Yes, there was far too much art during my quick trip to LA to squeeze into a single blog post. So here we are at Part Two, with lots of pics and commentary to cover a single completely and totally incredible collection of work.
Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me at CoproGallery
What happens when you mix two of my very favorite things? You get a really great art exhibit about the best TV show in history! Okay, technically, the exhibit on display at Santa Monica’s CoproGallery pays homage to the 20th anniversary of the 1992 film, Fire Walk With Me, released following the cancellation of Twin Peaks after its weird and wonderful two year run. The TV show was honored with a very successful exhibit of its own at Clifton’s Brookdale in 2011, and it seemed only right that the movie would get a similarly artistic treatment.
I was very much looking forward to seeing this exhibit, as Twin Peaks was most certainly one of my two favorite television shows (the other being the original Japanese version of Iron Chef), and the roster of artists submitting work included many of my favorite contemporary artists. The show is very impressive with a miniature version of the “red room” with clips of the film playing on a television, and music from the soundtrack piped into the gallery as you soak in various interpretations of the film’s characters, themes, and notable scenes.
There were tons of impressive pieces in the show, but I’ll try to touch on my favorites, one of which is Martin Wittfooth’s impressive title piece on the right, which perfectly captures a scene from the film’s title credits of a bird perched in peaceful contemplation between two distant mountain peaks. The subject matter was a perfect match for Martin’s style, and a great way to welcome visitors to the gallery.
The exhibit is spread throughout the gallery space, from the entrance foyer to Copro’s two main exhibit halls. My favorite pieces were in the larger of the spaces, with new work from Chris Mars, Glenn Barr, Shag, Chris Berens, and much more. My very favorite piece was a large, ornately framed painting of Laura Palmer from Glenn Barr. I’ve always really, really liked Glenn’s work and would rate this piece amongst his very best. He does a superb job capturing the tormented spirt of the character at the center the film.
Another favorite was An Old Woman and Her Grandson by Shag, which sets two scenes from the movie in a forest of chopped trees. On the right are two of the more enigmatic characters from the film, an old woman who appears along with her grandson who wears a papier-mâché mask. On the left is classic imagery from the mysterious and otherworldly red room with Laura Palmer seated between Agent Dale Cooper and a Grecian statue. Shag has done a thoughtful job in choosing to pair these two scenes in a single painting, as there’s always been much Phd-level speculation in fan circles about the significance of these two scenes in relationship to one another.
One nice treat of seeing the exhibit in person is to finally get the opportunity to see the work of Chris Berens in person. I’ve followed Berens’ for many years after first being exposed to his work via online previews of his many exhibits at Seattle’s Roq la Rue Gallery, but I’d never had the opportunity to experience his ethereal layering of paint and cut paper strips up close. The technique is very impressive and brings an edgy sense of immediacy to the work that is pretty much impossible to replicate with a JPEG. I liked it lots!
Other favorites included Chris Mars’s engaging portrait of David Lynch as Agent Gordon Cole (complete with requisite headset and cigarette), Esao Andrews’ White Horse, Nicoletta Ceccoli’s tiny acrylic demon, Lori Earley’s excellent venture into digital art, Annie Owens’ portrait of Audrey Horne, Dan Quitana’s Red Room, and Chris Buzelli’s faceless creep-out on heroin addiction, Laura.
This was one of the better group shows I’ve seen in ages, with work that has remained in my mind long after leaving Bergamot Station and heading back to San Diego. The show continues through May 12th, so if you’re anywhere at all in southern California you should head out to Santa Monica and see the show. And, of course, while you’re there, stop by the Bergamot Cafe and enjoy a steaming cup of coffee. And maybe a slice of pie.