artwork / Un-Exported Los Angeles

Assemblage
w: 26.5"; h: 41"
gouache on paper
Private Collector
Un-Exported Los Angeles
2010
Series Statement: Having lived in and out of California throughout my life, my visual perspectives on landscape are filtered through my experiences driving through the American West. The ideas for this body of work, ‘Un-Exported L.A.’ began with an exploration of historical imagery of the American West and how it relates to the philosophies of the sublime and the exporting of the American Myth. Influenced by the 19th century embrace of the majestic frontier, artists such as Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran filled my subconscious at the inception of the project. My initial intention was then fueled by the landmark 1975 exhibition at the George Eastman House, “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape”. The photographs of American landscapes with their open spaces of desolate capitalism became a frontier in their own right. This research led to the idea that the grand gestural vistas of California that once evoked the hand of God have transformed into the overwhelming and awe inspiring untenable nature of man. Los Angeles is the machine that churns out the imagery of national identity, yet the actual entity of Los Angeles is foreign to America. These paintings represent the influx of immigrants, an explosion of cultures, a Los Angeles that exists beyond any mode of attempted homogeneity. Living in the shadow of myth, the un-exported Los Angeles represents that most global, international and sprawling vista of all American cities. The sublime I thought I would revisit is not the majestic hand of God, but the impact of man, majestic in his own right.