YEAR ONE At Castelli Art Space- A collaboration between Loren Philip and Tomoaki Shibata. Curator- Peter Frank
I had the good fortune to slip into Castelli Art Space in Los Angeles 24 hours after the opening reception for ‘Year One’, a collaboration of large paintings by Loren Philip and Tomoaki Shibata, curated by Peter Frank.
At first glance, the larger than life canvas drop-cloths adorned with paint daubs, gestural markings and ink shadows over raw cotton weave, appeared as if they were all segments of one screen cut apart and hung separately. But, that sort of read is a method of programming our brains use to identify information quickly; Neurons responsible for cognition take a snapshot and the quick read can render a moment far more shallow than it actually is.
I was surprised to have the space to myself. Well, almost. Director, Carlos Iglesias explained that the reception was the previous night and that he and Loren Philip were there to document and prepare for an upcoming write up. Both were gracious and didn’t mind my presence as I quietly moved among references of fragmented figures and frosted color. My retina flipped back and forth between surface dimensions and field depths. Some were real. Some were illusion. My first glance, snapshot was dissolved and replaced with various non-verbal conversations between two distinct hands.
Knowing nothing of these two artists was an advantage because I could experience the work without a back-story from either artist to steer my response. Having minimal room within the space to step back or between these large un-stretched panels, activated my perceptual vision so that it was just as charged as my direct vision. A sense of importance was evoked through the arrangement of the canvases that now included me, just for my being there at their feet. I was dwarfed like a child in a crowd curious about the details that surrounded me. It became apparent that these twelve paintings, as similar as they first appeared, were quite different from one another. In some pieces, the artists’ marks between line and block were polite social confrontations. But others were interruptions between two ends that poked back and forth, the way comfortable friends with opposite characteristics, break into each other’s sentences so that they become kindred and inseparable.