Mise-en-Scène: New LA Sculpture

January 27, 2001 to March 10, 2001

Presented by the CCAC Wattis Institute, the exhibition features works in sculpture, drawing, video and film by Liz Craft, Evan Holloway, Jason Meadows, Jeff Ono, Paul Sietsema and Torbjörn Vejvi. Mise-en-Scène was co-organized by Bruce Hainley, independent curator and West Coast editor of Artforum magazine, and Carole Ann Klonarides, former curator of programming for the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

The exhibition title refers to the theatrical and cinematic term mise en scène, meaning a directorial arrangement of materials—lighting, sets, props, actors—to create a setting. Co-curator Carole Ann Klonarides comments, "It is a fitting title as most of the works are influenced by the performative and exist in a state of being in between a work of art and a 'somewhat functional' object. Like a prop or display, the object is incomplete until it is activated by the entire production, whether it be a play, film or advertisement. One of the shared ideologies inherent in the art in Mise-en-Scène is its reliance on the viewers' understanding of this."

Using widely divergent materials found in places such as prop studios in Burbank's back lots, entertainment industry supply houses and Home Depot, the artists in Mise-en-Scène create works that could be interpreted as settings with an implied narrative, often with playful twists on reality. Jason Meadows' Pitched Sections, an impossible tumble of aluminum stepladders, reveals his knowledge of the formal properties of sculptural space while making a wry commentary on the safety precautions to heed when using ladders. Torbjörn Vejvi's untitled tabletop foam core cube turns the landscape into a vanishing act as rows of cutout trees seem to pass through solid form. Liz Craft's 15-foot fiberglass black widow spider, Crosshairs, appears menacing from a distance until the viewer realizes it is sprawled helplessly on its back.