JAN 12 – FEB 23, 2014


“Emerg­ing from an Abyss, and reen­ter­ing it—that is Life, is it not, Dear?
The tie between us is very fine, but a Hair never dis­solves“
–Emily Dick­in­son, c. 1885, 1
The works in this show look towards the uti­liza­tion of mar­gin­a­lia to map the jour­ney into the self—where the enthu­si­asm and fan­tasy of a par­tic­u­lar moment in time is sub­jec­tively recorded and then as such becomes tran­scen­dent in its power as com­ment. Moments, ges­tures, land­scapes and other phys­i­cal expe­ri­ences, scrupu­lously attended to, recall the work of Walden, Emer­son, and Thoreau, in that they attest to the aban­don­ment of the tra­di­tional “rules” of per­cep­tion, even to the cogency of the self within an alter­ing sys­tem or set of rules.

Dur­ing this jour­ney into the world and into the self, fancy2 becomes mag­ni­fied. The minor, the small, the con­tin­gent comes to the fore­front. Notes and sketches with their atten­tion to the out­wardly com­mon­place ques­tion the whole notion of the Mas­ter­piece, with its clas­si­cally “impor­tant” sub­ject. Artists who choose to sub­vert the sub­ject from the mar­gin are pro­duc­ing from a place with no cen­ter, where the sub­ject roams free because it has noth­ing to over­throw. The power lies in these works’ abil­ity to record affect, tran­scend­ing dis­course by focus­ing on the self.

Susan Howe, in The Birth-mark: unset­tling the wilder­ness in Amer­i­can lit­er­ary his­tory, dis­cusses Melville’s Billy Budd’s depic­tion of per­sonal con­tin­gency, occur­ring simul­ta­ne­ously with a map­ping of the self. This dual­ity is also at work in each artist’s explo­ration. As Howe explains:


lashed in a ham­mock, hemp around his neck, drag­ging cables, cordage, with­out voli­tion under lan­guage, in a mea­sure mys­te­ri­ously woman, Billy drifts fath­oms down dreaming…What space to which to extend the arms; at that instant we are all like swimmers…Warbling, war­bling. Leav­ing no verb in their eyes…“3

1 Howe, Susan. The Birth-mark: unset­tling the wilder­ness in Amer­i­can lit­er­ary his­tory (Mid­dle­town, Con­necti­cut: Wes­leyan Uni­ver­sity Press, 1993), 29.

2 An image or rep­re­sen­ta­tion of some­thing formed in the mind

3 Ibid., 37.

Wal­lace Berman (1926–1976) was born in Staten Island, New York, and grew up in Los Ange­les. He attended but did not grad­u­ate from the Jep­son Art Insti­tute and Chouinard Art Insti­tute, instead immers­ing him­self in the Jazz, Beat, and under­ground art move­ments. After hav­ing an assem­blage sculp­ture of his cen­sored by the police in a 1957 exhi­bi­tion at Ferus Gallery, Berman focused on his loose­leaf mag­a­zine Sem­ina and Ver­i­fax col­lage for much of the rest of his life. Berman died sud­denly in a car crash in 1976.

Lee Maida (b. 1983) received her BFA from Cal­i­for­nia Col­lege of the Arts and her MFA from Bard Col­lege Mil­ton Avery Grad­u­ate School of Arts (2013) where she was the recip­i­ent of the Julia Klein Fel­low­ship for Sculp­ture. She has exhib­ited her work at Andrew Edlin, Tax­ter & Spenge­man and Ed. Varie in New York and ACP, Parker Jones and Com­mon­wealth & Coun­cil Los Ange­les. Maida is cur­rently an artist in res­i­dence at Abrons Art Center’s Air­space pro­gram.

Joe Zor­rilla (b. 1982) received his MFA from Cal­i­for­nia Insti­tute of the Arts (2012). He has shown at M&B Gallery and Han­nah Hoff­man, Los Ange­les, and Mount Trem­per Arts and West Street Arts in New York. Zor­rilla lives and works in Los Ange­les.

For press inquiries and images, please con­tact the gallery at mail@joesheftelgallery.com.