If I mention Lancaster, CA, Angelenos hardly think rich, envelope-pushing, yet accessible art.
You probably don’t even think art gallery. You probably don’t even think standing structure with 4 walls, you think of Joshua Trees and Poppy fields. Okay so maybe that last line was hyperbole for the sake of illustrating that Angelenos consider the epicenter of art in SoCal to be Los Angeles. But striking distance from the DTLA art hub is MOAH: the Museum of Art & History.
MOAH is well worth the 1.5 hour drive into the desert.
Let’s be honest, it’ll take you longer in rush hour to get from LAX to Burbank, so I encourage you to make the trip. MOAH was founded in 1986 as the Lancaster Museum / Art Gallery and evolved in the last handful of years into a high desert epicenter dedicated to advancing art and history appreciation in the Antelope Valley. Committed to preserving the unique character of the AV, MOAH also connects residents and visitors with fine art exhibitions and interactive history-based programs.
May 11 – July 21, 2019, MOAH featured an exhibition entitled Woven Stories.
Woven stories contained Solo Exhibitions, Installations, and a Group Fiber Exhibition. Using embroidering, second-hand materials, wrapping, sewing, ripping, roping, typing, stiffening, the artists showcased in Woven Stories breathed life into this new, visually attractive collective exhibition.
Some ‘woven’ pieces were conceived of light, ethereal materials, while others were assembled from weighty textiles that tested the bounds of installations without ‘crutches’.
Off-center in the main gallery hall was even a faux tea-party with crocheted cakes, pastries, and desserts akin to a desert hipster’s Alice in Wonderland.
Upstairs (yes the MOAH is large enough to hold several floors) was Please and Your Everything by Nicola Vruwink.
Vruwink crocheted magnetically coated plastic film from cassette tapes, rather than yarn. Predominately texts about love (although abstract forms were also present), Vruwink’s obsolescence of choice materials was meant to highlight the loneliness of modern urban life. This tongue-and-cheek play is not lost on the fact that this exhibition is in the less-populated high desert of Lancaster.
The crescendo to the MOAH’s Woven Stories is Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor’s exhibition.
Gallery-goers caught a glimpse of the monolithic and slightly jarring forms in Blamethirst and Hate Stayed the Ending. Fantastical, Brothers-Grimm-esque forms of animals filled the room in Blamethirst. Higgins’ use of familiar animal-like forms mimicked human experience and an intersection between nature and culture. Some animals struggled to stand upright, while others appeared fatigued. Each anthropomorphic form was constructed from second-hand shop materials stripped, chopped, and sewn in various styles. The unique application of thrifted equipment delivered a unique, heterogeneous sense of fatigue for each animal.
MOAH is an artistic oasis in the outer rim of Los Angeles’ art scene, and one well worth the trip that is equally as long as it will take you to get to the grocery store.
MOAH- Museum of Art and History
August 10 – October 20, 2019
665 W. Lancaster Blvd
Lancaster, CA 93534
Free! With donations readily accepted
Street parking (but you will find free parking)
Tues – Sun
11am – 6pm
Thurs extended hours
11am – 8pm