Lana Z Caplan and Peri Schwartz Press Release

Lana Z Caplan: Dunites
Peri Schwartz: Color & Process
Sept 4 – 29 at Gallery NAGA

Lana Z Caplan: Dunites and Peri Schwartz: Color & Process run from September 4 through 29. A reception for the artists and public will be held on September 7 from 6 to 8 pm.

Lana Z Caplan is a California-based artist/activist who uses technology to comment and educate. Often focusing on the human condition, Caplan looks deeply at the environment and how we have marked it as ours. In her statement for the exhibition, Caplan elaborates:

This project is located in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes, an 18-mile coastal stretch north of Santa Barbara. These are the Dunes of the Chumash, a people erased by the Spanish Missionaries; the Dunes of Cecil B. DeMille’s ancient Egyptian Ten Commandments film sets; the Dunes of the Dunites, the artists, poets, nudists, and mystics living off the grid in the depression era; the Dunes of Edward Weston and Ansel Adams’ sensual perfection; the Dunes of the Lemurians’ energy vortex; and the Dunes of the current day Dunites: the ATV riders who tear through the endangered plant species and pollute the air with fine sand particulates. This sandy landscape has been a fertile tabula rasa for those who have come to this place before, leaving us a rich history, and now has become a political and environmental battleground. The 8-year war for priorities between the ATV riders and business owners and those of the health-compromised residents in the adjacent communities has caught fire in local town council meetings, newspapers, and courtrooms and eerily reflects the fractures we see all over Trump’s America.

Using photography, video projections, and a virtual reality installation, Caplan puts viewers directly into the dunes and lets them see for themselves.

Caplan’s work has been seen at galleries, museums and festivals around the world including Inside Out Art Museum Beijing, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo Mexico City, Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, National Gallery Puerto Rico, William Benton Museum of Art, Microscope Gallery Brooklyn, CROSSROADS Festival at SF MoMA, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Montreal Underground Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives NYC, Experiments in Cinema. She is the recipient of several grants including from Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Puffin Foundation, and the Film/Video Studio Program Fellowship at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus OH. Caplan is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography and Video at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Peri Schwartz uses her studio as her subject matter. In the studio, she creates stage sets using books, bottles, and the architecture of the space. She is constantly arranging, re-arranging, adding, and subtracting from her still life throughout each painting. In the catalog that accompanies the exhibition, Lauren P. Della Monica, curator, writes about Schwartz’s compositions. “In some of the work, the bottles and jars are the subject, their blocks of color creating the composition. In the Studio paintings, they provide a sense of scale within the larger room, defining the center of the canvas. Often the bottles and jars are merely suggested—objects in space with their ghostly details intentionally left undone, having been moved again and again.”

Even within the formality of the work, Schwartz creates life and exuberance. Della Monica continues,

The work feels architectural and yet exudes a sense of joy and warmth, visually defining her studio as a place of creativity and passion. In the Studio paintings, Schwartz provides a glimpse of the natural world through the window at left. The paintings hint at an exterior world in a subdued palette of sand, gray, and green that is tonally at odds with the elation of the jewel-toned painting studio. The foregrounds of these paintings are filled with abstract shapes created by the constant rearranging of books. The density towards the front of the canvas thrusts the viewer into the scene, as if the viewer becomes the artist surveying her studio.

Peri Schwartz’s work can be found in many public and museum collections including the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery, the Fogg Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.