T he chaos of metropolitan space provides the focus of Urban Evidence, the first in a series of exhibitions on emerging artists at the Sesnon Gallery, with works by Jody Zellen and Chris Sollars. In an investigation of urban landscape, Los Angeles-based artist Jody Zellen combines appropriated photographic images and segments of text to create installations that reference the city. In his projected video installations, San Francisco-based artist Chris Sollars invites the viewer to follow cell phone users through a claustrophobic and voyeuristic cityscape. Their respective work sharply delineates the incongruity between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Jody Zellen's photomontages consist of images excerpted from the public domain and popular culture and focus predominantly on the representation of the city and its architecture. By combining these images and occasionally overlapping them, Zellen virtually re-creates the urban experience, articulating its serenity and beauty as well as its isolation and oppression. "I see the urban environment as a place in constant flux, a place of demolition and regeneration. In my work I juxtapose the image of the old and the new reflecting my nostalgia for the past, contrasted with my wonder of the future." Based on the grid, her format parallels that of a cityscape on which she literally builds her own city and its history. Zellen notes, "Similar to the way cities are organized and structured on a grid, I use the grid in my work to present diverse images and to create complex relationships." This formal structuring creates a sense of narrative in her combination of cityscapes and fragmented text and underscores the relationship between urban space and the language used to describe it. "I translate the experience of being in the city-the noise, the traffic, the confusion, the bombardment of languages-into a compact sequence of images and texts."
Jody Zellen received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. She has been awarded a California Arts Council Individual Fellowship and has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her web site www.ghostcity.com has been included in several international festivals and exhibitions. It will be included in the 2002 São Paulo Bienal, "Metropolitan Iconographies," focusing on eleven key cities from New York to Beijing. Zellen lives and works in Los Angeles.
Chris Sollars' current series on cell phones continues his investigation of the individual in relation to systems within city spaces. Through the use of performative actions, photo, video, and drawings, his work presents aspects of this early 21st century phenomenon. Phone Tag, featured at the Sesnon Gallery, captures the bombardment of individuals talking on mobile phones in an explosion of private conversation on public space. Sollars records and follows the first person he sees talking on a cell phone at any given point in the city. Like a game of tag he follows them until he see the next phone user, and the next, and the next. "I see phone use multiplying and dividing like cells," notes Sollars. "Once the phones start roaming, intimate private conversations rove into public spaces and become more open, readily available for other listeners and more intrusive on others' space."
Chris Sollars was born in Indiana and raised in Maine. He has a BFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design and held residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Solo projects have included a video installation of "Landscapes" presented by Art Node, at the Aurlander International Airport in Stockholm, 1999; "Recent Video" at Parlour Projects in Brooklyn, 2000; and "We're Waiting," video performance installation with Mads Lynnerup at New Langton Arts, 2001. Group exhibitions have included "Please Disturb Me," Great Eastern Hotel, London, 2001; "Dialogue: Encounter," San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2000; "Placecards," Mercer Union, Toronto, 2000; "Closed Circuit," New Langton Arts, San Francisco, 2000; and "The Choice," Exit Art, New York, 1999. Sollars will also be in a show at Suite 106 in NYC, that opens March 28th, collaborating with Mads Lynnerup on "We're waiting," a video and phone installation. His web site is www.667shotwell.com.
Sesnon Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday, noon to 5pm. The gallery is wheelchair accessible and admission is free. Parking is free on weekends.
Group tours are available by appointment at (831) 459-3606.
Phone Tag (Tags 1-8), 2001
lengths: 2 minutes 30 seconds - 8 minutes
© Chris Sollars
City Views (Fragments 1-12), 2001/02
ink jet on transparent mylar, steel
32" x 48" each
© Jody Zellen