Ben Jackel | American Imperium
New works by Ben Jackel are making their way to gallery for his upcoming sculptures exhibition opening at L.A. Louver on Wednesday, February 18, 2015, concurrently with that of Rubin.
An elevated sophistication of both technical skill and subject matter are reflected in Jackel’s new body of work, created over the past two years. Titled “American Imperium,” the exhibition centers on the artist’s interest in the history of warfare and the implicit vulnerabilities of the human condition.
The largest work in the exhibition, is “Legacy” (2015). Standing nearly 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall, Jackel carved this larger-than-life axe using axes of different shapes and sizes, and coated its surface with graphite, which he then burnished to a rich luster.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is five oversized helmets, all produced from stoneware. Replicating European helmets dating ca. 1400-1600, each has its own distinctive shape and characteristics, with every intricacy painstakingly rendered. “Stechhelm” (2014) was modeled after a 16th century German jousting helmet, but could easily be mistaken for a futuristic space helmet with its flattened crown and v-shaped eye slit.
Some of these helmets have graceful sweeping lines that portray the elegance of the aristocracy. Other helmets are designed to counter blows from specific weapons. I first saw them as images of power, strength and control, but now I also see that by wearing a helmet we acknowledge our own vulnerabilities. – Ben Jackel
Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin | A Common Thread
For me, witnessing nature coming to life at the tip of my paintbrush is a humbling and moving experience. That being said, I think it is what you don’t see that gives the paintings power. — Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin
Painting from life, particularly landscape painting, has been central to Rubin’s practice since the 1980s. In this new series of landscape paintings created over the past three years and on view at L.A. Louver Gallery, Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin has referenced digital photography shot from an airplane or remote controlled micro-copter to uncover elevated vistas that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Surveying the scenery surrounding her Northern California home in Mendocino County, it was through this observation that the artist became intrigued by the human presence within the context of these environments, particularly natural and man-made bodies of water.
Working primarily on a diminutive scale in this body of work, Rubin transforms these sprawling scenes into intimate encounters of intense focus. Requiring meticulous attention to detail, Rubin applies the oil paint undiluted and without glazes in successive layers to build the desired imagery. Irrespective of subject matter, it is the composite relationship between shape, color, texture and light to which Rubin gives her acute attentiveness and that forms the basis of her work. “However, in the end,” says Rubin, “intuition and memory are what shape and form each painting.”
Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin was born and raised in Los Angeles.