The Fourth Wall

The Fourth Wall

Left: Sami Korkiakoski,  I’ll Be There Catching Your Tears Before They Fall to The Ground , 2018  Right: David Hendren,  Standing Figure with Severed Heads , 2018

Left: Sami Korkiakoski, I’ll Be There Catching Your Tears Before They Fall to The Ground, 2018

Right: David Hendren, Standing Figure with Severed Heads, 2018

David Hendren and Sami Korkiakoski

April 13 - May 11, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday April 13, 2019 7-9pm

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”

-As You Like It, William Shakespeare

Lowell Ryan Projects is pleased to present The Fourth Wall, a two-person exhibition featuring the work of David Hendren and Sami Korkiakoski. The show is named for the performance convention that imagines a wall––or, more aptly, a one-way mirror––separating actor from audience, where the former stays absorbed in its fiction, seemingly unaware of the very existence (let alone gaze) of the latter.  An interesting power dynamic results: the object of the gaze maintains the power to interrupt it, to break the imagined distance between actor and audience and, by doing so, to renew that well-turned Shakespearean verse.


Much like that of a stage designer, L.A.-based artist David Hendren’s multisensory approach to artmaking takes into account the space, body, form, color, light, sound, movement, and tone of each sculpture.  In this way, every work acts as a kind of installation. With site-specific acoustics and interplays of light, his works wed objecthood to both time and space––a marriage that is, in reality, never broken, but so often neglected in a contemporary society that presupposes harmony. David’s work takes that presupposition and elevates it to the realm of the ethereal...though certainly by ironic means. He creates visual and auditory dissonance. He shows us familiar forms in unfamiliar places, recognizable symbols in foreign contexts. We, the audience, enter into his works much as we do entering into a new city: with sensorial hyperawareness; with a bodily acknowledgement of and relationship to myriad individual stimuli––ones we perceive as well as ones we create.


Likewise, this tension––between the unknown and the known, the supernal and the grotesque––is prevalent in the work of Finnish artist Sami Korkiakoski. On first glance, the crude forms of his dense paintings seem rendered with the abandonment of a whirling dervish. Surrounded by seven of these paintings, we get swept up into their storm. We can locate series of letters and sound them out in our head, but they seem only to speak of entropy. In this way, Korkiakoski’s work directly addresses the logic from which it deviates.  Precisely through our pursuit to make “sense” of his use of letters,  the works demonstrates the limitations of language for communication. Or, perhaps more precisely, it opens us to see that language is not always logical, and that logic has never been all-encompassing.


Amidst this exhibition, the exclusionary artifice of what we so often label “harmony” breaks down. We begin to feel a heightened sense of our own relationship to a much larger, unknowable architecture. It is something like a temple without any institutional underpinnings. It is a place that facilitates our engagement in the parts of personhood that cannot be contained by walls––feeling, thinking, being.

David Hendren was born in Arkansas and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Influenced by constructivist formalism, Bauhaus stage design, and post-modern architecture––especially where form is used to disrupt the rationality of built space––he creates large scale sculptures and installations using materials including wood, metal, fabric, light and sound to explore altered states of being. Though abstract, Hendren’s latest sculptures recall classical representations of victory and defeat. Some figures pose triumphantly holding in their hand the severed head of the opponent; others seem in the midst of a despondent retreat. Hendren primarily used a chainsaw to create these latest sculptures, imbuing all of them with a literal distress as well as a felt emotional anxiety.


Hendren received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has had solo shows at Five Car Garage, LA, Anat Ebgi, LA and Kim Light/Light Box, LA, amongst others. His works are included in collections such as the North Carolina Museum of Art and The Cranbrook Art Museum, and have been written about in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, Flash Art and Dossier Journal.

Sami Korkiakoski lives and works in Jyväskylä and Kuopio, Finland. Merging rich calligraphic and expressionist traditions, Korkiakoski creates feverish paintings using silicone, oil, and spray paint on raw canvas––often working directly from the tube or silicone gun. With this fast gesture, dense layering, and texturally-varied material, each work seems both forming and decaying, brand new and prehistoric, agonizing and cathartic. In them, we find raw emotion made palpable; a primal yawp put down in form and color. Line and language are treated not just as visual and semantic, but also acoustic forms. Their energy is not contained on the wall, rather it radiates out to fill the spaces they inhabit. In this way, as angst-ridden and even violent as each work can seem, they create a kind of spiritual realm, a slight departure from our mental and emotional everyday, an opportunity for release.


Korkiakoski received his MA from the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and his MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki. He has exhibited widely across Finland and internationally, including solo shows with Peter Makebish Gallery (NYC), Makasiini Contemporary (FI), TM Gallery (FI), and Artag Gallery (FI). His work resides in numerous public collections such as the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Sara Hildén Art Museum, Salo Art Museum, Kunsti Museum of Modern Art, and Kuopio Art Museum.