Randy West at the Jan Kesner Gallery

Randy West

Bird Rabbit Snake

Reconstructions/Blades of Grass

June 9, 2006 through July 31, 2006

   Opening Gala with the Artist

   Thursday, June 8, 2006

   7 to 9 p.m.


   Gallery Hours

   Thursday, Friday; 12 to 4 p.m.

   Saturday; 12 to 5 p.m.

   and by Appointment


Bird Rabbit Snake #48
Blades of Grass

pigment-ink photograph
42" x 30"

edition of 3

Bird Rabbit Snake #22

pigment-ink photograph
42" x 30"

edition of 3

Bird Rabbit Snake #41
Blades of Grass

pigment-ink photograph
42" x 30"

edition of 3

Bird Rabbit Snake 21A selection from the suite of 31 pigment ink-based photographs will be exhibited at the Gallery.  Signed and numbered copies of the artist's book of this series are available for purchase.

In this recent body of work, "Bird Rabbit Snake: Reconstructions/Blades of Grass," New York-based artist Randy West continues his involement with abstraction.  These new digitally-made pigment ink-based photographs reveal lines, textures, and shapes that are at times highly complex and explosive, while other works are minimal and serene.

West develops these calligraphic forms from a collection of abandoned bird nests which he carefully takes apart, reassembling the bits of material on a scanner and making a digital file, often reworking the image to achieve the right composition.

Says West, "Initially, I photographed the nests in their entirety, as they were found. After studying these pictures, I realized that they did not tell me anything more than what I already knew about the object. So, I began pulling apart the nests and placing the fibers on a digital scanner in order to look closely at their contents. My interest quickly changed from the object to the movement of the woven lines.  I then began layering one composition over another, resulting with a dense black core in the final image."

West continues, "Blades of Grass is a series of photographs of the individual nest fibers. By further separating the fibers, their shapes could be studied in more detail. And, because of the weave, certain shapes of the nesting material kept their form, since each had already been laced and contoured by drying. Individually, they became written characters; in a group, they became words. It was through this process that a visual language was uncovered. And I found, with the astonishment of a child's discovery, an understanding of a sophisticated structure."

Similar to his preceding series, "Vines" in 2002, "Pretty" in 1998, and "Chalkboard" in 1997, "Bird Rabbit Snake" takes an intensive look at objects that, when seen through a photographic process, morph into imagery beyond each object's recognizable identity.  This latest series, like so much of West's work, references the work of the American abstract expressionists of the 1950s, such as Mark Rothko, Clifford Still, and Franz Kline.

Jan Kesner Gallery
164 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90036-2912
323 938-6834