Whether it happened or not
April 19 - June 28, 2014
Reception: Saturday April 19, 6 - 8 pm
Angles Gallery | 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd | Los Angeles, CA
Garden (1976, 2012, 2013), 2013, Chromogenic Print, 47.75 x 82.75 inches
Angles Gallery is very pleased to present Whether it happened or not, a new series of photographs by Los Angeles artist Augusta Wood. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition at Angles Gallery. The exhibition will be on view from April 19th through May 31st with a reception for the artist on Saturday, April 19th, 6-8 PM.
“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.”
Whether it happened or not is a series of compositions made entirely of projected slides. The works draw from a second pass through the artist’s enormous archive of family photographs, and incorporate pictures she continues to make in the New England school-house-turned-home where she spent the first 17 years of her life. Wood’s interest lies in photographing the present, using the past to describe a cumulative history that is the present. She arranges photographic space from both old photographs and newly authored images to understand a visual and personal history as it influences her perception today. Whether it happened or not is an act of organizing chaos and composing a view that asserts the way things exist in the artist’s mind. These are works that reflect what she remembers and wants to stabilize, complete, and believes should be not be forgotten. Wood is resisting loss. This happened, this is real, these images exist now, whether it happened or not.
The range of her archive contains an overwhelming amount of information in the form of small transparent rectangles of life: parties, portraits, pets, artworks, piles of books, birthdays, holidays, furniture, renovations, storage, boxes, windows, landscapes, and empty rooms. The artist’s father and mother made most of the oldest photographs, along with some made by visitors and other unknown authors. Wood has also discovered her own images in the family archive, made in the house as a child with her first film cameras. Over the past ten years Wood has revisited the house to photograph both what persists of the past and what has changed. The archive continues to grow – but more slowly now. This work is in a sense collaborative, an accumulation and an expression of a subjective construction. Wood stakes a claim in her choice of which images to put together, defining her own memory and the potency of it.
Whether it happened or not evolved out of her previous body of work, I have only what I remember. The use of slide projection continues in the current body of work, though the intentions and process are independent. Whether it happened or not is made exclusively in the studio using the traces of a history marked out through lived spaces. It relies on images from film projected to reconstitute what otherwise could not be seen and articulated. New images coalesce with old to examine the idiosyncrasies and slippage of memory that define experience. The present contains the past and the future wouldn’t exist without either – building artwork that lives in the present and not allowing some ideas to slip into the dark.
In addition to the new work, Augusta Wood has published a book of her previous body of work, I have only what I remember, which will launch simultaneously with the new exhibition Whether it happened or not. The book carefully sequences the influence of architectural space and photographic images. The publication is an 80-page hardcover book in an edition of 500, designed with renowned Los Angeles-based graphic designer Gail Swanlund. It includes an essay by Rebecca Morse, Associate Curator in the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, an interview with Augusta’s father, architect Jeremy Scott Wood, and a poem by the award-winning writer W. S. Merwin.
Augusta Wood’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Angles Gallery (Los Angeles) and Cherry and Martin (Los Angeles), and has been featured in exhibitions at Zach Feuer Gallery (New York), Anton Kern Gallery (New York), Torrance Art Museum (Torrance, CA), and the Fotofest 2010 Biennial (Houston, TX), among others. Wood’s work has been written about in the Los Angeles Times, Modern Painters, Art Lies Contemporary Art Quarterly, The Huffington Post, and has appeared in Water~Stone Review and on the cover of Black Clock. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She earned her BFA from The Cooper Union and her MFA from California Institute of the Arts. She lives and works in Los Angeles.