Spot – Less

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I always knew that opening a gallery, especially a contemporary photography gallery in a photo-saturated era, wasn’t necessarily the brightest idea. Making or showing art is not of itself a particularly practical notion, especially for one without deep pockets. Despite the risks, I’ve thrown myself headlong into exhibition projects of some sort or other with as much gusto as I’ve been able. Better to try than not. Yet the concept of “Build it and they will come” is different from build it and they will buy.

Still, Spot Photo Works was a worthy project, offering opportunities for artists to show images in a lovely space in a high-profile city. We were able to offer some challenging work and build a supportive and diverse community, which I am deeply thankful for. As I console myself with closing the gallery, I’ve come to think of it as a really sweet love affair. Beautiful, but without the footing a relationship needs to last.

On Saturday, we wrapped the photographs and pulled the last nail from the wall. Spot Photo Works is no more. I leafed through the guest book this morning and saw the very last comment was “Beautiful work!” What more can one ask?

Personally, I’m sinking myself back into freelance photo editing and writing for artists so if you need another eye and an inquisitive mind; I need a gig. I can be reached at kathleenclarkphoto@gmail.com.

In closing (literally), I want to thank you for your attendance, conversation and good wishes. It matters and will be remembered.

Warm regards,

Kathleen Clark

Nancy Baron: Beautiful Trailertown

Corner of Oasis and Aladdin ©2015, Nancy Baron
Corner of Oasis and Aladdin ©2015, Nancy Baron

Pioneers of the Palm Springs tiny home movement, embracing the less is best concept, are the focus of Los Angeles photographer Nancy Baron’s highly anticipated new exhibition Beautiful Trailer Town. Opening at SPOT Photo Works, 6679 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, with a reception for the artist on Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Baron’s astute look at the resort town’s mobile home parks brings new life to the notion of “dream homes.” We are treated to a redefined and color-saturated sense of the notion of home, as interpreted by the community’s inhabitants. The exhibition will run from January 16 through March 11, 2016.

Friday Nite Movie ©2013 Nancy Baron
Friday Nite Movie ©2013 Nancy Baron

Following the success of her first book The Good Life > Palm Springs, published by Kehrer Verlag, Nancy Baron has continued to pursue her photographic look at her adopted desert community: “Some years ago I was involved in a group project to document the economic downturn in Southern California. I was assigned the Palm Springs area, where I have a second home. I was relatively new to Palm Springs at the time, so my forced meanderings were a great way to discover my town. I was surprised to find a wide range of lifestyle choices in such a small town. Whether in exclusive enclaves or mobile home parks, residents were taking advantage of the desert magic. The charm of the mobile home parks, in particular, pulled me in – encouraging me to look closer. Residents were surprisingly friendly to a stranger walking around with a camera. I felt at home.”

The Patio ©2015, Nancy Baron
The Patio ©2015, Nancy Baron

Although the parks have themes, residents are given a wide berth for personal expression in their own homes, encouraging a diverse community that defies stereotype. Pride of ownership can be had at a cost far less than a condo, with no neighbors above or below. If yearning for a change of scenery, mobile home dwellers are always free to hitch up and move – yet their homes often appear to be firmly planted, with landscaping, hardscaping, and even additions. With no historic overlay preservation codes to hamper them, creativity abounds. Extra fancy or plain and simple, there are no two homes alike.”

Merican Dream, © 2015, Nancy Baron
Merican Dream, © 2015, Nancy Baron

Beautiful Trailer Town is Nancy Baron’s third Los Angeles solo exhibition. Her work has been published in Conde Nast Traveler, The New York Times, American Photo, Architectural Digest, Italy, PDN, Mother Jones, Slate, Interview, Germany, Fast Company and Dwell.

 

 

American Spectator: Melodie McDaniel

 

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Sunday Best 4 ©1995, Melodie McDaniel

For years, I’ve been a frequent visitor to Melodie McDaniel’s web site. Leafing through her personal photographs, rather like the way I’d sort through my shoebox of so-called collectibles as a child, often finding precious nuggets – gems of images worth treasuring.

I’d fallen in love with a series of photographs she called Film Noir, a grouping of images that struck me as unique. Shot in classic, black and white film, my overriding thought when looking at Film Noir’s African American subjects was of the abundance of dignity they possessed, a trait rare in the representation of blacks in this country. Or should I say lack of representation?  Whether dressed up for church service or lounging in yards with friends and children, or holding court at a local dance hall, a tremendous sense of pride seems to emanate from McDaniel’s subjects.

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Doo Drop Inn, 1998 © Melodie McDaniel

When we began working together to form an exhibition at Spot Photo Works in Los Angeles, I soon discovered the photographer’s vast archive, featuring a wide range of subjects that interested her. The daughter of an African and Native American father and a white Jewish mother, her photographs seek common ground and equal representation. “Coming from bi-racial parents, I’m always trying to comprehend where I fit in the world. I’m drawn to sub-cultures and outsiders probably because of my own feelings of otherness,” says McDaniel.

Sunday Best 1, ©1995, Melodie McDaniel
Sunday Best 1, ©1995, Melodie McDaniel
Waiting ©2013, Melodie McDaniel
Waiting ©2013, Melodie McDaniel

The photographs in American Spectator, are excerpts from several of her series of personal works, from within and beyond Film Noir. She has an explorer’s eye and her investigations of faith and race and of a variety of cultures speak to an endless curiosity and an ability to witness without judgment.

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Melodie McDaniel with her work at the L.A. studio of framer Jeff Kies.

Photographically speaking, Melodie McDaniel looks so at home in whatever world she’s in that her images look unaffected by her presence, whether they are staged or documented. It’s one quality, I suppose, that has contributed to her reputation as a sought-after still photographer as well as a highly successful commercial director. McDaniel’s photographs allow the audience access in, along with the warmth or heartache or joy or resignation or alienation that comes with that access.

Melodie McDaniel graduated from Art Center College of Design and lives in Los Angeles. Her work has been published and broadcast internationally. American Spectator was photographed between 1993 and 2014 in Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Kentucky, New York and California.

Spot Photo Works presents Melodie McDaniel: American Spectator, from September 19 through November 9, 2015.  An opening for the artist is scheduled from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., September 19th. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Spot is located at 6679 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

spotphotogallery@gmail.com

 

 

H. Lee’s Well Kept Secrets

H. Lee in the shadows at her 2014 Minneapolis exhibition of Grassland at Icebox Gallery.
H. Lee in the shadows at her 2014 Minneapolis exhibition of Grassland at Icebox Gallery.

Catch the interview with Grassland’s H. Lee by Peggy Roalf from Design Arts Daily:  http://www.ai-ap.com/publications/article/13117/finding-a-story-h-lee.html

Where There’s Smoke: Grassland by H. Lee to Open at Spot

Untitled from Grassland by H. Lee © 2013, all rights reserved.
Untitled from Grassland by H. Lee © 2013, all rights reserved.

While living within a community of cannabis growers in Northern California, photographer H. Lee documented both a clandestine way of life and the process of cultivation in all its stages, culminating in the publication of her 2014 book, Grassland. Spot Photo Works is pleased to present the first West Coast exhibition of Grassland, opening on March 7, 2015 with a reception for the artist from 6 – 9pm. The exhibition continues through April 28, 2015 with regular gallery hours of Monday through Friday, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm.

Spot Photo Works is located at 6679 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. You’ll find free parking for the opening in the Crossroads of the World lot (behind the gallery), just north of Sunset Blvd. on Los Palmas Ave.

Untitled from H. Lee's Grassland © 2010, all rights reserved
Untitled from H. Lee’s Grassland © 2010, all rights reserved

Grassland is an essential California story – not so unlike the popular farm-to-table stories of Sonoma and Napa valleys. The one chief difference has been the volatile legal status of the crop and H. Lee’s document, photographed between 2010 and 2013, catches the last days of pot farming at its most secretive.

Untitled from Grassland by H. Lee ©2010, all rights reserved
Untitled from Grassland by H. Lee ©2010, all rights reserved

With historic changes regarding the acceptance of marijuana settling into American society, a fundamental shift is in motion between those who seek to keep it illegal, and the overwhelming populist appeal for legal reform. For decades, farmers in Northern California have quietly operated, hiding their gardens from law enforcement. As new legal markets have begun to emerge, marijuana agriculture is moving into plain view. Grassland offers an intimate view of the epicenter of cannabis cultivation in California, where a sizable community is shaped by a plant regarded as both magical and medicinal; a plant whose cultivation holds the promise of profit, and despite changes in state policy, possible jail time.

Untitled from Grassland by H. Lee, ©2011
Untitled from Grassland by H. Lee, ©2011, all rights reserved

NIGHT FALLS: GREGG SEGAL

Gregg Segal, Lincoln Heights, © 2004
Gregg Segal, Lincoln Heights, © 2004, archival pigment print

In the series Nightscape, photographer Gregg Segal’s unlikely collaborators are the smoggy skies of the city of Los Angeles.  We’ve all heard the jokes about the L.A. air, but in Segal’s series, we see the night sky like the locals do.  Luminous and glowing with an extraordinary palette. There’s rarely a truly dark night in the city.

Segal’s 2004 series of color landscape photographs will open at Spot Photo Works on Saturday, January 17, with a reception for the artist that is open to the public from 6pm to 9pm.  The exhibition will continue through March 3rd at Spot’s Hollywood location at 6679 Sunset Blvd. at Crossroads of the World. Gallery hours are 10:30am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Chinatown ©2004 Gregg Segal
Chinatown ©2004 Gregg Segal, archival pigment print

“During daylight hours, the thick bands of pollution girding the Los Angeles skyline are a constant reminder of how poor our air quality is. But at night, the foul, chemical filled air traps the city’s excessive artificial light, and in these long exposure images, our skies turn deep emerald-green, lush amber, eggplant purple, and bubble gum pink. All these glowing hues obscure the stars and what we think of as a proper night sky. Our lurid skyglow is at once toxic and seductive.”  – Gregg Segal

Koreatown, ©2004, Gregg Segal
Koreatown, ©2004, Gregg Segal, archival pigment print

Gregg Segal won the jury’s choice award at the Tokyo International Photography Festival in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include shows at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon, The O. Winston Link Museum, Roanoke, Virginia, George Mason University and Chelsea Market, New York. His photography has been recognized with awards from American Photography, Communication Arts, PDN, The New York Press Club and more. His portraiture and photo essays have been featured in TIME, National Geographic Adventure, Fortune GQ, Dwell and Wired among others. He holds a BFA from Cal Arts, a Masters degree from USC and an MFA from New York University.