Lowell Ryan Projects celebrates “Color Out of Space,” a group exhibition inspired by the eponymous short story of H.P. Lovecraft that brings together works by Mark Flood, Nasim Hantehzadeh, Kysa Johnson, Laurie Nye, and Galen Trezise. In Lovecraft’s story, a meteorite crashes in a remote farm and, as it shrinks, releases globules of “impossible to describe” colors that have mutative effects on the surrounding plants, animals, and humans. No solution is found. No motive is uncovered. “Do not ask me for my opinion,” the unnamed narrator concludes. “I do not know—that is all.”
Detail: Mark Flood, The Women’s Cult, 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 198 inches
Written in 1927, the story has been adapted and reinterpreted for nearly a century––most notably in the cult classic The Blob, Stephen King’s novel Tommyknockers, and most recently in the movie Annihilation. This kind of repeated return to a single narrative is never a matter of prolonged aesthetic fancy; it stems from perpetual social and psychological relevance. Lovecraft lived amidst the uncertainties of a much different era, but like this exhibition, his story speaks to many of our own concerns. We cannot today consider our future without also thinking of global warming, nuclear arsenals, and genetic engineering. Not long ago these things were relegated to pure science fiction; they were what we feared most, what we considered unnatural, alien. Now they’ve been made manifest by… what exactly? Human will, ambivalence, or neglect? From the unstable lookout of our present, art––whether visual, cinematic, or literary––has the potential to ground our perspective; to have us consider what we otherwise disregard or actively shirk. Bringing different artistic voices together, Color Out of Space aims to do just that. It creates a visual dialogue centered on questions like: what is of this earth and what is extraterrestrial? Are we the doomsday aliens we’ve always feared? Perhaps then, mutation is not all bad. With politicians treating scientific findings as science fiction, and scientists editing DNA without any ethical research––a metamorphosis of thought might be exactly what we need.
On view: March 2 – April 6, 2019
Where: Lowell Ryan Projects, 4851 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016