Brian Rochefort & Sarah Ann Weber
Opening Saturday, November 12th, 4 - 7 PM
On view through January 15th, 2017 | Wednesdays 6 - 9 PM & by appointment | Closed December 3 - 10 & December 22 - January 3, 2017
Sarah Ann Weber and Brain Rochefort share a tactile, materially-based approach. Both artists sculpt and mold delicate media, resulting in works with a dynamic interplay of color, texture, and depth. They paint and scrape away layers of candy-sweet colors to obscure and reveal voids. Weber’s paintings, drawings, and three sculptural works in fondant will be presented alongside Rochefort’s ceramic paintings and vessels.
Weber’s light, airy studio in Downtown Los Angeles welcomes you with a rich, sweet aroma. It emanates from the melted marshmallows and powdered sugar that she stirs and kneads to create fondant. In fondant, she found a material ripe for experimentation that connected to her heritage—she spent years working at her family’s traditional Eastern European bakery on the South Side of Chicago. Weber “leans in” to the sickly sweet of her medium, confronting traditional notions of “woman’s work” or “a woman’s place” head on.
Her fingernails scratch into the smooth, white surface of the confection thinly rolled onto long panels of glass. Using a soldering iron, she burns, gouges and dashes, caramelizing the edges of the pockmarked sugar to a shiny brown. She then draws over her marks with colored pencil. Swaths of acrylic sink into the fondant like a fresco, reminiscent of the desert landscape surrounding LA. The succinct, frenetic marks are echoed in the expressionist style of Weber’s drawings and paintings. In the diptych-style paintings, hints of a figure in moody washes of green-blue and ochre-green peek out from behind short strokes of pastel pinks, baby blues, and Volkswagen yellows.
Rochefort’s studio is bright, crisp, and exceptionally clean, the precision of his process echoed in his surroundings. Rochefort uses different types of glazes in one piece, which requires mastering the trick of multiple firings at varying temperatures. In two wall pieces, Rochefort sculpts the clay, blending organic form with geometric abstraction. He then paints primary colors, followed by a crackling white glaze, revealing hints of the color below. The texture resembles desiccated earth, a sight sickeningly familiar to drought-wrought California.
The vessels drip wild acid-tripped colors; the sharp edges and globules could easily cut the lip of anyone who mistakes Rochefort’s cups for drinking glasses. Rochefort applies glaze sculpturally, building up surface texture and depth right to the limit of the weight the ceramic can withstand. It’s a delicate dance as the structure might buckle under the layers of the glaze and collapse during firing.
Sarah Ann Weber is based in Los Angeles and received her BFA at The Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her active studio practice includes painting, drawing, and sculpture. She has had solo exhibitions at The Franklin in Chicago and Rena Sternberg Gallery in Glencoe and group exhibitions at The Lodge and Tiger Strikes Asteroid, both in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
Brian Rochefort is based in LA. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He has exhibited internationally and was awarded the Lillian Fellowship from the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana 2007-2008.