Los Angeles based artist Meg Cranston’s California includes a group of new works on paper and selected works from the artist’s body of work from the past ten years. The exhibition compliments a retrospective of Cranston’s work at Artspace in Auckland, New Zealand in Spring 2007.
Included in the exhibition is a major new work titled Eyes Smell Onions, a large-scale wall collage made especially for Venetia Kapernekas Gallery. In it, the artist has created a cosmology of onions cum spotlights cum eyeballs that gyrate across a field composed of advertisements from the Los Angeles Times. The concentric circles of the onion image create a mesmerizing effect – an extreme and unstable vitality. We wonder if the center can hold. Our eyes smell onions.
Cranston uses the effect of high contrast and/or high chroma to create a sense of unnamed urgency in many of the works on paper. In the work Asleep at the Wheel, the colors of the spectrum pulsate around a diamond-encrusted wristwatch. The driver is passed out with a color bomb under the seat. In California, a magenta fireball hurls from the mouth of a blonde-haired figure fronting an advertisement for plastic lawn chairs. Color represents itself, electromagnetic energy that plugs in the world and brings good things to life.
Cranston’s recent work seems to be about the pleasure of living in Los Angeles, which the artist describes as “the pleasure of life at it most energetically preposterous.”