Klowden Mann is proud to present Chicago-based artist Morgan Mandalay’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Bad Sin Frutas. The show will be on view from March 30th to May 4th, 2019, with an opening reception on Saturday, March 30th from 6 to 8pm.
In Bad Sin Frutas, Mandalay takes the mythology of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden as the starting point for a series of expressive narrative oil paintings that detail close-up moments in the story of exile. While Adam and Eve are an archetype of this story within Judeo-Christian religion, Mandalay layers his interpretation with art historical and personal archetypes as well—looking at the figure of exile as seen in Gustave Courbet as well as Mandalay’s own family story of exile from Cuba and the myth making that follows a generation later. Working through painting, Mandalay consciously attempts to figure out his “place”; a combination of real and imagined spaces, identities, stories, homes that are constantly being built and rebuilt; remembering past struggles and privileges.
For Mandalay, interweaving these distinct narrative perspectives is a way of unmasking the often-monolithic cultural understanding of ‘exile’ and ‘the exiled’. As he says, “I’m interested in what happens when the lens shifts. All of these paintings capture fractions of the story. They invent what is happening in the garden post-expulsion. They are imaginary ghosts of what might or might have been in a place that both is, and isn’t—a place defined more by a moment than a landscape.” These ghosts of memory and mythology appear in Mandalay’s still lifes and landscapes as trees whose branches are aflame while still carrying lush fruit or colored leaves, crows with wings spread on the verge of landing or alighting, lemons glowing to the point of combustion, disembodied hands reaching for tree trunks, and often gestures of teeth and lips or tongue around the edge of the painting—as if we are perceiving the scene through the open mouth of a beast.
Morgan Mandalay (b.1985 Long Beach, CA, USA) received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from the University of California San Diego in 2017. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at BWSMX (Mexico City), City Limits (Oakland), Helmuth Projects (San Diego), and LVL3 (Chicago). As well, in group exhibitions with Bahamas Biennale (Detroit), Flag Foundation (New York City), Et. Al (San Francisco), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, David B. Smith Gallery (Denver), Kimberly Klark (Queens), Deslave (Tijuana), among others. Mandalay is also the founder and director of SPF15, a beach-based curatorial project that was based in San Diego, CA.