Klowden Mann is proud to present o, our fourth solo exhibition with Los Angeles-based artist, Alexandra Wiesenfeld. The exhibition features an installation of mixed-media works on paper and wall painting, alternating densely packed congregations of drawings with individual pieces standing alone. Drawings will be spread from ceiling to floor of individual walls, organized by time of creation and theme, with one drawing acting as source material for a larger painting executed directly on the gallery walls.
Created in the last year, the works in o are an insistent and immediate response to the activity of human creatures as they move through the contemporary world. Ranging in size from 10 by 10 to 45 by 70 inches, the mixed-media drawings are frenetic landscapes, burning castles or towers, clusters of figures standing or praying (or failing to act, together), ecstatic fish, seascapes displaying individuals in undirected sea vessels, two people embracing with intimacy and awkwardness, a head floating alone in undefined space. For Wiesenfeld, the pieces are an act of storytelling, and one that functions by connecting outside of rationalization, conceptualization, and intellectual thought constructs.
Wiesenfeld begins each piece with a monoprint process, followed by a single drawn or painted gesture. She then builds each surface and image intuitively, using a range of media to allow the composition and figuration to occur over several days. This is a process that recalls her history of figurative painting, and the way in which she has consistently built her work with layer upon layer of story. But where her past paintings have often hidden the earlier stories and struggle underneath a highly-composed final image, these works on paper display their history as a central form of communication. They are made in a way that challenges the artist’s own desire for ease of replication, or pull towards a finished surface.
Wiesenfeld’s prior body of work was a series of intensely composed and rendered large-scale landscape paintings in oil on canvas. Exhibited in her 2015 exhibition at Klowden Mann when i when if when lie when life (for Xavier Villaarutia), with related works shown last year at HilbertRaum in Berlin, those paintings spoke to human narrative through an intimacy of human absence: through fleshy implication in tree roots and limbs. In o, Wiesenfeld is much more direct in both her celebrations and her accusations of humanity; flesh has once again become flesh, the body is ours as much as it is the land’s, and it is shown in all of its flawed beauty and failure, violence and magic. Created without photographic or outside referent, the drawings are Wiesenfeld’s unscripted response to the outside world, to which she is both observer and actor. Accordingly, the “o” that forms the title of the exhibition is the expression of that reaction: one that exists in sound, as the response before linear language can be formed, or after it has failed.
Alexandra Wiesenfeld is a German-born, Los Angeles based artist who has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe, at venues including Klowden Mann, Happy Lion, Angles Gallery, American Jewish University, and the Eagle Rock Cultural Center in Los Angeles, The Irvine Fine Arts Center and the Torrance Art Museum in California, the Dactyl Foundation in New York, the Roswell Museum of Art in New Mexico, the Missoula Museum of Art in Montana, Anton Gallery in Washington, DC, HilbertRaum in Berlin, Kunst Karlshütte and Landshut in Germany and art fairs in San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, and London. Her work is held in public and private collections nationally and internationally.