Founded in Venice, California in 1975, L.A. Louver gallery is committed to contemporary art through a distinguished exhibition program of Los Angeles based and international artists. In 2001, L.A. Louver initiated its Rogue Wave program, examining artists living and working in Los Angeles.
For its second international presentation of Rogue Wave Projects, L.A. Louver is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by the Chinese artist Chen Man. In her first exhibition at L.A. Louver, Chen Man will present iconic photographs and a suite of her traditional Chinese paintings, all created over the past 10 years.
Pushing the boundaries of photography, Chen Man has rapidly evolved into a leading cultural voice of China’s post-’80s generation. At only 34 years of age, she is widely recognized as one of Asia’s preeminent photographers, developing a singular style of imagery that is metaphoric of contemporary Chinese culture.
In the early 2000s, Chen Man rose to prominence as a fashion photographer, distinguished by her sensational and stylized use of post-production techniques and hands-on manipulation. Treating the initial untouched photographic image as a blank canvas, she employs digital tools in a painterly fashion to build a narrative or concept. This process of layering strokes, textures and imagery provides the artist full creative freedom to construct a fantastical world entirely her own. Drawing from an immense and prolific visual vocabulary, Chen Man imposes traditional Chinese iconography onto modern subjects, creating compositions that are both contradictory and harmonious, in a celebration of the past and the present.
In the Vision series (2003), Chen Man layers Chinese elements onto the faces of stunning Asian models. Vision: Year of the Monkey alludes to the monkey mask, a reference to the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West.
The New China series (2006) places elegant women, clothed in fashionable red garments, against symbolic Chinese settings – ranging from an industrial complex to Tiananmen Square. Five Elements (2011) juxtaposes models transformed into divine interpretations of fire, water, metal and wood, alongside images of real-life Chinese women who work as fishmongers or metalsmiths. “I mix tradition with modernity and make it kitsch,” explains Chen Man. “In the past, Chinese artists have always looked abroad for inspiration as opposed to looking domestically. I’m one of the first people to actually look to China for inspiration.”
In counterpoint to these photographs are a series of traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphic works created by Chen Man from 2012-2013. Minimal and poetic, these paintings derive from the artist’s earliest art training in classical forms, and her own devotion to Taoist philosophy. This is the first time these paintings will be exhibited in the United States.
Matt Wedel: Skyroom
Having grown up around his father’s pottery studio, ceramic artist Matt Wedel has long understood and respected both the intrinsic properties of the material and the element of chance that accompanies the process of firing and glazing the clay. Stepping away from the notion of ceramics as a functional craft, Wedel’s art enters the realm of mythological creation stories. Intent on recreating the world from mud or clay, he intricately models vegetation, minerals, and animals—all of which, while familiar, suggest they have roots in the unknown. His works are complex yet fluid with simple but commanding saturated color. Recognizing that “there is baggage with being a medium-specific ceramic artist today,” Wedel states his art strives to “explore the medium and expand on [its] history.”