Uncommon Ground

August 20, 2016 - October 20, 2016
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday - Friday
Fellows of Contemporary Art
970 N Broadway, Suite 208, Los Angeles, CA 90012
FOCA Office at foca@focala.org

“The fact of the matter is that the real world is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group. We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.”
-Edward Sapir

Over the past year, five artists who knew little of each other’s practice were encouraged to attend studio visits to familiarize themselves with each other’s body of work as it pertains to the alphabet. The casual meetings gave way to a transparent dialogue that helped inform, challenge and validate their individual languages. Inevitable similarities and overlaps in the artists’ singular realities resulted in a conservatory of documented sensory explorations that are visually uncommon, but grounded by the alphabet. Emphasizing the alphabet as a learned out- of- body entity, the artists’ work in this exhibition captures the moment “in-between” linear thought processes where cognition begins.

Applying their own language by proxy of medium, the artists draw upon intuitive experiences to then cultivate and paraphrase original content derived from the alphabet. Observed in a state of constant motion, the artwork calls to action a desire to evolve the fixed notions of the alphabetic character and its syntax.

Collectively, the artworks in this exhibition demonstrate desires to construe and categorize as well as discard and destroy. What is ultimately created through these different processes is the possibility for new interpretations and insights. The attempt to make something new and unfamiliar reflects the ongoing search to create what cannot be defined. To quote John Rajchman, “For what is new is in fact not what is in fashion, but what we can’t yet conceive, can’t yet see, or have the sure means to judge – which is just why it forces us to think and think together.”


Anna BreiningerAnna Breininger addresses aspiration and boundaries as they relate to taste and means through an index of forms derived from common interior patterns. Viewing a surface as a vehicle to define identities; a space on which we project desires, Breininger discovers relationships between painting and the ornamental. In doing so, Breininger’s library of reimagined forms invert meaning. Geometry now becomes a device for fluidity and the structural works in service of the decorated surface.
Julia Haft-CandellJulia Haft-Candell is curious about approaching the alphabet as a grouping of symbols. Letters are records of deliberate hand movements from which we have learned to derive or create meaning. In her work, she questions why these specific shapes were chosen as opposed to infinite other shapes; for example, adding a leg to an 'E,' rendering it meaningless, or slowly coil-building a cursive letter out of clay to fully understand the bends in its shape.
Molly LarkeyMolly Larkey’s work speaks to our human condition as bound in contradiction, even as it rejects the dichotomous, and insists on fluidity of form and function. It longs for a language that names the subjectobject, the malefemale, the richpoor, the blackwhite, the allnothing, the infinitelimited. It points to our failed dualistic vocabularies, and how the structures of power that benefit from an either/or have routinely denied the neither/both a space, a name, even a shape or form. To this end, her work combines elements of language, painting, and sculpture in an act of imaginative rebellion that opens up possibilities for revolutionary thought.
Lindsay August-SalazarLindsay August-Salazar has been investigating and developing a non auditory/ phonetic, glyphic like language, parallel to something that we call an alphabet, entitled ACC (Abstract Character Copies) that attempts to discern the differences within repetition and return. Perhaps to magnify or even carve out the space between the primal, the struggle, and artificial solutions. Through bold color, repetition and architectural division of space, her work attempts to highlight or visually depict this embodied “in-between”.
Feodor VoronovFeodor Voronov creates optical terrains that splinter and twist around the central image of a word. Voronov investigates the nature of repetition in both form and language by painting harlequin patterns that are at once organic and methodical - an analysis of the human experience that borders on familiar but is clearly unique. Voronov toys with the formal aesthetics of the written word, evaluating its psychological roots in symbolism à la Magritte, while also embellishing upon the intrinsic habit of mark-making in the vein of Cy Twombly.

More Information

Connie McCreightFOCA Curators Lab Chair

Public Events

Uncommon Ground: Opening Reception

August 20, 2016
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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