Signifying Form

1 Apr — 3 Jun 2017 at The Landing in Los Angeles, United States

6 APRIL 2017
Signifying Form. Courtesy of The Landing
Signifying Form. Courtesy of The Landing

The Landing is pleased to present Signifying Form, a group exhibition curated by jill moniz featuring highly narrative sculptural works by black female artists made in Los Angeles between 1935 and 2016. With works by Samella Lewis, Betye Saar, Maren Hassinger, Senga Nengudi, Alison Saar, Dominique Moody and Brenna Youngblood, Signifying Form examines the relationship between material and meaning, and focuses on race and gender vis-à-vis Los Angeles as the particular location that allowed these women the space to push the boundaries of what sculpture could be and signify.

The exhibition will also feature foundational works by Beulah Woodard and Elizabeth Catlett—both of whom were instrumental in inspiring and cultivating black art in L.A.—on loan from Golden State Mutual Life’s collection, now managed by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

In a nuanced and long-studied effort, curator jill moniz, former curator of the California African American Museum (CAAM), concentrates on the thread of the material, however diverse, that gives form to the contested space of identity, particularly for women of color. moniz brings together this group of artists to illuminate the arc of a practice where intention, place and shape share weight and significance with composition. The exhibition emphasizes the integration of innovative aesthetics with a deeply cultural edifice that enhances the material artifacts as well as engages the viewer in a narrative that rightly cannot be negated, where identity, meaning and intention are inseparable from form.

Signifying Form is both historical and contemporary, demonstrating the durability of the practice for L.A.-based artists past and present. The artists’ works have been exhibited in museums, biennials, and galleries around the world, but only Beulah Woodard has had a solo exhibition (in 1935) at a major institution in Los Angeles. Maren Hassinger will perform her piece “Women’s Work” as part of the opening night reception, bringing to life intersections between gender, art and storytelling. And moniz extends the exhibition’s conversation in its catalog, which features essays by Dr. Lizzetta LeFalle Collins, Alitash Kebede, Dr. Bridget Cooks, Isabelle Lutterodt, Rosalyn Myles, Chelle Barbour, and Lisa Henry, all long-time critical thinkers who elevate linguistic aesthetics.