FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Manfred Menz, Invisible Project
Lothar Schmitz, Protosphere
December 15, 2005 January 21, 2006
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 15, 6:30-8:30pm
3850 Wilshire Blvd #107, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Directors, Susan Baik and May Chung
Web site, http://www.andrewshiregallery.com
Hours, Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 5pm
(l.) Manfred Menz, “Eiffel Tower, Paris”, 2003, Lambda print, 42 x 32 inches.
(r.) Lothar Schmitz, “Ecotwist”, 2005, artificial trees and grass, 30 x 22 x 10 inches.
AndrewShire Gallery is pleased to present two concomitant solo exhibitions by Los Angeles artists Manfred Menz and Lothar Schmitz.
Manfred Menz’s current work Invisible Project recaptures nature through the eradication of cultural evidence. In his digitally-enhanced photography, Menz reflects our present state of being. Monuments like the Golden Gate Bridge or Eiffel Tower confirm belief in the eternal life and help soften our fear of nature and imminent death. When these human imprints are missing from well-known locations, ties to the real world are shortened. Once they are taken off stage, we face the mortality of our built environments and are left to witness uncertainty and our own longing where ocean meets a bay or foliage clings to land.
Lothar Schmitz’s new body of work Protosphere questions our new-world relationship to nature. In our insistence that it is something we can manage or even master, we are still part of nature. Through sci-fi like laboratory dioramas and sculptural systems, Schmitz shows how we trim pieces from the natural world in our desire to bring geological order and biological “progress” into our shelters. With coiffed domestic settings, interiorized gardens and dazzling mathematical magic to keep us company, we have hidden our fear of nature and have become psychologically immune to its free-floating power.
MANFRED MENZ AND LOTHAR SCHMITZ: MEDIATED ENVIRONMENTS
The mediated landscape has emerged as a kind of tradition in the contemporary art of both the United States and Germany. The two countries are hardly alone in facing the ecological impact of “advanced” civilization as the Kyoto protocol makes clear, the whole world is impacted but the discourse of late-capitalist critique interacts powerfully, on these shores and those, with strong cultural traditions centering on the land. The concurrence of German and American Natur/Kultur last culminated in the western American landscape painting of the middle 19th century, the Hudson and Rhine rivers flowing together in the work of Thomas Cole, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt; but it has persisted since, whether in the cubo-expressionism of Oskar Bluemner and Marsden Hartley, the abstract sublime of Oskar Fischinger and Hans Burkhardt, or the “topographic” photography that arches from Bernd and Hilla Becher to Lewis Baltz and Robbert Flick. The work produced by Manfred Menz and Lothar Schmitz would seem to be of a different spirit than these expansive pictorial investigations, as well as from each other. But both Schmitz and Menz essay clever, bittersweet, and subtly caustic commentary on the loss of the genuine in the contemporary environment. Amused by the human pretensions manifested in manufactured ecologies, both rue the disappearance of the natural. Each artist manipulates not the landscape itself, but the manipulations already visited upon the landscape, whether through science or through urban design, agriculture or tourismMenz and Schmitz interact with human interaction with nature and their art fills with the poignancy and dry wit of an interaction once removed and the intimations of loss.