There’s no question that Los Angeles is having a moment right now, with artists and galleries flocking to the West Coast in droves. A year since its opening last spring, Venus Over Los Angeles (the sister gallery of Venus Over Manhattan in New York) has since staged exhibitions for Dan Colen, Dan McCarthy and Katherine Bernhardt, among others.
For its first show of 2016, which is now on view until 27 February, the gallery tapped New York-based artist Marianne Vitale to make her West Coast solo debut. Vitale surveyed the two adjoining spaces located in the mammoth 14,500 sq ft warehouse that makes up the gallery, conceptualising pieces that would make use of their surrounding environments.
'The cross-barrel vaulted ceiling warehouse makes for a good storage facility,' says the artist, who had few words to describe the two pieces, preferring to let the work speak for itself.
In the first room, it took five contractors and one foreman to move 90 factory-length sections of used, steel railroad track from the early 20th century into it, lining them up side by side to form a 40ft x 40ft sq. Titled Thought Field, the work makes viewers think of not just the size of the material, but also of its origin and age. Certain aspects, like the layers of caked-on rust, and the engraved markings that read '1927 Colorado,' give clues to these.
Next door are six stacks of 11ft high and 1ft x 1ft wide beams that the artist had hand-painted to resemble the orange and white stripes that cover traffic barricades. Both of Vitale’s works interact with the space nicely, and allude to their utilitarian roots. 'The rails and beams become inventory, racked and stacked,' she concludes.