Lucie Fontaine and Laurel Doody: elective cousins?

LUCIE FONTAINE and LAUREL DOODY: elective cousins?

―a two left-hands story―

Fiona Connor and Rosanna Albertini presenting a Laurel Doody/Lucie Fontaine collaborative gesture. Photo:

Fiona Connor and Rosanna Albertini presenting a Laurel Doody/Lucie Fontaine collaborative gesture.
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

637 South Cloverdale Ave. Unit 7, Los Angeles CA 90036

By LF & LD

Laurel Doody and Lucie Fontaine* met for the first time in July 2015. Likely, also the only time, unless the future brings a comet, who knows? The French cousin had already spread her exhibitions for about eight years in many countries when the American cousin opened the door of a not commercial art gallery in April 2015: a collective collaboration between artist Fiona Connor and New Zealand birds who sometimes wore American feathers, and other scattered migrants involved in Los Angeles contemporary arts: artists, friends, writers, gallerists, curators. Span of life: one year.

The art gallery was named Laurel Doody after a woman Fiona Connor had met in Seattle when she was a child, same age as her mother. Laurel Doody as an art space shares many of that person attributes: she is a warm, great host, a little bit naughty, and always makes you feel you are the center of her world.

LF visited LD during a dinner held for Keaton Macon’s first solo exhibition: a small library of audio tapes each containing an hour of sounds for each day of the artist’s year. The table was improvised over some of the art shelves beneath the tablecloth, and a variety of chairs. The dinner was Italian style. The thick, large head of a ficus tree out of the window seemed to isolate the room from the blindness of common sense.

Inside, art and humans did not need to prove their minds right or wrong. There was only pleasure of being there with no competitive peaks: ideas, food and kindness passing through mouths and eyes; some drew portraits, Fiona pinned them on the wall. It sounds odd to call it generosity, but that’s what it was. Roots coming from there grow unexpected branches. There is sophistication in this story, and yet softness, plus a wish of movement and transformation, of sharing and crossing geographic and cultural boundaries.

To tie a knot of friendship, more than collaboration, almost a Maori sharing of breath, Lucie Fontaine offered to Laurel Doody the present of a double art piece from the first LF exhibition in Los Angeles in 2013: a small half pear and a small half apple: a unit that is the exquisite fruit of an artist’s tree, and the hazardous existence of any marriage.

*www.luciefontaine.com

Fiona Connor and Rosanna Albertini presenting a Laurel Doody/Lucie Fontaine collaborative gesture.

Fiona Connor and Rosanna Albertini presenting a Laurel Doody/Lucie Fontaine collaborative gesture. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

 

EACH DAY ONE VOICE

each day one voice  —  Rosanna Albertini

About KEATON MACON and his installation at Laurel Doody, Los Angeles

Nonintention (the acceptance of silence) leading to nature; renunciation of control; let sounds to be sounds. Fluent, pregnant, related, obscure (nature of sound)

JOHN CAGE — Composition in Retrospect, 1982

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery  2013-2015, Custom furniture, tape player, 366 cassette tapes

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery 2013-2015, Custom furniture, tape player, 366 cassette tapes  Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, detail

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, detail

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, detail

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, detail





KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, back of the room

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, back of the room

The day I was born, December 28, even the time of my birth, with the winter light getting dim at four in the afternoon, are visible in a painting my grandfather Oreste made outdoors in the field, while waiting for me. But I miss the voice of that day: the dry grass crackling under the soles? the rumbling stove in the kitchen? For all its importance, the event shrunk in one word, ‘birth,’ cleans that day from the physical echoes of people walking up and down the stairs, shutting doors, running water, and the concert of words around their mouths. Of course I was there, but I don’t remember them.

Keaton Macon reminded me of the fluent, pregnant, related, obscure nature of sounds with an art piece in which the sound, one continuous hour of sound from each day of the year in the artist’s life, is a ghost vessel kept at bay in tapes. Days lurk in a white box, as vertical as books, holding the name of the day on their back: NOV 30, DEC 06, JAN 14. The year isn’t written, the date is incomplete. One of the many loose ends of this piece that make it magic. The obsessive, archival cleanness of its presentation corresponds to the artificial, manufactured life of the calendar. The natural life of a living day flows out of it asking for acceptance.

Open the box, put the tape in the small recorder, and the fluid mass of John Cage’s silence erupts in the room, the calendar blows up. If a tape gets lost or is stolen, Keaton will wait for the same day of the following year to record an hour of sound. HORIZONTAL THINKING. The same days in different years seem to share more than a name: they have a place in a natural order that is not under human control. Loose end again.

What’s important, really, what does become a date? The artist wondered at the beginning of the project if places where historical dramas happened, like the Bob Kennedy’s assassination at the Ambassador Hotel, or a robbery with hostages in a bank, might be particularly significant. What prevailed is his attachment to the daily marvel, unique and impossible to repeat. The best way to be in touch with the piece is to sit on the floor. To slow down and wonder if any peak of ‘importance’ is ever necessary. Every part of the installation, shelves and drawings on the walls under a diffused light from the ceiling, start floating among the recorded sounds and the rain hitting the window. Humans, images and sounds, physical bodies sharing a space.

Except the drawings are rebellious, and give a visual form to the daily sounds as they unfold, what the artist sees through his fingertips moving the pencil on paper. Tim Hawkinson, about two decades ago, sculpted his favorite musics in large aluminum foil records, letting his fingers react to the sounds. In Macon’s drawings, one for each day, the tape becomes a ribbon, happy to unfold not having anything to fasten, mixing the recorded mood with the artist’s state of mind  unfolding in his chest at that very moment. A loose end in his heart.     

KEATON MACON, March 6, detail

KEATON MACON, March 6, detail   Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KEATON MACON, March 6, detail

KEATON MACON, March 6, detail Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KEATON MACON, March 06, 2015 Charcoal and graphite on paper, framing device

KEATON MACON, March 6, 2015 Charcoal and graphite on paper, framing device Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KEATON MACON, March 6, 2015, Charcoal and graphite on paper, framing device

KEATON MACON, March 6, 2015, Charcoal and graphite on paper, framing device Photo: Fredrick Nilsen