LAXART is pleased to present a collaborative exhibition by Karl Haendel and Tony Lewis. This exhibition developed out of conversations around the possibilities of drawing as a personal, material, and metaphoric practice, an ongoing dialogue largely began when Lewis was Haendel’s student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since that time, the artists have continued an exchange around their respective approaches to drawing and this exhibition marks the first time such dialogues have been made public. The selected works reflect a shared interest in figuration, social conduct, familial relations, the efficacy of communication, and drawing as a personal and idiosyncratic language.
Karl Haendel’s precisely rendered drawings of found images are lifted from seemingly disparate sources—mass media, musical notation, reference books, cartoons, photojournalism, and his own notebooks—and yet all speak to the strangeness of public and private human behavior. Similarly, Tony Lewis’ wall drawings of maxims borrowed from the 1991 book, Life’s Little Instruction Book (by H. Jackson Brown) dislocate and re-situate otherwise heuristic phrases, producing coded and sometimes sinister alternate meanings. Moreover, Lewis’ semi-abstract drawings of marks taken from the Gregg Shorthand system of writing are not dissimilar to Haendel’s attempts to painstakingly re-draw scribbles and amateur doodles, both artists investigating the commonality between random mark-making and language. The artists also propose that drawing can exist as a spatial and even sculptural medium; for this exhibition, Haendel will present his rarely-seen installation from 2001, Sad Small Animals Somewhere in the Middle of the Food Chain, and Lewis will produce new, site-specific wall and floor drawings at LAXART.
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