The place for art

An online exhibition shows the power of calm in times of COVID-19

The online exhibition ‘Reflections’ by artist Mary Little, running from August 15 to October 15, 2020, in collaboration with ‘Estudio Persona’ evokes the serenity of the Irish countryside of her youth.

It was just five months ago, in mid-March 2020, when artist Mary Little put the final touches on her Reflections exhibition at the Los Angeles gallery of Estudio Persona, the design studio founded by Emiliana González and Jessie Young. A few days later, the exhibition was canceled, the room was closed and the world was turned upside down. Thank you, COVID-19.

Fortunately, the exhibition is being resurrected, albeit online, and will run from August 15 to October 15, 2020. With evocative views of the installation, accompanied by close-up images of the individual works, the digital exhibition manages to capture the minus some of the nuanced relationship between Little’s poetic canvas artworks and the minimalist eloquence of Estudio Persona’s showroom.

It is a very quiet space

Bathed in natural light from above, with beautiful polished concrete floors and plaster walls. I selected works that I have done in the last four years that reflect the serenity of that environment, ”says Little, explaining his selection process for the nine works on display. “I chose pieces that were sympathetic to the space, and the refined, sculptural quality of Estudio Persona’s designs, as well as sympathetic to each other,” adds Little.

Born in Northern Ireland, the Los Angeles artist has long incorporated references into her work to the idyllic Irish countryside where she spent her early childhood years, before a traumatic change took her and her family out onto the rough streets. from Belfast.

One of the pieces in the exhibit, Islandmagee, a triptych of knurled canvases with bumps, is named after the peninsula where Little’s mother grew up. Another piece, Killyvolgan, the most articulate work in the series, is named after the farm where his father was born.

“Each piece in the exhibition has some connection to the places and people I met during those quiet years I lived in the country,” says the artist, adding emphatically: “I am not referring at all to the Belfast years, which were sad, gray and ruined by violence and danger. “

After many years of experimentation, Little has distilled his palette of materials. Now raw and heavyweight canvases, colored in an ivory shade. From a manufacturing perspective, the material is well suited to the varied shapes the artist achieves through meticulous cuts and stitching. “It has a smooth three-dimensional quality and a kind of sweetness,” says Little. “I do a lot of testing with small pieces of fabric to see how I can manipulate the material to suit the idea. I also consider the effect of gravity, how the piece hangs. There is an element of serendipity in the process. Ultimately, what interests me the most are the formal and sculptural qualities of the work, how they respond to questions of scale and proportion, ”he says.

Twenty percent of each sale from the exhibition will go to the I Have A Dream Foundation of Los Angeles, a non-profit organization that supports underserved youth to help them obtain higher education. An eminently timely goal in the era of Black Lives Matter, just as the show’s presentation resonates with particular urgency in this turbulent time of pandemic. Just think of the classic song by Diana Ross and Supremes: “Reflections of the way life used to be” (“Reflections of what life used to be”).

Las PISCINAS más espectaculares imaginadas por ARTISTAS

What better way to refresh your eyes than with a tour of good pools, although this time, all designed by great artists.

Joana Vasconcelos, Escocia

It is the result of a three-year collaboration between the Scottish sculpture park Jupiter Artland and Joana Vasconcelos. This fully functional nine-meter pool consists of 11,366 hand-painted and glazed tiles using traditional methods in a century-old factory in Portugal, the birthplace of Vasconcelos. Installed in the park since 2019, this work called Gateway is “a great splash that invites the public to immerse themselves in a joyful and lively dimension, which leads to a connection with the energy of the Earth. It is like a threshold to another universe that we are not aware of but through which we can circulate ”.

James Turrell, Connecticut

James Turrell is famous for his installations that play with the perception of light, but people are unaware that in 2008 he also produced Baker Pool, an LED-lit pool for the home of a couple of collectors in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA.

Georges Braque, in Provence

For the inner courtyard of the Maeght Foundation, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Georges Braque imagined in 1963 a large mosaic basin dressed as a fish. The work called The Fishes is part of the initial project by Marguerite and Aimé Maeght and the architect Josep Lluís. It serves to achieve a building that preserves nature and integrates works of art in the architecture of the location. The painter and sculptor unfortunately died in the summer of 1963, a few months before the inauguration of the Foundation.

David Hockney, Hollywood

Obsessed with swimming pools, David Hockney has never stopped representing them in his work, like his Splash, which broke all records last January. And paint them too, at his home in Hollywood, but also at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It was one morning in 1988 when he landed, equipped with a pot of blue paint and a brush attached to a broom, and painstakingly applied his navy blue commas to the bottom of the pool for more than four hours. This still visible work has recently been restored.

Elmgreen & Dragset, Nueva York

Formed by Danish Michael Elmgreen and Norwegian Ingar Dragset, this Berlin-based tandem is famous for its confusing installations, where the pool (a recurring motif) is the subject of diversions. Already at the Venice Biennale in 2009, the two artists struck hard by letting the corpse of a fake collector float on the surface of a basin with their installation The Collectors. In 2016, the duo achieved a true tour de force by placing a 10-meter-high ear-shaped pool on the Rockefeller Center esplanade, named Van Gogh’s Ear in honor of Van Gogh.

Leandro Erlich, Japan

Known for his trompe l’oeil effects playing with our perceptions, the Argentine artist presented this pool for the first time at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001. Since then it has been permanently installed in the Kanazawa Museum in Japan. This life-size pool is divided into two areas: the upper and the outdoor, which gives the very convincing illusion of seeing people underwater (it is actually just a thin layer of water placed over a clear glass) and the lower and interior space, where people can enter. Confusing!

Pablo Picasso, Marbella

Located on the beachfront in Marbella, Spain, Villa El Martinete is the former home of Spanish flamenco dancer Antonio Ruiz Soler, a close friend of Pablo Picasso. The painter who stayed there frequently in the 1960s did not hesitate to sign the pool floor. An XXL autograph that allowed this luxury villa to sell for a real fortune in 2018.