Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Power Points at historic Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park

ArtScene Magazine 
Diane Calder

"Power Points" is a multimedia examination of the abuse and potential of power that joins a trio of artists together who have been recently lauded for major works in public places. Chusien Chang, noted for her public art installations in Chinatown’s Metro Station, focuses on the plight of captive elephants with a window display that superimposes tortuous tools employed to “train” the animals over a poster commemorating these intelligent giants. Inside the gallery, Chang’s pastel drawings of segments of elephant anatomy could be interpreted as referencing “The Blind Men and the Elephant,” an insight into the inexpressible nature of truth. Francisco Letelier, whose numerous public works include murals adorning the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Station, centers a stunning copper etching featuring his poetic writing amidst a group of intimately scaled, mixed media works that reflect his personal re-enchantment with the powerful Mayan myth of Popl Vuh. Collaged narratives and weathered images of feathered serpents play off hand written translations of cultural myths. Skin shed by molting snakes and fragments of gilded papers, bone and bark suggest a mysterious mixture of present and past, personal and cultural values. Meanwhile, Haitian born artist Karl Jean-Guerly Petion, a participant in the 18th Street Art Center’s 2011 “Debating Through the Arts,” questions social justice with whimsically re-imagined sculptures composed of a variety of found objects. Petion’s assemblage works interact with his arresting unframed paintings that confront emotionally charged first- and third-world class issues via theoretical texts and compelling images, such as that of his black man vaulting skyward over a strand of barbed wire. Guest curator Nancy Buchanan’s conviction is here validated: that these three artists, when joined together on a more intimate scale, can move us deeply (Avenue 50 Studio, Northeast Los Angeles).
Diane Calder

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