Monte Cristo, Math Bass and Leidy Churchman
2013 Human Resources L.A., May 30 - June 30
Life, death, and leisure.
Monte Cristo is a sandwich, an adventure novel and most evidently a small island off the coast of Tuscany.
As an island, Monte Cristo has a particularly disastrous history: ancient home to hermits and monks later enslaved by pirates, overrun by black rats, bombed with poison pellets and now only a spare population of two inhabit this desolate rock. Attempted colonizers desperately imposed blind optimism upon this steep and slippery rock, their mistakes had nowhere to go but into the sea. Artists Math Bass and Leidy Churchman have used Monte Cristo as a kind of mantra, an unattainable island populated by only two souls, here working together.
Monte Cristo is also most simply a frame… as an island is a frame. Both working with the mediums of painting and video, Bass and Churchman’s practices uses the compositional space of the frame to abstract reality; reducing content like a plinth, a human limb, a used plastic bottle or dirty sock to pure shape and color. By employing the ever-effective cinematic move of reveal, Monte Cristo pushes past the edges of one frame into the next—the exhibition itself—to re-forge coherent symbols.
Bass’ new sculptures are concerned with formlessness, activating found objects and constructed materials in a series of works that play with ideas of set and scene. Connected to her performance practice and recent work Brutal Set (2012), She approaches sculpture as a site of potential action.
Churchman’s recent video work and painting revel in the slow reveal. Steadily shifting landscapes, both actual and constructed are inter-cut to produce video that points to his painting practice. For Churchman, recognizable symbols rendered with brush in hand can transcend a flattened sign, the slow reveal of meaning as emotion leaks off canvas over prolonged observation.
Brought together for the month of May by Human Resources L.A., Bass (Los Angeles) and Churchman (New York City) have been commissioned to produce new works in tandem, this confluence a celebration of their long friendship.
Math Bass is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. She has performed, screened and exhibited at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA, Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles, CA, 2nd Floor Projects, San Francisco, CA, Montehermoso Cultural Centre, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, Leo Koening Inc. Projekte, NYC, Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen, Denmark, Artist Production Fund, NYC, Art in General, NYC, REDCAT Theatre Los Angeles, CA, Anthology film Archives, NYC, National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia, Or Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Participant inc. NYC, among others. She received her MFA from UCLA in 2011 and her BA from Hampshire College in 2003.
Leidy Churchman is painter who lives and works in New York City. He has shown his work at Silberkuppe Gallery, Berlin, Gallery Crevecoeur, Paris, The Stroom, Den Haag, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, CDA Projects and Gallery Zilberman, Istanbul, Museum of Art at Rhode Island Museum of Design, MoMA Ps1, Long Island City, NY, The Nerman Museum, Kansas, Robert Miller Gallery, NYC, American Contemporary, NYC, Nicole Klagsbrun, NYC, Leo Koenig Projekt, NYC, and Horton Gallery, NYC, among others. He received his MFA from Columbia University in 2010, and his BA from Hampshire College in 2002. From 2011-2012 he was a two-year resident artist at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art Forum, Frieze d/e, Art in America, and Vogue Paris.