July 5 – September 3, 2016

Opening reception
Saturday, July 9, 2016
7:00 – 9:00pm

Flourishing in the desert for over three decades, Lisa Sette Gallery represents the works of a diverse and expansive range of artists whose investigations in some way touch on the realities of the urban Sonoran desert. The experience of living at a cultural and geographical intersection is reflected in works from around the globe that are both conceptually fertile and thoughtfully crafted. This summer’s solo exhibit of the electrifying, philosophically-charged paintings of Claudio Dicochea: Forbidden Futures exemplifies the gallery’s intrepid commitment to challenging, compelling, and culturally pertinent artwork.

As a child in the border town of San Luis Río Colorado in Sonora, Mexico, Claudio Dicochea was fascinated by the comic books on sale at the local grocery, bound within a pulpy color cover and containing a “wonderful, crinkly sepia” collection of interior pages. A profound sensual appreciation for the imagery and philosophical appeal of popular culture is tangible in Dicochea’s work today–rollicking acrylic paintings that are influenced, and sometimes inspired, by science fiction, comic books, horror films, and popular music.

While Dicochea’s startling and irresistably compelling works draw viewers into a riot of recognizable images culled from the top-grossing, top-40 hits of the recent past, these paintings are compositionally structured upon the disturbing history of Colonial appropriation.  At the outset of his career, Dicochea encountered 18th century ColonialCasta paintings—faux-scientific ethnographic charts illustrating the results of genetic intermingling between the native people of the Americas and European settlers—and the imagery encapsulated his sense of the profound aesthetic implications of intermixing human icons and cultural symbols. In many of Dicochea’s works, the painter joins together hybrid families of various “casts,” existing in a protean sea of class signifiers and pop imagery.

“Each painting takes an original casta as a template to be distorted, in which original characters are replaced by archetypes from popular media, comics, and world history…these works lift and sample from original paintings in order to understand the processes and effects of re-appropriation. In this manner, we can better understand how such re-appropriation functions as both language and method.” -Claudio Dicochea

In the process of creating these painterly visions of the contemporary cultural and ideological morass, Dicochea literally affixes printouts of imagery culled from the Internet and uses them as both philosophical and compositional guides in the process of transforming his canvases into teeming portraits of the fecund cultural collisions engendered by both our Enlightenment-era conceptions of reality, and our present moment of media saturation.

Of particular influence in Dicochea’s recent works is the realm of science fiction, as it intersects with the scientific-sounding fictions which have been used in the past to explain or justify social constructs.

“I’ve always found looking at culture through the lens of sci-fi really alluring. Social constructs having to do with inherited status are often loosely based on scientific research or so-called scientific logic, but at the same time they’re just utilizing whatever knowledge might have been arrived at in order to create or implicate a social fiction… the idea of “race” is kind of a blatant example of scientific fiction, or a narrative unfolded based on loose scientific facts, but really meant to legitimize exploitation. That’s the big connector, the big social fiction.”  -Claudio Dicochea

Dicochea’s paintings resemble fever dreams of cultural and historical mashups, as played out in a collective arena that is both universal and specific to the many narratives of Latin America enacted upon a global stage. And while critical and philosophical underpinnings are integral to Dicochea’s work, these days the painter is concerned with the forward-thinking aspects of his project:

“Everyone is born somewhere. I’m not so interested in the idea of a shared origin, I’m interested in the idea of a shared destination. It’s a concern of mine to invert the cone of media influence and not so much point it toward the past but point it openly toward the unwritten future.  When we’re talking about sci-fi, when we’re talking about the future, we’re talking about our destination.” -Claudio Dicochea

Featured Work




Exhibitions


More from Claudio Dicochea

Kim Cridler / Carrie Marill

Kim Cridler / Carrie Marill


Exhibition
April 23 – June 25, 2016

Opening reception with the artists
Saturday, April 23rd, 2016, from 7:00 – 9:00pm

The works of Carrie Marill and Kim Cridler are both concerned with the tension between formal composition and emotional content. While their media and means of investigation are divergent, Marill and Cridler present artworks that are both beautiful objects and disciplined forays into the liminal area where ornament becomes function and emotion meets form.

The painter Carrie Marill fearlessly approaches the tension between ornament and object, intellectual content and aesthetic emotion. Marill’s work draws its power from an unexpected accretion of color and line within a contained canvas. An Arizona-based painter who exhibits nationally and has done much to shape the Phoenix art scene, Marill draws inspiration from a vast body of research–from folk quilts and Persian miniaturists to propaganda posters and industrial design. In each presentation, however, a disciplined philosophy of color and form pervades. Her works are recognizable for their rigorous, fine-lined beauty.

The foundation of my studio practice is an ever-evolving exploration of color and pattern. Studying weavings, quilting, and modern art, I am interested in pushing visual elements to their limits. The resulting paintings expose tensions between the living surface created by bold patterning and the constraints of the two-dimensional surface on which they exist. – Carrie Marill

Marill has referred to her painting as “Pop minimalism,” and her recent series, featuring geometrical exclamations and eery combinations of high pigment and stark pattern on linen canvas, seem to present something new to the realm of abstract painting. Like an optical/emotional illusion the repeating, limpid striations evoke a contemplative or hypnotic space, as though her work speaks to the constructive act of looking as much as it does the act of painting. Marill remarks: “As an artist this is my visual way of processing the information I encounter. I don’t know the answers until the very end. Or sometimes even the questions.“

While working in a vastly different milieu, sculptor Kim Cridler pursues a similar set of investigation into ornament and object, often making architecturally delineated vessel shapes studded with references to biological growth. In large-scale, immaculately fabricated works, the artist intertwines the deeply human pursuits of containment and ornament with the unpredictable patterns of plant life, affixing porcelain, beeswax, and other unexpected components to bronze and iron structures. The juxtaposition is compelling and curious, and Cridler’s work sometimes turns the tables, presenting a formal pattern of ornament or narrative bound to the unruly forms of felled trees or other organic treasures. The artist’s research is based both in an anthropological study of human design and ornament, and in the daily rambles around her home in rural Michigan.

“My work and research is rooted in the belief that the forms, processes, and materials that give flesh to objects of utility and ornament are rich with content–the tension between structure and decoration, the intellectual and the physical, the cognitive and emotive.” -Kim Cridler

Featured Work




Exhibitions


More from Kim Cridler

More from Carrie Marill

Maximo Gonzalez / Xawery Wolski

Maximo Gonzalez / Xawery Wolski


Exhibition
Up Through April 16, 2016

Spanning continents and generations, the works of Xawery Wolski and Maximo Gonzalez suggest an expansive new global order of art. Working in devalued currency (Gonzalez) and sculptural textiles (Wolski), both artists create philosophically provocative works from the raw materials of identity and memory, experimentation and tradition.

The works of Xawery Wolski arrive at Lisa Sette Gallery by way of Mexico City, where the sculptor lives and works after leaving communist Poland as a young art student. The son of a plant geneticist, Wolski blends a minimalist aesthetic with a sense of the complexity of design in the universe, presenting in archetypal and abstracted forms a refined, contemporary expression of the essential connectivity of nature.

Wolski’s cascading, organic installations seem to emanate a secret world from within a closed form. The sculptor’s Vestidos gather multitudes of clay or metal beads into enigmatic “vestments” which may recall ceremonial robes, crucifixes, or pinned specimens. In a striking piece that references traditions of both the Americas and Europe, a vestido composed of gold glazed terracotta beads presents a simple, shimmering image that bears the weight of history as elegantly as it proposes a modern grammar of object and form. Wolski’s work celebrates the inherent design of nature, while presenting subjects in their most essential form, with a sensual and reverent curiosity about the world.

Mexico City-based Maximo Gonzalez creates a sublime vernacular from civilization’s overlooked objects. The Argentinian-born artist has worked with detritus ranging from unspooled videotape to discarded aluminum flatware; he’s recognized internationally for scenes and installations composed of devalued currency. Gonzalez comments, “Reutilization as a form of vindication of disposed objects, by means of a transformation of these materials…is the uniting theme of my work.”

Gonzalez’s work with the devalued and obsolete currency of Mexico exemplifies the rigor of his conceptual and aesthetic investigation.  His complex and delicate works executed in paper money are created using traditional making crafts such as punch-cutting, manual screen-printing, weaving, and a method similar to the Japanese cut-and-fold technique of kirigami.  Through a series of labyrinths created with currency, Gonzalez delineates “the whimsical line of the division of territories, drawn conveniently for the one who traced it… a line that seeks to separate the inside and the outside, desire and wish, entering or leaving; a political labyrinth that is redrawn through centuries, always obeying the same line: the one that is traced by money.”

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Exhibitions


More from Maximo Gonzalez

More from Xawery Wolski

Rachel Bess / Charlotte Potter

Rachel Bess / Charlotte Potter


Exhibition
January 9 – February 27, 2016

Opening reception with the artists
Saturday, January 9th, 2016, from 7:00 – 9:00pm

Lisa Sette Gallery will exhibit recent work by two young artists addressing issues of personal identity and digital personae. Arizona artist Rachel Bess makes modern-day vanitas and still-lifes in gemlike oil on panel, while Virginia-based Charlotte Potter accesses traditional forms of glassworking in creating distinctly contemporary sculptural and installation works. Both are rigorous practitioners who apply their formal skill to investigating concepts of selfhood and connection in a world of manufactured identities and enigmatic interactions.

The painter Rachel Bess melds traditional artmaking methods with 21st century concerns: Wielding light and shadow like an enchantment, Bess creates likenesses that are limpid and acute, in the formal vein of the old masters. Yet her models are contemporaries in leather corsets and black lipstick, posed in eerie vignettes, and her paintings are studded with present-day references. The result is startling—romantic and stylishly dark, somber and suggestive.


Bess remarks that her newest body of work came about in part through “thoughts about how different people and times are connected through inanimate objects.” To this end, her exhibition will comprise a series of portraits and still lifes linked by a common object.

“The thread that runs through all of the work is the idea of disparate people being, often unknowingly, connected through something that has no sentiment for the people it connects.”

A pioneer in performative and conceptual work in the medium of glass, Charlotte Potter uses the material as a metaphor for the fluidity, duality, and transparency of the self, and as representative of that which delineates the invisible borders between people. Some of the works in her Cameo series are made up of the profile pictures of would-be Facebook friends, blending the idea of a traditional cameo silhouette with the dissembling imagery presented on social media feeds.

In Message Received, Potter chronicles her relationship with a lover through a series of text messages: each message is displayed in a simple hinged locket, a message in relief and a reply in intaglio, as though if the words could just fit together somehow, they might create an impossible, perfect exchange between the two.

“All of my work is really about trying to articulate relationships in the modern age through virtual personas,” says Charlotte Potter. “What I’m interested in is how these… play out in our lives…and how to make them physical again.”

In Post Script, Susan Potter notes the strange quality of memorializing a loved one online, and the virtual afterlife that occurs on Facebook.

“In developing the cameo series mining Facebook data, I started to become acutely aware of friends who have passed on and the ways in which people attempt to reach out to them by posting on their wall. This work is the natural conclusion to this series exploring connectivity through social media and trying to make virtual relationships tangible. I am interested in the shadows that people leave behind and different mourning practices in modern society. Designed in the style of Victorian Mourning jewelry, each piece has been configured using Facebook data representing the frequency and volume of posts through glass beads and chains.”

Featured Work




Exhibitions


More from Rachel Bess

More from Charlotte Potter