M+B is pleased to present Drop-In, a group show organized by Pat Phillips featuring works by Hermes Berrío, Karla Ekatherine Canseco, Jameson Green, Alexis E. Mabry, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, and Matthew Rosenquist. The exhibition opens on March 11, 2023 and will run through April 15, 2023 at M+B Doheny (470 N Doheny Drive) with an opening reception on Saturday, March 11 from 6 to 8pm.
Drop-In features a diverse group of artists, each with their own distinctive style and approach. Through their exploration of identity, power dynamics, and societal constructs, they reframe symbols and imagery to unveil new perspectives and profound insights.
Karla Ekatherine Canseco and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez both incorporate elements of their Mexican heritage throughout their work. Canseco uses perros (dogs) in her ceramics as spiritual guides of Death, beautifully incorporating both traditional and personal lore. By using clay, Canseco finds parallels between the malleable medium and the body as a way to explore how both hold memory and history. In naricita llévame, cuídame, quiéreme. perra que guerrea, with a fierce snarling face, the guide stands ready to do battle and protect with a morning star and mystical daggers. In his paintings, Rodriguez also looks to personal narratives and how they are created. Challenging identity politics, otherness, and oversimplified, singular definitions of identity, especially visual identity. In 18 inches, dancing figures float in an ambiguous structure while a faceless, featureless figure radiates ribbons from its eyes, while a portrait of a woman’s gentle face floats in the background. The real moments become surreal in this reflective, dreamlike world.
Hermes Berrío, Alexis E. Mabry, and Matthew Rosenquist’s work look at personal histories and identity in this exhibition. In Have it Your Way, Berrío reimagines a photo he took during the COVID-19 lockdown of a masked pregnant woman staring up at a Burger King menu. The image carries additional personal resonance as his wife was also pregnant at the time. In her mixed media work, Brown Tracksuit, Mabry uses the tracksuit of a family member that passed to recreate an old photo she had of them while living. The tracksuit has the subtle positioning of a person sitting crossed-legged in a wicker chair, though it could just as easily be a halo surrounding them. By incorporating a piece of this person's actual clothing, the painting becomes both a tribute and reflection on how the things we are become who we were once we leave this life. Matthew Rosenquist’s sculptures depict charged moments of self-conscious acts as a projection of identity and attitude, while exploring the notion of social ‘position’ in regard to place, peers and society. In Standing Man in Underwear, a male figure stands in his briefs on the phone caught off guard. An intimate portrait of a private moment that one would often prefer stayed that way.
Jameson Green’s paintings examine both the historical and canonized within the context of art history. In 1908, Jack Johnson Green depicts the December 26th, 1908 boxing match in Sydney, Australia where Jack Johnson fought and defeated Tommy Burns. Becoming the first Black Heavyweight Champion of the World. Johnson, a warrior who created his own legend, fits perfectly into the artist’s Pantheon of figures, who self-actualize their own myth to become legend. Jack Johnson stands assertive and dynamic in the painting as he lands a definitive blow on Tommy Burns, who hasn’t collapsed yet, but with defeat insight, it’s a subtle nod to George Bellows’s boxing paintings. It encapsulates Green’s ability to combine action, tension and narrative.
Each artist in the exhibition has a unique approach to explore identity, power-dynamics, and societal-constructs in nuanced ways that recontextualize symbols and imagery, allowing for new interpretations and deeper truths.