Walead Beshty: Equivalents

Detail of Cross-Contaminated RA4 Contact Print / Processor Stall [Black Curl (YM/Four Magnet: Los Angeles, California, November 10, 2017, Fujicolor Crystal Archive Super Type C, Em. No. 152-017, Kodak Ektacolor RA Bleach-Fix and Replenisher, 41917), Kreonite KM IV 5225 RA4 Color Processor, Ser. No. 00092174], 2017.

Regen Projects is pleased to present Equivalents, an exhibition by LA-based artist Walead Beshty. The show brings together a selection of photographs, sculptures, and collages that incorporate the traces of bodies, circulation, and labor within the surface of the artwork. This marks the artist’s fourth solo presentation at the gallery.

The installation of the works in Equivalents is premised on the relationships between the artist’s seemingly disparate bodies of work on view. The RA4 Contact Prints are examples of Beshty’s use of a fixed set of predetermined constraints. These works represent a recent shift of this practice, whereby two lengths of the photographic paper are simultaneously exposed and then sent through the processor face-to-face to create a diptych. The lengths are measured against the scale of the human body in complete darkness, resulting in two slightly unequal sizes whose colors and physical markings index the work’s production.

Dangling from the ceiling of the gallery or skewered on steel poles, the Office Work sculptures are comprised of deconstructed office equipment. Powered on, these reconfigured computers, printers, and scanners tirelessly attempt to function despite the constraints imposed upon them. Similarly, LED televisions punctured with a standard 12-inch diameter cement drill bit or sliced evenly in half expose their inner machinations. The resulting impact to the screen creates colorful, aleatory abstractions trickling across its surface.

Also on view is a selection of machine polished copper sculptures. Referred to as “surrogates,” the works are installed and de-installed without the use of protective gloves. This process accrues the indelible imprint of their handling onto the surface of the material, making the index of the labor involved in their display central to the work. Elsewhere, polished copper plates are etched with images of medical scans of the artist’s body and reproductions of his prescriptions.

A side gallery features a row of blue, black, and purple hued square prints from his ongoing travel Transparencies series. These images are created by exposing positive and negative 4 x 5 transparency film to the X-rays emitted from airport security screening equipment. Once developed, the film reveals unforeseen phantom abstractions. Nearby, a suite of newspaper collages feature delicately sliced concentric circles incised into the surface of the newsprint. Each cut out section is rotated to create new patterns and combinations of image, color, and text. The misregistration that occurs between the separated forms is further bonded with gold leaf. The headlines and contents of each paper situate the exhibition in a particular time and place, and represent the current affairs that transpire outside the gallery walls.


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