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Thaw: Winter Group Show at the Landing


The title of the bustling group exhibition at the Landing, Thaw, is a cheeky riff on Frieze, the LA art fair that took place the weekend the exhibition opened in February. It’s also a nod to the chill of winter that opens up into spring. As the exhibition has remained on view well past the hubbub of the fair week, the word “thaw” evokes a kind of slow uncovering from the proverbial freeze of fair week. The show includes 18 artists, none of whom have shown with the gallery prior. While group shows are a common way for galleries to try out new artists and begin a working relationship, Thaw features particularly thoughtful curatorial connections. The show is a packed offering of multiple works by each artist that together point towards a shared ethos and the common discourse that can arise across a community of contemporary makers. 

Julia Bland’s large-scale weaving, So Below (2021), sets the tone. The processes of weaving, dyeing, and quilting are explored in the riotous geometric composition that is as playful as it is compositionally balanced. Jason David’s wall compositions, in which he repurposes leftover wood scraps from past projects and composes them within a rectangular low-relief frame, walk a similar tightrope between the organic and regimented. 

Elisa Ortega Montilla’s small sculptural contributions to the exhibition fuse small, organic wooden forms with women’s negligees to a surprising effect, suggesting a more fluid definition of gender that pushes up against more sensualized expectations. Chris Fallon’s paintings are graphic consortiums that contain a slew of painted styles, from a cartoonish Ronald McDonald to a more minimally rendered femme figure with graphic, gradient pink skin. Across the works on view, artists balance opposites and contradictions to arrive at works that contain tension and nuance.

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Photo: Thaw (installation view) (2022). Image courtesy of the artists and Charles White/JWPictures.