Art can always exist for it’s beauty, it’s depth, it’s aesthetic production qualities, but when an artist turns a formal object they’ve created into a story, a statement, a riddle, then it becomes radical art. The longer the questions asked remain in the audience’s mind, the greater the question – and hopefully the better the answer.
Lisa Rosel has activated her art as part of her travels throughout Los Angeles and it’s environs, as she chances upon, and then captures her prey – unsuspecting billboards, signs, ads – in their environment, their territory. All are indicators of the public aesthetic – at least, the sense perception that the powers behind the images want us to believe. As she photographs these seemingly innocent victims, active aspects of her depiction indicate to us her personal perspective, her startlingly stark, if you will, view of these advertisements and their methods of manipulation. The depiction of female form and function in these messages are reflections of our patriarchal society, a society that some believe if it is to survive is shifting to a more female driven, matriarchal one. Part of that pendulum swing exists in Lisa Rosel’s striking imagery, in it’s utter simplicity and obviousness of form that she allows to do it’s work. She stands in front of these image/forms from a straight on, eye-level perspective. She does not often look up at them, unless to wryly mock them, while at the same time admiring their absurdly blatant attitude, as if the ads themselves could any longer actually manipulate us.
But, depending upon your perspective, the women in them actually always do. The female form has always been the most basic objectification that artists make, whether male or female artist. It’s an essential aspect of creation – the female as goddess, as life giver – that can never leave the consciousness of artist or public if we are to survive on Mother Earth. Let’s hope that people can begin to take that to heart.
The body of work will be on view at c.nichols project Mar Vista, opening March 28, 2015.
Director/Venice Institute of Contemporary Art (VICA)