Is hyperrealism destined to take over what could soon be the lost art of photography? Amid a sea of abject narcissism, documenting what we eat, what we wear, who we saw and what tomorrow's weather might be, hyperrealism could perhaps be the last connective tissue to something that once was a great art.
The genre, which is still relatively new in the contemporary art world in the scheme of things, has but a handle of great artists, one of which is not really well known in the United States -- Australian based Robin Eley. Mr. Eley as of late, has been an artist-in-residence in Los Angeles, and his first solo show, Prism, debuted this past weekend at the gallery, 101/exhibit. (The show is completely sold-out). The show features an installation comprised of nine new oil on Belgian linen works and five innovative 3D-printed photopolymer sculptures.
Here, Eley spoke about his time in LA, what his thoughts are on the art scene and would he ever relocate to the City of Angels permanently.
This is your first LA show and you've been working here for a few months? Describe what you thought of LA before you arrived, and what you think about it now.
Robin Eley: Like most Australians, our perception of Los Angeles is heavily skewed by what we see in movies and on TV. We (my wife and I) were however fortunate enough to spend a significant amount of time here in the two years leading up to our move and in that time we gained an understanding of what LA is really like: energetic, creative and customizable to your own personal taste. In short, the longer we are here the more we love it.
What do you think of the LA art scene? Do you have a favorite LA artist?
Eley: To be perfectly honest, 4 months ago I landed in LA and I was literally working the next day. With the exhibition opening looming large on the horizon I have had precious little time to venture out to see much of anything or anyone. What I have been able to glean is the tremendous sense of excitement and anticipation that surrounds the LA art scene at the moment, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to contribute in some way.
Do you want to move here permanently?
Eley: I've always held to the belief that the work I make will tell me where
it needs to be made, and for the foreseeable future LA is the place for
that. And while I could never say that any move is permanent in no way am
I approaching my time in LA as temporary. We are most definitely here to stay.
(Miels Refracted (Red) by Robin Eley. Image courtesy of the artist and 101/exhibit)
What was the most challenging part of putting this show together?
Eley: Making half an exhibition in Australia and the other half in the US presents many logistical issues that were tricky to navigate, to say nothing of the challenge of uprooting our lives and moving countries. In terms of the art work, the successful creation of my first series of sculptures proved to be a year long process of research, tutelage and execution that only came together in the final month before the opening. These sculptures, assembled 3D printed pieces, presented some unique technological challenges in terms of the cutting edge software and materials being used but also many of the challenges faced in traditional sculpture, like balance, fit and finish. The result though is exactly what I had envisioned 15 months ago when I began working on the series.
Favorite piece in this show -- or ever (in all of your work created thus far).
Eley: Having worked so intimately with the subjects and intensely on the process, the sculptures are very close to my heart. However, if pressed, I have two favorite paintings, Millhouse Refracted (Yellow) and Noble Refracted (Blue). I gravitate towards these in particular, not merely because of the aesthetic result, but the personal connection I have to the time during which I painted them. Millhouse Refracted (Yellow) was the first painting of the series painted right after we made our decision to move and Noble Refracted (Blue) was painted in the final weeks before we left. It's a visceral feeling that I can't adequately describe.
Robin Eley: Prism
101/exhibit, 6205 Santa Monica Blvd, LA, CA 90038