Exhibition > We Became the River on Fire

We Became the River on Fire

(Los Angeles, CA) Los Angeles Valley College Art Gallery is pleased to present We Became the River on Fire, featuring the work of Tanya Brodsky, Katy Cowan, and Anna Mayer, organized by Jason Kunke.

Exhibition runs: September 7 - December 8 2022
Opening reception: Wednesday September 7, 6 - 8pm
Exhibition walk-through: Wednesday October 5, noon - 1pm
Artist lecture with Anna Mayer: Friday November 11, 10 am via Zoom, link to recorded video:youtu.be/KCDXKkf_taA

Gallery hours: Fridays and Saturdays 10 am - 2 pm

Due to the current uncertainty regarding covid we recommend confirming open hours prior to your arrival by visiting us on Instagram @lavcartgallery or by texting 970-989-4527

LAVC Art Gallery is located in the Art Building
5800 Fulton Avenue, Valley Glen, CA 91401

About the exhibition:

Was it the river on fire that made us what we became?
Was it the cup that we drank from, or what it contained?
—U.S. Girls, Rage of Plastics

We Became the River on Fire features work by Tanya Brodsky, Katy Cowan, and Anna Mayer that explores the boundaries between ourselves and the objects or symbols we use to represent ourselves. These works play with the apparent presence of the artist's hand in the work of art, or the way the artwork demonstrates its own production.

In April of 2016, a group of children and parents participating in an Easter egg hunt in England’s Surrey county noticed a National Police Air Service helicopter overhead, which was in pursuit of two suspected burglars. According to a police spokesman:

Initially, the presence of the police helicopter was enough to entertain the children and parents, but it didn’t take the intrepid residents long to realize they were witnessing a police pursuit. The children quickly formed an arrow on the ground in the middle of a ploughed field to guide the helicopter in the direction of the fleeing pair. The helicopter crew relayed this information to officers on the ground and a short time later two men were arrested.

When the children of Surrey laid down in the ploughed field they made manifest a number of overlapping contemporary concerns: the dissolution of self into symbol; how that dissolution is repeated in the relationship between self and environment; and how authority or authorship serves to translate between the parts of these relationships. We Became the River on Fire brings together artworks that take a variety of approaches to these themes, seeking to explore the possibilities of what we may have already become.

About the artists:

Tanya Brodsky is a Ukrainian-born artist and educator, based in Los Angeles. Working primarily in sculpture, she draws on the hidden logics and bureaucracies governing each built environment, whether they be the dilapidated playgrounds of her Soviet childhood, or the electronic and plumbing systems that make buildings habitable. Brodsky holds an MFA from UC San Diego and a BFA from RISD. Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, Hyperallergic and Carla, and has been recently exhibited at The Box, The Magic Hour, Ochi Projects, Materials & Applications, Visitor Welcome Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Her public art installation, “Yolki Palki,” is currently on view in West Hollywood.

Katy Cowan received her BFA from University of Puget Sound (Puget Sound, WA) in 2004 and her MFA from Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA) in 2014. Cowan’s work is currently subject of the solo-exhibition, “as the sun chases the unfurling fray,” at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA). Cowan's work is currently included in the exhibitions, “Lines of Thought: Gestural Abstraction,” at the Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley, CA), and “From the Collection of Anonymous,” at the North Dakota Museum of Art (Grand Fork, ND). Recent solo and group shows include, “as the sun chases the unfurling fray,” “Suns Pass Flat,” and ”The Day in the Night” at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); “Winds Glow Unceasing“ at Document (Chicago, IL); Centennial: 100 Years of Otis College Alumni” at Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA); “Left, Right, Left, Left” at The Green Gallery (Milwaukee, WI)’ and “The Blue Sun Moans” at Kate Werble Gallery (New York, NY). Cowan has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); Fourteen30 Contemporary (Portland, OR); University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA); Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee, WI); Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (Madison, WI); Synchrotron Radiation Center: Home of Aladdin (Stoughton, WI); Poor Farm (Manawa, WI); The Green Gallery (Milwaukee, WI); and Kate Werble Gallery (New York, NY). Cowan’s work is in public and private collections such as the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA); (Milwaukee Museum of Art (Milwaukee, WI); Minneapolis Museum of Art (Minneapolis, MN); North Dakota Museum of Art (Grand Fork, ND); Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee, WI); Art in Embassies (Maputo, Mozambique); and Northwestern Mutual Insurance (Milwaukee, WI). Her work has been reviewed in “Artforum,” “Los Angeles Times,” “Architectural Digest,” “Wallpaper*,” “Contemporary Art Review LA,” “Artnet,” and other publications. Cowan lives and works in Berkeley, CA.

Anna Mayer's art practice is sculptural and social, with an emphasis on hand-built ceramics and another molten material: bronze. Her methodology emerges from site-specific analogue firing projects and critical engagement with pre- and post-petroculture. Mayer revels in the fact that ceramics historically have been used to create highly functional items as well as intensely symbolic objects. Her work is part of this lineage, with equal concern for the future and a dramatically shifting climate—ecological and political. Mayer recently had solo exhibitions at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (2021) and the Jung Center (2022), also in Houston. Other recent solo exhibitions include A-B Projects, AWHRHWAR, and Adjunct Positions, all in Los Angeles. Other exhibitions include Hammer Museum (CA), Artpace (TX), Glasgow International (UK), NCECA's 2021 Annual (invited artist), Ballroom Marfa (TX), Commonwealth & Council (CA), and Kendall Koppe (UK). In 2021 Mayer was invited by UK organizations Arts Cabinet and the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society to be part of a research residency, for which she was paired with an engineer from the Hazelab at Imperial College, London. Mayer was Assistant Director of the LA-based Institute For Figuring from 2009 – 2018. Currently she is Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of Houston.

About the gallery:
Los Angeles Valley College Art Gallery serves as a resource for students and the greater community of the San Fernando Valley. Presenting ambitious visual arts exhibitions, lectures and collaborative partnerships, we provide a dynamic platform for dialogue, inquiry, and discovery.

Directions and parking:
From the 170 (Hollywood Freeway): exit Oxnard Street, head west, enter Campus Drive to Lot B or D
From the 101 (Ventura Freeway) heading West: exit and head north on Coldwater Canyon Avenue, left on Oxnard Street, enter Campus Drive to Lot B or D
From the 101 (Ventura Freeway) heading East: exit and head north on Woodman Avenue, right on Oxnard Street, enter Campus Drive to Lot B or D
Parking Lot D is closest to the gallery. Guest parking permit is required during regular gallery hours and available from lot kiosks for $2 (cash). There is LIMITED free parking available on city streets that surround the LA Valley College campus: Burbank Blvd, Fulton Avenue, and Hatteras Street. Free parking on top level of Ethel Street parking structure during artist receptions and special events.

Link to campus map: https://www.lavc.edu/about/Campus-Map.aspx

LACCD encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation, or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Gallery Director Jenene Nagy at nagyj@lavc.edu as soon as possible, but no later than ten (10) business days prior to the event.

High res images available upon request
All events free and open to the public

Katy Cowan and then, the morning
Oil and enamel paint, graphite on cast aluminum
Courtesy of Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angles Photography by Scott Cowan
Tanya Brodksy, Figure 3
Etching on hand polished cast aluminum, LED grow light cob chip, ball chain
5" x 7", Photography by Josh Schaedel