Tory J. Lowitz: Thru Fracture

September 28–November 3, 2019 

With regard to “nature,” suppose the nonmaterial is “natural,” as are “hypothetical worlds,” such as those before consciousness, and after it, and those that may not (or will never) be known. –Todd Collins

Hernando’s Hideaway is thrilled to announce Thru Fracture, a new body of three-dimensional works by Los Angeles-based artist Tory J. Lowitz.

Inspired in part by the artist’s ongoing study of ikebana, the objects in Thru Fracture contain a profound formal elegance with the trace of a master’s hand, yet they also retain a sense of humble awareness of their place in the universe, finding some comfort in their existence as fragmented wholes. 

Specifically, Lowitz has sought a mastery of the techniques within the Sogetsu Ikebana School, which has long been associated with artists, architects, and designers. Sogetsu, unlike many schools, is quite liberal in allowing for material, assembly, and spatial investigation that could push as far as immersive environments or even aspects of performance or theatre.

Though the work will operate in terms of impermanent installation on the lawn of Hernando’s Hideaway, that is not the case with the works on display in the garage gallery. There the artist has concentrated on producing discrete objects that do not exist as merely temporary. They seem to oscillate between formal arrangements and feeling as if they have been around for centuries, forming themselves, like scoria or petrified wood. The objects are integrated clusters, with hints of life, growth, and moisture, as well as pressure, blackening, and encasing, and finally an apparent hope for regrowth. The objects derive inspiration from the stages of an imponderable and disintegrating world.

Each small-scale sculpture is made of debris aggregated from places the artist personally inhabits. The debris is covered in earth, preserved in lacquer and other polymers, and then burned. His chosen materials are frozen in time with the use of specific binding agents that preserve the gestures as if fossilized, mummified or encased in amber. These agents operate to capture a moment of resurgence, like a photograph of mold and moss on a rotted 2x4 or of barnacles colonizing ocean plastic.

While the objects in Thru Fracture do have deep and occasionally dark qualities, they do not feel cynical or hopeless. They may have encountered a scorched earth policy but are not complicit in one. They channel loss and entropy, but not more than life and regrowth, and they hold together their splintered states with modest yet resilient grace, strength, and beauty. There is an overcast, fantasy energy in the works, but not without a subtle sense of distance and humor about it, something like a Bermuda Triangle conspiracy. Hence the spelling of “Thru” in the title. This allows the timeless elements of the work to be countered with contemporary attitudes. One might be reminded of Eva Hesse or The Omen. Healing is very much a part of the equation here, and acceptance for one’s own disembodied narrative. Fractured, singed, scalded, burned into ashes, and crushed into dust, left for dead, to arrive at this moment Lowitz’s materials have had to remake themselves in order to persevere. 

The exhibition is guest curated by San Francisco/Los Angeles-based Becky Koblick, independent curator and director of Altman Siegel Gallery.

Tory J. Lowitz (b. 1971, Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) Received his BFA from Otis Parsons  Art Institute in 1993. In 2019 he was appointed Deputy Director of the Los Angeles Branch of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, Tokyo, Japan after completing his Sankyu Shihan Degree from the same school in 2014. He has held solo and two person exhibitions at Michael Benevento, Los Angeles in 2017 and TARP, Pasadena in 2014. He has participated in several group exhibitions including: Group Yokou Exhibition, Cherry Blossom Festival, Monterey Park (2019); Pile Up, Curated by Ravi Gune Wardena, Woodbury School of Architecture, Hollywood (2018); Sogetsu Los Angeles Katen, JACCC, George J. Doizaki Gallery (2017); Group show curated by Brian Mann and Jesse Benson, Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles (2011); and Rat Opening, The Grisham Art Gallery (SBVC), San Bernardino (1994). 

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