RAIR | 2017-18
Afton Love | Oakland, CA
Afton Love is a California based artist working across media, including graphite, beeswax, resin, and latex. Known for her large-scale drawings, Love’s works are often commissioned for site specific installation. She is collected widely and has shown internationally, and has been the recipient of numerous residencies and awards including The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation grant, The Santa Fe Art Institute residency, a vermont Studio Center full fellowship from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and most recently, completed a year fellowship with Gallery Route One in Point Reyes Station. Shows in the last year include a two person show at Ell Gallery in San Francisco, a solo show at Gallery Route One in Point Reyes, and a group show with Holiday Presents in Los Angeles. Love holds a BFA from California College of the Arts in Oakland.
I am interested in exploring the human condition via the natural world. While in residence I hope to find inspiration in the New Mexico desert, where a history of creation and attrition is so openly revealed. My explorations of erosional landscapes and ancient rock formations intend to involve direct interactions, detailed depictions, and sculptural interpretations. Through these various approaches I aim to examine my self/ego grappling with the larger forces of cyclic nature, and our shared cultural psychosis and historical amnesia when it comes to America’s relationship to open spaces. The work serves as an analogy to life in flux- the inevitable ground shifting beneath our feet; and how to look to the earth for answers in dark times.
“Recently, I have been traveling along the rivers and trails important to Westward Expansion, so far bringing me across the Missouri River twice and the Snake River once. I spent much of the time exploring ghost towns and abandoned industrial sites such as former locomotive assembly plants and grain elevators. While at Roswell I would like to explore the Santa Fe Trail up north a couple times as well as some of the many ghost towns dotting the landscape of New Mexico. With the time and space granted, I hope, in addition to painting, to pursue new and risky experiments in sculpture and installation.”
I want now what I have always wanted: scissors and someone to write to.
Matches and someone to write to.
I mean the bowl I’m carrying is broken and filled with feathers.
Whatever God is, something gentle inside something ruined in the mind.
- Allison Benis White, “Please Burry Me in This”
(Excerpted with permission.)
Roswell Museum and Art Center
Rair exhibition • Joshua Hagler "Love Letters to the Poorly Regarded" November 3, 2018 - January 6, 2019
In Love Letters to the Poorly Regarded, Joshua Hagler presents a group of new paintings, each addressed to specific individuals such as Tonya Harding, Zachary and Nicholas Cruz (Parkland school shooter and his brother), and even his own great great grandfather Arastas.
Several large canvases around eight by nine feet depict a range of subjects from Harding’s famous triple axel to the Cruz brothers hugging each other in a police interrogation room. Hagler layers history, politics, and mythology in the work, literally stripping away layers of paint to reveal the history of the painting itself. In Longlegs, a large mixed-media canvas, the artist references an early photograph of Arastas who is known to have purchased a Cherokee woman to be his wife. The Native American myth of the Great White Long Legs, who is described by the wandering spider Iktome as having legs full of cleverness, but no wisdom, is layered into the work and informs the artists’ imagination of his forebears.
Hagler’s “love letters” lean into those he imagines few would want to be associated with but toward whom he is inexplicably drawn. The move rejects intense Art World expectations that art should abide by approved ideological frameworks, proffering instead that art ought to resist merely reaffirming safe political convictions, even if it means implicating oneself. The work does not try to justify its subject matter, but rather seeks, more simply, to touch it.