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Light Echoes | Aili Schmeltz

April 5 @ 1:00 pm - May 18 @ 5:00 pm

Radiating energy fields of psychedelic embroidery in Light Echoes, a solo exhibition by Aili Schmeltz

Johansson Projects is thrilled to present Light Echoes, a solo exhibition by Southern California based painter and sculptor Aili Schmeltz. Light Echoes presents the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and highlights a combination of mixed media textile paintings and ceramic modular sculptures.

The unique mixed media wall works begin as portraits of particular landscapes of significance for Schmeltz—her garden and neighborhood in Los Angeles, the California redwoods, and the Mojave Desert. Moments of connection within these spaces are depicted with rich saturated color and hand patterned details layered with radiating energy fields of psychedelic embroidery. Schmeltz likens these radiating works to light echoes—pulses of light from an event such as an outburst of a star that ripples through cosmic clouds, often to be seen at a much future point in time. The silhouettes of pulsating gardens and forests are illuminated here with concentric pulses similar to sound waves echoing down a canyon to reveal its wall contour.Similarly, the Cairn sculpture series is directly informed by the landscape around her clay studio in the Mojave Desert, a homesteader cabin surrounded by igneous rock mesas, cactus and Joshua Trees. Schmeltz speaks of the act of creating and stacking stones within this context as an empathic gesture, a poetic marking of time with sculptural monuments. Architectural structural elements are employed within these sculptures, integrating Brutalist, Utopic, and Modern traditions to create hybrid futuristic relics. These simplified and abstracted motifs speak again to the examination of energy exchange within natural systems —light echoes of objects and substances.

Aili Schmeltz is a sculptor and painter who splits her time in between Los Angeles and the High Desert of California. Her work is informed by environmental, philosophical, and architectural histories of the American West. Current series of works include CA Women, mixed media textile paintings that honor women of California who have furthered equality and justice in a wide range of communities, and a series of Cairn ceramic sculptures which use modular building and historic architectural languages to create futuristic monumental relics.

Light Echoes opens with a reception at Johansson Projects on April 5, 5-8pm and will run through May 18, 2024.


Johansson Projects
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Johansson Projects
2300 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612 United States
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