Track 16 presents “Stuck Together,” an exhibition featuring Marsian De Lellis, Simone Gad, and Debra Broz. The three Los Angeles-based artists create a handmade response to mass-produced images and objects, re-contextualizing and re-purposing through collage and assemblage. The work consists of anthropomorphic imagery—animals and representations of bodies. Each artist imparts into the work an aura that is both ludic and obsessive, and each artist gives attention to objects and creatures that might be discarded, and instead reworks, reinvents, and gives the objects a chance to stand up, warts and all.
Marsian De Lellis is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who constructs installations and time-based visual narratives that memorialize obsessional lives. They combine dolls, artificial figures, performing objects, and elaborate costumes to investigate contemporary forms of animism, death, sexuality, and addiction. Both obsessive and playful, De Lellis’s work for this exhibition draws on a larger installation, which consists of over a thousand handmade dolls—damaged objects that show evidence of use, frailty, and their own impermanence. Their work invites the viewer to relate to the inanimate objects and contemplate the idea of identity: a repetition of a repetition for which there is no original. The objects aim to create authentic, shared, and tactile experiences in response to a life bombarded by an ever-shifting landscape of technologies.
Simone Gad is a self-taught artist who was born in Brussels, Belgium to parents who were Polish Holocaust survivors. The family moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s and Gad, then in her youth, began her career as an actress, which she has continued professionally throughout her life. Mentored in the early seventies by Wallace Berman and Al Hansen, Gad is a painter, assemblage/collage, and performance artist. The exhibition features collages with oil pastels and paintings. Her painting is influenced greatly by the Art Brut movement and work such as the thick impasto paintings of Frank Auerbach and the organic violence of Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture. These abstracted Brussels art nouveau and Chinatown (Los Angeles) facades are dense, thick constructions, created with thick layers of acrylic paint. The work creates a tension of barely balanced architectural shapes. Gad’s collages are expressive, kinetic, and playful, consisting of rescued animal drawings overlayed on vintage nude pinups. Combining the vulnerability of both the models and the rescues, she’s relating her own desire for being rescued—how they might rescue each other from the trauma of being objects to be discarded.
Debra Broz’s ceramic sculptures are darkly humorous, as she combines animal figurines to make mythically deformed creatures. Trained as a ceramics restorer, Broz works in her studio, playing a role somewhat like Dr. Moreau or Dr. Frankenstein. She combines parts of existing production pottery into sculptures that evoke notions of evolutionary biology, genetics, pop culture, folktales, mythology, and the natural world. Broz gathers the original figurines by rescuing them from thrift stores or landfill, and the results swing from tenderly humorous to gene-spliced horror. She will be presenting a new family of work. A fluffle of white bunnies, as if rescued from an experimental lab, have each been vivisected and reassembled. The results can be can subtle or startling: extra limbs, two heads, appendages relocated. Broz plays with the perception of what objects should be, saying “art should make a viewer stop long enough to think something—anything—that would be beyond the bounds of what their normal thinking is.