Durden and Ray: New Space, Same Passion

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Art collectives are a wonderful thing. They bring together and support groups of artists whose eclectic and powerful work deserves a showcase which it might not find with a solo approach.

Durden and Ray are one such collective, and they have recently made a move – from a loft space across the street on Santa Fe Avenue to a pristine, white-wall gallery in the same complex as CB1.

Above, left, Tom Dunn’s “Mesopotamia #36,” a marvelous mix of the abstract and figurative in oil. Alongside, to the right, the brilliantly textured acrylic on canvas of Jenny Hagar, “Roja.” Both leap off the wall, as different as they are well-matched.

Yes, the space is lovely and airy, the light dancing off the walls and works, but it is the art itself, and the passionate spirit the collective represents that shines.

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Above left, artist Dani Dodge with curator Steven Wolkoff.

The opening exhibition in the new space, Round Won was curated by Steven Wolkoff, the show features artists: Dani Dodge, Tom Dunn, Roni Feldman, Jon Flack, Jenny Hager, Ben Jackel, David Leapman, Alanna Marcelletti, Max Presneill, David Spanbock, Jesse Standlea, and Alison Woods.

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Above, Alison Woods with her “Utopia,” acrylic on canvas, we have geometric patterns and vibrating lines so intense that the canvas appears layered; there are elements that evoke a collage or puzzle pieces. Viewers see a city landscape that is exploding with flora and fauna.

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Above, Allana Marceletti, left, near her “Daae,” a sculptural collage of found objects, acrylic, and metal on organza with seatbelt straps. Hang on for the ride. Next to her is Dani Dodge, whose installation, “Ashes,”  is comprised of glass containing the burnt ashes of articulated, written fears.  While very different conceptually, both pieces feature sheer, almost fragile visual depth, and pull the viewer into a landscape that is shimmery and mutable.

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Max Presneill stands before his oil and enamel “RD 141.” Bold graphics and lines, shapes that stand entirely on their own yet coalesce into a vivid whole.  Presneill wants viewers to experience his bright, visceral work from the perspective of the “system of languages we call painting.”

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David Spanbock’s candy colored acrylic on linen, “The Politics of Transformation,” is a dimensional, unique take on urban life and environment.

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And what would an urban environment be without a few fire hydrants? Ben Jackel’s “Large headed hydrants (youth, middle age, elder) are stoneware and beeswax, and serve as a kind of ‘in memoriam’ to the vicissitudes of city life. The black color renders them tomb-like, yet the overall affect is lighthearted.

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Jon Flack’s “Backyard Sermon,” rear wall, takes an entirely modern approach to an iconic American subject, the itinerant preacher. Juxtaposed with Marcelletti’s sculpture and Dodge’s installation, the three works make an engaging commentary on things both profound and redemptive.

Both collectively and through each artist’s work, Round Won is more than ready for prime time.

This will be a two-part opening introducing the 24 members of Durden and Ray  – Round Too, curated by Max Presneill, will open April 1st.

The show runs through March 19th. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday noon-4 p.m. The new space is located at 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave. in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis

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