Edward Cella Art + Architecture is pleased to present TOPO/GRAPHY, an exhibition that
investigates the mapping of the relief, stratigraphy and history of land. In this presentation, nine
contemporary artists explore the land as muse, becoming explorers, excavators, and surveyors
through abstraction, line and process. A multi-media presentation of paintings, sculptures,
ceramics, and drawings, TOPO/GRAPHY ultimately considers how human beings position
themselves within an evolving and increasingly complex world.
Cris Bruchs Bramble began as a 2-D aerial plan of the artist's father's life work
development in Kansas. Through the primary form of wall-based steel sculptures, Bramble
represents the cul-de-sacs, utility sites, drives and driveways of suburban development. Bruchs
fluid and contorting works are evocative of the twisted helix strands of DNA, becoming
suggestive of the familial and pointing to the complex relations between father and son, while
linking them to the planning and expectations of suburban life, and the complicated visions of the
Abandoning the traditional paintbrush, Mary Heebner dips her hands directly into dry minerals
and wet pigments to form bold silhouettes of ancient vessels. While sketching ancient Mapuche
pottery in Chilean Patagonia for a project entitled, Unearthed,
Heebner noted fingerprints that
traced across the thousand-year-old curved clay surfaces. For the artist, the physical act of
forming these hand-paintings is itself a meditation on these ancient cultures and their remote
environs. Her intuitive understanding reconnects to one of the earliest meanings of the topos
graphia, or writing about place and history.
The minimalist paintings of Steve Schmidt are literally reduced to the elemental: pigments and
canvas. Crafting his own tempera paints exclusively from hand-collected samples of rock and
soil from excavations across Southern California; Schmidt is an artist/ geologist, registering the
distinct and unique chromatic expressions inherent to each place. Charting his surveys, the title
of each piece is determined by the GPS coordinate from the excavations exact locale, making his
artworks uniquely site-specific.
The complex features and quantitative representations characteristic of topographic maps are
dependent on the use of the line. Mexico based artist Davis Birks in particular explores the
aesthetics of the science of topography in his visually intricate abstract drawings. His ongoing
Spirals series is both exactingly complex and ethereally whimsical, a visual marriage of chance
and exploration. The organic flowing shapes are suggestive of the never intersecting, concentric
contour lines on a surveyors map.
Using CAD software and CNC (Computer Numerical Controls) technology to create his brilliantly
colored, large-format line renderings, Seattle based artist Leo Saul Berk maps the interiors
caves and subterranean spaces to explore the significance of spiritually and politically charges
places. During the events of 9/11, Berk was hiking towards Naj Tunich, a sacred cave in
remote jungles of Guatemala. To the ancient Maya, the cave was the entrance to the underworld.
Berk, mapping the negative space of the cave resulted in a visual metaphor of the strangely psychologically
political and societal shifts transpiring seemingly a world away.
Referencing the blueprint as a locus of dreams, Flora Kao accumulates overlays of the Los Angeles
street grid creating
imagined topographies that translate these everyday structures into systems of ethereal beauty.
Employing a process that
oscillates between accident and control, the handmade and mechanical, she plays with visual slippage,
where the city grid
dissipates into atmospherics.
Adam Silverman, founder of Los Angeles based Atwater Pottery, is represented by a selection of
new sculptures. The
wall-mounted boxes of assemblages of richly glazed clay objects that epitomize the artists exploration
modulated relationships of scale, proximities, and rich surface textures. As such, the boxes act
as a frame for compositions
that are in and of themselves an undulating terrain in which each feature is distinguished by distinct
Based on direct and intimate observation of the land, Brian Hollister transforms his frequent
and extensive hikes through the
backcountry of California and the greater Southwest into luminous and richly colored paintings.
Composed of alternating,
rhythmic lines of color, Hollister orients his marks horizontally across the canvas in a manner that
suggests the lands
stratigraphic record and the brilliant light reflecting off its features.
Constructed of sheets of raw steel and heavily burnished automotive paints, Michael Whiting creates
a landscape within
the gallery interpreted though the pixilated vocabulary of early computer gaming. Simplifying
the elements of nature to their
most reductive forms, Whiting extracts a connection between the language of early Minimalist sculpture
and the advent of
developing computer technologies. It is an understanding began through the experiences unique
to his generation, and is a
reminder of the circuitous route of the development of an ever changing world view.
Join TOPO/GRAPHY artists for an overview of selected projects which sets the stage for an evolving
discussion of the
intersections of materials and process, craft and aesthetics in their diverse practices.
Mary Heebner, Brian Hollister and Steve Schmidt
Saturday, July 23, 2011/ 4:00 PM
Flora Kao, Adam Silverman and Michael Whiting
Saturday, July 30, 2011/ 4:00 PM
6018 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
Mary Heebner creates mixed media pieces, interpreting landforms, maps and antiquities with the human
form. Exhibited widely,
her work is in numerous private and public collections including the SFMOMA, The National Gallery of
Art, UCLA Special Collections,
the Getty Research Institute and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Brian Hollister earned his MFA from UCLA and maintains an active studio in Los Angeles.
A passion for the physical beauty of
nature inspires his serene yet powerful large-format paintings which are luminous, richly colored, and
Hollister has regularly exhibited with Carl Berg and Ruth Bachofner galleries.
Flora Kao earned a B.A. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College and a
BFA in Painting from Otis College of
Art and Design. Transforming everyday structures into systems of beauty, Kao investigates architecture
and technology in response
to the endless replication of data in contemporary life
Steve Schmidt is a self-trained artist and Southern California native who works with found objects,
transforming them into explorations of material integrity rooted in time and place. A strong minimalist
aesthetic threads throughout
his artwork which has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout California.
Adam Silverman is a LA based sculptor and potter recognized for his geological like glazes and
refined vessel shapes. Educated
as an architect, his work is in numerous public and private collections, including LACMA. His Boolean
Valley, created in
collaboration with architect Nader Tehrani, has been exhibited at The San Jose Museum of Art, MOCA,
and at The Nasher Sculpture
Center in Dallas.
Michael Whiting earned his MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and recently established
a studio in Southern California from
which he constructs his large format, outdoor steel sculptures. Completing several public
artworks in Washington State, he recently
installed a public work at the entrance to the River North Arts District in Denver.
THE PROGRAMS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seating is limited. To reserve please call 323.525.0053