Shadows opens at Ochi Gallery July 2

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SHADOWS

Ochi Gallery

119 Lewis Street
Ketchum, ID 83340

July 2 – August 6, 2016

Opening reception: July 7, 4-7pm

http://www.ochigallery.com/alexandra-grant-shadows/

Ochi Gallery is pleased to present Shadows, an exhibition in our project space of photographic works by Alexandra Grant. The work will be on view July 7th through August 6th with an opening reception Thursday, July 7th from 4-7 pm.

For this series Grant collaborated with actor and writer Keanu Reeves, The Lapis Press and Steidl Publishing to produce a striking collection of images that explore the concept of the shadow. Through a series of dramatic photographs, Grant captures Reeves’ silhouette in a sequence of movements where his figure often blurs beyond the point of recognition, causing the final images to border on abstraction. After the shoots with Reeves, Grant manipulated the images to invert the images black for white, making the shadow itself the source of light. Despite their mysterious and elegant qualities, the images are narrative and figurative, supported by Reeves’s poetic texts in the titles and accompanying book. Hauntingly beautiful, the images are also playful, allowing the viewer to sense the intimacy and exchange in the collaborative relationship between subject and artist.

Printed at a large scale on velour paper at Steidl Publishing in Germany, the photos possess a remarkable surface. Also published by Steidl is a book of Grant’s photos accompanied by texts written by Reeves. Additionally, The Lapis Press produced a suite of smaller scale, limited edition color prints.

Press:

“Only a Shadow,” Big Life Magazine http://www.biglifemag.com/only-a-shadow/

Image: Shadow (2), after Keanu Reeves’s “I can’t say all I wish to say,” 2016. Acrylic pigment printed on Arches velour paper rough, 60” x 40”. Edition of 2 with 1 AP. Printed in Germany by Gerhard Steidl.

ghost town at the Paiz Bienial of Guatemala

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ghost town is a participatory drawing project that will take place during the 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Curated by Alma Ruiz, the Bienal, called “The Ordinary/Extraordinary: The Democratization of Art or the Will to Change Things” features artists from Guatemala and abroad such as Carlos-Cruz Diez, Magdalena Fernández, Alejandra González Escamilla, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Kimsooja, and Lawrence Weiner.

As part of the 40th year of the Bienal de Arte Paiz, Alexandra Grant’s ghost town will be an invitation to the public to join the artist in illustrating a series of poems by the Guatemalan writer Vania Vargas. For the purposes of this collaboration, Vargas created an anthology titled  “Cartografía de un pueblo fantasma” (“Cartography of a Ghost Town”), that maps out memories, real and fictive, across the urban landscape of Guatemala City. For ghost town Grant will use Vargas’s “Cartografía” as a linguistic plan or guide to create a collaborative drawing over 90 feet in length over a period of 17 days. The main theme of “Cartografía” is love—familial and romantic, lost and found—across a solitary or various subjects’s lifetime. At it’s essence ghost town is a collective memory mapping project, with “ghosts” familiar to those who live in Guatemala City, are fans of Vargas’s poetry, or have experienced heart-ache or break. Both ghost town and the text that informs it are democratic in their invitation to explore and co-create a shared imaginary landscape.

The hospitality and the communal dream of ghost town are informed by Grant’s work with the French philosopher and writer Hélène Cixous. In 2013, Grant collaborated with Cixous to complete a twinned-city drawing project in Los Angeles and Paris called “Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest” based on Cixous’s book “Philippines.”

If you or your group would like to participate in ghost town, please email: mediacionxxbienalpaiz@gmail.com

Please join our community on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ghosttownpueblofantasma/

Dates for the 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz and ghost town

The 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz will take place from June 2nd to July 3rd in the historical center of Guatemala City. The public will be invited to join Alexandra Grant in illustrating ghost town beginning May 25th, with a separate celebration for all participants on June 10th.

Vania Vargas

About Vania Vargas

Vania Vargas is a Guatemalan writer and poet, born in Quetzaltenango in 1978. After receiving her university degree in literature at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, she worked as a journalist in both Quetzaltenango and Guatemala City. Her published works of poetry include “Cuentos infantiles” (“Children Stories”) y “Quizás ese día tampoco sea hoy”  (“Perhaps today isn’t that day either”) published in 2010 by Catafixia editorial and Editorial Cultura respectively. She also wrote “El futuro empezó ayer: apuesta por las nuevas escrituras de Guatemala” (“The Future Started Yesterday: Betting on New Writings from Guatemala”) with Catafixia editorial and UNESCO in 2012. Her most recent work in poetry “Señas particulares y cicatrices” (Particular signs and scars”) was released by Catafixia editorial in 2015. Her collection “Cartografía de un pueblo fantasma” (“Cartography of a Ghost Town”) is a collection from three of her books of poetry and put together in 2015 for her collaboration with Alexandra Grant in the project ghost town. Vargas published a book of short stories in 2016 called “Después del fin” (After the end) published by Ediciones del Pensativo.

About Alma Ruiz

Alma Ruiz is Senior Fellow in the Center for Management in the Creative Industries, Latin
American Specialist, Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Claremont Graduate University. She holds a
B.A. degree in Art History from the University of Southern California and a M.A. in Italian
Literature and Language at Middlebury College in Vermont and the University of Florence in
Italy. A former Senior Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, Ruiz
has curated numerous exhibitions focusing on the postwar period in the United States, Italy, and
Latin America with artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Mauricio Cattelan, Lygia Clark, Magdalena
Fernández, Carlos Garaicoa, Gego, Kcho, Ernesto Neto, Marco Maggi, Ana Mendieta, Piero
Manzoni, Hélio Oiticica, Gabriel Orozco, Damián Ortega, Rosângela Renno, Mira Schendel, and
Francesco Vezzoli. In addition to having served as a guest curator at La Fundación/Colección
Jumex, Mexico City; the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; the Art Museum of the Americas,
Washington, D.C., the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, and Fundación Telefónica,
Buenos Aires, she has acted as a juror for numerous biennials in Latin America, including the V
Panama Biennial, the Tamayo Biennial in Mexico City, and the Second Exhibition of Central
American Emerging Artists in San Jose, Costa Rica. Ruiz has also been a panelist for The Paul
& Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, Creative Capital Foundation in New York, and the
U.S. Fund for Culture in Mexico City, and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the
Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation in Miami.

Bienal de Arte Paiz

About the 20th Paiz Bienal — The Ordinary/Extraordinary: The Democratization of Art or the Will to Change Things

The 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz celebrates 40 years of supporting the Guatemalan visual arts by the Fundación Paiz for Art and Culture. The twentieth edition aspires to greater inclusiveness by bringing the public closer to contemporary art, through the promotion of a simple and direct dialogue as a first step for a better understanding of the art of our time. In the historic center of Guatemala City, the Bienal de Arte Paiz will endeavor to close the gap that exists between the public and the work of art through participatory works and other works inspired by the idea of art and life. Created by national and international artists, the works of art included span from the sixties to the present and explore the notion of the everyday through various themes: Object: Deconstructions, Obsessions, and the Exercise of Collecting; Observation of Space and Place; Individual and Social Identity; Politics and Activism; and the Everyday Unconscious.

Shadows opens at ACME. on February 13

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Image: Shadow (9), after Keanu Reeves’s “Til death do us part,” 2016, acrylic pigment printed on Arches velour paper rough, 40 x 60 inches, printed in Germany by Gerhard Steidl.

Shadows

February 13 – March 12, 2016

ACME.

Reception for the artist: Saturday, February 20, 6 – 8 pm

Book signing with the artist: Saturday, February 27, 3 – 6 pm

http://www.acmelosangeles.com/exhibitions/2016-2-alexandra-grant/?view=images

ACME. is pleased to present Shadows, a solo exhibition of new photographic works by Los Angeles based artist Alexandra Grant. The show is an exciting culmination of Grant’s collaboration with actor and writer Keanu Reeves, The Lapis Press, and Steidl Publishing.

This new collaborative series by Alexandra Grant and Keanu Reeves explores the nature and qualities of the shadow as phenomena, image, and metaphor. Grant photographs Reeves’ shadow in various movements, capturing mysterious silhouettes to haunting traces of light as Reeves and the camera move together. Grant then reverses light for dark and makes the Shadows themselves the source of light, creating an x-ray effect. These intimate black and white images, a record of a private performance, are printed by Steidl on large scale velour paper giving the photographs a velvety matte surface. The exhibition will feature a sequence of Grant’s Shadow images creating an overall cinematic effect or visual language.

Grant’s Shadows project also includes a suite of smaller scale limited edition color prints produced at The Lapis Press, as well as a book published by Steidl, where Grant’s photographs are accompanied by texts written by Reeves. A selection of Grant’s color prints will be on view in the small gallery, and a book signing with Grant and Reeves will be held at the gallery during the exhibition.

Ochi Projects at UNTITLED in Miami

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OCHI PROJECTS

at UNTITLED, Miami

PRESENTING

ALEXANDRA GRANT
BRIAN WILLS

DEC 2 – 6 | BOOTH C14
12TH & OCEAN DRIVE, MIAMI BEACH

www.ochiprojects.com
hello@ochiprojects.com

Image: Antigone 3000 (Prelude), 2015, oil on linen, 45″ x 40″

“…Pero no soy fotógrafo” at the 9.99 Gallery opens November 5

Pero no soy fotografo

Images: From the Shadows series by Alexandra Grant

…Pero no soy fotógrafo

The 9.99 Gallery

Guatemala City, Guatemala

November 5 – 28, 2015

Opening November 5, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

https://www.facebook.com/the9.99/

Alejandro Almanza Pereda
Darío Escobar
Alexandra Grant
Patrick Hamilton
Sandra Monterroso
Gabriel Orozco
Sebastián Preece
Richard Prince
Isabel Ruiz
Inés Verdugo

Press:

http://www.esquisses.net/2015/10/el-referente-es-la-contemporaneidad-the-9-99-gallery-y-jose-lopez-su-director/

BLOODY RED SUN OF FANTASTIC L.A.

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Antigone 3000 Prelude (fluo), 2015, 45” x 40”, oil on linen. Photo by Chris Adler.

BLOODY RED SUN OF FANTASTIC L.A.

Curated by René-Julien Praz

November 3-9, 2015

Piasa, Paris

www.piasa.fr/en/bloody-red-sun-fantastic-la-curated-rené-julien-praz

The catalog: www.piasa.fr/sites/default/files/151029_bloody_red_sun.pdf

A Conversation with Alexandra Grant, Leslie Jones, and Steve Roden at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, September 27

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In Dialogue: A Conversation with Alexandra Grant, Leslie Jones, and Steve Roden

“These Carnations Defy Language” artists Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden discuss their individual sources and processes as well as their collaborative works. Leslie Jones, Ph.D., Curator of Prints and Drawings at LACMA, moderates.

http://pmcaonline.org/programs/in-dialogue-these-carnations-defy-language/

NO RSVP REQUIRED.
Free with admission. Free for PMCA members.

Image: Alexandra Grant, I was born to love not to hate (1) [detail], 2014. Mixed media on paper backed with fabric, 126 x 72 inches. Photo credit: Brian Forrest.

“Taking Lena Home” at the Bemis Center

Taking Lena Home poster 5aug15

“Taking Lena Home”, a work-in-progress documentary film about the return of a stolen tombstone to its home in rural Nebraska, will be screened by Bemis Center Visiting Artist-In-Residence Alexandra Grant on Thursday, September 10, 2015.  It will be followed by a discussion with the artist and Deputy Sheriff Bob Carey of Polk County who worked the case of the missing tombstone.

http://www.bemiscenter.org/get_involved/event/2015/09/10/film-screening-alexandra-grant-taking-lena-home-

Doors open at 6:00pm
Screening starts promptly at 6:30pm

Photo credit: Alexandra Grant

LA Times review of “These Carnations Defy Language” at PMCA

1502-178 -¬ Don Milici

Two artists try to portray the indescribable at Pasadena Museum of California Art

Review by Sharon Mizota

www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-alexandra-grant-steve-roden-pasadena-museum-of-california-art-20150824-story.html

“These Carnations Defy Language,” a two-person exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, is a perfect pairing of local artists Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden.

Both have long been inspired by language, often using it to generate colorful, intensely heartfelt abstractions. Side by side in this gently moving show, their drawings and collages have something of a familial resemblance, deploying dense networks of grids, stripes and triangles with vibrant, organic energy.

The exhibition was inspired by both artists’ engagement with the prose poems of French writer Francis Ponge, who described everyday things like flowers, wasps and soap with unbridled jubilation. Still, despite these raptures (or because of them), he found language inadequate: The exhibition’s truculent title comes from him.

Grant’s and Roden’s works might be said to reverse-engineer Ponge: Where he attempted to capture quotidian wonders in words, they transform language into images that blossom.

Roden often uses textual or musical sources as a kind of “score” for generating imagery, and here he uses an issue of the Italian architecture magazine Domus published in the month and year of his birth.

The resulting drawings and collages often incorporate clippings from the magazine and refer obliquely to the sleek contours of modern architecture, although Roden builds his images through accretion and improvisation, which gives them a more relaxed, vernacular feel.

“The sky crying is,” features triangular, peek-a-boo cutouts that reveal spare, architectural imagery behind a surface of drippy, hand-painted, multicolored stripes. The image simultaneously evokes structure and defies it.

Especially intriguing is the video “lines and faces,” in which Roden arranges striped paper triangles over a magazine page depicting three famous writers. As Roden aligns and misaligns the stripes over the portraits, we understand the irreducibility of faces: They are always more than the sum of the lines—whether drawn or written—that describe them.

Grant was inspired by Sophocles’ play “Antigone,” whose female protagonist defies political decrees to honor her dead brother. Five large wall pieces are each titled with a line from the play, “I was born to love not to hate.”

Strong stripes and chevrons provide a structural component that plays against the messiness of Rorschach blots and the words of the title in Grant’s trademark mirrored writing. The blots and the words—both bilaterally symmetrical like a body—flicker between legibility and nonsense.

The juxtaposition of hard, geometric shapes and this more indeterminate imagery is an analog, not only for Antigone’s predicament, but for the way text works. Only hard, black letters on a page, it can evoke, as Ponge knew, so much more.

What Roden and Grant are really getting at is meaning itself: how it is made and transmitted and what becomes of it along the way.

Seeing their works together for the first time, I was surprised by their visionary, almost spiritual quality. Although they appear systematic and structured, there is always a human element that escapes description, defies our attempts to pin it down.

Photo credit: John Millici

Omaha World-Herald on “Taking Lena Home”

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Baby girl’s missing headstone returned to Nebraska, 70 years later

by Casey Logan

www.omaha.com/living/baby-girl-s-missing-headstone-returned-to-nebraska-years-later/article_a8a9b7da-d1ce-51cd-93bd-18219e54216a.html?mode=story

In the beginning were the words.

Alexandra Grant stood in an antiques store in Buffalo, Wyoming, staring at the headstone of a baby girl named Lena Davis, 8 months, 5 days old.

“Died July 19, 1880,” read the inscription.

It was Grant’s third trip to the antiques store. Something about the headstone kept luring her back. At first she thought it was the aesthetic. Grant, a Los Angeles-based artist whose work often involves language, admired the design and text on the piece. She liked the look of the words.

She paid $125 for it — more than she could afford at the time, but there was just something about the headstone that pulled her into its sphere.

Fifteen years later, it still pulls.

Today, Grant toils away in an Old Market artist studio, poring through hours and hours of footage for a project called “Taking Lena Home.” The documentary will tell the remarkable story of the headstone’s return to the Nebraska cemetery where Lena is buried, a place called Pleasant Home. One by one it will introduce the other people who have found themselves pulled into the headstone’s sphere, people drawn together by something that sounds like coincidence but feels bigger than that.

The challenge is not in telling the linear story of what happened, Grant said, “but where and how it enters the symbolic realm.”

Because none of this really should have happened. For years, nothing did.

After buying the headstone in Wyoming in 2000, Grant returned to California and resumed her life as an aspiring artist. And things started to go her way. Her paintings, drawings and sculptures appeared in gallery show after gallery show. In 2007 she scored her first museum show, and in 2011 landed her first group exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, one of the most important arts institutions in the country.

All the while the headstone “was always just sitting there,” Grant said. She kept the marker at home for a few years, until something about it unnerved her — “It just had a lot of energy” — and she moved it into her studio.

Eight years it stayed there, waiting. Then, as Grant prepared to move into a larger studio, she felt a sudden, overwhelming sense of obligation.

It wasn’t right to keep it, she thought, and she set out to learn where it really came from.

Eleven years earlier, in Wyoming, the antiques store owner had pedaled a story Grant never really believed — that the headstone was removed from a nearby property. But she didn’t know where to turn for answers. She decided to put the headstone for sale online, pricing it unrealistically high, with hopes an expert would find it.

The timing — what Grant now calls “this psychic alarm clock” — was eerie.

Right around that time, in Scotia, Nebraska, a genealogy enthusiast named Julie Middendorf was reading an account of a 19th century headstone found at a garage sale. Middendorf found the idea “incongruent” — this idea that people buy and sell memorials that should be in cemeteries. She decided to search online for such sales. Almost immediately, she discovered Grant’s post.

With a little digging, Middendorf learned that Lena Davis wasn’t from Wyoming at all. She was from Nebraska. Lena’s resting place, just outside Polk, Nebraska, was less than 80 miles from her own front door.

She learned some things about Lena, too. She likely died of diphtheria or scarlet fever. Her father was 26; her mother, 19. She had a 3-year-old brother and 2-year-old sister, and both sets of grandparents.

Middendorf also learned there were people looking for the headstone, even if they didn’t realize it. The theft of Davis’ headstone in 1945, along with two other markers, was considered the oldest unsolved crime in Polk County. Within two days of Grant’s online post, the Sheriff’s Office contacted her. Grant knew right away what she needed to do.

A week later, she loaded up the headstone and drove from California to Nebraska.

Along the way she stopped in Colorado to meet a man named Chuck Doremus, first cousin to Lena Davis, who still recalled the day more than 60 years earlier when he and his father noticed the markers were missing.

Grant opened her trunk to show Doremus the headstone, and Doremus reached out to lay a hand on the monument, and in that moment Grant felt her role change. She was no longer possessor of the headstone. She had become its caretaker.

Grant delivered the headstone to the man suddenly in charge of the cold case, Polk County Chief Deputy Sheriff Bob Carey, who kidded her about being in possession of stolen property. She visited with others who had become part of the story, including Middendorf, and the kind volunteers from the Polk County Historical Society.

She returned the following year, in 2012, for a ceremony to reinstall the headstone in its proper place. About 80 people showed up, including Grant’s sister from London, brothers from Wisconsin and a friend from California. A minister read from an 1878 hymnal. The historical society volunteers showed up in matching neon shirts. Carey, in full uniform, thanked Grant for bringing such an unusual gift to the community. Middendorf spoke of the act’s significance.

“Oftentimes these tombstones are the only tangible evidence that a life was ever lived,” she said.

Grant spoke, too, describing her decadelong relationship with the headstone and how relieved she felt now that it was home.

“I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined a place so lovely,” she said.

After the memorial, all went their separate ways, their good thing seemingly done. It would seem like the logical end to the story, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

“I didn’t expect to come back every year,” Grant said.

The invitation in 2013 came from the historical society, which asked Grant to serve as an artist-in-residence, working with grade-school students on a book about the grasshopper infestation of 1874.

The invitation in 2014 came from Carey, who asked Grant to attend his wedding.

The invitation this year came from a staffer at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, who learned that Grant had been filming the headstone’s journey all along and urged her to finish the project in Nebraska.

So here she is now, combing through 30 hours of footage for the right clips to tell the story, and finding herself reflecting on what it all means.

Why did she buy that headstone in Buffalo, Wyoming?

Why did she wait 11 years to do anything with it, and how did it turn out to be the exact right moment to do so?

What will bring her back to Nebraska the next time?

“I’m going to be open to the unexpected,” she said. “This forced me to realize my life was going to be different than I imagined it.”

It’s what she means by the “symbolic realm.” It’s why Grant describes the story as a series of concentric circles, with Lena in the middle and then her immediate family closest, and then her extended family, including Chuck Doremus, and further out whoever stole her marker, and then whoever bought it, and the antique store owner, and Grant, and Middendorf, and Carey, and the historical society volunteers in their neon shirts, and everyone who took part in the headstone’s return to Pleasant Home.

There are all of the people who have somehow been pulled into the sphere of Lena Davis and now circle it, in orbit together. Some of them speak about it in the terms of their religious convictions, finding their meaning in God.

Grant has found herself looking, once again, to words — specifically those of the British novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell.

“Journeys, like artists, are born and not made,” he wrote. “A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will — whatever we may think. They flower spontaneously out of the demands of our natures — and the best of them lead us not only outwards in space, but inwards as well.”

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Photos credit: Matt Miller/Omaha World-Herald.