Monique Prieto, Luster

Dates: September 9 - October 28, 2017

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 9, 2017, 5 - 8 p.m

Chimento Contemporary is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings on panel by LA-based artist Monique Prieto. Following her project room installation in 2016, this will be her first solo show with the gallery. 

For Luster, Prieto has shifted key elements of her formal lexicon of shape, line, and color into new structural configurations that represent both a break from and direct evolution of her signature style of figurative abstraction. Rather than the luminous “empty” ivory grounds and levitating serpentine lines of recent series, Prieto has been painting black gesso grounds on wood panels. Against this background, like misshapen gems on a jeweler’s velvet cloth, individual monochromatic shapes are formed by the precise deployment of spectral brushwork. As her mark-making undulates and accumulates, it coagulates to form whole solid shapes made of many individual strikes. While much of her early employment of this idiom has used circles in pairs to reference the eye, as she proceeds the shapes become more complicated and even figurative.

Her single-colors stories tend either hot or cold, blue and indigo, or scarlet and pink…Deploying her signature textural gesturalism as an architectonic material, the new forms are more distinct and self-contained. Within her more pared down palette, she choreographs the optical effects of chromatic nuance to create not only shapes but the glimmer of pictorial space. Her quasi-figures emerge like faded nebulas in a telescopic sky; space is created inside the image not by acrobatics but by detail-rich contrast in topography and spreading shadow.

In this new compositional mode Prieto works more monolithically, with one or two central figures and the strategic suggestion of motion; and thus the strong emotional undercurrents in the work more closely channel human experience and physical phenomenology -- yet remain crucially tethered to the foundation of abstraction. For example, the large-scale panels of her new diptychs are hung with a slight gap, leaving the pairs of figures drawn towards each other across an empty space. This choice creates not only architecturally engaged pictorial space and interior momentum, but also a story -- a metanarrative that tells two tales at once, one about shapes in color fields, and one about souls in the world.

Monique Prieto (b. 1962 Los Angeles, California) lives and works in Los Angeles. Currently Prieto's work is on view at  The Great Poor Farm Experiment IX in Manawa, WI through June 30, 2018. Her work has been included in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and The Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach.

Monique Prieto, Blue Set, 2017, 72" x 72.5"

Monique Prieto, Blue Set, 2017, 72" x 72.5"

Side Gallery

Julie Weitz, The Hand Network: Humdog, a prelude

Dates: September 9 - October 28, 2017

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 9, 2017, 5 - 8 p.m

Chimento Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Julie Weitz in the side gallery, with a new video project by Julie Weitz. Inspired by Carmen Hermosillo aka HUMDOG. 

Julie Weitz casts original sculptures and employs practical film effects to construct a virtual world devoid of bodies but filled with the desire for touch in her highly sensualized aesthetic. A network of phantom limbs made from molds of the artist’s hands are linked together by metal chains, a mouth emerges from darkness oozing white foam; a phallus made of wax rotates in blinking neon and a plaster bust of the goddess Athena radiates pink light from her eyes: the imagery permeates a palpable, erotic terror.

Weitz discovered the writings of Carmen Hermosillo, also known by her avatar Humdog, researching cybernetic history and Internet subculture. As early as 1994, Hermosillo foresaw the perceptual dangers of virtual connectedness in her prophetic essay, “Pandora’s Vox: On Community in Cyberspace.” She was an early participant in The WELL, one of the original online forums and an electronic extension of the counterculture magazine Whole Earth Catalog. Within this purported cybernetic utopia, Hermosillo called out misogynist behavior and derided the commodification of selfhood. As a Cuban-American woman, she expressed an underrepresented point of view in a tech community largely dominated by white hetero-normative men. Ten years later, she joined the simulated world of Second Life, personifying multiple avatars, publishing editorials for the virtual newspaper Alphaville Herald and participating in BDSM role-play. The psychological impact of Hermosillo's online relationships tragically led her to delete her virtual accounts and take her own life in 2008.

Weitz adapts excerpts of Hermosillo’s text performed by artist Karen Krolak as vocal narration in the video, and has collaborated with hip-hop producer Saviour Adu to compose an original synth-based soundtrack. Along with her video, the exhibition features an original photograph and printed takeaway directing viewers to her website Here readers can access a collection of Hermosillo’s writing including her seminal essay “Pandora’s Vox.”

Weitz intends to develop Humdog into an experimental narrative film that explores the complicated circumstances of virtual identity, digital communication and online subculture.

Weitz_Humdog Postcard for Website.jpg