Lia Lowenthal

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What is my work about?

Working under the guise of a fictitious company called LL, LLC, I create collections of consumer objects which explore how the personal relates to social infrastructures. The collections I create use pre-existing genres, such as jewelry, and redesign their forms to reconfigure their meaning and function. Through redefining these genres, I explore how perceptions of social infrastructures could be affected by these reorientations.

 

Artist Statement

My work is made from a desire to shift an axis of understanding through small gestures. The way we see the world is created by all the conditions and systems that we’re exposed to and participate in, some of which are tied to objects that mediate and represent how we relate to them. The way we relate to these objects is a compounding of material, meaning, and function. If the material, meaning, and function were reconfigured, how could this affect the way we perceive the social systems they represent? What would these forms look like, and where would they be positioned in our lives?

In the last year I’ve been working on my first collection called GETHENS (images 1-12). Tenuously defined as jewelry, GETHENS are designed without clasps or buckles, and created to rest only in a certain angle to the body. The person has to find a balance between themselves and the GETHEN in order to effectively wear it, but because of the unnatural and disruptive poses they require, the balance is precariously maintained and prone to failure.

The forms of GETHENS are inspired by a range of systems, both theoretical and actual, such as layouts for public water supply, Lacan’s diagrams of subjective experience, and unrealized patents for screen displays– systems of public connectivity, systems of perception, systems of projection. They are fabricated in a 3D-printed stainless steel/bronze alloy, which makes their constitution dense yet brittle, and gives them a compressed, materially estranged look. In the end, they appear less like jewelry, and more like parts of machinery that have been discarded.

In my process, forms and materials are often repeated and rearticulated into different mediums. By combining forms of readymade jewelry display furniture together, I designed display plinths to accompany the collection (images 13-15). The height of each plinth is determined by what part of the body the GETHEN is designed for– for example, one that rests on your knee is at knee height, one that rests on your hand is at wrist height. These plinths don’t function as conventional jewelry display furniture would– where the jewelry would be supported on the display form– but are used as a way to signify the space for engagement. The GETHENS rest on the plinths in the black upholstered area alongside them.

Using the same readymade jewelry display furniture, I created a four-channel digital slideshow (images 16-18). In taking these photographs of these objects I didn’t assume a straightforward perspective, but instead photographed them in a way where the foreground and background collapse, so the boundaries between object, subject, and context becomes ambiguous— forms blend into each other, fracture, and become reconstituted again throughout the duration of the slideshow. The rhythm of the slideshow is also further emphasized by its placement in a transitional area (a hallway), and the scale of the projection throws them into a sculptural space with the viewer. The title of the piece, “LL, LLC (AP) Beta 2.0refers to terms used when testing new technology, “beta” referring to a version being pre-released to a select public to resolve minor problems that require user participation.

Beginning in Fall 2015, I will stage a series of performances where I install a trunk show (an event used by companies to present merchandise to customers) of the GETHENS collection, complete with GETHENS, the display plinths, a lookbook (images 1-12 will be in the lookbook), and myself acting as representative for LL, LLC. During the trunk show, visitors can try on the pieces, learn more about the collection and the company, and if they desired, purchase them. However, when I’m not present, the viewers engage with the installation without my mediation and without the tactile interaction. By shifting between these modes, it creates a relief between how they are defined through a social context and as autonomous forms.

 

 

EDUCATION
2014
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
MFA-Photography

2006
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
BA-Studio Art, German Studies

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2015
321 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (artist-run space)

2012
Fifteen Seconds, Art In General, New York, NY

2010
Economic Models, Light & Wire Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2009
I Brush My Teeth With My Left Hand to Loosen Up, Workspace, Los Angeles, CA

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2015
Flat by Fiat, LG, Brooklyn NY (co-organized)

2014
Bard MFA Thesis Show, UBS, Red Hook, NY
Petrella’s Imports at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
You-tility, Southfirst, Brooklyn, NY

2013
Decenter: An Exhibition on the Centenary of the 1913 Armory Show at the Abrons Arts Center, Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center, NY, NY
Hides on All Sides, Torrance Shipman Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
The Noodles That We Eat, Christopher Crescent & HD:Projects, NY, NY
AB, Day 19, even later, curated by Alex Ross, The Nomas Foundation, Rome, Italy (cat)
Gymnasia 4:00am, Cleopatra’s, (performance) Brooklyn, NY
I am not quite sure. This is an arduous terrain, (performance with Malin Arnell), as a part of Descartes’ Daughter, Swiss Institute Contemporary Art, NY, NY

2012
superpositions: New Wight Biennial 2012, UCLA Wight Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (cat)
Leave It To Beavers, curated by Gina Beavers, Gallery Diet, Miami, FL

2011
Circinus & Horologium, Fine Arts Gallery, California State University-Los Angeles, CA

2010
1,095: One Year’s Worth of Other People’s Plates, a project by Bari Ziperstein, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA 

2009
Rasta Dental, JMOCA, Los Angeles, CA
Ulli and Lucrecia’s Gruppeaustellung mit Party, curated by Ulrich Wulff and Lucrecia Roa, 533, Los Angeles, CA

2008
General Electric, curated by Lia Trinka-Browner, Projects Projects, Los Angeles, CA

2006
Five Easy Pieces, Bart Exposito’s studio, Los Angeles, CA
Neo Dolce, High Energy Constructs, Los Angeles, CA
Chain Letter, High Energy Constructs, Los Angeles, CA

 

AWARDS AND GRANTS

2012-2014 Bard College Fellowship & Scholarship

2006 Jackie Hicks Memorial Scholarship

2005 UCLA Travel Grant, German department

2002-2006 UCLA Merit Scholarship, full scholarship

 

RESIDENCIES

2010
Vermont Studio Center, Johnston, VT

2009
Mountain School of the Arts, Los Angeles, CA

 

PUBLICATIONS
2013
AB, Day 19, even later, (catalog) curated by Alex Ross, The Nomas Foundation, Rome, Italy

2012
superpositions, (catalog) New Wight Biennial 2012, UCLA Wight Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2010
The Mountain School Reader, published by the Tate Modern in conjunction with the “No Soul for Sale” exhibition, London, UK

2008
Yellow Book, curated by Lia Trinka-Browner, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2012
“Goings On About Town,” The New Yorker (April 25 – May 1, 2012)
“Consider The Beaver,” Artinfo (May 2012)
“La vida de las mujeres en diversas prácticas artísticas,” El Nuevo Herald, (June 2012)