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Published on : Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, announces two new art exhibitions at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that reference the natural beauty found in the urban surroundings of Los Angeles.
Pontus Willfors’ Douglas Fir Reclaimed is a site-specific installation of hundreds of salvaged planks of Douglas fir that have been sanded and chiseled to reveal a ghostly image of a Douglas fir tree spanning the hallway of Terminal 3 Arrivals Level. In the same hallway, Cathy Weiss’ installation, Laurel Canyon, Chaparral Habitat: Native Flora and Fauna, features large-scale, boldly colored woodcut prints inspired by the indigenous wonders of Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. Both exhibitions are on view for the public through June 2016.
Pontus Willfors created Douglas Fir Reclaimed from 405 two-by-four planks of Douglas fir that were reclaimed from a teardown in Los Angeles. Willfors vertically mounted the boards of varying lengths, side by side, creating a long plane of wood against the wall. With the timbers assembled as a giant, 90-foot wooden canvas, a life-size image of a Douglas fir tree is visible across the surface, horizontally stretching the expanse of the wall. As part of his ongoing investigation into nature and culture, Willfors sanded, shaped, and carved the top surface of the aged lumber to present an image of the planks’ origin, the Douglas fir tree, as a way to connect the construction material to the tree.
“This installation is an attempt to see not only the beauty of the tree, but the material: the knots, the aging in the lines, the hardness, and its common utilization for construction,” states Willfors. The individual boards are almost impossible to visually recognize as a tree, but once the sanded parts reveal the fresh wood and the tree image emerges from the surface, one can begin to link the processes of nature and art.
Cathy Weiss’ site-specific installation of woodcut prints in Laurel Canyon, Chaparral Habitat: Native Flora and Fauna, celebrates Los Angeles’ indigenous habitat and the importance native plants play in creating a working ecosystem. Laurel Canyon is a community in the Santa Monica Mountains that is home to an abundance of vegetation and wild animals, including red-tailed hawks, deer, coast live oaks, and black walnut trees. Noting the striking proximity of untamed beauty to the city, Weiss created twelve “double portraits,” a wild animal paired with a native plant species, in large-format, colorful woodcut prints on mulberry paper in two large display cases. The woodcut prints feature Weiss’ characteristic intricate detailing, producing imagery that is simultaneously delicate and intense. The native plants in each portrait are shaped into three-dimensional floral forms, which Weiss scattered around the animal woodcut print, creating a lush landscape with rich colors and shapes. “These pairings illustrate the biodiversity of the Santa Monica Mountains, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world,” states Weiss. In a smaller third case, Weiss suspended graceful rayon paper matilija poppies that appear to float against an adjacent mural stenciled with flowers and birds. “I want to honor Laurel Canyon’s distinctive ecology, as well as raise awareness about the significance of native plants to our city’s environment,” says Weiss.