Alexa Gerrity: The Venus Effect

The Company is pleased to present The Venus Effect, Alexa Gerrity’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles featuring a multi-medium installation of video, paintings, and text. The exhibition will open Oct. 29th and run thru Dec. 11th, 2010.

The Venus effect is a phenomenon in the psychology of perception named after various paintings of Venus gazing into a mirror (Titian’s Venus with a Mirror, Vasari’s Toilet of Venus, Mary Cassatt’s Mother and Child.) The Viewer assumes that Venus is admiring her own reflection, but since the viewer sees her face in the mirror, Venus is actually looking at the reflection of the viewer. This phenomenon is explored by Alexa in relationship to the psychological landscape of Los Angeles through painting, video and installation.

The first mirrors used by people were most likely pools of dark, still water. The myth of Narcissus is directly concerned with an element of human experience, as the word Narcissus indicates—narcosis, numbness or alienation. The single channel video, Marked by Mercury, explores this relationship with the gaze. Narcissus mistook his own reflection in the water for another person. This seductive doubling numbed his perceptions until he became the servomechanism of his own extended or repeated image. The orginal soundtrack for Marked by Mercury was a collaboration between Alexa and Icelandic musician Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir.

A selection of new paintings, inspired from the pages of OK magazine and US Weekly, reflect common superficial projections and assumptions made about Southern California. From celebrity beach towels to invented Malibu sunsets, multiple ‘styles’ reference a psychological approach while undermining the viewer’s expectations for the artist’s work to be immutable.

For the first time ever an artist will transform The Company’s bathroom into a sanctuary space with a series of personal affirmations in the piece titled True Potential. By repeating the statements into the mirror, the viewer is invited to unlock her true potential through repetition. The use of instructional text to stimulate behavior and promote an awareness of the body and mind harkens to Bruce Nauman’s Body Pressure, 1974.

The single-channel video, Forever Young, is the result of a professional casting call, in which Gerrity searched for Los Angeles actresses that shared the artist’s physical attributes. The audition of these doppelgangers becomes strained, loses touch with reality, and the gaze of the camera/artist and the gaze of the actress become intertwined, feverish and hallucinatory.

ALEXA GERRITY grew up in upstate NY and in Viña del Mar, Chile. A presidential scholar at Stanford University, she received a BA in Art History, and in 2009 received an MFA from CalArts. She has studied art at the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Italy and at MICA in Baltimore. This is her first solo show at The Company.

View Alexa Gerrity Artist Page