April 16th, 2013

Sara Clendening at The Paradise Garage

Artist: Sara Clendening

Venue: The Paradise Garage, Los Angeles

Exhibition Title: New Scents!

Date: March 3 – March 31, 2013

Click here to view slideshow

Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.


Images courtesy of  The Paradise Garage, Venice 

Press Release: 

What was the initial attraction to the magazine perfume ads?

I’m thinking about how the perfume sample …on the flap it says lift here to experience. It’s a door and invitation.

What was the significance of the story you had mentioned of soaking the magazine ads in alcohol to leech out the scent? It seems in a way symbolic of scamming the system, or reversing the way the sample scent in a magazine is supposed to hook you in as an extension of the seductive power of the image.

Yes, you hit it right on the nose. I once heard of a man who invented a way of making his own cologne – by pouring boiling water down the crack of the perfume ad and harvesting the liquid in a bottle. I began thinking of the perfume ad as a gutter and imagined the ads linked up to create a sort of ‘jungle juice’ composite scent. When you smell a magazine with a bunch of perfume samples-or you walk into Macy’s it’s this scent cacophony- almost like the scent of strangers in a room – meshing up . Ultimately disappearing – scents diffusing- like the events themselves.

The ads seem to reflect a period in time (1990’s- 2000’s) (when you were a teenager ?) what is the significance of that?

Yes, early 90’s. I used to really like the CK- One ads with Kate Moss and her mangey friends. It was something I could relate to. They did photo shoots in a basement with purple carpet. You would think the perfume would smell like B.O. and old cigarette butts but instead ck one was like a crisp tangy fresh number.

This fragrance was a real groundbreaker. I think it was early Febreeze. CK one was clear and unisex. The design of the packaging / bottle predated the current apple computer motif. The bottle was frosted glass with brushed aluminum cap. I feel like that bottle predicted the current design mode now and was ahead of its time.

What relationship do these works have to painting? The Obsession ad and Polo seem to represent different areas, figure and landscape, male and female, but the Chanel one is hung in the air and the original image is obscured, that one seems more abstract.

The Obsession and Polo paintings are dreamscapes with portals. The Polo ad is an action painting. The Obsession image is an underpainting on the verge of disappearing. They feature transcendental figures doing leisure activities.

Chanel ads always feature a celebrity face with a Chanel bottle. in the 70s it was Catherine Deneuve and now it’s a dirty Brad Pitt. Same perfume bottle with a different face. Chanel sounds like channel and a gutter is a channel. In this case the gutter is a mobile channeling a mysterious liquid. The dripping paint job highlights the kinetic nature of the gutter while obliterating the figure and leaving a trace of the Chanel no. 5 bottle.

The broken, folded out image works in an interesting way on the Calvin Klein ad where her head is disembodied, but also literally flipped out of the picture plane, like a shape that has escaped flatland, it also enables the painting to stand on its own as a sculpture.

The Obsession ad disjoints Kate Moss physically- like the Benjaminian concept of the body as landscape that is dissected by fashion. The perfume bottle in the foreground contains the soul essence, the body is a refuge and the head is on another plane. By entering the fold in the metal you can get behind the scenes.

You used the pattern of the “Designer Impostors Body Spray” as the primary motif of the show, and reiterated it in the embossed drawings, is its originality in being the first knock off perfume brand (if you like obsession you’ll love confession) a comment on art?

No, well kind of. The designer imposters theme ties all of the works together and expresses the dichotomy in painting- realism vs. abstraction. “Designer imposters makes that dichotomy apparent and relates back to what you were saying about “Untitled no.5” (Chanel gutter) and proves that piece is not an anomaly but part of an unrepresented element of the work because you cant see the back side of the the other two works. The other paintings depend on the imagination of the viewer.

Paradise Garage is pleased to present Sara Clendening’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. This body of work represents itself as pictures, objects and narrative.

The first object, experienced by the viewer functions as a channel for an unseen fluid. “Untitled no.5” is a gutter and mobile, picture and device.

A second panel leaning against the wall, “If you like Obsession, you’ll love Confession” depicts an image of a model on a couch, the classical odalisque.

Now, the third panel, “Untitled for Men”, clearly a landscape painting, resolves the issue of time, money and space. The element, which functioned as a physical device in “Untitled no.5”, is now clearly an extension of landscape painting, releasing the scent to the world. The panel has opened, releasing an essence of oil medium that moves toward disappearance.

In the office, there exists a fresh sealed, absurdly enlarged perfume blotter sample, titled: “Designer Imposter”. The multilayered embossed print makes visible the depth of scent that is sealed within. With these pieces, the motif is revisited and turned from visual 2d into the 3rd dimension. A sealed archival sheet assures freshness and provides a vehicle for New Scents.

A 1:12 scale model of a project in the works, “Eau de Toilet” is a proposal for a public rest stop. Masquerading as a minimalist sculpture, “Eau de Toilet” is a discreet public latrine made of bent steel. The sculpture is an oversized page from a magazine- a perfume sample where the flap provides space for respite and is a receptacle for human nature.

A primary visual motif of the exhibition was inspired by Designer Imposters body spray, the first line of “knock off” perfume.

Link:  Sara Clendening at The Paradise Garage

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