ALLEGORY for the Present
Merwin Belin & Dennis Reed
September 24 – November 5, 2016
Los Angeles Harbor College
Saturday, September 24, 4 – 7PM
Los Angeles Harbor College Fine Arts Gallery is pleased to present ALLEGORY for the Present, recent works by Merwin Belin and Dennis Reed. The exhibition will open with an Artists’ Reception Saturday, September 24, 4 – 7PM.
Merwin Belin has been producing provocations in one form or another since the early 1970’s, embracing a strategy first described as detournement by Guy Debord and Gil J. Wolman in 1956, and later employed as a part of the Situationist International’s openly declared war on the ‘Society of the Spectacle’. The two fundamental laws of detournement are the loss of importance of each detourned autonomous element – which may go so far as to completely lose its original sense – and at the same time the organization of another meaningful ensemble that confers on each element its new scope and effect. From reconstructed newspaper front pages to text/image reassignments to impoverished original assemblages, his work is consistently witty, irreverent, spare, and often elegant.
Dennis Reed’s images are excerpted from a decades-long photographic project that took its momentum at the beginning of the Iraq War and extended beyond, capturing television screen images of random acts of violence, accidents and crime scenes, as well as innocuous entertainment programs. The medium is the message, or an elemental part thereof, in an enterprise the artist describes as unanticipated and unpredictable. In preparation for a book version of the TV Series images, Reed explained that he added text gleaned from newspaper obituaries and matched to the dark emotional tone of the images. Phrases were divided into three lines, and poems constructed using five of the phrases, relying on rhythm rather than rhyme.
These casual acts of cultural critique yield unexpected, meditative results along multiple lines of interpretation. For those of you who enjoy a bit of political anger but are not addicted to pure market spectacle, it doesn’t get much better than this.
ALLEGORY for the Present runs through November 5. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 11AM – 4PM, and by appointment. For visuals or additional information, please contact Ron Linden, 310-600-4873 or 310-233-4411.