Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to announce “The Left Coast”, an exhibition of new paintings by Whitney Bedford. Known for precisely rendered landscapes and shipwrecks whipped into painterly frenzy by her expressive brushwork, Bedford has long been interested in how images can act as votives for ideas and experiences, political or emotional.
Bedford’s new body of work reconsiders the idea of the frontier as a stage where the mythos of exploration and manifest destiny are re-enacted through familiar characters from the Southern California landscape: cacti and palms. The composition of her new landscapes is subtly modeled on formal details found in historical representations of American Democracy, in particular, Emaneul Leutze’s 1851 painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware, with its dramatic play of light and its classical triangular structure.
In Bedford’s work, the landscape is not relegated to the background – plants and geology take center stage insinuating themselves into the central positions of the composition. In previous paintings her careful, structured draftsmanship would often be roiled with painterly gesture, but these new paintings are more solid: Bedford’s intricately rendered western flora holds its own. Rendered in reflective gold against planes of deep blues, this is not a landscape to be conquered and developed, but one that is autonomous, self-contained, and almost impenetrable.
Bedford received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. She was the winner of the 2001 UCLA Hammer Museum Drawing Biennale and received a Fulbright Graduate Fellowship from Hochschule der Kuenste, Berlin in 1999. She has had solo exhibitions at Art:Concept, Paris, France; Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, IL; D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York; and Starkwhite, Auckland, New Zealand. She has been included in group exhibitions at the Jewish Museum, New York; Massachussetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Bedford’s work is included in the Jumex Collection, Mexico City, Mexico; the De La Cruz Collection, Miami, Florida, USA; The Saatchi Collection, London, England; the Francois Pinault Collection, Paris, France; the Eric Decelle Collection, Brussels, Belgium; and the Collection Ginette Moulin/Guillaume Houze, Paris, France. Bedford is currently a guest lecturer at the University of California San Diego and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.