Having grown up around his father’s pottery studio, ceramic artist Matt Wedel has long understood and respected both the intrinsic properties of the material and the element of chance that accompanies the process of firing and glazing the clay. Wedel’s art enters the realm of mythological creation stories—intent on recreating the world from mud or clay, he intricately models vegetation, minerals, and animals—all of which, while familiar, suggest they have roots in the unknown. His works are complex yet fluid with simple but commanding saturated color.
Los Angeles-based artist Anthony Pearson is well known for his sensitivities to materials. By experimenting with the formal limits of the photography, where Pearson’s practice originated, he found a visual vocabulary rooted in abstraction that explores the balances between positive and negative, lightness and darkness. Pearson’s work selected for the Hollywood Park Casino,Untitled (Flare Diptych), creates an aesthetic echo between the site of the casino and the work of art on display.
Mickalene Thomas first began to photograph herself and her mother as a student at Yale—a pivotal experience for her as an artist. With each new series, she grapples with and asserts new definitions of beauty and inspiration. Thomas’s portraits draw equally from 1970s black-is-beautiful images of women such as supermodel Beverly Johnson and actress Vonetta McGee; Édouard Manet’s odalisque figures; and the mise-en-scène studio portraiture of James Van Der Zee and Malick Sidibé, to mention a few. Perhaps of greatest importance, however, Thomas’ collection of portraits and staged scenes reflects a very personal community of inspiration as well—a collection of muses that includes Thomas herself, her mother, and her friends and lovers, emphasizing the communal and social aspects of art-making and creativity that pervadeher work.
Charlie Bidwell’s architectural photographs of iconic sites throughout Los Angeles and Inglewood document locations like Randy’s Donuts, the Forum, the Hollywood sign and neon-lit hotel beacons. The commissioned installation of black-and-white photographs created for Hollywood Park Casino reflect the evolving landscape of the local region. Bidwell forces us to slow down and study the landscape of Los Angeles. His representation of these sites captures their remarkable nature—often overlooked in a city in constant motion.
Michele Asselin is a photographer based in Los Angeles. Asselin began her photographic career as an editorial photographer, with work featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, Esquire and Wired among others. Her series “Clubhouse Turn,” from which her commissioned installation for the new Hollywood Park Casino is drawn, captures the social layers, architectural beauty, historical significance and the daily passions of the historic Hollywood Park Race Track, a complex Los Angeles institution.
Named a “prominent Los Angeles artist” by The New York Times, Zoe Crosher’s work is included in various international, private and museum collections including The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Palm Springs Museum, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Works from Crosher’s Michelle duBois project comprise a series of photographic investigations-reimagining and intervening in the extensive amateur archive of relentless self-documentarian, Michelle duBois. Through this multi-year project, Crosher calls into question our sense of photographic narrative at the end of the analog by re-photographing, scanning and reordering duBois’ “autoportraits” into a careful composite of documentary and imaginary, blurring the line between fantasy and reality.
Kenneth Ober is an artist in based in Los Angeles. His current series of paintings, made with an automobile pin-striping tool, have been exhibited nationally and internationally. In Inglewood, where he has worked for more than a decade, Ober found inspiration from his diverse surroundings. His series of painted fireworks is inspired by the displays that burst from his neighbors' backyard during the Fourth of July, a collection of which has been selected for Hollywood Park Casino.
TONY DE LOS REYES
Over the course of the last several years, Inglewood-based artist Tony de los Reyes has developed a group of work sometimes so abstracted they appear almost as purely color field compositions. De los Reyes’ attention to—almost obsession with—use and contrast of color narrates a friction between the sublime and the thematic tension in his work. In his commissioned painting for Hollywood Park Casino, Sixes and Sevens, de los Reyes takes images from the Inglewood skyscape—airplanes on their way into and out of LAX airport. Airplanes and bits of sky are seen through contrasting layers of color, creating a sublime interpretation of an everyday view.
Photographer Ryan Schude’s vehicle series is a vibrant, sometimes whimsical take on car culture mostly in and around Los Angeles. Although each “portrait” has a different feel, there is a humorous element to many of the images, something Schude says comes naturally. Schude’s work Tunnel selected as part of the program for Hollywood Park Casino reflects the car culture that is one of the region’s iconic modes of transportation.
In 2012, Tim Hailand was awarded a residency to live and work at Giverny—Monet’s former home and gardens. The room in which the artist lived was wallpapered in toile de Jouy, a kind of 18th century decorative pattern printed on cotton that depicts pastoral life in independent floating monochrome vignettes. Feeling that all aspects of a given environment are materials to be worked with, Hailand began printing his own inkjet photographic portraits of various sitters directly onto toile de Jouy and other fabrics that he selected. Works printed on toile de Jouy specifically for Hollywood Park Casino feature portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, Aphrodite, Dita von Teese, Demi Moore, and Joan of Arc.
Fay Ray is known for her dense, loud, and oftentimes extravagant collage works that refer to idealized notions of femininity, as well as our desire to possess luxury and beauty. Ray’s collages look to an opulent yet modern aesthetic—strong textures butting up against each other to form a cohesive composition. Ray’s commissioned work for Hollywood Park Casino is designed in a new scale for the artist. Work at this scale was presented for the first time as part of Los Angeles Nomadic Division’s exhibition Wasteland, exhibited at Galerie Thaddeaeus Ropac in Paris in January of 2016. At eight feet high, this new body of work is almost monolithic in nature.
Los Angeles-based photographer James Welling has a prolific body of work. In 1992 Welling began “Light Sources.” Presented as large Iris prints, “Light Sources” marked his first use of digital technology. “Light Sources” was shown at Regen Projects, Los Angeles, in 1994 and in subsequent gallery exhibitions in New York, Toronto, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Tokyo, and Munich; and in in 1998 at the Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne,Switzerland, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and in 2000 at the Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne. Ravenstein 5(1998) and Ravenstein(2001), purchased for the collection housed at Hollywood Park Casino, are from this body of work—Welling’s first use of digital.