On Bodies: The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas, TX
November 3 - February 2

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Narrow Passage – Noysky Projects, Los Angeles
October 14 - November 12
It May Be Time to Rethink the Way You Think, 2017, hand-dyed canvas, polyester rope, wood, wax, 88 x 40 x 27inches

It May Be Time to Rethink the Way You Think, 2017, hand-dyed canvas, polyester rope, wood, wax, 88 x 40 x 27inches

The Show that the LA Times, Curate LA, Venison Magazine, and Art and Cake Have Been Talking About

A Narrow Passage, a multidisciplinary exhibition featuring the work of Lana Duong, James Gilbert, Jenalee Harmon, Megan Mueller, Jenny Rask, Nicolas Shake, Katya Usvitsky, and May Wilson, has already been received with great fanfare. Major media outlets like the Los Angeles Times and the international publication, Art Week, have been promoting the show, as well as well-respected regional outlets, like Curate LA, Art and Cake, Venison Magazine, Asymmetric Magazine, and DoLA:

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Noysky Projects presents A Narrow Passage, a multidisciplinary exhibition that explores themes of constriction, compression, and concealment as a way to relate to personal biographies.

Abstract works from A Narrow Passage are comprised of materials that twist, turn, bond, choke, or smother to the point of collapse, while others have approached constriction in a more gratifying way, like the comforting sensation of a warm embrace or the euphoric feeling of pleasure derived from pain.

Artists have used the compression of space as a visual device to relate to the body for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians wrapped the body in ornate sheaths that accentuated the unique forms of the individual, while providing familiar biographical landmarks to aid the spirit in its journey to the afterlife. Shibari, a form of Japanese rope bondage developed during the Edo period, was used as a decorative device to display captive prisoners like trophies, creating complex patterns and shapes that pressed into the skin. Twentieth-Century works from Man Ray and Christo & Jeanne-Claude have used concealment as a means to invoke mystery, transformation, and revelation, while Eva Hesse and Jackie Winsor put the body back into abstraction, using hands-on processes and tactile materials that actively rejected the detached qualities of the minimalists.

Many of the works in A Narrow Passage employ elements of playfulness with form while acknowledging the weight and density of the artist’s chosen materials. Some of the works in A Narrow Passage relate to the quirks of the body, straddling the line between fragility and rigidity, using irregular, organic forms. Others have used tension to reveal internal conflict, illuminating our efforts to adapt to our new political realities while also protecting the ideas we cherish most.

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Plastic Primitive – Signed, A Limited Edition Colouring Book
July 12

FullSizeRender 2 2NOW AVAILABLE

James Gilbert / Garth Bowden – Plastic Primitive

Signed by both artists, Numbered, Limited Edition of 100, 34 black and white Plates

  $25 with free shipping in the US, All others please inquire.

Contact me directly for your copy.

  FullSizeRender 7 FullSizeRender 6FullSizeRender 3

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Plastic Primitive
June 30 - September 28
IMG_4045

James Gilbert & Garth Bowden, Plastic Primitive, Paris, France

An exhibition of new sculptures, drawings and photographs from Los Angeles based artist James Gilbert and Paris based Garth Bowden.

This exhibition is the culmination of an on-going conversation between the two artists and their individual studio practices. For the first time, the artists have proposed a joint residency together in France where all work is created along side each other, in response to each other, specifically for this exhibition.

This dialogue between the two artists marries the language and structures of primitive visual forms with images from contemporary pop culture. Setting in play contradictory elements – objects of symbolic meaning used for ritual and cultural identity versus objects devoid of meaning – the products of consumerist pop society such as plastic toys, games and cartoons.

There is an interest in defining a period of our collective history and cultural understanding. Drawing from the vitality and power of primitive tribal art and the banal objects of pop culture, both artists seek to compress these apparently opposing elements into objects of meaning and humour.

“The conscious search in history for a more deeply expressive, permanent human nature and cultural structure in contrast to the nascent modern realties.” Stanley Diamond, “In Search of the Primitive”

LeStudio, Paris, France

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Nakid Magazine – Features James Gilbert as Artist to Watch
June 28

Tweeted, Googled and Inappropriately Touched

Read full article at Nakid Magazine

I think of each pair of underpants as an intimate portrait. They are an examination of the large amount of intimate and private information we willingly share through social media, reality television and 24-hour news cycles – the immense fascination with celebrity and pop culture. Each pair of underpants is sewn from transparent industrial plastic then embellished with beads, zippers or sequins, like layers of experience, personality and behavior. The underpants expose our most intimate information – revealing our perviness, opinions, quirkiness, sense of humor and a narrative of our culture.”

James Gilbert

The Clutch, 2012, 7 x 14 x 2 inches, plastic, threadThe CEO, 2012, 7 x 14 x 2 inches, plastic, threadSpeed Ball, 2012, 6 x 14 x 2 inches, plastic, threadBig Boy, 2012, 7 x 14 x 2 inches, plastic, threadThe Biter, 2012, 6 x 14 x 2 inches, plastic, threadF_LeRoy_james gilbert

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A Historic Point of Interest and other Landmarks
January 26 - March 5

Historic-Point-of-Interest-Window

A solo exhibition features a large site-specific work that consumes the gallery with a selection of smaller works that address destruction of architecture, intentional actions that destroy architecturally important and significant cultural heritage sites. The labor-intensive process of hand sewing and hand-dyeing hundreds of visually dense canvas objects that weigh upon or support fragile wood structures that remind us of relief carvings, elaborately designed doors, buttresses, architectural joints and bridges.

Natural disasters and accidents are inevitable but it is human aggression where we experience the loss of art, architecture and historical sites that are neither designed nor intends to be destroyed. To deliberately eradicate identity is to eradicate art and objects of symbolic meaning. We have witnessed systematic destruction of heritage as an attempt to destroy cultural diversity through religious or ideological reasoning, political agenda, activism or cultural curation. I wanted to reimagine an object that is simultaneously a symbol and protectant. When building barricades for fortification in front of and around culturally significant objects and architecture they then become the new identity and description for the object they are protecting. Through the use of common art making materials: paint, canvas, marble and wood, they are reinterpreted as devices to defend, deter or lessen destruction but also form a new autonomous work to be visited, viewed and contemplated.

PYO Gallery
1100 South Hope Street #105
Los Angeles, CA 90015
pyogalleryla.com

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LA Art Show
January 27 - 31

LA-Art-Show-2016

Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 South Figueroa Center Street West Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90015

PYO Gallery, Los Angeles, Seoul, Beijing – Booth 621/720

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Art of War and Peace
ART TALK - KCRW, Edward Goldman discusses Sledgehammer.Bullet.Bomb. exhibition

Art of War and Peace mp3

Listen/View Episode on KCRW

Los Angeles’ art scene continues to burst with high profile museum and gallery exhibitions. But today, I want to share with you a few intriguing and delightful discoveries I made somewhat off the beaten path.

At Manhattan Beach Art Center, which is only a half hour drive from LA, there is an exhibition with a name that stops you in your tracks: Sledgehammer. Bullet. Bomb. With what’s happening right now in the world, this exhibition by LA-based artist, James Gilbert, makes a particularly strong statement about “human aggression” [leading to] the loss of art, architecture, and historical sites.”

Gilbert creates sculptural artworks that manifest tension between elaborate, precarious wooden structures and what looks like a multitude of sandbags. Some of the structures seem ready to collapse under the weight of the bags. Others lean against each other in a game of push and pull.

Two specially commissioned artworks communicate a sense of destruction and protection. With a sledgehammer, the artist broke through the walls, left the debris on the floor, and then packed the hole with dozens of stuffed canvas bags. For me, all of the above evoke memories of attempts to protect major cultural sites around the world not only in the past, but in current military and political upheavals as well.

at151124Gilbert1-EG       at151124Gilbert2-EG       at151124Gilbert3-EG
photographs by Edward Goldman

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Protective Devices
Not the guarded, but the guardians in James Gilbert’s new work by Bondo Wyszpolski
A Historic Point of Interest and other Landmarks on Titan Road 2015, 75 x 103 x 76 inches, hand-dyed canvas, polyester rope, wood, metal

A Historic Point of Interest and other Landmarks on Titan Road 2015

Pink sandbags and a few two-by-fours to keep them propped up. What shall we make of this? Out of the gate, I was perplexed and, honestly, not too interested. So, that’s my starting point in what turned out to be a rewarding encounter and learning experience when I met James Gilbert, whose solo exhibition, “Sledgehammer.Bullet.Bomb,” opens this evening at the Manhattan Beach Art Center.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 4.24.52 PM

Curated by Homeira Goldstein and presented by Time 4 Art, the show contains nine new sculptures and two site-specific works, plus a video that addresses intentional destruction of cultural heritage sites. But is the work on view really serious or just playful, or both?

Well, it’s both. Gilbert is a thoughtful artist who’s unafraid to push buttons and boundaries, with what I’m guessing is an impish sense of humor. We met recently over dinner at the exclusive Goldstein Café and talked far into the night.

THE SYMBOL BECOMES THE OBJECT
“Dealing with basic compositional elements is never enough for me,” Gilbert says. “It has to be something that resonates with some kind of social impact. Those are the kinds of projects I really gear myself towards.”

Although the projects themselves vary, he adds, “It always has to deal with social issues and identity. It could be social media issues, women’s rights issues, workers’ issues. Ultimately, you can distill it down in terms of where does identity come from. In this particular project, it has to do with destruction of cultural heritage sites. When you destroy those things you destroy part of cultural identity,which distills down to destroying the identity of a culture and a people.”
Does this series (“Sledgehammer.Bullet.Bomb”) relate to and resonate with what’s happening in the world right now?
“Absolutely,” Gilbert replies. “There’s this systemic kind of destruction in the Middle East, and people dealing with (the willful eradication of) temples or cathedrals or relics.”

It’s hard not to think of what has occurred in Palmyra as well as ancient sites in Mosul, Nineveh, Nimrud, Hatra, and other Syrian or Iraqi cities. Even the Israeli policy of bulldozing the homes of alleged Palestinian terrorists seems to fall into this category.
Still, the question might be lingering: Why the sandbags, the wood frames, and the color pink. What’s up with that?
“I was looking at World War I trench art,” Gilbert explains, “which led me to start looking at pictures from World War II. Something that kept coming up were cathedrals or monuments or frescos: They have these sandbags in front of them, protecting them from bombing. And so it occurred to me that these things that were protecting were actually becoming a new symbol for what was behind them.”

In case you’re skimming this article, the last sentence is worth re-reading. If you’ve got one handy, use a highlighter.

This was how Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco, “The Last Supper,” was protected and survived the bombing of Santa Maria delle Grazie in August, 1943
Gilbert references one of the pieces in the show, a buttress of sorts with sandbags. “I was thinking of a picture like ‘The Last Supper,’ and there’s always sandbags against it.” For Gilbert, the focus is not on Leonardo’s fresco, but rather what’s trying to keep it safe. Or, put mildly, the protector without the protectee.
“I like the idea that these things that are protecting it are the symbol and then we move them off, and then they become their own individual kind of piece.
“And so what I do,” Gilbert continues, “is I take the sandbags and the buttress and I move it to the center of the room with these architectural elements, which has kind of this phony structure to hold it up, but also it becomes like a color-field painting.”

TICKLED PINK

Did your eyes linger over those words “becomes like a color-field painting”?
It certainly seems incongruous, sandbags as they might have been used during warfare, that is, aerial bombardment, to safeguard irreplaceable art or artifacts, with the color pink. But let’s listen in on what James Gilbert has to say.
“I’ve used pink a lot in my work,” he explains. “In a lot of my projects there’s two parts. There’s always the serious part, and then there’s always the part where I try to bring in a sense of humor.” And with regard to “Sledgehammer.Bullet.Bomb,” “because I already have this element of destruction in it, I wanted to bring it back in terms of perception, to bring a more vibrant kind of playful vibe to it, a softness. Pink is a color I’ve often used for that. This one has a little bit of purple in it too, with a different meaning, but the pinks and the purples really bring a softness and a vibrancy to it.”

A Bunch of dum dums tried to Destroy it while I was in Charge of Protecting It 2015

A Bunch of dum dums tried to Destroy it while I was in Charge of Protecting It 2015

Lest it seem like a purely arbitrary choice, Gilbert then makes one thing clear: “Everything from the materials to the colors is always really relevant to me.” And with those words we are left to our own devices, as to whether the clash of battlefield and playground aesthetics work for or against our appreciation of the finished product.
Each work, however, takes hours, days, perhaps weeks to construct.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of pieces,” Gilbert says, “and each one is handsewn, hand-dyed, filled, and then I have these elaborate wood structures that take an immense amount of time in terms of all these little details. So it’s really a labor intensive process.”
As some of his previous endeavors have shown, Gilbert opts for more rather than less.
“Every so often I review what I’ve done and what I’m trying to communicate in a bigger picture. I’ve noticed that everything is in huge, huge multiples, and lots of layers, and really (involves) a physical process in terms of making the work. I don’t know why I do it; it’s just that I have to see it. And so, when I decide I want to do a project, I always do so many multiples because it plays into this massness of what I’m trying to communicate.”
Well, for one it’s more impressive that way. You can look at one terracotta warrior, ho-hum, or you can gasp at an area the size of a football field that’s packed with hundreds of them.
Gilbert mentions that there are still three more pieces he needs to finish for the show.
One of our dining companions, a fellow named Arnold, leans across the table and says: “Instead of being here, you should be working on those three pieces.”
Gilbert laughs. “Oh, man, I’m exhausted!”
The next morning he was back in the studio.

(more…)

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Sledgehammer.Bullet.Bomb. at Manhattan Beach Art Center
November 19 - January 9

A solo exhibition features nine new sculptures, two site-specific works and a video that address destruction of architecture, intentional actions that destroy architecturally important and significant cultural heritage sites. The labor-intensive process of hand sewing and hand-dyeing hundreds of visually dense canvas objects that weigh upon or support fragile wood structures that remind us of relief carvings, elaborately designed doors, buttresses, architectural joints and bridges. Two site-specific works will be built directly into the architecture of intentionally destroyed gallery walls.

Natural disasters and accidents are inevitable but it is human aggression where we experience the loss of art, architecture and historical sites that are neither designed nor intends to be destroyed. To deliberately eradicate identity is to eradicate art and objects of symbolic meaning. We have witnessed systematic destruction of heritage as an attempt to destroy cultural diversity through religious or ideological reasoning, political agenda, activism or cultural curation. The sledgehammer, bullet, bomb, water or earthquake perform the destruction – I wanted to reimagine an object that is simultaneously a symbol and protectant. When building barricades for fortification in front of and around culturally significant objects and architecture they then become the new identity and description for the object they are protecting. Through the use of common art making materials: canvas, marble and wood, they are reinterpreted as devices to defend, deter or lessen destruction but also form a new autonomous work to be visited, viewed and contemplated

Manhattan Beach Art Center
1560 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 802-5410

Opening Reception, Thursday, November 19th, 6-8pm

A Historic Point of Interest and other Landmarks on Titan Road 2015, 75 x 103 x 76 inches, hand-dyed canvas, polyester rope, wood, metal

A Historic Point of Interest and other Landmarks on Titan Road 2015, 75 x 103 x 76 inches, hand-dyed canvas, polyester rope, wood, metal

 

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San Diego Art Institute – Women’s Work
October 2 - November 15

Women's work SDAI proof

“Women’s Work” is an international exhibition that calls for a re-examination of traditional gender stereotypes. The show includes powerful images evoking and informing psychological experiences of both the artists and viewers. The artists included in this program employ a variety of techniques regarded as traditional and domestic, such as embroidery and crochet, using craft materials to address cultural and gender issues in a complex intersection of artistic practices, popular culture, and aesthetic splendor. A curatorial grant from NYC-based ISE Cultural Foundation was awarded to produce this exhibition

San Diego Art Institute
1439 El Prado – Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92101

Tel (619) 236 0011

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In Studio thoughts with James Gilbert
Los Angeles

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Moist
June 6 - July 11

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 4.39.25 PM

Moist casts a long slow look at sensuality, sexuality and eroticism into this group exhibition, giving free reign to desire.

Orange County Center for Contemporary Art

117 North Sycamore Street

Santa Ana, California, 92701

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UnDressed: An Exposé of Conceptual Garments and Accessories
May 7 - June 22

Better Buttered, 2012, James Gilbert

Radius Gallery (formerly SCICA) at the Tannery Arts Center
1050 River Street, #127
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
May 7 – June 29, 2014

Pajaro Valley Arts Council (PVAC)
37 Sudden Street
Watsonville, California 95076
May 7 – June 22, 2014

UnDressed explores the realm of apparel beyond the conventional limitations of fabric, needle and thread. Expect the unexpected in this exhibit of curious, intriguing, narrative garments and accessories that utilize traditional methods, as well as experimentation with unusual materials, tools and techniques to create surprising, witty and thought provoking conceptual pieces and installations

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Wrestle James Gilbert at Dallas Contemporary
November 8 & 9

The performance will present an unique opportunity for museum participants to physically engage with the artist in a museum setting, while igniting a conversation about the cultural dynamic between arts and sports.

Each challenge will be on a certified wrestling mat with a referee present. Participants must be +21 years old and weigh approximately 100-175 pounds. Male and female. No previous wrestling experience required. No shoes on the wrestling mat.

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Privacy is Dead Because We Said So
An on-going, online public performance

It’s simple – contact me. If you want to participate and agree with the terms I want to send you a pair of underpants.*

*shipping fees may apply in some parts of the world

Privacy is Dead Because We Said So, On-going, online public performance

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