DENK gallery is pleased to present new works by Los Angeles-based artist Donnie Molls in Untitled. A Southern California native, Molls' labor-intensive practice combines photo-based chemical processes with painting. Merging fine art materials with industrial and automotive ones, Molls engages the Californian art histories of both Finish Fetish and Light and Space while investigating the legacies of Americana and its origins in consumer culture.
Molls, a self-taught artist, has developed a mixed-media technique using one of the oldest chemical photo developing processes available. Washing silver gelatin bromide onto panel and canvas to develop negatives directly onto their surfaces, Molls then uses oils and automotive paints to work into the pictorial field, creating different surface qualities. His works are primarily based on his own site photography and tend to emphasize desolate, decaying, or ordinary places, finding the unexpected poignancy in their less obvious recesses. Past subjects have included the desert, urban wrecking yards and parking lots, tire piles, vintage cars, and modernist architectures.
Untitled will include a new body of sculptural work alongside new paintings. Molls' sculptures are mirror polished aluminum casts of ordinary objects and include a series of dilapidated found car tires and a Boombox from the 80s. These unremarkable specimens of American consumer culture, found in varying states of time-worn disrepair, are transformed by the artist, elevated through the divestment of their utility and decontextualized through their sculptural loss of function. The objects become rarified casts of discarded originals, life-size facsimiles self-consciously memorializing the nostalgia that inspired the gesture of their own fossilization. The accompanying paintings explore the graphics from dated advertisements for the same manufactured products cast in aluminum, taking the two-dimensional format of commercial print media and replicating it within the field of painting, just as the sculptures preserve the material legibility of their three-dimensional origins.