of California
Images | Biography

Larry Cohen
Views of the Coast
Images | Biography

June 18th -- July 23rd, 2011

Reception: June 18, 2011 4-6PM

Cardboard, paper, gouache and thread come together to create life-size, three-dimensional representations of familiar summer objects in Phranc of California. The exhibition, which opens on June 18th at Craig Krull Gallery, will be Phranc’s first major West Coast solo show following her critically well received exhibition in New York City in 2008. The show will include sculptural renditions of beach paraphernalia, such as swimsuits, inflatable rafts, umbrellas, and beach balls, all composed of paper mediums that were hand sewn and painted.

Although Phranc has been known as the “All American Jewish Lesbian Folksinger” since the 1980s (when she toured with such acts as The Pogues and The Smiths), she has been involved in the arts since childhood. As a teenager she attended The Feminist Studio Workshop at The Woman's Building in Los Angeles, CA where she took courses in silk-screening and was shown in a 1978 group exhibition. Says Phranc, “From the time I sat in my first refrigerator box submarine I knew the cardboard sea was for me. I have been creating objects, food, toys, advertisements, shoes and underwear out of ‘found’ cardboard for many years.”

The evolution of her work as a self described “Cardboard Cobbler” has involved transitioning from flat objects to three-dimensional sculptures, and learning to use a sewing machine to create clothing out of painted yards of Kraft paper “fabric”.

In a 2008 review of her exhibition at the Cue Art Foundation, Martha Schwendener of the New York Times said, “Dress shirts, T-shirts, combat boots, a life preserver… skillfully made from paper or cardboard recall Claes Oldenburg’s ‘Store’ or Warhol’s paper clothing. Phranc’s treatment of Eisenhower-era objects is loaded with subversive significance, however, since many of them functioned as signifiers of gayness in a heavily closeted period.”

Following her beach themed exhibition at Craig Krull Gallery, Phranc will unveil a “trading post” of cardboard cowboy gear in the Museum Shop of the Autry National Center in Griffith Park. This installation, from October through November, is in conjunction with Out West at the Autry, a series of programs on LGBT history and culture in the American West created and produced by Gregory Hinton.

Concurrently, Craig Krull Gallery will present its seventh solo exhibition of plein-air landscape painter Larry Cohen. Following his 2009 exhibition at the gallery, which was comprised of renderings of downtown Los Angeles from distant vantage points, Cohen has returned to the oceanfront with his new series “Views from the Coast”. These works interpret the Malibu Canyon area over the past few years in varying weather conditions, much like an Impressionist would translate the same scene in changing atmospheric conditions. Over the course of his four-decade career, Cohen has become recognized as one of the few accomplished plein-air painters of the constructed environment of Southern California. His works reflect the influence of his mentor Paul Wonner and other Bay Area Figurative School artists, as well as 19th century painters of light.