Local art gallery Roberts Project debuts new exhibitions amidst COVID-19

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Roberts Project, an art gallery located at 5801 Washington Blvd., is hosting a brand new set of exhibitions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a summary of the exhibitions, provided by Roberts Project:

Synchronicity

Sept. 19 to Dec. 12

The Dalai Lama once said, “I am open to the guidance of synchronicity and I do not let expectations hinder my path,” meaning he allows himself the intervention of the unknown rather than being tied to any predetermined notions of what could or should be. Synchronicity, as it relates to the creation of art, follows the same principles in that all great art allows for the possibility of improvisation, chance or the “divine accident,” wherein the artist discovers inspiration in a place they might never have thought to look initially. In any circumstance, the improbable always yields more gold than the obvious.

But how do artists recognize not only the importance of improbability, but foster this kind of high level receptivity? How do you find something by deliberately not seeking it out, knowing that in this ineffable gesture is the most powerful kind of artistic expression? 

It requires an understanding of the laws that govern the universe, or as Einstein once said, “the secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources, even from yourself,” that is, to have faith that what we are seeking in the living world is also seeking us; to receive everything, all we need do is to be open to it.

This exhibition takes as its subject the nebulous, syncretic moment, celebrates the ambiguous gesture and expounds on the improbable instance where magical thinking occurs without our knowledge or awareness. 

For example, the paintings of Lenz Geerk investigate the strange and luminous distance between figures and objects, creating a force-field of psychologically charged spaces. 

Brenna Youngblood explores the boundaries between language and abstraction, investigating the nuances and complexities of words and how meanings can be subverted and reinterpreted, whereas Kehinde Wiley employs a more traditional painterly approach, using the visual language of old master portraiture to subvert myth and symbol alike. 

Beyte Saar’s sculptural investigations continue to compel and surprise while raising important questions about identity, as do Jeffrey Gibson’s contemporary sculptural figures.

All the artists in this exhibition are not only imaginative and curious about the world around them, but also bring to their work a level of inquisitiveness that supersedes cognition — instead, privileging instinct — and both a playfulness and a willingness to commit to the improbable and the ambiguous to allow life’s riddles to remain unsolved.

To continue the works’ challenge of conventional categories and their relationship to one another, this exhibition will open in phases, with individual pieces introduced throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Rachel Rosenthal

Thanks: Collage Works from the 1970’s

Oct. 24 to Dec. 12

Roberts Projects is delighted to announce Thanks, an exhibition of collage works on paper by Rachel Rosenthal (1926-2015). Organized in collaboration with the Rachel Rosenthal Estate, the exhibition features never before exhibited collage works from the 1970’s documenting Rosenthal’s autobiographical reflection during a pivotal time in her early development as an artist. 

The show takes its title after the artist’s second performance at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles (1975), in which she thanked those who had actively done something important for her, with the audience participating in the familiar roles of “father,” “mother” and “friend.”

Rosenthal’s collages are personal and familial, highlighting her investigation into the relationships between the body, spirituality, sexuality, and the home as both residence and refuge. Early childhood experiences of exile, forced displacement and protracted travel informed much of her adult experiences and appear as overlapping themes in her work. 

This exhibition aims to show her collages as works in progress – that is, open to interpretation – by accentuating the expansive nature of Rosenthal’s practice. 

Materially influenced by Abstract Expressionism, they feature energetic and gestural lines, nontraditional materials, radical subject matter and the shift of the pictorial surface from vertical to horizontal.

Rachel Rosenthal was one of the key figures in the development of theater, performance and feminist art in Los Angeles. Her practice incorporated painting, collage, sculpture and artist’s books, in addition to her best-known full-length performance art pieces which combined theater, dance, costumes and live music. 

Rosenthal was a leading figure in the L.A. Women’s Art Movement and in 1973 co-founded the Womanspace Gallery, a cooperatively run gallery devoted to work by female artists. By 1989, she had written, created, directed and acted in more than 30 full-length performances.

In 1990, Rosenthal was awarded a J. Paul Getty Fellowship and the College Art Association award for Distinguished Body of Work, and in 1994 she received a Women’s Caucus for Art Honor Award. In 2000, she was named Cultural Treasure of Los Angeles and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Performing Arts. In 2020, the Getty Research Institute’s Special Collection acquired the Rachel Rosenthal Papers, ca. 1920s – 2015, which extensively cover every phase of Rosenthal’s career.

Jeffrey Gibson

It Can Be Said of Them

Jan. 9, 2021 to Feb. 20, 2021

Jeffrey Gibson’s exhibition will feature new work exploring themes of identity, as it relates to diversity and inclusivity, to uplift unique experiences, struggles and personal victories shaping the fight for LGBTQIA visibility. Taking its title from a print produced by Sister Corita Kent in 1969 of the same name, It Can Be Said of Them will be Gibson’s second show with the gallery.

For inquiries related to Synchronicity, please contact Camille Weiner, Director, camille@robertsprojectsla.com. 

For Rachel Rosenthal and Jeffrey Gibson, please contact Mary Skarbek, Senior Director, mary@robertsprojectsla.com

Roberts Projects is currently open by appointment only. To schedule a visit, contact Roberts Project at info@robertsprojectsla.com or 323-549-0223.