On October 12th ArtBlitzLA checked in at the opening for the pop-up exhibition, ‘White Balancing,’ curated by Hayley Miner. Pauli Ochi caught up with Miner to learn more about the show, which took place in a massive downtown space and included works by Dwyer Kilcollin, Kelly Kleinschrodt, Nicholette Kominos, Kristan Marvell, Matthew Farrar, Debra Scacco, April Street, Emma Gray and Leslie Nix, plus a performance by Christopher Reynolds.
Tell us about the space.
The 16,000 sq ft former aluminum foundry location was recently converted into an artist’s studio space. It also accommodates part-time mold-making work that the owner/ artist does. I came across this space on a studio visit with April Street (one of the artists in the show) and had a serendipitous moment of “hey, what if we have a pop-up exhibition here!” The space is thoughtfully divided to break up the cavernous square footage. There are rooms that feel more intimate where I placed smaller works (like Emma Gray’s Streaker series and Matthew Farrar’s “light & liquid” photographs). Of course the large-scale pieces like Kristan Marvell’s sculptures, Nicholette Kominos’ installation and Leslie Nix’s lush paintings find an appropriately grand space for their works too. The center berth, where you entered the exhibition, was perfect for Christopher Reynolds’ inaugural performance of “Crachevin.”
Tell us about the title and idea behind the show.
The art scene in LA and elsewhere has been so saturated in the last few years. Given the chance to curate this show I wanted to do something pared down in a raw, exciting new space. In color photography, as Carol Cheh writes in the press release, “white balance” refers to the process of removing artificial color casts that can obscure the natural white hues of a subject. It felt exactly like what my intention was for this show and this group of artists.
You’re an art advisor and interior designer. What inspired you to want to curate?
Having worked in the film world as a set designer, segued into interior architecture and then to art advising, I’ve had enough time to find that my passion for art, building collections with clients and discovering artists are the things that inspire and bring me joy. This is my first outing as a curator and given this positive experience I’ve definitely caught the bug.
What has the process been like? Highlights? Challenges?
After securing the enormous raw space and initially being overwhelmed with how to make it work I contacted all the artists that are currently on my radar. The artists in the show not only have impressive oeuvres and are ones I’ve been trailing for years, but they also all make contemplative work. As Carol Cheh put it, “there are certain qualities that emerge in all of their work: honesty, joy, exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail, and a depth of inquiry that consistently reveals the heart and soul of the human experience.” The highlights of organizing the show were too many to list – selecting from the treasure trove of new works by individual artists, some of which are now on their way to FIAC and Frieze, was obviously exciting. Installation day was the most invigorating nine hours I’ve experienced so far being in the art business. Every artist showed up with such enthusiasm, it was infectious. The biggest challenge was deciding how to divide the space up while keeping the flow. Constantly keeping the dust at bay was another. With such high ceilings and large doors it’s impossible to keep an area dust-free, the way I normally like it.
Tell us about Christopher Reynolds performance.
Christopher Reynolds’ practice is unparalleled in its breadth and dynamicism. The first time I met him was while he was at Cal Arts and I remember thinking, “this artist is going to create so many forms of art from his wildly creative, frenetically obsessive mind.” His studio visits are the most exhilarating; there are top-notch paintings, drawings, videos, sculptures and performance pieces, all completely thought out and orchestrated. The performance “Crachevin” is his latest production conceived only a few weeks before the opening. “Crachevin” is a french term in the wine tasting world that references “Tastevin” (taste wine in French) and it roughly means “spit wine.” Reynolds devised an elaborate performance using the help of one additional performer to examine our relationship to food as a social tool. His performances inflict visceral responses of pleasure, pain, satiation and challenges the viewer’s perception of food. At the opening over 200 viewers got a chance to be awed and amused. There were tense moments in the beginning that very soon transitioned into uncomfortable chuckles, eventually escalating into all out laughs.
And the details. When/where/how can people see the show? Will the space be open to the public beyond the opening?
The exhibition is a one week pop-up that closes this Friday, Oct 17th. It’s by appointment only. It’s located in El Sereno, just east of downtown off the 10 freeway.