The Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) recently opened two new exhibitions: one featuring New York-based artist Keltie Ferris and Massachusetts-based artist Xylor Jane.
Both exhibits opened Jan. 18 and will remain on display through April 5.
Armed with a spray paint of vaporized oil pigments, Ferris has developed a fresh and entirely original abstract language for her exhibit “Doomsday Boogie” in Project Room 1.
The exhibit includes several of Ferris’s large-scale paintings, along with a series of thin vertical paintings – physical realizations of the zips that originated in Barnett Newman’s abstract expressionist work.
The larger paintings, with their pixelated backgrounds and neon, atmospheric foregrounds, evoke technological cityscapes. They have all the layered space and temporality of Tron, City of Night, and masterpieces of sci fi-noir.
The paintings measure up to nine feet and juxtapose earthy blacks, greens, purples, and browns with vivid, chemical shots of gold, red, pink, acid green, and chartreuse.
To achieve her desired effects, Ferris overlays hand painted geometric grounds with her signature, graffiti-like markings in spray paint. In select pieces she also outlines the fields of spray in abrupt, vertical strokes of color.
In the words of SMMoA’s Curator-at-Large Jeffrey Uslip, “Keltie is an exciting young artist, whose dynamic use of industrialized painting techniques represents an innovative contribution to the legacy of abstraction.”
Meanwhile, this is the first solo museum exhibition for Xylor Jane, an artist whose paintings merge the subjective and handmade with a standardized mathematical language.
Titled “Sea Legs,” the exhibit in Project Room 2 includes a series of Jane’s recent paintings, made up of regimented numerical patterns and spectrums of color.
The paintings in “Sea Legs” look like vibrant abstractions but are in fact made up of thousands of dots, methodically applied according to complex numerical systems.
Jane regularly uses palindromes and prime numbers in her paintings, along with the Fibonacci sequence – the golden ratio used by Mother Nature and financial analysts alike. She also employs the Julian date system, a calendaring sequence that has assigned a unique decimal to each day since January 1, 4713 BC.
Through compulsive patterning, Jane subverts and queers logical systems as a means of ordering the universe.
Her signature use of the ROYGBIV/gay pride color scale also presents a challenge to normative logic.
At its core, Jane’s work is embedded in human experience. One recent painting lists the full moons of her life by Julian day number, and another is a hauntingly precise numerological translation of a near death experience.
Rather than existing as industrialized abstractions, her paintings approach the spiritual and even the sublime.
SMMoA is located at the Bergamot Station, Building G1, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica.
The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, closed Sunday, Monday, and all legal holidays.
Suggested donation: $5; $3 for seniors and students.
For more information about exhibitions and programs, call 310.586.6488 or visit www.smmoa.org.
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