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Antidote to Noise Exhibition

Gallery experience of exhibit curated by Peter Frank featuring art of Astrid Preston, Laurie Yehia, Lisa Segal, and Margaret-Anne Smith, with percussion by Aziz Yehia. Video by Michael Masucci. Still photography by Eric Minh Swenson. Exhibited at Castelli Art Space in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 shutdown, March 19 through April 4, 2020.

A film by Eric Minh Swenson. Antidote to Noise” features four artists, Astrid Preston, Laurie Yehia, Lisa Segal, and Margaret-Anne Smith, who “in their approaches to artmaking examine the relation of peace to chaos, stability to dissonance. The coherence of beauty does not fight or replace the disorder of everyday life, but provides relief and balance. It is the job of art, these four artists demonstrate, to propose alternate, even transcendent states of mind and soul.” - curator Peter Frank. At Castelli Art Space, Los Angeles, April 19 -May 4, 2020.

Curator's Essay

​We Are Nature: An Antidote to Noise

by Peter Frank

In the midst of a mounting crisis, reflection is difficult. But art can provide such meditation in an emergency (per Frank O’Hara). Some artists, such as these four, remind us that climate is not simply happening to us, but is us.

“Noise” does not fall only on the ear. The term refers to the production (and reception) of inchoate effect, extraneous to what we consider productive and sustaining. An antidote to noise (per the title given to an artwork in the exhibition) is not necessarily quietude, or even harmonious sound. It refers to a balancing of noise with “signal,” a clear stream of information that can be apprehended.

Nature’s most evident representative in art is the landscape. Astrid Preston has addressed landscape themes throughout her career, and here presents some of her most abstracted interpretations of ecological space. Their coherent compositions and restrained palettes mirror the self-sustaining order of nature itself, a faceted portrayal of a phenomenon we inhabit but rarely and scarcely comprehend.

One easily grasped facet of the phenomenon of nature is life. In their vast mobility, birds embody this facet succinctly and even poetically. Lisa Segal demonstrates this, but she also sees life in human comprehension: we are the animal that reasons. And speaks. Birds, notable among other creatures, maintain sonic communication — signals amidst the noise of the world — but we maintain language itself, with all its glorious structure and nuance.

In creating structures out of found and manipulated objects, Laurie Yehia further valorizes the abilities of humankind; specifically, her current focus on wall switch plates in most of her assemblages bespeaks our harnessing of natural forces to human needs. That harnessing, of course, is fraught with both danger and excess, and Yehia’s aggregations, realized in often jarring colors, allow in some representative noise. But in the end, the signal coheres.

Margaret-Anne Smith addresses and expands upon an even more elemental signal, simple mathematics — more specifically, geometry. Whether expanding upon basic trigonometry or revealing the fractal qualities of every finite shape, Smith does not simply ply a Neo-constructivist mindset, but uses the studio as a laboratory for perception, opening up our comprehension of the world as a site of and framework for experience.

These artists regard that experience as fundamental to human awareness and to the human need to make art. Art is not an escape from noise — noise is not escapable, but it is counter-weighable. Rather, art is an alternative, perhaps palliative, to noise, a projection of human reason onto the seeming madness, and increasing violence, of nature. In this regard, art is longer than life, and nature is us.

 

Los Angeles, February 2020

Critic and Curator, Peter Frank engages artists of Antidote to Noise: Laurie Yehia, Lisa Segal, Margaret-Ann Smith, and Astrid Preston in an hour-long virtual tour and experience through the exhibition that was closed before it opened due to COVID-19/Shut-down.

Laurie Yehia: Antidote to Noise

A short  film by Eric Minh Swenson, focusing on the work of Laurie Yehia in the exhibition "Antidote to Noise," curated by Peter Frank. Castelli Art Space, Los Angeles, April 19-May 4, 2020.

ANTIDOTE TO NOISE

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Apero Catalogue, E.E. Jacks curator, Unbound, January 2018. Web.

Form and Space of Possibility (2017)

"The arched grid-like pattern of wall plates, placed against scatterred screw heads, beautifuly explores volume and order through capacity. Yehia's graceful composition createsthe impression of three-dimentionality in an infinite environment, and and elegant unification can be felt through her use of color, in the centraized geometric element." 

Apero Catalogue, E.E. Jacks curator, Introspection, July 2017. Web.

Awakening (2017)

"This memorable work certainly ‘awakens’ the mind to universal experiences, that are comprised of individual moments. The ‘connective’ nature of this piece, is conveyed through the perceptive use of color by Yehia. Her palette also portrays a sense of ‘process’, and perhaps forward movement, past contrasting ideas, and into a more cohesive ideology." 

Form and Space of Possibility
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Apero Catalogue, E.E. Jacks curator, Surrounding, June 2017. Web.

Geometries (2017)

"The gentle watercolor-like hues, and colors in this nuanced work by artist Laurie Yehia, give this piece lyrical, and poetic, dimension. This aesthetic gem, guides the eyes in. From the outer corners of muted tones, to its upward vision of a kaleidoscopic dive, this work elevates the intellect. An awareness of ‘acquaintanceship’ can also be felt, in this permeating work." 

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  • Lemonidou, Eve and Antoniadou, Olga, curators. International Contemporary Artists Vol VIII. New York, US and Athens, EU. ICA Publishing. 2014. Print.
     

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  • “S.M. Woman’s Club Hosts Artist Talk.” Palisadian-Post 1 Sep. 2011: 12. Print.

  • ArtfixDaily Artwire™: Laurie Yehia and Tom Wudl in Conversation, 25 August  2011

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