Regen Projects celebrated Glenn Ligon as well as Gillian Wearing with an opening art party on November 3, 2023. Both exhibitions run through December 23, 2023.

Regen Projects Glenn Ligon

DOUBLE NEGATIVE, Glenn Ligon’s seventh exhibition with the gallery. The artist points to the artwork, particularly past paintings he has inscribed with passages from James Baldwin’s 1953 essay, “Stranger in the Village,” a series that began in 1996. Baldwin’s text has previously appeared in parts, passages, and selections in earlier works. Now, it unfolds across eighteen panels, arranged as nine diptychs. Ligon describes this arrangement as providing ‘the ground on which the painting is sited.'”

Regen Projects

As if to deny or redact what has already been disclosed, X’s appear across the nine diptychs presented here, in-line, atop the essay and then more freely. Complicating the legibility of Baldwin’s words, the X’s push toward abstraction and create new meanings. The X proffers the possibility of excision or negation. To cross or x out is a literal embodiment of a familiar colloquialism presented en masse. And yet, Ligon courts its capacity to create. Therefore recalling various forms of asemic writing, concrete poetry, and artistic touchstones including Henri Michaux, Norman Lewis, and Cy Twombly. A fundamental mark, the X arises even when other writing systems are absent, as in the use of the X to denote a signature. It also suggests political action, alluding to figures such as Malcolm X, whose adopted surname replaced one tied to a legacy of white supremancy.

Gillian Wearing

The artist is well-known for photographic portraits in which she adopts the guise of others as a way of inquiring about the consistency of the self, with reflections. This is her fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. Wearing focuses our attention on the precarity of perception and self-perception, as well as the susceptibility of how we see ourselves. Recalling her love of painting as a student, Wearing long wondered how the medium might join her established range of practices, including photography, video, and sculpture. The pandemic lockdowns afforded what seemed like an inifinity of time and the privacy to rediscover the medium without scrutiny as she relearned a once seemingly innate skill.

Wearing’s paintings clearly evoke many of her familiar themes. In this suite, questions regarding representation, performance, embodiment, mediation, and authenticity come to life. Many contribute to what the artist calls the “Historical Family” series, which features “nods to the past” and to artists “that are more like ancestors.” Wearing’s compositions often draw from the oeuvres of canonical painters, or spirit her into their scenes. “To insert myself into history is to imagine [not only] a different conversation but also [a way to] reframe a work that can mean something to me now,” Wearing wrote upon the appearance of the earliest of these works in Gillian Wearing: Wearing Masks, at the Guggenheim in 2021.

On view: October 3 – December 23, 2023; Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

What: New Exhibitions
Where: Regen Projects, 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., LA 90038
When: Running through December 23, 2023

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