by Craig Stephens
San Francisco based painter John Waguespack explores North and South California rivalry with his show ” Deconstructing Hollywood”. The 24 pieces were created in LA in the summer of 2011, examining LA, its people and iconography, and reflecting on the stark contrasts in personality and geography between Northern and Southern California.
“Essentially it’s about my time in Hollywood,” Waguespeck says, “not just the ethos of celebrity but the geography and its personality.
The series also serves as a commentary on the people of LA.” He adds, “On a personal level, it’s harder to connect with people in Los Angeles. San Francisco is smaller, the people are more indoor based, and Los Angeles has such great weather, promoting people to get outside. I think the weather makes it easier to work in LA, and the climate is its key appeal. Yet oddly, those in Los Angeles connect less. I found it bizarre how little Angelenos interact and meet new people.
“Another piece in the series, called SAG card, is inspired by the notion of people’s desperation to sell themselves in Hollywood. Many people will do anything to make it there. The subject in the painting looks like an Orwell character, with a kind of militant conspiratorial air. It’s constructed from soup can images.
” In another from the Deconstructing Hollywood series, John makes reference to an image of Twiggy and actress Carey Mulligan. In the new series Waguespack also observed and portrayed LA landscapes by deconstructing them as if they are barely-there minimalist images. He says the work is a reaction to obsession with evolving technology and the digital age. “It harks back to minimalism and the concept of an old school approach.”
Embodying a vibrant color pallet that stirs the emotions, and using a linear form of deconstruction Waguespeck used oil on canvas as his dominant medium. “In this series,” Waquespeck explains, “I deconstructed and reconstructed people and images. I deconstructed them to understand what they looked like on an atomic level and I reconstructed them to understand what parts made up of a whole. These two directions were artistically in complete opposition. Mechanical reconstruction was technically precise and was an attempt to reconstruct imagery like people do digitally every day, but through a fine arts application.
“On a technical level,” says the artist, “the works are created using a mathematical base; the process sees me reinterpret a digital image and sequester it into a new environment.” Waguespack says that prior to this current series he was more entrenched in political work inspired by the chaos and controversy of 911. “It was an odd time and I felt a strange sense of alienation, witnessing it all from the comfort of a TV in San Francisco.”
Several of Waguespecks works from Deconstructing Hollywood will show at downtown LA’s Museum Of Digital Art in February, (LACDA) alongside works by Norwegian artist Pia Myrvold.
Myrvold’s work branches out into a formidable interdisciplinary undertaking, using electronic media as a springboard for the intermingling of forms. Her pulsing, looping animations and sound are unmistakable in their musical quality. The structure of the installation utilizes large scale sculptural forms and there is an architectural aspect as the viewer engages the work by walking through it. The end result is an immersive and interactive environment where the viewer encounters a multi-dimensional interface that is a product of emergent technology.
Throughout her career, Myrvold has embraced new technological developments and integrated them into her work. She has a large opus of multi-faceted creations of hybrid “in-formations” integrating various forms of artistic practice—art, fashion, video, performance and interactive technology.
Her work at LACDA includes various video installations and projections, from ideological Internet-based projects involving input from the public that manipulates “cyber-couture” clothing, to computer-generated programming that creates ever-changing visual patterns of light, form and color.
Running thru February starting Feb. 9th at Los Angeles Center for Digital Art