The latest addition to LA’s downtown art scene is actually a New York transplant, 356 Mission. The westward expansion of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise opened officially tonight with the premier of 12 enormous paintings by gallery regular, Laura Owens. Owens has occupied the industrial warehouse for months, creating works that could only have been fabricated in such an expansive environment. During my first visit to the warehouse this past summer, Owens’ project was still in its infancy, as was the space. Tonight I was glad to see that the central area had been segmented from the entry by a large white wall and that the interior of the gallery portion of the building, while still enormous, was considerably less chaotic, capped by two long white walls stretching from end to end of the space. These two walls were covered with Owens’ work, just 12 paintings that seem somehow to fill the room with light and color. The vibrancy, depth, and texture of the work, as well as the scale, made the space seem pleasantly enveloping rather than overwhelming. In fact, I have struggled (briefly) about whether to even put these images from the evening up on the web because they, in some ways, take poignancy away from the original paintings. In these simple pictures, there is just no way to convey the lovely experience of stepping into this grand space and having the luxury of seeing art works within their place of genesis, of appropriate scaling and the flexibility to view both minute details and overarching themes within a collection of images.
Eh, I’m going to do it anyway. That is a testament to how fabulous I think these images are, they stand up to different media, but… brave the downtown traffic and GO see them in person!