(Los Angeles) - Edward Cella Art + Architecture is pleased to present Disposable Culture, the first
solo exhibition at the gallery for Los Angeles based artist Donnie Molls. The exhibition features the
newest suite of mixed media paintings and objects by Molls which invoke the indelible hold of the
automobile on the recesses of the North American psyche. Even after we discard them for scrap
and recycling, our cars remain loaded with narrative, suggestion, and spectral traces of identity.
Building on his fascination with objects and places that are overlooked or abandoned, and yet
charged with the transient presence of absentia, Molls transforms the gallery space into a modern
day memento mori with images of wrecking yards, tire piles, and car part graveyards. Our cars
become a significant emblem of our consumption, our waste, our mutable identities, our optimism,
and ultimately of our own impermanence. An apt signifier for the dystopian facets of the American
Dream, and the ravages and remnants of its consumptive appetites and excesses, the wrecked
car is a heavy ghost in the American landscape.
As a child, Molls observed the creation and destruction of the automobile first hand with his
father, who built stock and demolition derby cars. Later moving to Los Angeles, an epicenter of
car culture, he became fascinated with its aura of magic and prosperity. As a literal vehicle for
social and cultural identity, the car is coveted, loved, fetishized, and emblematic. It is the nostalgic
object par excellence: deeply rooted in the temporal as a cultural signifier of its time. Recently,
artist has returned to photography as an appropriately nostalgic medium to capture the cars
elusive sublime, and has documented custom-car culture, and its breakdown, across Southern
California. The artist exposes photo negatives onto a prepared canvas, or steel panel, with coats
of gelatino-silver bromide. He then paints and glazes over them with translucent layers and
accretions of color. The hybridized composites, simultaneously photographic, painterly, additive,
and reductive, alter the viewers perception of an iconic, and readily recognizable, symbol of
consumption culture. We are sensitized to our own intimately subjective relationships to these
charged objects, and the roles they play in the inflected scopes of our memories and cultural
imaginaries. Like wrecking yards filled with discarded memories, these images become
uncomfortably human in the suggestion of absent lives once associated with the castaways.
Fascinated by the heaps of dismantled and decommissioned vehicles, scavenged for their
salvageable parts, Molls has created wall mounted sculptures and a site-specific installation built
from blown-out pistons and used tires. Altogether new in the artists oeuvre, the objects are
collectively arranged and mounted to the gallery walls and floors to suggest the overwhelming
abundance of discards and castoffs that populate repair shops and car yards across the city.
These dead parts are revived and re-positioned in rhythmic circles or massive heaps, taking
new formal life from the detritus and wreckage of human flotsam. These sculptural assemblages
invoke the coexisting momentums of creation and destruction in contemporary consumer culture,
and the ambivalence of our own coexisting appetites for the new and the old, for the preservation
of history and for its erasure. Disposable Culture laments the impermanence and instability of our
loftiest tower of Babel.
Molls currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He began exhibiting in the early 1990s and his
work has recently been
featured in several group exhibitions including at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Laguna
Museum, Riverside Art Museum, Irvine Fine Arts Center and at the new Lancaster Museum of Art, and recently
in a solo
exhibition with Carl Berg Projects. His work is included in several major art collections and
has been featured in New
American Painters, Rivera, Coast and Puta magazines.
Concurrently on view, ECAA presents recent works by Scott McMillin.
Special Exhibition Program:
California, Culture, and Wearing the Right Car
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 / 6:30 pm
6018 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Join Leslie Mark Kendall, head curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum, for an illustrative lecture
as he examines the
importance and significance of Southern California car culture as a means of self-expression, and its
influence as an arbiter
of material, aesthetic, and ideological trends emulated worldwide.
Leslie Mark Kendall (B.A., M.BA.) is head curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum. He has held the
1995. He was a curator at the San Diego Automotive Museum previously and is a current board member of
the Society of
Automotive Historians and the National Association of Automotive Museums.
THE PROGRAM IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Seating is limited. To reserve, please call 323.525.0053
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