Featuring works by Whitney Hubbs, David Korty, Matt Lipps, Fay Ray, and Sara VanDerBeek.
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 11, 6-9pm
Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to present Los Angeles-based artist Cammie Staros’ first exhibition with the gallery, les vases communicants. The exhibition’s title references surrealist André Breton’s 1932 essay by the same name, which in turn borrows it from the scientific principle of “communicating vessels.” Looking specifically to the shapely vessels of Classical Greece, the artist’s hand-built objects marry ancient ceramic techniques with modern industrial materials such as neon and machined metals. The resulting sculptures are rooted in history, yet disarmingly present.
For les vases communicants, Staros mines images and artifacts from the Greco-Roman period that aestheticizes eroticism, violence, and victory. Drawing distinct parallels between bygone civilizations and our own, allusions to bondage, sadomasochism, and other forms of contemporary fetish emerge to underscore the violence and sexual experimentation of societies past and present. Additionally, the artist anthropomorphizes her sculptures through references to armor and dress—often a gendered divide—as traditionally depicted on Greek figure vases. At times, her vessels allude to the historical depiction of severed heads, using the myth of Medusa as a point of departure to address the terror of female sexuality as it is represented throughout art history.
Staros’ fascination with classical antiquities lies both in the charge of the objects themselves, and with how those objects have come to represent an origin story of Western art history. Her works remind us that historical narratives are told through visual languages as much as written ones. Staros contributes her own symbology to a constellation of references from far-flung regions and eras, and entices her audiences to reexamine the role of historical objects.
Presented alongside Staros’ sculptures is an artist-curated selection of works by Whitney Hubbs, David Korty, Matt Lipps, Fay Ray, and Sara VanDerBeek. Referencing a museological strategy of informing viewers about the practice of the artist through the context of her contemporaries, Staros has selected specific works that consider the representation of desire, violence, gender codes, and institutional tropes of display, all embedded in the materials and images of antiquity.
Cammie Staros (b. 1983, Nashville, TN) received her BA from Brown, Providence, in 2006 and her MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, in 2011. Staros has had solo exhibitions at Lefebvre & Fils, Paris (2017), and Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles (2015). Shulamit Nazarian will present a solo booth by the artist at The Armory Show, New York (2018).
Whitney Hubbs (b. 1977, Los Angeles, CA) received her MFA from University of California, Los Angeles, in 2008, and her BFA from California College of the Arts, in 2004. Hubbs has had solo exhibitions at M+B Gallery, Los Angeles (2013, 2016), and California Museum of Photography, Riverside (2015), among others.
David Korty (b. 1971, San Francisco, CA,) received his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Korty has had solo exhibitions at Night Gallery (2015, 2013); China Art Objects (2011, 2007); and Michael Kohn (2008) in Los Angeles, at Derek Eller Gallery (2017); and Greene Naftali (2005) in New York, and at Sadie Coles HQ (2016, 2013, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004) in London.
Matt Lipps (b. 1975, CA) received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and his BFA from California State University, Long Beach. Lipps has had solo exhibitions at Klemm’s, Berlin (2017); Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles (2016, 2013, 2011); Jessica Silverman, San Francisco (2014, 2011, 2010); and Josh Lilley Gallery, London, (2014, 2012), among others.
Fay Ray (b. 1978, Riverside, CA) received her BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles and her MFA from Columbia University, New York in 2005. She has exhibited at Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris (2016); Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles (2016); JOAN, Los Angeles (2015); Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles (2012); Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills (2011) and New York (2007), among others.
Sara VanDerBeek (b. 1976, Baltimore, MD) received her BFA from The Cooper Union of Art and Science, New York. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2015); Baltimore Museum of Art (2015); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010); Fondazione Memmo, Rome (2012); and Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (2014), among others.