This month’s LA Art feature is on the “Pleasure Garden” at the Laurie Shapiro Studio Gallery running through July 30.
Moving away from the ‘Boys Club’ mentality and into a space of reclaimed and redefined power, “Pleasure Garden” brings us female archetypes in a time where immense pain and heaviness burdens current narratives. Curated by Olivia Mia Orozco, and showcasing Ann Weber, Caitlin Fowler, Lauren Desberg, Alexandra Carter, Meg Lion Murphy, Laurie Shapiro, “Pleasure Garden” carts you through an inclusive and equitable space at the Laurie Shapiro Studio Gallery from April 22 – July 30, 2022.
Laurie Shapiro opens her studio to viewers, and enfolds you in a kaleidoscope of warmth and hominess. Massive art pieces blanket the live-work studio, and transport you into a safe haven. Pleasure Garden’s name refers to historic purposes of pleasure gardens; “Pleasure Garden” will continuously host performances, talks, meals, and even events. Upon walking into the studio this was obvious – a table of wines and cheeses lay in front of artists and gallery goers as they sat on couches and mingled.
In the aesthetics, storied representations, and in love poetry throughout ages, the female body is represented as being weighed down – or being underneath – male bodies. An interplay on weight and levity brings the viewer to question whether weight (imagined or real) on our bodies trap us (or tether us) to what is foundational to the human experience (what grounds us).
With representations and plays on traditional anaphoras, artworks such as the Stigmama (play on stigmata) permits a safe space that’s often inhabited by women: the indoors as a communal gathering place in traditional societies. The duality of “Pleasure Garden” is that pleasure gardens tend to be inhabited and lorded over by all public goers. Shapiro brings all beings into an intimate space in a cleverly orchestrated way that viewers may explicitly feel even after traveling home.
Alone, Shapiro’s studio is a treat; in combination with the other exhibiting artists, this is a must-see gem in East Los Angeles.
Laurie Shapiro Studio Gallery
Ann Weber, Caitlin Fowler, Lauren Desberg, Alexandra Carter, Meg Lion Murphy, Laurie Shapiro.
April 22 – July 30, 2022