Mash Gallery, a new gallery in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, is destined to be a red hot location. To drive that point home, the opening show, “Incarnadine,” curated by Mat Gleason, comprises work that features variations on the color red.
This show defines the ethos that Mash, owned by Haleh Mashian, herself an artist, had conceived when she first began planning her foray into the brick and mortar world of white cubes. She explains:
First off, there is not enough wall space in Los Angeles for all the artists who deserve to be shown. My goal was to create a gallery that would exhibit emerging, mid-career, and established artists in strong cohesive shows, as well as a venue to create intimate conversations between those curators, artists, and the Los Angeles art audience.
Thus Mashian strove to work with outside curators who would bring their own vision to the 2,000 square foot space, rather than relying on a gallery director. It’s a new territory for commercial art space, mimicking museum and nonprofit art spaces with commercial programming placed into the hands of an ever-changing rotation of independent curators, and allowing them to manifest their vision.
Curators bring their own energy and excitement to a gallery, it’s stimulating and exciting. Mat has brought in amazing work and strong artists, and and I am also very excited about our next curator, Andi Campognone, the director of MOAH, who had her own gallery for years in Pomona.
For the debut show, Gleason has brought in some heavy hitters like Ed Ruscha, John McCracken, and Ed Moses. The Ruscha, Made in California, is the show’s sub rosa coda, both in its text and its subtle use of red. The McCracken pieces are two-dimensional works, making them very special; the Moses, while a newer work, 2013, is a throwback to his linear abstractions of the 1970s. These share wall space with mid-career and emerging artists, all linked by hues and shades of red, creating one of the strongest shows of the year.
Gleason explains his choice of curatorial process and his choice of artists:
The process is always to have a good looking show. My style is always to mix it up. Old and young, established and new with emerging, big works, little works. I’ve got a wide network, so I let my imagination run on this one. I consciously worked against including artists I curate a lot, I wanted this one to be a little outside the box in that regard, to make it stand on its own. There are some curators, you can tell me they are doing a new show and there are eight artists and I can laugh and name seven out of eight without looking at the invite. It was mandatory to avoid that here, defeat the predictability of my own aesthetic. You owe it to the physical space to put on a grand opening show that highlights the interior and an elaborate premise would have bogged it down. When it is not your space and you are working for someone else it has that extra reminder to give a little more, I suppose that is called a work ethic.
There is a lot to be excited about in this show, the artwork is spectacular, and the flow is cohesive with shapes and genres creating a dialog that is stimulating both visually and intellectually.
Top image: Oscar Nava
August 25 – September 29
Wednesday (Noon – 6 pm), Thursday (Noon – 9 pm), Friday (Noon – 9 pm), Saturday (Noon – 6pm)
August 25 (6 – 10 pm)
1325 Palmetto St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013