Current Exhibitions
April 26 - May 31, 2003
Opening Reception
Saturday, April 26, 2003, 5 - 7 pm
Alex Donis Heroina Oriane Stender LOVE, O
Click here for catalog essay
Click here for La Opinion review (spanish)
Click here for LA Times review
Alex Donis
Donis calls upon his viewers to contemplate a universe beyond the paradigms that have trapped Latino theoretical and cultural production in the binarist and spacio-centric logic of the border for far too long.
Coco Fusco, 1997
frumkin/ duval gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new pastel drawings by Alex Donis opening April 26th through May 31st, 2003. In Hero’na (meaning both heroin and heroine in Spanish), Donis pays tribute to the women he knows in the arts who have inspired and influenced him. In his first solo show since the controversial exhibit WAR* (Dirty-dancing LAPD officers and gangbangers) which was banned by the LA Cultural Affairs Department, Donis turns a playful eye upon the sacred halls of art history to find his 'muse'.
Art theorist Rita Gonzalez notes in her essay for the exhibition that Donis has plenty to tease out in the "feminized work environment" of the museum world with its "diversity of class representation - from the wealthy set who devote their lives to philanthropy and art history to the middle class who get by on tight budgets in order to follow a career path in the arts." This new body of work is filled with women who are performance artists, photographers, painters, curators, docents, students, and even his own mother.
In each of these drawings Donis places one of these women at the center of a vast expanse of white space. Each woman is alone or paired with herself, in contemporary dress (or undress) and attitude, in a pose from the world of painting or sculpture by the likes of Titian, Raphael, Donatello, Velasquez, and Goya among others. Donis, a devotee of great history painting, first encountered these works of art through religious education in the Catholic Church and others through study and travel. Working from sketches on tracing paper (some of which will also be exhibited), Donis inserts his models into the chosen work. Then he arranges a camera shoot and directs his model in striking the pose and each then becomes his co-conspirator in this irrepressible romp through art history.
Donis's drawings "follow a whole line of feminist critiques of the feminine muse as inspirer of great male art acts," Gonzalez observes. And by "deal(ing) with that obscure object of desire in art history, the female body, but combining the most extreme theatrical moment of feminine depiction with gestures of defiance, discord and triteness, he makes bare the true friction that drives the artist/model alliance."
In these drawings Gonzalez says, "Donis has re-cast intimate (and some not-so-intimate) relationships into these physical details, not only in an attempt to bring a carnal knowledge back to the painting - but to inject his own personal life into the history of art."
*WAR was re-installed at frumkin/ duval gallery from December 1, 2001 through January 12, 2002 in protest of that act of censorship.
Oriane Stender
frumkin/duval gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Oriane Stender entitled LOVE, O. In this autobiographical series, Stender takes as her starting point works of modern and contemporary art, both visual and literary, including iconic Pop images by Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana, and Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, all works that were significant to her development. Using the covers of contemporary art auction catalogues as a basis for mixed media collages, the artist layers, sews and interweaves text, photographs and objects of personal and cultural significance to create a visual stream-of-consciousness journal. Stender has been interested in the concept of "deconstruction" and in previous bodies of work created a unique way to incorporate traditions and techniques of women's handicrafts in the service of contemporary art practice.
In LOVE, O all the techniques and materials come together in ways that examine externally imposed expectations, self-determination and self-reinvention, the commodification of art, the symbolism and significance of money in our lives, and disillusionment and loss of innocence. The structural forms employed include densely worked surfaces, allover patterning and the grid, with its history of both minimalism and craft. Building on referents that precede and envelope her childhood, (Stender was named after a Proust character), she creates an intensely personal web of responses to our history, both personal and collective.
Oriane Stender lives and works in San Francisco. This is her third solo exhibition with frumkin / duval gallery. She studied sculpture at the San Francisco Art institute and UC Berkeley. She exhibits with Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco and with Allan Stone in New York.