Featured artists: Michelle Blade, Gerald Davis, Eric Dwight Hancock, Shaun Johnson, Mimi Lauter, Amelia Lockwood, Kristy Luck, Laurie Nye, Jennifer Rochlin and Jake Sheiner.
The older we become and the longer we toil in the same industry, the rarer our revelatory moments of connection, mutual respect, and most importantly, enjoyment. And so, such a moment was met with great surprise and welcome when it descended upon an evening not too long ago in Los Angeles at Casita del Campo. The artist Joshua Petker had just opened a new show at Anat Ebgi Gallery. Sitting around a table with fellow LA artists Michelle Blade, Laurie Nye, and Jennifer Rochlin, we bonded over middle age topics such as divorce, kids, aging parents, and new relationships. What we also had was a familiarity with and respect for each other derived from many years of working in the same industry, albeit on separate coasts. By far-traveling reputation, mutual friends, shared tastes, and lives similarly devoted to art, we instantly slid into an intimate groove as conversation flowed and drinks were poured over a long, warm Californian night.
One thing led to another, and our serendipitous meeting manifested in a group show organized by the artists at the table that night. Inspired by themes of lushness and the human relationship with nature, Michelle Blade, Laurie Nye, and Jennifer Rochlin curated a ten-artist show that includes not only their own work but also that of seven other Los Angeles-based artists who inspire them.
Immersed in the paradoxical aesthetic of Los Angeles, the curators and artists experience effortless natural beauty contrasted with human ambition and bustling urban life. Similarly, the artworks in Solid roots, supple trunks depict beautiful representations of nature, effervescent and lush. Behind the shiny veneer of the finely crafted canvases, however, lies years of devoted artistic practice, unrelenting perseverance, hard and long relationships, and complex lives lived. Just like how the inherent trust and ease of that wonderful night of connection at Casita del Campo was built on years of shared labor, the beauty of the artworks in the group show is derived from careful craft perfected over many years of diligent practice. Indeed, the joy of viewing is made ever more tangible precisely because these beautiful moments have been hard earned.
The title of the exhibition is the penultimate line of “Love Poem to Los Angeles” by Luis J. Rodriguez, the 2014 Los Angeles Poet Laureate.