Installation image credit: Evan Bedford
Opening reception: Saturday, January 14, 4 – 6 PM
Vielmetter Los Angeles is thrilled to announce Whitney Bedford: Vedute, the Los Angeles-based artist’s seventh solo exhibition with the gallery. Continuing her exploration of the affective possibilities of historical landscapes, Vedute finds Bedford using scale and repetition to mine the experiential possibilities of painting the land in the twenty-first century. A monumental painting by Bonnard via Bedford is repeated four times. Each repetition refers to a time of day: mid-morning, mid-afternoon, evening. The passage of time is reflected in a shifting palette, the compositions and confrontations between present and past in each work changed only in their color.
From a thicket of frenzied lines and a maelstrom of day-glo hues–as if she mixed her paints with irradiated waste, Bedford conjures haunting, post-pastoral landscapes. From this Chernobyl palette and these skittered marks emerges a lamentation on the loss of our earth, but also a calling out of the ancient pastoral tradition for perpetuating what was always a myth: that we, humans, have ever lived in anything like a balance or concordance with our surrounding world. It is only now, in the age of the Anthropocene, that this fallacy of balance is entirely shattered. Bedford’s newest works wreak havoc on these historical contradictions.
Bedford is an acid-rain romantic, only her landscapes are less odes than omens. The works remain romantic not because they idealize the earth but because they provoke the sublime--what matters is not each wasteland’s beauty but its ability to terrify. Spiritual upheaval becomes ecological dread. Bedford paints the madness of the Age of humans, and madness is what she seeks to inspire.
With her helter-skelter Constables and gonzo Bonnards, Bedford critiques the greater landscape tradition while weaponizing it against our own impoverished reality. Each high-concept hallucination memorializes the parched and invalid land of our time. After all, what better way to satirize or own destruction than to grant it so much false nobility?
Whitney Bedford and Jori Finkel will be in conversation about Bedford’s recent works at the gallery on Saturday, February 18, 2023.
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 Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; 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 a painting instructor at both Chapman University and the University of California, Riverside.