Spring/Break has always accomplished with ease what many galleries and so-called satellite fairs often struggle with when a behemoth outfit like Frieze rolls into town: It stands out. And it does so without the slightest hint that they were trying hard to do it. But, in a way, that’s Spring/Break’s purpose.
In New York, Spring/Break has a reputation for being over the top and, to some, overwhelming (a point one of its founders, Andrew Gori shares with a smile). This year marks the fair’s fourth edition in Los Angeles and the vibe was decidedly West Coast—Chet Baker to the New York edition’s John Coltrane.
The show was held for the second year at Skylight Culver City, a 21,000 square-foot mid-century space that gives participants and the artwork a chance to breathe. But, not to worry, the cool atmosphere didn’t take away from Spring/Break’s reputation for eccentricity.
Special Project: Kathleen Henderson, Gummed Reverse, Track 16
While Spring/Break is known for booths and installations chosen by curators or artists, there were rare instances when a gallery would show work under the umbrella title Special Project. Los Angeles gallery Track 16 dedicated their booth to the artist Kathleen Henderson.
Once based in Oakland, Henderson taught at the Center for Creative Growth, an art school for developmentally different and mentally disabled artists. Recently she moved to New Jersey to start a similar program called Studio Route 29.
The paper and oil stick works are informed by mythology and her formative years in the lush woods of Massachusetts. The figures are simple, but Henderson’s deft ability with line and color bring an emotional heft to the faces and movements of the people in her drawings.
And All Our Yesterdays Have Guided Fools, Curated by Dale Wittig
Split about evenly between work by Dale Wittig and Max Schumann, who happens to be the executive director of Printed Matter, the booth is made up of figurative works that play with both memory, history, and a touch of violence.
Schumann’s acrylic-on-cardboard paintings bring to mind Latin American ex-voto paintings. Each black and white work shows an image of a young person posing next to their first kill, mostly deer, but there’s a turkey and a moose in the mix. Beneath each image is a short description of the scene and the child above: “November 8. Austin Roberge, age ten, shot this 99-pound deer Sunday afternoon” reads one image. The work is wonderfully contrasted by Wittig’s larger, color paintings. A large part of the booth is a series titled Comunards that evoke the supporters of the Paris Commune in the late 1700s.
Echoes Of Existence, Jack Henry, Curated by Laura Horne
Jack Henry’s sculptures, executed mostly with resin and either steel or bronze, resemble wonderfully elegant piles of debris, things you might find behind a work desk in your grandfather’s garage. Bits of chain, a random lugnut, a crushed beer can, or a stray piece of wood, the debris has an ethereal glow.
The whole booth swims in textural elements. Where most booths resemble a cubicle, the entrance here feels like an otherworldly cave or portal. With a jigsaw, Henry cut two wavy archways which were then connected with gypsum cement. Passing through the archway is a wonderful set up for the otherworldly atmosphere in the booth.
Tempus Fugit, Jonathan Peck, Curated by Katherine Rakoczy
Connecticut-based artist Johnathan Peck’s wood panel works evoke the greatest bits of growing up in the 1980s through the depth of memento mori paintings. Large spray paint and acrylic line renderings of halved fruit, skulls, and flowers jump from the wood panels like a neon sign during a midnight drive along Route 66.
Staring at the black backgrounds and punchy colors with their soft afterglow bring to mind hours spent playing with a Lite-Brite and, in a juxtaposition of the traditional memento mori, these works remind you to embrace the party that is life instead of contemplating the inevitability of death.
Parker Love Bowling + Shane McKenzie. Curated by Ambre Kelly + Andrew Gori
Video artist and musician Shane McKenzie and his wife, Parker Love Bowling share this installation that steals your attention upon walking into Spring/Break. In the dead center of the room, the couple has amassed a trove of vintage televisions playing a VHS recording of Bowling reading from Rhododendron, Rhododendron, her new book of poems.
On one side of the installation, eight small televisions are stacked into a shopping cart. More, larger tvs cover are laid along the floor. To the right sit a tweed Fender amp, an electric guitar, and handful of guitar pedals that the couple used to perform throughout the fair (unfortunately ARTnews missed the show, but we heard it was fantastic).