“Fashion Island” a solo exhibition by Samantha Magowan
New paintings, photographs and Sculptures
November 10th – December 18th
Reception: Wednesday Nov. 10th from 6-8:30pm
Edgar Varela Fine Arts (EVFA)
102 West 5th Street, LA 90013
Samantha Magowan paints, draws, sculpts, photographs, art directs, and sometimes appears in her own art — generally doing whatever is necessary to fully express her complex, obsessive, seductive, and unapologetically beautiful visions. The catch? Despite their delightful and enigmatic mix of borrowed glyphs and small detail, and the finely-finished, decorative-arts influenced optical frisson she achieves; amid the Rococo elegance of her compositions, these pictures are not really about beautiful things. Her hyperbolic cavalcades of abstract and symbolic imagery are constructed of floral motifs, constellations, patterns of nature, industry, urbanity, and pop culture — incorporating organic and artificial color and form into layered walls that both evoke, express, and subvert their own story-lines.
And about those story-lines. These confections are high-caloric intake, referencing the extreme end-game of this culture’s obsession with celebrity and material luxury. Magowan has been thinking about fashion (a result of her work in the industry); or, more precisely, she’s been thinking about it from a different, deeper, darker angle. These images are in no small part inspired by a profound curiosity about the circumstances of the 1994 murder of fashion-design icon Gianni Versace at the hands of Andrew Cunanan. Rather than the grisly details, Magowan is intrigued by the interweaving narratives of ambition, celebrity, desire, and style that motivated the killing spree — and the salient metaphorical implications for our broader culture. Knowing this does nothing to diminish the visceral impact of the work, which commits its own share of Art Historical transgression in embracing decorative arts, textile design, and balls-out prettiness in a fine-art context, as Magowan creates a Versace-esque love of visual intensity imprinted with her own unique style.
by Shana Nys Dambrot for http://lacanvas.com/
Samantha Magowan was born in London, England. A graduate from Art Center’s MFA program, her most recent solo exhibition was “Now Showing” at The Waterfront City Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina in July 2010. Other recent exhibitions include “Lube” curated by Martin Durazo at Jaus, LA, Alexys Schwartz Projects, LA, Kim Light/ Lightbox Gallery, LA, Annarumma 404, Naples, Italy, Bonelli Contemporary, LA, Mark Moore, LA, and Jail Gallery, LA. Her work has been featured in Rojo Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, Nylon Magazine, and Toro Magazine. She was also recently included in the book, “One World, One Art,” which features 140 artists from around the world. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.