Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Charles Gaines. On view will be a series of new drawings from the String Theory: Rewriting Bataille series in the main gallery space and a major new sculptural work in the second gallery. In this new body of work, Gaines continues an ongoing investigation of how we generate meaning and how this process is rooted in active political decision-making rather than in objective truth. Gaines work over the last 40 years has radically questioned the relationships between aesthetic experience, political belief, and the formation of meaning and how these relationships can be problematic if they remain in the subconscious.
In the new drawings, Gaines changes the sequence of words from two seminal texts by George Bataille: Eroticism and General Economy. Using only existing words from the text sources, he employs a set of complex rules solely based on grammatical parameters rather than meaning. The resulting new text configurations generate a gap between the language and the concepts it produces a space that Gaines feels allows the viewer a critical experience of the concept as a psychological effect.
Skybox, a 7 foot high by 12 foot long light box, features photographs of four historical texts dealing with the subject of social justice over a 300 year span. The surface of the light box is perforated with thousands of small laser cut holes, which produce the image of a starry night sky when the gallery is dark. At regular intervals, the gallery lights dim, and as they fade to black the image of the night sky begins to emerge. The constellation of the star images used in the sculpture is linked to the time and location of the origins of the featured texts that become visible when the gallery lights come back on.
The coupling of seemingly unconnected images and texts in the sculpture reflects a strategy through which Gaines creates the conditions for a poetic judgment that becomes necessary in order to close the gap, to make arbitrary relationships seem intentional.
Charles Gaines was born in 1944 in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He received his M.F.A at the Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Art and Design in 1967. He has been on the faculty at the California Institute of the Arts since 1989 and has had a crucially important influence on generations of artists emerging from the west coast. His work is included in the collections of the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; MOCA Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla; the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Studio Museum Harlem, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Oakland Museum, Oakland, the Lentos Museum, Linz, Austria; the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, among others. Solo and two person exhibitions include the 2007 Venice Biennale; LAX><ART, Los Angeles, REDCAT, Los Angeles; Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Austria; Triple Candie, New York; Luckman Fine Art Gallery, Cal State University, Los Angeles; San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco; the Santa Monica Museum, Santa Monica; Fresno Art Museum, Fresno; John Weber Gallery, New York; Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; Dorothy Goldeen Gallery, Los Angeles; Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles; Kent Gallery, New York and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. His work was recently included in All Of This And Nothing at the UCLA Hammer Museum and in Human Nature at LACMA and it will be featured in Blues at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; in Dance / Draw at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; in Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; in Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980 UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; in State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, and at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley. This is Charles Gaines third solo exhibition at the gallery.