Mind Body Soul
Mind Body Soul
Samuel Jablon, Spencer Lewis, Maysha Mohamedi
Opening: Saturday, January 12, 2019, 6-9 pm
January 12 - February 23, 2019
Lowell Ryan Projects is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition, Mind Body Soul. The show brings together three artists––Samuel Jablon, Spencer Lewis, and Maysha Mohamedi––to explore the complex relationship between abstract painting and our everyday surroundings. “Everyday surroundings” encompasses a full spectrum of definitions, from the poetics of the city (Jablon), to formal notions of spatiality (Lewis), to the aesthetics of language and earth matter as art materials (Mohamedi). Likewise, the tone varies from spiritual to ironic to referential to irreverent––sometimes overlapping. Despite all these differences, the three artists share the same foundational approach. They rely on gesture and color––or more specifically the medium of painting––as a tool to probe their surroundings.
Maysha Mohamedi’s gesture is greatly informed by the Farsi calligraphy of her ancestral home, Iran; yet from its mystic traditions she also gives credence to fate. Relying on both intention and intuition, the L.A. artist collects tar from beaches and then uses found objects (sometimes affixed to long sticks) to stamp or otherwise mark her canvas. It distances the learnedness of her hand, by rendering a painting like an asemic writing about her interactions (physical and otherwise) with the earth that feels deeply personal and universal. The two works in the show are Mohamedi’s largest to date and were created on site for the show. Likewise, Samuel Jablon begins his “poem-paintings” by encountering, gathering, and editing source text from conversations and advertisements on the streets of New York City. Expanding the idea of the found object à la John Cage, he then works words like emptiness, trouble and ravenous onto a canvas by thickly applying, densely layering, and sanding down paint. The result is work that exudes immediacy and prolonged negotiation.
It’s a visual pacing that we also find in L.A. artist Spencer Lewis’ works on jute and cardboard. Starting each work with a quickly rendered (often spray painted) and rational underlying structure, Lewis then wields the brush in a more bodily manner. His gesture becomes intuitive, frenetic, and abstract yet also practiced, figurative, and repetitive, as if translating the history of human pose and movement. Then, relinquishing all control to his surroundings, he stacks the cardboard works and lets them sully, bend, and deteriorate. Paradoxically, it is through this intentional neglect that Lewis’ works undergo unintentional final edits.
Using a variety of approaches, the artists in Mind Body Soul all create paintings that remind us to pay attention––both with our eyes and our psyche––to our surroundings. Which raises another, more complex relationship forged by these paintings: that of matter and essence. Mohamedi’s works exist across worlds; each mark is natural (biochemical) and supernatural (mystical), and also somewhere in between (cultural). Jablon’s words are also not words; they dissolve into form and force the reader to wonder, should I be reading or viewing? Lewis is painting on things and also painting things; the double-sided works become sculptural, regardless of whether they are free standing or leaning against the wall. Ultimately, all the works make us consider what it is to be a human in the world, a deeply personal but also universal relationship where we each define our own terms of engagement. Yet, because each artist takes a different approach, we’re left to wonder––what will we decide?
In light of this year’s devastating fires in California, Lowell Ryan Projects will donate 10% of all the gallery’s proceeds from their inaugural show, Mind Body Soul, to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation.