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“Shape of Life” at Wönzimer


Amid the chaos of last week, a new group show opening downtown is pulling back and asking big questions about existence. An essay written by the show’s curator, Gary Brewer, points to scientific discoveries that have expanded human consciousness throughout history. Brewer writes: “what we know is that we are a part of a vast network of interconnected relationships, whose ebb and flow profoundly change the nature of life.” As such, artists across the show pull in natural elements, and muse on the interconnectivity of life, and the limits of mortality.

Jeff Colson’s cellular sculpture featured in the exhibition occasionally takes off at random, rolling around his property pushed by the whims of the wind; Mercedes Dorame, a Tongva artist, explores L.A.’s landscape and performs private rituals that call upon Tongva histories and rituals; Nasim Hantenzadeh depicts ambiguous organic forms that mingle together, as much bodily as they are plant-based or cellular. Cheyann Washington’s paintings on fabric utilize plant materials to create dense pigments whose colors will shift over time. Taken together, the show is a welcome perspective-check after a tumultuous political year — it’s grounding to imagine a world in which human activity is not at the center.

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Photo: “The Shape of Life” installation view. Image courtesy of the artists and Wönzimer Gallery. Left: Tim Musso, “Cetacea Sempervirens,” 120 x 72 inches, woodblock print. Middle: Cheyann Washington, 2020, natural pigment on silk.