Chris Sharp Gallery, Los Angeles
March 19 - April 23, 2022
Chris Sharp Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the Los Angeles-based artist Anna Glantz.
In 1856, Flaubert famously wrote in Madame Bovary, “Human speech is like a cracked cauldron upon which we tap crude rhythms which make bears dance, while we long to make music that would move the stars.” Such a statement feels something like a literary analogue to the strange and unsettling world of Anna Glantz. Yet where the French writer melancholically rues the limits and hopes of language, Glantz seems more interested in depicting the dancing bears, or at least their pictorial equivalent. Improbable, absurd, droll, and at times, down right bathetic, Anna Glantz makes figurative paintings which push at, sometimes trip on and fall over the limits of representation. At once personal and art historical, scenarios are generated that deliberately touch upon the allegorical or the symbolic, without ever fully yielding to the temptation of such lingual structures. By the same token, the practice itself is characterized by a technical and modal variety, sometimes within the same work. But the craft that goes into each picture is undergirded by a quality of painting and intention that eschews anything like ambivalence. Everything in Glantz’ inimitable shape-shifting world feels as deliberate and unique as her frame of reference, which includes Italian renaissance frescoes, classical Indian manuscript painting, as well as the American folk art of Ammi Phillips and Zedekiah Belknap, among others.
For her show at Chris Sharp Gallery, Glantz loosely maps out a series of through lines, which gesture at, but do not quite add up to a sensical whole. Three different paintings, for instance, would seem to portray in three very different ways what is anatomically identifiable as a horse, but upon closer inspection, maybe, probably, and most definitely not. Meanwhile two very different self portraits bring the artist’s likeness into the space. One sees Glantz gazing apprehensively around the broad, protective shoulders of her peer and colleague, painter Victoria Roth, while the other, a monumentally large painting, depicts the artist holding a seemingly sentient airplane like a telephone to her ear, as if trying to intimately apprehend that which cannot be apprehended by the human body, or even the psyche– the airplane itself a stand-in for the ‘hyperobject.’ Two other works playfully transform the packaging of painting’s greatest natural predator– the iPhone– into pictorial components, recuperating them from their brief practical lives and sublimating them into the impractical world of art. Indeed, in a contemporary landscape of painting overrun by often functional, language-based representation, Glantz’ elegant refusal to indulge in such simplification feels not only refreshing, but also vital and necessary.
This show is dedicated to my dear friend Jenni Crain (1991-2021) who gave me my first solo show and showed me the endless possibilities of a life in art and was also my personal fashion icon. – Anna Glantz