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Cherry and Martin: Matt Connors and Holly Coulis - 9 May 2015 to 13 June 2015

Current Exhibition

9 May 2015 to 13 June 2015
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm or by appt
Cherry and Martin
2712 S. La Cienega Blvd
2732 S. La Cienega Blvd
CA 90034
Los Angeles, CA
North America
T: +1 310.559.0100

Matt Connors
May 9 - June 13, 2015 | 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd.

Artists in this exhibition: Matt Connors, Holly Coulis

Matt Connors
May 9 - June 13, 2015 | 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Opening reception: Saturday, May 9, 6-8pm

Matt Connors has long considered the emotional, intellectual and physical relationship between himself and his materials. His paintings refer to his life and also to his studio. Through the interplay between iconic and indexical representation so essential to his work, Connors builds up surfaces driven by intention and chance, deliberation and inspiration. His paintings contain impressions, not only of normative tools like pencil and brush, but also of the things in his immediate environment. The flow between paintings and ideas can be sequential or non-sequential, direct or disjunctive; Connors employs a poetic calculus in which two unlike things come together to create a third—one ripe with possibilities for consideration, combination and exploration.

Also at play in these works is an interest in the idea of color in space as well as that of painting in space. Sometimes this means physical extension off the wall; for this show, Connors comes back to the traditional easel-painting format. The works in his Bottoms group employ an off-center visual grid. There is a sense of implicit movement—of folding—in these works; the sense of space being flipped over or inverted. Connors comments that this grid allows him to explore a more intense seriality than he has tried in the past, one in which he can really play with the dynamics of color. The reference to sexual dynamics is humorous and apt; a cross-over of meanings that suggests our own conflated expectations when creating, consuming and interpreting art objects and the world around us.

This is Matt Connors’s third solo exhibition at Cherry and Martin. Recent solo and group exhibitions include MoMA (New York, NY); MoMA PS1 (New York, NY); Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN); Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, TX); Contemporary Art Museum (Houston, TX); Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf, Germany) and Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn, Germany). Connors’s art has been written about in Art in America, The New York Times, Art + Auction, Kaleidoscope, ArtForum, Frieze and many other publications. Connors has long been interested in ephemera and book practice. Catalogs include: Matt Connors: Machines (Rainoff Books, 2014); A Bell is a Cup: Matt Connors (Rainoff Books, 2012); Matt Connors: Gas... Telephone... One Hundred Thousand Rubles (Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 2011); and Matt Connors: Line Breaks (VeneKlasen Werner, 2011). Connors lives and works in Los Angeles and New York.

Holly Coulis
May 9 - June 6, 2015 | 2732 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Opening reception: Saturday, May 9, 6-8pm

In her new body of work, Holly Coulis investigates the formal structure and meanings built into still life painting—long a jumping off point for both formalist exploration and philosophical reflection. The specific placement of each object in the painting of a still life master—think Edouard Manet or Juan Sanchez Cotán—activates each area of the visual field. Items in the foreground or background create a feeling of pictorial space. They activate the ‘push-pull’ taught so fervently by the German master Hans Hoffman in the 1950s. In her paintings, Coulis reduces the foreground and background to articulated swaths of color; upon these color swaths, she inserts additional color fields, objects, and detailed portraits of heartfelt individuals, both male and female. The line work in her paintings serves as a place to explore color and create tension. The result is a painting that is visually ‘anchored’ in some points, and ‘floating’ in others.

This anchored yet disjointed effect reminds us of the Symbolist, Dada and ultimately Surrealist feeling that has long run through Coulis’s work. Holly Coulis’s choice of still life painting for these small works makes sense, as still life paintings have, since establishing themselves as a genre in the 16th century, traditionally served as a vehicle by which to reflect on the loves and losses of life, as well as the ultimate mystery of death—the counterpoint to our time here on Earth. These sorts of concerns were a source of obsession for Modernists like the Surrealists, who, faced with the new realities of urbanization, new technologies and mass communication, used the upending of traditional forms and meanings to assert new possibilities for life and philosophy. Holly Coulis’s pictures—with their simple still life objects, fields of color and images of people—do not demand or advocate a specific answer to life’s questions; instead, they reflect on life’s open ended nature, suggesting interconnectivity through visual reading and exploration. Intriguingly, while they use an age old genre—the still life—Coulis’s paintings do not look back to the past, per se. In fact, they seem as if images from a far off future—almost ‘space age’—in their appearance, suggesting almost as much about what lies ahead of us as what we have experienced in days gone by. They remind us not only of painting’s visual methods, but also of its most basic philosophical question, as inscribed by another Modernist master, Paul Gauguin, on the surface of one of his most famous works, “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”

This is Coulis’s fourth exhibition at the gallery. In addition to her exhibitions at Cherry and Martin, Coulis has had recent solo and group exhibitions at Sardine (Brooklyn, NY); The Bruce High Quality Foundation (New York, NY); Sargent’s Daughters (New York, NY); Mass Art (Boston, MA); Susanne Hilberry Gallery (Detroit, MI) and University of Georgia (Athens, GA). Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, Art in America, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and other publications. Holly Coulis lives and works in New York. 

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