Amy Adler “A Safe Place”

Dates: Oct 29 – Nov 26, 2022
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Viewing Room (TERRADA ART COMPLEX II)

The gallery will implement necessary measures to prevent coronavirus infections.

Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to announce “A Safe Place,” an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Amy Adler, her fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.

“A Safe Place” continues Adler’s career-long exploration of the relationship between the physical process of drawing and its narrative potentiality. In this most recent work, a series of nine chalk pastel drawings on black paper, Adler depicts a blond-haired child in shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers climbing a massive leafy tree. The child moves nimbly around the tree, pictured from different angles and heights, swinging, hanging, and scaling the giant trunk across the nine images. The young protagonist is the dynamic counterpart to the static tree—a relationship that mirrors the interaction between a fixed surface and the act of drawing.

This is one of many layers of significance that give Adler’s work its characteristic narrative tension. Drawing on the visual language of photography, film, and print media, she produces images that exist in multiple storylines and invite the viewer into the production of meaning. Like much of her previous work, in “A Safe Place” what initially appears straightforward is quickly obscured by Adler’s refusal to reveal anything definitive about the plot or subject. The androgynous child, whose face we never see, is dressed in clothing that could place them in the 1980s just as easily as today, and the careful cropping of each image offers no clues to a specific location. The title itself only enhances this interpretive open-endedness, complicating notions of safety and where it is to be found.

For many years Adler has drawn in the negative, coaxing her imagery out of the darkness in a process that is both physically and mentally labor-intensive. “A Safe Place” is the result of a simultaneous cyclical process in which Adler worked on all nine drawings in a series of rounds, building up each surface to the same degree before moving on to the next layer. The resulting drawings produce a kind of animated world, one that Adler has inhabited and translated from multiple angles into a visual narrative that is both familiar and wholly unknowable.

Amy Adler received her BFA from Cooper Union in 1989, an MFA from UCLA in 1995, and an MFA in Cinematic Arts from USC in 2011. She has an exhibition history that includes solo shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1998); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2002); Aspen Art Museum (2006); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2006); Drammens Museum, Drammen (2012). Her short films have been screened at international film festivals including Frameline and Outfest (2016) and the British Film Institute’s FLARE (2017). Her work is included in permanent collections including the Drammens Museum, Drammen; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Amy Adler is the recipient of a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship and is Professor of Visual Art at the University of California San Diego.

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