Exit Strategy

3 — 30 Jun 2017 at the CES Gallery in Los Angeles, United States

23 JUNE 2017
Exit Strategy, Exhibition view. Courtesy of CES Gallery
Exit Strategy, Exhibition view. Courtesy of CES Gallery

CES Gallery is pleased to present Exit Strategy, featuring a new sculpture by Brody Albert and collaborative works with Sara Ellen Fowler and Jason Gowans. This will be the gallery’s final exhibition at its 711 Mateo Street location. Exit Strategy consists of three works/gestures all made from a single material, industrially dyed MDF, a cheap fiberboard material commonly found in mass-produced furniture.

“Division Symbol” (2017) is a sculpture of sixteen handmade retractable belt stanchions, carved completely of MDF, including details such as latches and nylon straps. Stanchions, common in theaters, airports, and banks, are used to control crowds. The sculpture reconstructs the power dynamics of these spaces and Albert makes an aesthetic experience of institutional way-finding. “Division Symbol” telegraphs power and control but in actuality is weak and vulnerable to the touch.

The process of carving MDF is messy. It produces heaps of fine dust. Albert has invited two artists (Sara Ellen Fowler and Jason Gowans) to create work with this blue powder. “Stopped Lines” (2017), created with poet Sara Ellen Fowler, is a series of text drawings made from the cast-off sculpture material. Executed with a cinematic format, phrases like Debt and gentle work become subtitles for unseen actions. These pithy lines are meant to be read while standing. Reading in an exhibition context is a public and a private act, which “Stopped Lines” takes into account.

The second gallery features a wall-sized mural made from the same sculpture dust, this time used to create an image of an empty call center. “The Clearest Memory of a Call Center I Worked at in Montréal (November 2005)” (2017) is generated from the image archives of artist Jason Gowans. Absent of figures, this empty office depicts the neoliberal infrastructure of customer service that appears and disappears at the whims of the market.

As CES Gallery prepares to move office and shift its material state, Exit Strategy makes a final archiving gesture of the gallery while suggesting strategies for keener observations of our surroundings. A publication marking the exhibition will be available for free.

Brody Albert is a Los Angeles-based artist working in sculpture and installation. His work addresses the objects that shape, and are shaped by, social interaction. He holds an MFA from University of California, Irvine and a BFA from Art Center College of Design.

Sara Ellen Fowler is an artist and poet who has studied at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Art Center College of Design. She develops projects in sculpture, writing, and performance that utilize epistolary, ekphrastic, and collaborative modes.

Jason Gowans (born Kelowna, Canada) focuses on the photographic image’s evolution throughout history and technology. He investigates how images continue to shape and define our interactions with the world, both consciously and subconsciously. Gowans holds an MFA from The University of California, Irvine and a BFA from Concordia University in Montréal Canada.