FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAROLE CAROOMPAS
Psychedelic Jungle - New Paintings
TOM SANFORD
New Paintings and Photographs

September 18 – October 23, 2004
Reception for the artists: Saturday, September 18th 5-8pm


Western Project
3830 Main St., Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 838-0609, fax (310) 838-0610
Web site, <http://western-project.com>
E-mail, <cliff@western-project.com>


Left: Carole Caroompas, “Psychedelic Jungle: Teenage Medea and the Cha Cha Boys”, 2002, acrylic on found embroidery over panel, 33 2/4 x 26 inches.
Right: “TomPac” by Sean McDevitt


CAROLE CAROOMPAS:

Western Project is proud to present the first exhibition of paintings by Carole Caroompas in four years. Meshing images from Tennessee William’s, Night of the Iguana and the 1960’s psychedelic rock and roll era, the artist has created eight works examining themes of freedom and the search for home. Using a kaleidoscopic play of tropical and counterculture icons, the paintings pose the notion of ‘Eden’, but are countered with darker film noir images. Caroompas weaves a 1960’s optimism with her version of vanitas and nature morte imagery, making notions of art and culture, literature and cinema collapse in a river of free floating association. Each work is a journey behind the veil of order; and each a lush and exuberant trip of possibilities.

Caroompas has traditionally challenged assumptions about cultural roles for men and women yet in these new works, her populous appears vulnerable and searching – faith, belief, a way to assimilate the tornado of imagery around them? Scenes from the Iguana movie interrupt Caroompas’ compositions as static but poetic visions – a couple floating hand in hand in the sea or feet walking on glass shards – agony and ecstasy as interchangeable? Echoes of our mortality? Punk icons, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, and Henry Rollins are the muses – the outlaw artists reminding us of freedom, of home as a creative process; not a place but a way of being. Caroompas’ new work is aimed at the big picture of living in this mortal realm, fervently in hope of connection with others and most importantly, ourselves.

Carole Caroompas has exhibited widely in the US including the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C., and has been the recipient of numerous artist grants such as, National Endowment for the Arts (twice), The Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.

TOM SANFORD:

Western Project is proud to present the first west coast exhibition by New York artist, Tom Sanford. The show is comprised of two recent paintings, and photographs of the artist as Tupac Shakur, from Sanford’s project, Thug4Life, an investigation of fandom, celebrity, idolatry and art.

In his paintings Sanford uses a Renaissance style, remixed and shaken - replacing traditional religious iconography with Tupac Shakur and other gansta rap artists to create a kind of neo musical/religious narrative. The rise and fall of Shakur is depicted in a Christ framework, grounded in history and retold as myth. The paintings are colorful Pop sensations, direct and assertive, mirroring the operatic life of Shakur.

While his paintings ‘document’ events, Sanford’s photographs are pure fantasy – images of himself as Tupac, worked out, inked and strong. It is the performance aspect of the images which resonate deeply, and for some, uncomfortably – the white suburban kid posing as an urban black legend. But the hyperbolic fine line Sanford walks in these photos point to a desire for communion and authenticity in our culture - the possibility of community based on shared truths of music. It is perhaps through imitation – ‘to act as though’ – the artist searches for answers, or finds ecstatic knowledge.

Sanford has exhibited widely in New York and Tokyo.

For more information and images, please contact the gallery at 310-838-0609, or www.western-project.com <http://www.western-project.com>



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