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Elias Hansen and The Reader We barely made it

WEST COAST. The WEST of which I speak is but another name for WILD; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in WILDERNESS is the PRESERVATION of the WORLD. –From OPERATION: MADMAN presents The READER.

The Company is pleased to announce We barely made it, a two person exhibition featuring Elias Hansen & The Reader. We barely made itbrings together these long time friends from the Pacific Northwest for the first time in Los Angeles from Jan 21-Feb 25, with an opening reception Saturday Jan 21, 6-8pm.

Hansen and Read’s art-making approach stem from a shared philosophy, with the final results being considerably different. The care and attention to the materials, from the discarded to the hand-made, is elevated, while nothing is taken for granted. Existing on the street or in a gallery, the process of remaining mysterious while developing a distinct and refined voice is vital. Wordplay through titles and phrases read as secret codes and messages passed between them, but inclusive enough for the audience to be involved, i.e., We barely made itcan be interpreted or misinterpreted in so many ways. The friendship between these two artists has cemented over years of ongoing dialogue and a shared vision of remaining authentic and present without revealing too much, even when the world demands it.

For this exhibition, The Reader, who is also known as Read More Books, Read Up, Mr. Bones, Rancor, and Open Your Eyes, has created a selection of graphic paintings. The black, white and red graphic design style and socio-political axioms are reminiscent of Barbara Kruger, with added grit. The skillful use of silkscreen, stencils, spray paint, collage, stickers, letterpress, stamps, and even shiny cigarette packages are materials sourced from and for the street, and transformed into works of art for the gallery.

The methodology of “being clean and gritty at the same time” is also at play in Elias Hansen work. For this show, Hansen will exhibit a network of hand-blown glass beakers, plastic tubing, CFC light bulbs, welded steel, and freshly chopped wood. These components are brought together to simulate interconnectivity, dependency, and completion within a closed system. They take the form of a self-contained water fountain, metal tables, and wall shelves. The glass is hand-blown by Elias and the wood is locally sourced from the artist’s yard in Upstate New York.


Originally from Indianola, WA, Elias Hansen currently lives and works in Upstate New York. Selected solo exhibitions include Frieze Frame with Jonathan Viner, London, UK; The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY, The Company, Los Angeles, Lawrimore Projects, Seattle, and Maccarone, NY. Hansen’s work has exhibited in the Seattle Art Museum, WA, Howard House Contemporary Art, WA, and Parc Saint Leger, Paris (with Oscar Tuazon). His exhibitions have been reviewed in Art Review, Mousse Magazine, Art Agenda, ArtForum, LA Times, The Stranger, among others. He has been awarded the PONCHO Special Recognition Award from the Seattle Art Museum. This is Elias’s third exhibition at The Company. Previous exhibitions: Predicting the present (2010) and Next time, they’ll know it’s us (2011).

The Reader is American. In 2011, his solo exhibition, Cut and Dry, was exhibited at Lawrimore Projects, Seattle. Recently, Juxtapose Magazine interviewed him for their December issue. His work will be exhibited at the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Jan 19-22, with Lawrimore Projects. This is his first show at The Company.

DAVID HENDREN In the shade

THE COMPANY is pleased to announce In The Shade, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles based artist David Hendren. In The Shade will be on view from March 3 – April 7, 2012. An opening reception will take place at the gallery, located at 955 Chung King Road on Saturday, March 3 from 6-8 pm.

The formal configuration of Hendren’s Shade paintings stems from an interest in early European abstraction, including Constructivism, the Blaue Reiter, and de Stijl, as well as the American minimalists Agnes Martin, Frank Stella and Donald Judd. Adopting the notions of painting-as-subject and a one-to-one relationship between the viewer and the material, Hendren uses this lineage to establish a familiar initial read for the work. The inclusion of figuration within these rich fields of abstraction provides an antidote to a completely reasoned composition and the potential for the uncanny within abstraction.

All of the paintings in the Shade series start off as intricate string grids stretched over un-primed burlap. These grids form a series of horizontal lines approximately the width of the spray diameter from a spray can. The painting surface is then bifrucated with a single piece of string. Using this grid as a guide, Hendren applies several coats of paint, alternating between light and dark colors. The colors blend to produce a muted tone, as if the color were in shade. The resulting linear bars act as a simple field, one that addresses the horizontal field of seeing, as well as establishes a familiar, minimalist backdrop. It is against this familiar field that the rest of the painting begins to resist, therein laying the foundation for the uncanny.

Hendren then makes a series of large figural cutouts on contact paper and adheres them to a tight vinyl screen. These cutouts are made through the act of tracing actual bodies, his own or friends, in a number of poses. These tracings are meshed together to form near symmetrical shapes. Much like a silk-screen in reverse, these cutouts are then taped to the painting surface, masking the amorphous shape from a layer of spray paint. The result is a negative ghost-like image floating on top of the grid underneath.

The final move is removing the string web, leaving a faint trace of the original structure on the surface.

David Hendren, b. 1978, Little Rock, Arkansas. Hendren’s work has been exhibited in Los Angeles at Kim Light/Light Box and EGHQ, and has been included in shows in Miami, Chicago and Detroit. He has shown internationally at Duve Berlin and in Lisbon as part of Portugal Arte 10. He has received numerous grants including the Pollock-Krasner Grant, the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, and the Ruth and Harold Chenven Grant. In 2009, he had a solo booth with Kim Light/Light Box at the NADA art fair in Miami. Having studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA) and Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA), Hendren now lives and works in Los Angeles. This is his first solo show with The Company.



Setting: L.A. is the outside, and in this press release, BSSM the agent, the penetrator.

When I was asked to write this, I faced the inevitable and immediately realized that it was impossible to think about BSSM-L.A. as separate. Well, fortunately for me, we don’t have to fight anything here, as their collision into one impossible word seems inevitable; and as all fate-bound things in life, their merging avoids civil, agreeable, pronunciation. (Look on the bright side: We don’t have to deal with the infamous shattering that naming never fails to deliver.)

Image: A girl in red liquid next to a sugary floor, delimited by the essence of Spinoza which is, in turn, contained in clear glass while Sex hangs around as tension, as pressure.

Why do I write BSSM? Because as ‘Los Angeles’, or better, ‘ The Angels’; ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ is a ‘title’ that by overexposure, paradoxically, has turn into a solid, too-visible thing. And moreover, perhaps by abbreviation, by establishing CAPTCHA–like structures, BSSM-L.A. might just shape up another set of greatest-hits, or will grant us the freedom to say ‘No, thanks’ to the gorgeous option of embracing exasperation.

It would be great if Sex wasn’t salty and Magik a quotidian aspect, or Blood run stripped from its trajectory. It would be great if L.A. became A.L. and in that inversion the winged could be reclaimed… And everyone had to put up with our idiosyncrasies. Right? But, let’s not get carried away here, as this analysis might appear to reduce the artists’ works to mere formalist manifestations or to the symptomatic.

Instead, let’s shoot for logic and ask ourselves: Can Spinoza fill a glass container? Is the deterministic girl in the bathtub imparting a type of unity with the liquidity of her context, until she can engage the neighboring, summoned, (and complying) Baruch in the discussion? Or will photography and sugar cast an inevitable layer of suspicion on the ever-shaky and yet tectonic platform that our gaze offers? Is the melancholia inherent in those burnt telephone numbers, or in Magik, Sex, Blood, Sugar, something more than an obsessive script? Might be that those numbers and those words re-present the condition of the present? As dialing/burning/Magik promise immediate results; and Sugar, Sex, or Blood imply the right-now, the in-the-moment transit? What about the consequences of punctuation, action, or the unfolding of texts? Can this CAPTCHA account for the spectrum that BSSM-L.A. generates? Or rather, can I be clear?

-Diego Singh, Miami, March, 2012.

Jen DeNike (born 1971 in Norwalk, Conneticut, lives and works in New York). She received her MFA from Bard College in 2002. Her work has has been exhibited internationally including exhibitions at Art Basel: Art Public with Mendes Wood, MoMA and MoMA PS1, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, The Brooklyn Museum, Tensta Konsthall Stockholm, Julia Stoschek Collection, CAMH Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Deichtorhallen Hamburg. A selection of photographic works will be presented by DUVE Berlin at Zona Maco in Mexico City this April, and at the Photography Festival in NYC curated by Amy Smith-Stewart. A selection of her videos are currently on view in the new Media Lounge at MOMA. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Julia Stoschek Collection, and IL Giardino dei Lauri Collection. Her second solo exhibition is slated for October at The Company.

Amie Dicke (born 1978 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, lives and works in Amsterdam) Dicke’s work has been exhibited throughout the world, including the Tate Modern, London, FLAG Art Foundation, New York, Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan, Zabludowicz Collection, London, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, Museum van Loon, Amsterdam, John Connelly Presents, New York, Peres Projects, Berlin, Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdan and Hiromi Yoshi Gallery, Tokyo. Her work is in the permanent collections of Museum Het Domein, Sittard; The Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem; City Collection of Rotterdam through the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. She has been widely reviewed and featured in publications including ArtForum, Numero, V Magazine, i-D, Art Monthly, Elle, Dazed & Confused, The Independent, Metro Life, and The Sunday Telegraph. Artimo recently published a monograph of her work entitled “Void”. Amie has previously shown in Los Angeles in 2003 and 2008 with Peres Projects.

Robert Mapplethorpe (born 1946 in Floral Park, NY, died 1989 in Boston, MA) Mapplethorpe attended the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in 1963, where he studied painting and sculpture and received his B.F.A. in 1970. It was not Mapplethorpe’s original intention to be a photographer, and from 1970 to 1974, he mainly made assemblage constructions that incorporate images of men from pornographic magazines with found objects and painting. In order to create his own images for these collages, Mapplethorpe turned to photography, initially using a Polaroid SX-70 camera. Mapplethorpe had his first substantial shows in 1977, both in New York: an exhibition of photographs of flowers at the Holly Solomon Gallery and one of male nudes and sadomasochistic imagery at the Kitchen. In 1988, four major exhibitions of his work were organized: by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and the National Portrait Gallery, London. Mapplethorpe died due to complications from AIDS in 1989.

Dane Mitchell (born 1976 in Auckland, New Zealand, lives and works in Auckland and Berlin). Mitchell has shown extensively internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include Radiant Matter I, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand; Minor Optics, daadgalerie, Berlin, Germany; Conjuring Form, Art Statements Art39Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Invocations, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia; A Guest, A Host, Galerie West, Den Haag, The Netherlands; A Abrigo, A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Collaborative projects include Whitney Bedford and Dane Mitchell, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, USA (2011) and The Story of a Window (with Matt Keegan), Neon Parc, Melbourne, Australia (2010). He was a 2009/2010 resident on the Berliner Künstlerprogramm DAAD, Berlin, Germany; 2010 resident at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, NZ and visiting artist at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, NZ in 2011; Artist in residence at Gasworks, London, 2008. Forthcoming exhibitions include Liverpool Biennale 2012, UK; Gwangju Biennale, Korea; Contact, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany.

Carlos Sandoval de Leon (born 1975 in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Lives and Works in New York City and Miami, Florida) Sandoval de Leon received a BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1999 and an MFA in sculpture in 2008 from Columbia University. His works have been exhibited at El Museo del Bario, New York, the de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, Mendes Wood, Brazil, De la Cruz Collection, Miami, Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York, Artist Space, New York and the Fisher Landau Center for Art, Long Island City. In 2010, he received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the Netherlands Cultural Services


AARON YOUNG: No Fucking Way May 11 – June 30, 2012 Opening reception, Friday May 11, 6-8PM

The Company is pleased to announce Aaron Young’s Los Angeles exhibition, No Fucking Way, on view from May 11 – June 23.

Aaron Young’s work can be described in extremes. He appropriates symbols associated with American freedom in the form of motorcycles, muscle cars, and the Flag, as well as its dark underbelly – barricades, barbed wire, and xenophobia (Locals Only!). His most noted work of the performative motorcycle burnouts, are spectacles that serve to reveal what lies beneath the surface while simultaneously erasing the evidence. The grandiose gestures are then reduced to minimal, abstract, sometimes monochromatic results. Although spectacle surrounds Young, most of his performances are completed with very few witnesses.

In the current exhibition, No Fucking Way, six new paintings depicting Internet and magazine sourced portraits of tabloid sensations Casey Anthony, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Knox, Jessica Simpson, Heidi Montag, and the skating rivals Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan will be on view. The women obligingly pose with the American flag in some form — either wrapped in it, dangling from their mouth, or worn as a bikini.

The linen canvases are shaped to resemble large three-pointed folded flags, painted in saccharine pink, and flecked with textured circles that reveal the entirety of the image when standing at a distance. These portraits are an amalgamation of previous works of flags from his 2011 New York exhibition, BUILT TOUGH and Young’s “Jesus” paintings (Focus On The Four Dots In The Middle Of The Painting For Thirty Seconds, Close Your Eyes And Tilt Your Head Back). But these works are a departure from the male-centric iconography of these previous works, as well as a major shift into celebrity psyche and pathology.

By placing infamous Court TV hotties along side troubled Hollywood starlets, Young has managed to collapse what constitutes an “actress” – those who choose to perform for a living and those who must perform to save their lives. In the most extreme case, the portrait of Casey Anthony called 30 Days, the mother of a missing 2-year-old, poses for a snapshot as she dances at a party, seemingly carefree. In another portrait of Heidi Montag in a bikini, a snapshot taken soon after undergoing 10 plastic surgeries in one day. The halftoning effect Young implements, evokes mass media and over-saturation, which has become the vernacular in which we absorb these images. This blurring of real and constructed, only existing in the realm of performance, speculation and judgment, implicates the viewer in its consumption, since our observation of these celebrities will always be mediated.

Young will also be participating in the MoCA organized Rebel show, on view from May 15-June 23 on Highland Avenue in West Hollywood.

Aaron Young was born in 1972 in San Francisco California. He graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001, and received his Masters of Fine Art from Yale University in 2004. His work has since been exhibited internationally at Macro (Museo di Arte Contemporanea) in Rome, Italy; Teatro di Marcello, in Rome, Italy; as well as performances in Moscow, Naples and New York City. His work has been included in the “Greater New York,” MoMA/PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City; “Uncertain States of America” Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art, Oslo (traveled to Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and Serpentine Gallery, London); The 2006 Whitney Biennial “Day for Night”, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and The 2nd Moscow Biennial for Contemporary Art, Moscow; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, PA. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Kunst and the Jumex Collection. He lives and works in New York City.

For more information, high-resolution images please contact Anat Ebgi, Director, or call 213-290-0122.

Last Laugh Curated by Summer Guthery September 15 – October 27, 2012

Lucas Blalock
Paul Branca
Devon Costello
Harald Thys and Jos de Gruyter
Sanya Kantarovsky
David Robbins

Last Laugh. A joke is all about the timing.
Carol Burnett described comedy as Tragedy plus Time.
Simon Critchley traced humor out to the tune of melancholia with dark results.

They turned it into an equation, middle larded with silence.
I am interested in comic timing and gestures stretched out like taffy. a flabby, bulbous pause.

William Carlos Williams called it the variable foot.
Victor Borge called this simply the extended beat.
Mary Douglas thought the joke played on form, bringing together disparate elements as a way to reveal anew.
Henri Bergson thought that humor was the mechanical encrusted on something living – slowly pulling it down and a laugh was horror at this incongruity – a last ditch effort to distance ourself.
Bertolt Brecht thought you had not yet heard the bad news.

Over-theorizing humor threatens to squash what it can do and a nice long gulp of air may help. I am interested in how stopping just short and stretching out the delay can be a strategy for a visual artist. The group of works in Last Laugh are not exactly funny, except in the most awkward sense. The works you see in the room do a lot of things, one of which is to get at that ‘wait, wait’ via gestures, theatrical tropes and a bit of dry camp.