Pharmaka: Hook Line and Sinker

After a debunked trip to the MONA (closed on Wednesdays), I gave up and headed home. Article pitches streamed through my mind as I plundered through the unusually strong wind, the same wind that turned my attention to Pharmaka, 101 West 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013. As I attempted to pull my hair out of the grips of the wind I looked up to see that Pharmaka was gloriously open. Not only could I see art today, I could get out of the ‘cold’.

Upon taking my first step in I new it; I love this show! Though I currently create installation work, I rely heavily on minimalist influence. Many call their goals lofty, even pretentious. I fell for their ideals hook, line and sinker. The minimalists or literalists were formally about line, shape, and very specific color. Conceptually, they wanted to do away with all things metaphor. Anything in a visual piece that could reference something in real life was off limits. For example, if a succession of lines were arranged in such a way that they resembled a book, the viewer may look at said lines and recall the most recent literature they had read. That, in turn, would evoke whatever emotion that book made them feel. The piece of art then becomes personal to that viewer.

Minimalists believed that art should be unifying, and the only way to do so was to eliminate metaphor, visual cues. Art could rest, then, entirely on objective beauty and they could unite the world with art, and therefore surpass the need for it. Who wouldn’t love that?

I am a believer, simply for the beauty of the dream, which was far from pretentious. So with a little bit of the dreamer in me revealed I give you the show at Pharmaka, ‘TRANSformal’.

This show of nine international artists, all part of one collective, is a lofty one, full of delectable ideals. It explores abstract painting in an era without direction, at least in the art world. “Having traveled through so many isms, painting is now free to be about itself”, states Shane Guffogg of Pharmaka. The group of artists, TRANS, struck a cord at Pharmaka, both hungry to discuss and deepen the knowledge of the role of painting in contemporary art. In a world of heavy-handed metaphor and overly emotional imagery, it is so refreshing to see a show where a painting is just about painting. The viewer can walk into Pharmaka and relax. There is no desperate search for hidden meaning, it is about the beauty, the form, and the color. In your enjoyment of those elements you have discovered the illusive meaning. Let your mind relax and fall out of focus and just let the art evoke in you what it will.  A nugget of wisdom from Guffogg may help, “It bypasses our mind’s sense of logic and goes straight to the source of our being, urging us to ask questions, for without a question, the answer would be meaningless.”

This show comes down May 2nd, so you have plenty of time. Just don’t let it slip your mind and miss an opportunity for a truly beautiful experience of art!

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