Artists Rule at Durden and Ray: Reviews of Americanism and Yvette Gellis/Drea Cofield

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Above: Americanism, from March 2016

We’ve seen two fantastic shows at the Durden and Ray gallery space in DTLA recently – unfortunately, you may have missed them. Both shows ran for short periods of time, two weeks and one week respectively, making it essential to put this gallery on your radar and your must-see gallery list.

We’ll give you a look here and suggest that you check out the well-curated offerings presented and the artists who created them online.


Above, Yvette Gellis

The most recent stand-out exhibition was the paired solo exhibition of Yvette Gellis and Drea Cofield curated by Susan Lizotte.

In the back room of the Durden and Ray space, Drea Cofield paints a post-impressionistic lush and magical world in warmly saturated colors. “It was observational work created in Long Island City,” Cofield relates. Created in water color and colored pencil, she calls her work here “American Summer paintings, the hot sun, the back yard with the bathing suit on, a lot of our culture comes out in that,” she says. These Edenic pieces are softly sensual

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In the main exhibition room, the work of Yvette Gellis, whose paintings reconstruct and redefine her place in the world, through lyrical abstract impressionism. “Most of my pieces are oil on mylar, the panels combine acrylic and oil to break up the paintings and bring them into the space. The mylar tends to transform the entire space,” Gellis explains.

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It’s a conversation in which you are always on guard, a metaphor for life and what’s happening geopolitically, where we are headed as people.” These recent works were inspired by the artist’s recent visit to Paris and her return right after the bombings there.

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Further back, Americanism, a powerful group show curated by Steven Wolkoff, ran for far-too-short a time March 26th, and featured an absolutely killer collection of artists focused on what exactly it means to be an American – and what is an American “ism.”

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Featuring images as interesting as they are fun “including cat memes, supersized sodas, bottomless military funding, and all the anti-establishment political candidates you can handle,” according to Wolkoff, exhibiting artists included:

Gavin Bunner
Don Edler
Raymie Ladavaia
Ben Jackel
Casey Kauffmann
Yoshie Sakai
Sonja Schenk
Ami Tallman
Drue Worrell

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Curator Steven Wolkoff left, with artist Gavin Bunner, right

Wolkoff says “The project started with a few artists who wanted to show the Americanism spirit as something to explore. They had the idea of components of American spirit which are manifest in politics right now. The ideas coalesced around that,” he says.

The prescient and timely topic – given today’s political scene and the upcoming California primary election – offered a strong and bracing look at who we are as a culture in this point in time.

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Gavin Bunner’s “Job Interview” features a delicately rendered job interview line, with hope and dejection both rampant in a piece that serves as a solemn yet amusing ode to the recession we have still not recovered from – unless one is part of a political or economic dynasty.

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“Even Superman cannot get a job,” Bunner points out. “There’s hope going into the inteview, rejection and disappointment coming out.” The piece was created with gloss and sharpie ink.

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Raymie Ladevaia uses “the feline as a metaphor for the endurance and stamina, the power and energy of a cat’s bounce. It can start and stop, an action, a force of itself,” the artist relates.  His work was created using water color, crayon, and collage. “Lots of my work deals with feline energy and force. If you’re a cat person you understand.”


Sonja Schenk’s “The End” is a plaster and styrofoam sculpture. “I considered what’s iconic about America, and I decided it was the car the road. It’s the end of that era, and our roads could be like the ruins of the Roman Empire or Native American Mounds. That was my inspiration.”

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Yoshie Sakai’s video work above shows Americans mindlessly eating junk food “Come One, Eat All;” while Ami Tallman’s “Local 215,” and other images below, are all about the desire for change.

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Below, the sculpture of Ben Jackal

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Below the work of Stacy Kaufman: smashed iPhones, hot dogs, Mickey Mouse, sex, and bombs.

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Find these artists! And keep an eye on Durden and Ray’s exhibition space, located at Durden and Ray 1950 S Santa Fe Ave Los Angeles, CA 90021

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