SUPPLE EXPANSIONS draws on work by three artists from disparate positions to mold the gallery space into a portal, a somatic voyage to a dreamscape beyond the frontiers of waking cognition.
Born in Winterthur, Switzerland in 1926, Heidi Bucher moved to California in the 1960s, where she collaborated with her husband, Carl Bucher, on a series of oversized, wearable foam sculptures. Shot on 8mm, “Body Shells” documents performers dancing across Venice Beach’s sand in Bucher’s plushy abstractions of familiar shapes. Exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1972, “Body Shells” marked the beginning of an artistic practice that spanned until her death in 1993. In her “Skinnings”, she surveyed the contiguous relationship between bodies, textile, and personal environments. Working with materials analogous to the body – liquid latex, caoutchouc, and rubber – Bucher’s peeled off casts are physical transcriptions of routine material turned poetry. Paired alongside video works by Shimabuku, and an installation by Phillip Zach, SUPPLE EXPANSIONS marks the first presentation of Bucher’s work in Los Angeles since 1972.
Staging performances where the event itself defines the intention, Shimabuku encourages us to perceive the simplest experiences in life through a new lens fashioned by humored curiosity. His video “Fly with Me” (2005), documents the artist flying a kite in the shape of himself, like a rocket man soaring high above the sea through an expanse of bright blue. In “Sunrise at Mt. Artsonje” (2007), we see the artist repurposing his breakfast by holding a cutlassfish up to the dawning sun, its silvery iridescent surface serving as a heliograph. Like Bucher’s “Skinnings”, Shimabuku’s performances re-cast that which is familiar into something odd and mysterious.
Zach’s contribution for SUPPLE EXPANSIONS is a landscape of modular furniture, styled into a playground. Coated in a layer of wool felt, the work is infused with natural and synthetic dyes, including a plant source for the psychedelic compound DMT and cactus lice. Emulating a large-scale model for the plasticity of the mind, and the polymorphic occurrence of waves, as in light or sound, these works echo organic architecture and utopian design. Projecting a vision of naturally reoccurring forms, they correspond to the human body’s supple physiology. Melding a vision of porous corporeality with figments of systemic structure, Zach’s immersive environment acts as an egress from static materiality.
Screening of HEIDI BUCHER: Cinematic Biography
Saturday, Jan 10, 6 pm