Emily Maddigan at stARTup Art Fair Los Angeles
On Friday, January 27, I had the great pleasure of touring the 2nd annual stArtup Art Fair LA, for a tour with Cartwheel Art, which was designed as.a preview for the opening night celebration. Hosted at the historic Highland Gardens Hotel in Hollywood, there were light installations by Greg Schenk placed strategically around the central courtyard and pool. I arrived early, going through each room, speaking to artists in a relaxed environment filled with a sense of camaraderie and mission.
Founded in San Francisco by artist Ray Beldner, with a partner in 2015, Beldner continues to spearhead stARTup Art Fair. The fair has grown to include Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
Artists are selected by jury, following a general rule to include two artists, two art business owners and two academics. The aesthetic of stARTup serves to prove this formula a winner.
Every artist and non-profit involved deserves mention, please check the website, linked here, for a complete list and more about each.
The tour started in AWOL’s room. AWOL, an artist collective out of Los Angeles presented a painted paper installation, completely taking over the entire room and transporting the viewer into a different world. Jim Ovelmen created the instillation, with a satellite in the bathroom by Mehran Ayati.
Ovelmen spoke to us about how artists go into new environments as bright eyed explorers just like Ernest Shackleton had done, exploring Antarctica. The instillation is an experience of the supply shack/ base camp and illustrated how the experience of an artist mimics Shackleton’s experience as an explorer, clearly and comically. A deep reflection of gentrification and displacement are also implied and explored with AWOL’s instillation.
Steven Wolkoff left the furniture in his room as he had found it. On the first bed, there was a white rectangle pained onto un-stretched canvas laid on top of the bed. Using his acrylic words, he wrote out a Janis Joplin song. This is the hotel where Joplin died. The second bed also had canvas laid over it, with a white rectangle painted in the middle with words spread around the rectangle. Wokloff invited guests to put their own words together. On the table in the kitchen, was a little surprise, also relating to the history of the hotel.
Walking in, seeing all those words, created a feeling of interaction immediately, giving the room a fun whimsical feeling right from the start.
Mikey Kelly and Clovis Blackwell also had a wonderful room. I must have spent so much time looking closely at Kelly’s work, completely engaged, I forgot to take pictures. His work both tricked and comforted my eyes. Using zesty color compilations and meticulously laid out lines, Kelly creates lushness. One does not generally equate lines with lushness. It wasn’t the texture of the work on it’s own, rather the combination of it all.
Clovis Blackwell’s work is strong and colorful, using a layering of images juxtaposed in their message, when separated. My own practice makes me partial to the Flower Bomb. Blackwell and I spoke of the timeliness and timelessness of his work, the fall of the Berlin wall, the rise of the nuclear question and the survival conditioning by post apocalyptic films like Mad Max.
Lunar cycles, months and years are explored with colors, shapes, negative space and material in Carol Ladewigs work. Day to night, wake to sleep, sunrise to sunset are universal and personal themes Ladewig creates in her daily practice as she tracks the passage of time.
Ladewig shared a room with Jeffrey Long, who’s work feels inspired by patterns and textiles from ancient indigenous designs, art nouveau and the modernists. Their work went so well together, I felt compelled to ask if they worked together on a regular basis, they had just met.
Dani Dodge and Kimberlee Koym-Murteira shared a room as well, and they too, had recently met. Both use instillation and light to create an immersive experiences.
My experience of Dodge’s instillation was one of a metaphoric heart, culminating in me stuffing and sowing my own little heart together.
My second time through, those of us on the tour, laid on the bed and looked up, took in the metaphoric stars in our eyes, as we listened to a french tune playing in the background and were transported to a tiny french hotel room. There was antique luggage stacked in the corner, to further the heart metaphor. Guests were invited to write down a place in their heart, needing mending. These little notes, were written on Dodges Hotel C’est Foutu pads, with matching pens. Later Dodge hung the notes on a line, leading out of the bedroom.
Kimberlee Koym-Muteira work spoke to me of both personal perspective and physics, galaxies and black matter. There is an image used often on television, to depict memories or thoughts, moving along pathways of ones brain. For me, Koym-Muteira’s work depicts these little capsules of memories, thoughts and light. What the electricity is feeding in your brain.
Koym-Muteira’s work was spread throughout the living room and kitchen of the space, and inside the cabinets. Have you had that moment when you go into the kitchen, open a cabinet and stand completely absorbed by a thought or daydream, having nothing to do with the the cabinet you are looking in? Koym-Muteira’s work has me seeing my thoughts, in a different way.
I encourage you to check out all of the artists at the fair. Here are some images of the other artists I look forward to covering in the future.
Serving the artist and art lover, in a new way, stARTup Art Fair allows for intimate exchanges and experiences made impossible in a large art fair environment. I encourage you to check out the website for artists I might have missed and to mark your calendars for the next stARTup Art Fair. Please check them out on the stARTup Art Fair Website.
– Andrea LaHue