VSF is pleased to present Lay Down Your Arms, Los Angeles-based artist April Street’s first solo exhibition at Various Small Fires. Street uses three spaces of the gallery to weave a dialog between a sound work, a sculptural installation and performative paintings. The exhibition is an environmental menagerie of objects and sounds severed from their original habitats, to re-form as one body in the throws of readjustment, surrender and transcendence.
The exhibition begins in the Sound Corridor with Two Mallards, a five-channel sound piece in which the artist and a stranger play out romantic scenarios through bird and cat calls. The two strangers fight, fall in love, sing, and compete for attention. Two Mallards serves and an introductory dialog between the artist and the audience, and acts as the ‘visitor’s welcome’ as prelude to the Courtyard installation.
In the Courtyard, Street’s Portrait of a Barn: 1840-2015 (2015) reconstructs the facade of a found image of an Appalachian cantilevered barn typical of the vernacular architecture of her childhood region of Virginia. The 15-foot barn facade, constructed in antique Appalachian wood, is accompanied by a ‘painted shadow’ resting on the Courtyard’s ground, transposing this sculpture back to the world of images.
As is typical of Street’s painting practice, the barn’s painted shadow is made from stretched yards of hosiery and is an artifact of a private performative act. Through a series of scripted body positions, Street slowly imprints quasi-photographic imagery into pools of wet acrylic paint on canvas, her body wrapped in hosiery, an indexical gesture that recalls feminist performances of the 60′s and 70′s.
In the Viewing Room is Wandering Limb #14 (2015), a hosiery painting stretched onto a frame, removed from its canvas and stretched like an exotic hide, or spun into a suspended rope. An accompanying wooden floor sculpture, the missing structural peak of the outdoor barn, is also a carrying case for the painting.
April Street (b.1975) lives and works in Los Angeles. She studied bronze casting in central Italy and painting at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent exhibitions include Various Small Fires, LA; Carter & Citizen, LA; Rosamund Felsen Gallery, LA; Five Car Garage, Santa Monica; and the Underground Museum, Los Angeles. She is a grant recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts. Her solo shows have been reviewed by Artforum, Art in America, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Times.