Signs and Alarms: The Art of Margaret Nielsen & Scott Grieger, 1970 – 2015 is a two part exhibition curated by Peter Frank at Temporary Space LA. The two L.A. – based artists didn’t collaborate with their collections, but the cohesion would certainly lead you to believe they did.
Nielsen connects the internal mind with the external experience, and portrays a universal commonality in the human condition. She brings you through her own psyche, which you can’t help but understand your own through. Grieger questions societal associations between art and culture, and what is intelligent in the two; “free thought is the goal, and in humor there is insight.” Through implicature as well as overt associations, Grieger holds up a mirror to contemporary society, but carries you through the ages to do so.
Without meaning to (again, no collaboration), Nielsen and Grieger juxtapose nature and technology. Showcasing everything from the cosmic and ethereal to the hardwired and pixelated, human experiences are a combination of the two settings. Remembering to move between the two is key. Nielsen and Grieger show you the depths of solitude in each environment, and the different anxieties they foment. I could talk myself blue in the face, and you red in the ears, about how negatively impacted we are by technology, but it’d be in ways you’ve already thought about. However, it’s all said by Grieger in a way that doesn’t beat you over the head, and next to Nielsen, you see that it’s a temporal complaint we’ve always had. Even if we moved back to the age of bricks phones and before, we’d have the same anxiousness over different accessories. Oh, sure, it’s still all stressful, but perspective is calming.
Of her bear series, Margaret Nielsen said “I was sitting alone in my studio and decided to paint someone to keep me company. This guy showed up.”
Both have their own senses of humor that are apparent. Both tempt you in different ways, and both make you want to hole up and stay all day. It’s like taking your diary pages and putting them on the inside of a box you’re in. You haven’t really visited the experiences until now, but you’re not trapped with your experiences
You look at others in the gallery and see they’re in the same box, just with their own diary pages but the same motifs. That box becomes one of clarity and solidarity. There’s a comfort in having your experience articulated and shared.
They don’t come out and say it verbatim, but in an obvious way, balance is their prescription.
Temporary Space LA itself is unique in that it’s a platform for artists who don’t need Temporary Space’s representation. In other words, it showcases mid-career and late-career artists, emphasizing those artists curators feel have been slighted by the industry. Be that critically or economically in acclaim.
Specifically for this joint exhibition, where Temporary Space departs from a normal gallery structure is the interactive component that becomes part to its artists’ collections in a humorous sense: it uses technology. Private rooms where viewers would typically be used to seeing recorded performance pieces, or videos associated with the exhibition, feature an ipad (teathered neatly to a bench, of course). On the ipads, the viewer can browse the artists work by theme, series, or symbolism. The piece you select then becomes projected onto the wall, creating this enveloping exhibition inception. An exhibit in an exhibit in an exhibit.
Nielsen and Grieger, they’re clever. Cleveriest of clever, but not the pretentious kind of smart; they’re the empowering kind.
I’d certainly come back for more.
Part I runs from July 18 – August 28 2015
Part II, September 5 – October 24
Temporary Space LA • 5522 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90036