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Alyssa Rogers at Monte Vista Projects


It’s the last week to view a solo show by Alyssa Rogers at Monte Vista Projects, an artist-run collective that exhibits emerging artists. The show, cheekily titled “There’s a Snake in My Boot” pulls viewers into a Western tale where paintings, drawings, objects, and a painted backdrop collide to create a cowboy-hued narrative. In Rogers’ fable, all the characters  — the outlaw, villain, and the sage — are all female characters, and each one is featured in a large portrait in Rogers’ exhibition.

Though the portraits are the largest works in the show, the painted desertscape that covers the walls of the exhibition transports us into Roger’s imagined world. Ephemera from her narrative make up the remainder of the works on view. The objects include a long rattlesnake skin is flayed out and pinned to one wall while a soundtrack of desert sounds — chirping crickets, a low drum, and a hooting owl — play in the space. Small drawings of a snake in a boot and a dead rabbit show more intimate details of a story that is never quite revealed to the viewer, although the artist says she’s been verbally telling bits of her tale to viewers that come visit the exhibition “it’s become a bit of an oral tradition,” she tells me.

Still, without the artist present to reveal the specifics of her narrative, we are left to ponder the possibilities of a small shelf covered with sand, tinctures, a candle, and a bone; at what point in the Western narrative are these magical tools used, and to what end? Like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, Rogers offers us setting, characters, and props, and empowers viewers to enact their own imagined story.

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Photo: Installation View of “There’s A Snake In My Boot” (Oct 31 – Dec 13, 2020), Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Zachary Ruddell.