Lucas Reiner . Courtesy of Kevin Hunter of Heather Seybolt and Lucas Reiner filming trees in Los Angeles, 2007.
Pocket Utopia is pleased to present the work of Los Angeles based artist Lucas Reiner. In Reiner’s neighborhood in Los Angeles there are trees from every continent of the world and as a result he has become fascinated visually by one thing often overlooked about them-curbside trees are trimmed, often radically, by the Department of Transportation to accommodate buildings, commerce, and traffic.
Reiner discovers trees while driving. By visualizing the trees against a neutralized but smoggy background, Reiner finds subject for portraiture. Reiner is constantly impressed in Los Angeles by the insistent dedication of nature to grow in spite of the restrictions placed upon it, and by the forms that result from this contest.
By limiting the context and environment that surrounds the subject matter, a street tree, Reiner invites the viewer to focus and meditate on forces that shape its ordinary forms in unseen ways. Reiner began his exploration of trees in Los Angeles in the fall of 2001. Since then, Reiner has produced paintings, drawings and a film of street trees. This exhibition at Pocket Utopia brings many of these elements together for the first time.
The Silverlake Film Festival commissioned the film, Trees in Los Angeles, in 2007. It is a work in progress. The photograph is culled from his selection of over 3,000 source photographs of trees. The painting – oil and wax on canvas – depicts a radically trimmed tree near the artist’s studio on Washington Blvd.
Pocket Utopia is an away-from center, off-center, exhibition, salon and social space run by artist Austin Thomas.