krysten cunningham: BAlls to the wall
Opens June 1, 2019
Balls to the Wall, an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based artist Krysten Cunningham, opens June 1, 2019 at LADIES’ ROOM with a preview from 7-9PM.
Deriving its title from 1960s aviation terminology where pilots used the term to describe the action of pushing throttle levers for power and velocity, Cunningham recontextualizes the vernacular of flying and the defiance of gravity with several new sculptural installations and objects. Inspired by the geometric abstraction of early European modernism, the mid-century Neo-Concrete artists of South America, and the Light and Space movement of ‘60s Southern California, she will show several new works that inhabit a liminal space between multiple dimensions and disciplines. She uses the textile loom not as a weaving apparatus but as a point of departure, a trope employed to go back in history while bridging to the future. For Cunningham, the loom represents a female-oriented archetype from which much of modern science and technology originates.
In addition to wall-based installations made using colored rope and string, her newest piece entitled Human Luminescence “explores how methods of weaving, textiles, and performance art relate to theoretical science in fundamental ways. The interactive artwork was conceived out of a desire to make the abstract ideas of modern physics more accessible. Comprised of multiple stretchy loops of fabric that form a loose and flexible grid structure, participants, complete the artwork by acting as a loom itself. They both build and maintain a movable textile that models ideas found in modern physics such as multi-body problems, entanglement and the space/time fabric of Albert Einstein’s general relativity.” In this way, Cunningham hacks a path from the abstract back into the physical world to show what is happening all around us on a microscopic and quantum level. Human Luminescence is also “an act of protest against intolerance, over-work and lack of connection. It mends broken-hearts and soothes the pain of endless miscommunications that divide us.”
Zanna Gilbert, art historian and senior research specialist for Getty Research Institute, notes: “In her sculptural and participatory works, she is able to harness an impressive materiality, however, the works are open to interpretation and ask for connectivity with and between participants.” And curator Elise Barclay describes her work: “Visually, through her use of color and geometry, and physically through her engagement with fiber-based materials, Cunningham creates a relatable tableaux that paradoxically becomes less optically certain as the work is experienced. The geometric drawn forms are intended to be both meditative and mesmerizing, as they evoke a simultaneous sense of movement, stillness, and gravitation.”
Krysten Cunningham, in a sense, is weaving together logic and intuition, inviting the viewer to transcend the gap between physical and theoretical via her explorations of chosen media.
Cunningham’s recent exhibitions include 3D Double Vision at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Lawn Drawings at the Getty Center, an installation and performance as part of the exhibition Making Art Concrete: Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. Upcoming projects include a public commission at the LAX airport in conjunction with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
LADIES’ ROOM is an exhibition space located in the historic Bendix Building. All genders are welcome at LADIES’ ROOM. Works by Natalja Kent are on view at LADIES’ ROOM until May 19, 2019. For more information, please see our FAQ page. We are open to the public every Friday, and by appointment other days.
Meet The Artist
Krysten Cunningham (b. 1973. New Haven, CT) earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from the University of California, Los Angeles (2003) and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (2000). Recent exhibitions include 3D: Double Vision at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2019); Lawn Drawings at The Getty Center, Los Angeles, in conjunction with Making Art Concrete, works from Argentina and Brazil from the Colleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (2017); Pink Star at CertLüdde-Porcino, Berlin, DE (2017) and The Cruelty of Others at Household, Los Angeles (2017). She has had solo exhibitions at the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, St Augustine, FL (2016); Ritter/Zamet Gallery, London, UK (2014); the Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2013); Thomas Solomon Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2010); and Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf, DE (2008). Her work has been featured in many group exhibitions including Extending the Line at Idea Space, Colorado Springs (2014); Craft Tech/Coded Media at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (2013); Undone, Making and Unmaking in Contemporary Sculpture at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK (2010); Beyond Measure at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, UK (2008); Minimalism and After at Daimler-Chrysler Collection, Stuttgart, DE (2006); and THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles at UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2005). Upcoming projects include a public commission at the LAX airport in conjunction with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Cunningham lives and works in Los Angeles.