February 14 - March 14, 2009
Artist's Reception: February 14, 2009, 6-9pm
Charlie James Gallery is pleased to announce LA’s first solo exhibition of work by San Francisco-based artist Walter Robinson. In Transport, Robinson examines the range of promises that inhere in automotive advertising and design, and further mediates on the aims of art commerce to objectify the sublime.
The work in Transport seeks to destabilize the power of the autimotive product logos that surround us. With wry wit, Robinson juxtaposes the aesthetic forms of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko with once familiar emblems of discontinued American car models. Invoking the Rothko style attaches its connotations of energy of car emblems and their promise to transmit power (status, freedom, escape, speed, mobility, masculinity, etc) to the person who owns them. Using the bright color combinations typically identified with early-50s Rothko paintings, sharply applied in this instance in a style reminiscent of custom car culture, Robinson inserts the logos of now-defunct American cars. The once-fearsome Plymounth Fury, favorite of state patrolmen around the country, is matched with a darker hued Rothko pattern, perhaps a concession in tone to the model. In putting these images together, Robinson shows us two very different means to transcendence, one promised by consumer expression, made in Detroit, and another available through Rothko’s abstract art. While rich in contrast, Robinson reminds us that fine art and fine automobiles share fundamental similarities, in that they are both objectifications of something sublime and intangible. The work also functions elegiacally, as a remembrance of American cars’ past, amd of the promised transcendence associated with the art of American Abstract Expressionism.