A new Film by Eric Minh Swenson
Absolute Zero by Anthony James:
Anthony James’ work takes up the concepts of the universal and transcendental in order to demonstrate the impossibility of their representation. The historical cosmology of Plato is a primary inspiration, both for the sculptures of icosahedrons and for the silhouette of Baroque architect Francesco Borromini’s dome for Sant’Ivo in Rome. Colorful rings of neon nod to the ancient concept of the universe as a set of concentric planetary orbits. The effect is both esoteric and industrial, orphic and distinctly concrete. Modern art historical references abound as well – Bruce Nauman, Ellsworth Kelly, Minimalism – but the artist’s attention is on the wonderment and possibility presented by distant ideals.
The neon spectrum works that provide the title for James’ exhibition are particularly poignant in the tension between references, effects, and materials. The Absolute Zero works are meticulously calibrated spectra of colored neon tubes arranged in concentric circles to evoke the radiance of sacred enlightenment. The hue and intensity of the colors are designed to create white light. The historical references here span empirical experimentation with prisms to the image, across cultures, of the universe-wheel. Neon is already in our time a somewhat outworn material and the visible wires and plugs that trail from the vibrant rings interrupt any illusions of transcendence. This is the paradox that James’ objects show, a formal certainty and perspicuity (exact symmetry, white light, accurate shape) that registers a loss of purity or autonomy or wholeness. His works illustrate ideals, but they themselves are very contingent and actual, particular, not universal: they are for today.
Founded as a partnership between artist Anthony James and curator Lauri Firstenberg, there-there is a new production company positioned as a platform to produce exhibitions, films and editions in order to promote ongoing collaborations with local and international artists. there-there will open its Los Angeles hub on October the inauguration of its ambitious programming schedule in September 2017. Located on the corner of Fountain Ave. and Catalina St. in East Hollywood, the gallery space is part of the redevelopment of the historic Merrick Building undertaken by Site Specific, the development company led by Cyrus Etemad who also joins as a partner in the gallery. Having worked together closely over the course of the past year, James and Firstenberg realized that a physical hub for there-there was the natural evolution of their ongoing collaboration, and fueled by a mutual desire to support artists in the local community, specifically considering the current cultural and political moment.
For more info on Eric Minh Swenson visit his website at emsartscene.com. His art films can be seen at https://vimeo.com/channels/76542
Instagram : @ericminhswenson
Eric Minh Swenson also covers the international art scene and his writings and photo essays can be seen at Huffington Post Arts : http://m.huffpost.com/us/author/eric-minh-swenson/