What's on Los Angeles | Index

by Jody Zellen

April 17, 2019

Lia Halloran
Double Horizon
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
March 30 - May 4, 2019

Lia Halloran

How far will an artist go to create their work? ORLAN altered her physical appearance, transforming herself using elements from famous paintings and sculptures via plastic surgery. Marina Abramovic invited Museum of Modern Art visitors to sit still and silently across from her for unspecified durations of time over 10 weeks in 2010. Lia Halloran, an artist who grew up surfing and skateboarding in the San Francisco Bay Area, learned to fly airplanes in order to film the landscape of Los Angeles from the sky.

At Luis de Jesus, Halloran presents two bodies of work. In the front gallery, large color photographic images from the series Passage are on view. Created while skateboarding with lights attached to her body along the Los Angeles river, these evocative photographs reveal the passage of time as lines of light undulating through the urban landscape at night. Bike Path, (2018/2019) depicts the vanishing point of the receding Los Angeles river under a bridge and the adjoining concrete bike path. Halloran's illuminated trajectory follows the bike path under the bridge into the distance. Similarly in Bronson Canyon (2014/2019) stripes of light dance in the space between the natural and manmade environments.

The highlight of the exhibition, however is the short film Double Horizon (2019), presented as a three channel installation. During training flights and on subsequent solo journeys, Halloran mounted cameras to the plane and documented the vast expanse of Los Angeles from above—from city to sea to mountain to desert. The resulting film turns this multifarious landscape into a geometric abstraction through the simple device of mirroring. Across three screens, sometimes in triplicate, other times as three different and contrasting landscapes, Halloran choreographed a compelling and utterly unique view of the environs that surround Los Angeles (along with an evocatively haunting score by Allyson Newman). The poetic nature of the journey is captivating as one gets lost in the mirrored space between land and sky which suddenly transforms into a dense grid of buildings, only to open up again as the plane approaches the runway. In each segment, Halloran focuses on the dramatic details of a landscape collapsing in on itself only to blossom into dynamic kaleidoscopic reflections and Rorschach patterns of highways, ocean and expansive desert sands.

Halloran's photographs imply the trace of a body. One can imagine her skating through the darkened city leaving a trail of light as she weaves through space and across time. Double Horizon on the other hand, presents a distanced view of the landscape that is unexpected and jarring. Essentially a formal exploration, it nonetheless offers a unique perspective and Halloran should be celebrated for capturing such disparate routes through these ever changing urban and natural spaces.