The ArtCat calendar is closed as of December 31, 2012. Please visit Filterizer for art recommendations.



Justen Ladda: 7 Mirrors and a Nose


16 Wilson Avenue, ground floor
November 19 - December 19, 2010
Reception: Friday, November 19, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

STOREFRONT will present new works by Justen Ladda in an exhibition titled 7 Mirrors and a Nose. The exhibition marks the first solo exhibition in New York of the artist’s work in nearly a decade.

Justen Ladda has been an iconic figure on the New York art scene since the late 1970’s and has developed several distinct bodies of work over the last three decades. He first exhibited his work – a painted installation titled square times at the seminal Times Square Show in June 1980, and in 1981 painted THE THING and book burning in the underground auditorium of the abandoned PS37 in the South Bronx. In 1986,his work art, fashion and religion was featured in The Museum of Modern Art’s project room. Since then Ladda has exhibited in prominent group exhibitions across the U.S. and internationally. Among the concerns in his work are the idea of illusion, transformation, integration, and look.

The mirror pieces continue the artist’s fascination with the mirror, one he has been exploring in installations, sculptures, paintings and photography since 1980.

The mirrors in the show are either ellipsoidal or round and on red cedar wood. I select the lumber and cut and join it to combine wood grain patterns that have a certain character. I then stain and paint the panels with iridescent inks, raw pigments and metal compounds and coat them with a clear resin that gives them a mirror-like finish. The reflections are faint and tinted by the colors of the mirrors. I like the idea of a mirror with wood grain, because each ring or line of the wood represents a year.

Also on exhibit is a sculpture titled, white nose (2008) from a series of sculptures of noses based on that of the opera singer Maria Callas which evolved out of an earlier body of work of women’s crystal dresses and corsets.

The noses are constructed in layers of different fabrics and batting over stainless steel wire frames and are covered in fashion fabrics that have been draped and sewn to fit the noses like gloves. The ‘white nose’ is finished not in fabric but in polyester batting.
I like the transformative aspects of fashion and glamour and the distortion of the body, which to me border on the magical.  After the dresses I made a series of corsets, which were based on historic models and originally existed to fashion the female body and mold it to conform to the beauty ideals of certain periods. I think that garments as well as types and colors of fabrics create character – at least of a temporary, superficial kind.
The interest in the nose came out of a long fascination with portraiture and the idea of ‘character’. I believe that in portraits it is the nose that centers the face, ‘sets the tone’ and gives it much of its character I see a connection between the corset which functions to create a shape that ‘anchors’ and defines the look of a garment and the nose, which ‘anchors’ the face: both give character to their respective hosts. Subtle changes in either will change the larger picture.

In 2008, Ladda completed his latest public art project at the Allen Street Mall on the Lower East Side just south of Delancey Street. It was done in collaboration with the NY Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation. The design features Chinese scholar rocks, plantings, benches and paving stones and incorporates the artist’s unique sensibilities. It is still evolving and will get a major make-over in 2011.

Justen Ladda is represented in the following public collections: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The New York Public Library, New York; The Alex Katz Foundation, New York; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME; Tempozan Temporary Museum, Osaka, Japan; and The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore.
Have photos of this show? Tag them with artcat12508 to see them here.