Erica Bradbury

Margie Livingston

John Mills

Leah Nguyen

Tuan Nguyen

Nicholas Nyland

Bill Wells

August 2006

Exploded View
Erica Bradbury, Margie Livingston, John Mills, Leah Nguyen, Tuan Nguyen, Nicholas Nyland, Bill Wells

Just as an exploded view diagram reveals the relationships of all the parts to a whole, such is the goal with this exhibition: by exposing more of the “parts” of an artist’s practice, the viewer will glean a fuller understanding of what makes these seven artists tick. Traditionally, one expects an artist to present an edited and homogenous body of work, whereas “Exploded View” includes those tangents and side ventures that directly or indirectly inform the main body of work. “Exploded View” includes work that might not have otherwise left the studio or been shown in a gallery setting (music, clothing designs, coloring books, etc).

Brian Wilson, skulls, flowers, and Tiger Girl (among others) populate Erica Bradbury’s unselfconscious paintings and drawings. While her larger paintings and installations are more abstract and engage painterly issues and perceptual phenomenon, these small works perhaps reveal more directly Erica’s artistic influences and sense of humor.

Margie Livingston’s rigorous abstractions consistently bear the title, Structure, which slyly betrays the painting’s point of reference: often a tree branch and string construction that she sets up in her studio. Her paintings are built out of individual marks that correspond to discreet observations of the light and color on the chosen subject matter. Margie will show a “structure” from which she gathers information for her paintings.

Unlikely yet ubiquitous images removed from their context are coolly examined, naked and bare, in John Mills’ paintings. Moving easily through abstract and representational images, Mills exposes underlying patterns and questions our assumptions about each. Included in “Exploded View” are works which are less process-oriented, and whose imagery is rawer.

Leah Nguyen’s highly personal way of working yields pieces that are almost always small in size but hint at the immense scale of imagination: a campfire and coyote sculpted out of paper gives way to the intricate patterns of tiny ink drawings, and her Self-portrait as a Hag.

For Tuan Nguyen, drawing is like talking, extemporaneous and unencumbered by the slower pace necessary to produce his paintings. Nguyen gives himself free reign in his drawings, comics, and coloring books, one of which, entitled Pathos Coloring Book, features a disturbing series of everyday suffering.

Complex, layered paintings and large drawing installations characterize the main focus of Nicholas Nyland’s work. However, the miscellany of drawings, paintings and objects included in this show could be called productive digressions in the studio.

Of all the artists included in “Exploded View”, Bill Wells’ artistic output spans the most extreme range between painstaking abstract paintings and freewheeling figurative drawings. Like Tuan Nguyen, Bill Wells’ prolific drawings and handmade calendars provide an outlet for a torrent of ideas and images that their time and process intensive painting practice would not accommodate. Wells’ drawings make hay with pop culture references and are delightfully comical and idiosyncratic.








August at SOIL in the Backspace:
Chauney Peck: How Does Grass Grow?