Rachel LaBine

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What Is My Work About? 

The artificial and physical space produced by images (discrete objects or fragmented images amalgamated mentally or on screen), the distinction between object and presentation, the potential for an imagined space to alter thought and behavior, transparent display and latent operation, narrative, scale, staged architecture, the pacifying implications of decoration.

 

Artist Statement

This work negotiates attraction, fear, control, conditions of viewing and display, and disguise. It is centered on the potential for images, particularly series of images, to operate in a latent, imaginary space.

Recently I installed several portraits of my dog on vinyl banners in a vacant office unit in Sherman Oaks, CA. I photographed this work with the dog included in the installation shots, collapsing the work and the documentation into one category. Together the images strike a note somewhere between real pacification and satirical idolatry. The work concedes that to stare into puppy eyes at high resolution is simultaneously liberating and subjugating. I take photos of the dog as a gesture that is as sincerely affectionate as it is indulgent, as much a critique as it is complicit in exerting control over another being. The setting in a neglected and nearly empty office both complicates and emphasizes the genuine pleasure found in animal portraiture. Allowing muted, complicit design sensibilities to seep in, the space mostly aspires toward anonymity. It is oppressively neutralizing – a space as anesthetic as pet photos, or nearly so. It is a space that is supposed to function via a sustained belief in its authority and permanence on the part of its salaried inhabitants, which slides easily into suspended disbelief, noting the poor construction and total lack of windows. Stilted decoration in cheap materials is an attempt to hide the flimsiness of the space, compliance somehow induced by the drop ceiling and burgundy carpet. The project is titled “15165 Ventura Blvd.”

That series of photographs stems from an earlier body of digitally collaged photo work, and has led also to a series of vinyl cutouts made from photos shot at night around the east San Fernando Valley. Low-slung sprawl, terrain vague and a refracted sense of location are the surface content, though not presented as novelties. In these works the repetitively staged topology of the Valley could be viewed as a parallel to the conditions of the vacant office environment, specifically its masked properties and potential.

 

CV

b. 1987, Grand Forks, North Dakota

Based in Los Angeles, California

 

EDUCATION

2010, B.F.A. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

2006-2010, Liberal Arts coursework at Brown University, Providence, RI

 

COLLABORATIVE WORK

2013 – Present

Picture Menu, with Michael Kennedy Costa and Keith J. Varadi

 

SELECTED COLLABORATIVE & GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2015

Presentation with Chin’s Push, Paramount Ranch, Los Angeles, CA (Picture Menu)

2014

“POST” In The Pines, Jackson, WY (Picture Menu)

“Final Frontier” 208 Daly Projects, Washington College, Chestertown, MD (Picture Menu)

2012

“Martin Bromirski, Rachel LaBine & Elizabeth Riley” Storefront Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

NurtureArt Annual Benefit, Charles Bank Gallery, New York, NY

2011

NurtureArt Annual Benefit, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY

Group show, Standpipe Gallery, New York, NY

Two-person exhibition with Jonathan Chapline, Active Space, Brooklyn, NY

2010

“Black Sheep Projects” curated by Kristen Dodge, Providence RI

Group exhibition, Woods-Gerry Gallery, Providence, RI

“Atlantis” Memorial Hall Gallery, Providence, RI

“Totemic” Gelman Gallery, Providence, RI

“Flying & Flooding” curated by Emily Taibleson, Memorial Hall Gallery, Providence, RI

2008

“gold bits” Piazza Cenci 56, Rome, Italy

 

CURATORIAL

2014

“Ck one daily” co-curators Mieke Marple and Davida Nemeroff, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2013

“Elastic de facto” Carter & Citizen, Los Angeles, CA (Picture Menu)

“We seem to still be moving” co-curator Simone Subal, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY

“Style as Substance” co-curator Keith J. Varadi, David Shelton Gallery, Houston, TX

“Style Points & Substance Pangs” co-curator Keith J. Varadi, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia, PA

“It’s Over There” co-curator Simone Subal, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY

2009

“Rotation X” Memorial Hall, Providence, RI

 

HONORS

2008

RISD European Honors Program, Rome, Italy

 

GALLERY WORK

2013-present

Director, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2012-2013

Gallery Assistant, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY

 

WRITING

2014

Exhibition texts, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

“B. Ingrid Olson” The Chicagoan, Issue 2

2013

Exhibition texts, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY

Exhibition text, “Style Points & Substance Pangs” Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia, PA

2010

“Notes on nothing” The Table, Issue 1, January

 

PRESS

2014

ArtSlant, December

“who’s who” W magazine, December

2013

Jonathan Chapline, “Picture Menu’s Elastic de Facto @ Carter & Citizen” #ffffff Walls, August 15

Barbara A. MacAdam, “It’s Over There” ARTnews. April

“It’s Over There” cura Magazine, January 29