Diversions LA, Dec 2017



With a politically and socially powerful exhibition in Static, at Durden and Ray through December 30th, the art collective marks the perfect end to their empowered year. Static investigates the electric buzz of communication and its effect on the tellers and receivers.


Taken as a response to and protest of our current political climate, the show offers pointed insight into both the nation’s emotional state and political system. Curated by Dani Dodge (above) and Alanna Marcelletti (below right, with artist Samuelle Richardson, left) the opening began with a half hour panel discussion Fake News, Real News, and Trust in Journalism. 


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And words and discussion are in part the medium – along with sculpture, paint, mixed media, and video – of the show. Including the art of journalists, and of artists speaking about the impact of media, the show thematically explores the emotional context of art and the factual content of journalism and whether the pairing offers a comprehensive view of the world at present or is just a “more beautiful form of static.”

Artists and Journalists exhibiting include: Lili Bernard, Jennifer Celio, Molly Crabapple, Dani Dodge, Jose Galvez, Emily Goulding, Kio Griffith, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Danial Nord, Sean Noyce, Max Presneill, Walter Robinson, Steven Wolkoff, and Samira Yamin.


Above, “Macy’s 5-day Special” and “Shoes,” two acrylic on paper works by Walter Robinson, the former news editor of Art in America and founding editor of Artnet magazine, bases his paintings on department store flyers inserted into a newspaper. His interpretation of the ads can be seen as a commentary on merchandising, capitalism, and the seduction of objects.


Above, Dani Dodge, who spent two decades as a newspaper reporter and editor, blends the voices of Republicans and Democrats in a video installation that is a kind of unintelligible auditory poetry accompanied by abstract video images.  As always with Dodge,  her work here with “News Cycle” has an immersive quality;  listening for the indefinable inflections that make – or don’t make – those registered for different political parties “different,” one is struck by the detail, precision, and beauty of both the visual images and the buzzy sound. We are all, to some extent, abstract ciphers, as lovely as we are discardable – our words like analog TV monitors on an AV cart,  as quickly dated. What remains, perhaps, is the perpetual, unintelligible buzz.


Above, Jennifer Celio’s “Just like a work of art, baby,” watercolor on Yupo and cut paper with spray paint on Duralar. The image evokes the crudity of American politics, media, and the dumbing down of just what is worthy in U.S. culture.

Below, Max Presneill’s “RD 170” offers bold and abstract images that resembles letters, computer screens, television screens, and the overall visual performance of communication.


Below, the lush, passionate self-portrait in mixed media by Lili Bernard. “Self Portrait as Yemaya Under Attack” uses sequins, acrylic paint, photos, pills, glitter, a section of nylon Afro-wig, ribbon, pipe cleaners, and costume jewelry among other mediums on canvas. Beset on all sides, the titular character may be slightly bowed, but she is unbroken. A gorgeous, powerful, commentary that takes on the voraciousness of our culture – and our news cycle.

Lili Bernard. Self Portrait as Yemaya Under Attack, 2017. Sequin, Acrylic Paint, Photographs, Pills, Glitter, Nylon Afro-Wig, Ribbon, Pipe Cleaners, Cork, False Eyelashes, Plastic Eyes and Costume Jewelry on Canvas, 48"x36"

Lili Bernard. Self Portrait as Yemaya Under Attack, 2017. Sequin, Acrylic Paint, Photographs, Pills, Glitter, Nylon Afro-Wig, Ribbon, Pipe Cleaners, Cork, False Eyelashes, Plastic Eyes and Costume Jewelry on Canvas, 48″x36″


Above and below, Steven Wolkoff’s “Static Pile” pile consists of shredded acrylic paint on a mirror top, referencing shredded tweets by Donald Trump. On the wall behind Wolkoff, below, is “Interference,”  an all-black digital print that contains the complete collection of Trump’s tweets from January 20 through November – an appropriate black void, as dense as it is bleak.

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Below, artist Kio Griffith with “I have nothing to make and I am making it,” a mixed media work of painted wood and vintage butcher paper with text. His impactful description of the piece expresses both the poetry and the self-expressed emptiness he intends.

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Above,  Daniel Nord offers a different type of poetry of repeated language patterns and facial images in televised politics. The piece, titled November 28, 2007 has analyzed and reconfigured facial expressions and rhetoric from the 2007 Republican presidential campaign debate of that year. Yellow-shoed feet emerge from analog televisions, rendering the boxes, and the video images on them, into robotic creatures with a life of their own – possibly a life more fully realized than that of the politicians on screen.


Above, Alana Marcelletti’s “Hive Mind” is a construct of crocheted newspaper; it also is a pointed reference to both the ways in which we are connected via the news cycle and condemned to be a part of what the media presents.

Special holiday hours are Tues.-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 23rd and Saturday, December 30th. On the 23rd, meet artist Jennifer Celio; on the 30th, Max Presneill and Dani Dodge. Taking this exhibition in is the perfect way to celebrate the end of the year.

Durden and Ray is located at 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90021

  • Genie Davis; photos: Jack Burke, Genie Davis; Alana Marcelletti image provided by gallery.