The Debut Recap
March 31st, 2018 brought us the first event created by the Los Angeles based Collective, DEMOblank. Their inaugural show, The Debut, was a success. From the moment one approached the venue, the energy present was clear, and only gained momentum as the night unfolded. With over 200 attendees in under four hours many new artists were introduced to the LA art community. DEMOblank successfully set out and accomplished its mission to call attention to talented artists who should be receiving more recognition. The exhibition featured ten artists, eight of which are based on the East coast and two based out of Los Angeles. For nine of these artists, this was their first time showing work in Los Angeles.
The work in the exhibition varied in medium and materials but was undoubtedly well put together and cohesive in its strength. No one area in this exhibition garnered more attention than another. Every artist’s space was traversed and consistently re-investigated by guests throughout the evening. The two garages housed works which continuously beckoned people back to them. One garage held work by Luc Hammond-Thomas who’s setup of ceramics was eye-catching and intelligently placed. The glazes of his vases, cups, cruets, jars, and teapots provided a stunning visual contrast to the gutted exposed wood of the garage and his pairing of rough plywood shelving and pedestals only brought people’s attention back to his work. The second garage held Leckie Gassman’s piece, Splenda Spendor, in which Gassman used a system of ropes and pulleys to suspend one hundred pint glasses with only tension from blown-up balloons. As the balloons deflated, glasses fell and were shattered against the concrete floor. The balloons and glasses were counterbalancing cinder blocks on the other side of the garage, which were suspended over his hand-blown and carved glass. With each fallen glass the adjacent cinder blocks were brought closer in contact with his glassware. Guests stood in front of this piece all night, anxiously waiting for another glass to fall.
Pat Taylor and Samantha Case’s installations and paintings had people both terrified and curious all night. Upon entering these spaces, one was greeted with disturbing scenes that left individuals feeling as if they had entered a nightmare. Despite this, many guests returned to these installations to gain a better understanding of the work. Case’s installation of a naked, headless women watching a looped video that was difficult to discern, and Taylor’s toy baby, Aubrey crawling around the room to dark satanic music with its head illuminated, were found to be irresistible to many guests.
A collection of shirt illustrated and designed by Steve Shaeffer, showcased his skill as a graphic designer. His designs were extremely popular and before the night was over many people were walking around with some of the t-shirts he designed. In the same area we find work by Charlie Golonkiewicz, who’s blown glass pendant lights illuminated this area and the backyard. His glassware, including cups and jewelry, were objects of desire for many who attended as the gold leaf he skillfully weaved into his pieces caught their eye. Niichi Hayashi’s work, In, was an intense visual experience which disturbingly reminded us of the overwhelming amount of media we are surrounded with constantly. Walking into this piece made one keenly aware of how difficult it is to traverse all the information consistently being given to us, alongside this Hayashi’s performance of writing on the mirror brought the viewer into the intimate setting of Hayashi’s mind.
Max Wilkins a Rochester based Illustrator showed work at this event as well. His illustrations provided a lighter, fantastical feeling in juxtaposition to the darker work of Case and Taylor. The characters that comprise his drawings feel as if they could belong on a tv show, which is an exciting possibility to think about. Greyson Bruwer also showed illustrations which hilariously called attention to the boag. If anyone who came to the opening didn’t know what a boag was before they came, that was not the case by the time they left. Bruwer’s work strongly advocates for everyone to take the time to smoke a boag through humour and well-crafted characters. Daion Chesney’s photographs gave us a glimpse into femininity and being vulnerable. The images she created are revealing and personal. These images tackle modern issues such as beauty standards in today’s society and the pressure that is applied to women to meet those standards.
Later in the evening the rap group GreatDane performed with backing projection created by Samantha Case. GreatDane brought a high level of energy to their performance, providing a unique backdrop to those observing the pieces inside and outside. Case’s collaboration with GreatDane was paired just right and marks the first of many collaborations that DEMOblank is currently facilitating. Following GreatDane was Dr.Doppler who recently released his new album IV. He brought with him a hot lofi set which truly set the tone for the remainder of the evening. He skillfully transitioned between songs and beats while simultaneously manipulating three VCR’s and constantly rotating VHS tapes in and out to cut together classic cartoons that further exemplify his musical and visual abilities.
Overall The Debut marks the first of many exciting events to come from DEMOblank. They will continue to put on shows with new artists and musicians and collaborate with those they are already working with. If you are interested in working with them contact them through email or instagram.