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Prospecting Palm Fronds
Sep 11 - Oct 24, 2015
LA><ART is pleased to present LA-LIKE: Prospecting Palm Fronds, an exhibition by LA based artist Zoe Crosher. For this new series of work, Crosher has gathered discarded palm fronds from various sites within Los Angeles, which the artist then cast in bronze and titled according to the city cross street locations where they were found. Crosher’s project is consistent with her ongoing artistic interests in a conceptual mapping of Los Angeles, further expanding her previous documentary works that explore different forms of city planning, civic geography, and social cartography. In selecting the palm frond as material subject and rendering it as bronze sculpture, Crosher is keenly aware of its potential for far-reaching signification and symbolic meaning, while also readdressing problems ascribed to the material function of cultural objects and iconography.
Crosher’s repurposing of the fallen palm, transforming it from debris to bronze sculpture, presents the recurring double bind faced by art as commodity. Rather than elide this problematic, LA-LIKE: Prospecting Palm Fronds suggests a point of fruitful contention, reiterating the need for a continuing discussion around the seemingly irreconcilable contradictions posited by an increasingly speculative art market.
As an artist who has primarily worked in photography, Crosher is interested in the photographic impulse towards preservation. Bronzing an object was approached by the artist as a means of expanding the strict definitions and categories of production associated with photography. Self-problematizing her own practice, Crosher has repeatedly situated installation, sculpture, and project-oriented works within, and against, a language of photography and image production. These efforts towards realizing an expanded photography have been central to Crosher’s artistic practice over the past ten years.
Beyond discussions of medium specificity and the commodity art object, LA-LIKE: Prospecting Palm Fronds reflects on the work of city management and early histories of LA. The process of gathering the ubiquitous fallen palm fronds is a task already performed by the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services. Having recently designated the various species of palm trees a public hazard and costly nuisance, the maintenance of these trees has recently given way to city policies that eliminate any of their future planting. Crosher’s project serves as an accounting of this process of extinction. As an archival project, LA-LIKE: Prospecting Palm Fronds also reminds us of the decadence inherent in the iconic palm tree as a symbol of leisure for early developers of Los Angeles, and of the broader colonial imagination.
About the Artist
Zoe Crosher is an artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. Inspired primarily by the collapse of the image and the imaginary, Crosher explores disconnects between the fantasy of something and its reality. She is the founder and president of the Los Angeles branch of The Fainting Club. Crosher has taught at UCLA and Art Center College of Design, and was Associate Editor of the journal Afterall after receiving her MFA from CalArts. In 2011 she was awarded the prestigious Art Here and Now Award by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is a recent recipient of the Rauschenberg award. Her work has been included in MoMA’s 2012 “New Photography” exhibition as well as extensive exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally. Most recently, Crosher worked with the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) on “The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project,” a series she initiated of artist-produced billboards and activations that unfolded along the Interstate 10 Freeway from Florida to California through the spring of 2015.
Press Coverage | download all Press (.zip file)