Imaginary landscapes | Arts and events

Photographer and sculptor explores worlds past and present in new exhibition LA Louver

Artists have the power to create worlds, which is exactly what Sean Higgins does. Working with photography, collages, ceramics and Plexiglas, the artist explores landscapes, dreams and memories.

The Los Angeles-based artist has returned to LA Louvre where he first exhibited as part of the group show Rogue Wave in 2005. By September 2, his photographs and sculptures will be on display, inviting viewers customers to explore worlds with him. of his imagination.

“It’s an amazing space for sure,” Higgins said. “It’s a Venice institution, a Los Angeles institution. They are all great people to work with.

Higgins, who moved from Venice to downtown Los Angeles, now has a studio in the Arts District and exhibits throughout Los Angeles. At the Louvre, he joined the Rogue Wave program, designed to showcase emerging and underrepresented talent in Los Angeles. There were five group shows, of which Higgins was in the second. There have also been several solo projects, the most recent being Yvette Gellis in 2021.

All the exhibited works were created last year: six photographic works and a handful of ceramics. The photographs are part of a series that has been going on for years.

“These kind of landscapes are composite experiences,” Higgins said. “They look very realistic on the surface, but when you examine them deeper they sort of separate. You realize they’re not what they seem. They have different layers to them. You can see the scenery from different angles.

The ceramics complement the photography as they are also based on the landscape. They are objects that function as household objects such as vases or dishes formed from the landscape. He says both types of works are set up in a way that connects them to the LA Louvre.

“Sculpture and photographic works speak to each other in this funny way,” Higgins said. “The sculptures look like mountains and they sit in front of the photographs in an interesting way. The sculptures could live inside the photographs.

Higgins grew up in Pennsylvania and earned an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. That year he had four exhibitions – two in New York, one in Philadelphia, and another in Camden, New Jersey. . This is the beginning of an artistic career that always comes back to landscapes. He says he is in line with American landscape painters from the Hudson school, even if his landscapes are often fantastic and born of his imagination.

“My work history has always been about landscape,” Higgins said. “I try to do an old genre but think of it in modern terms.”

Over the years, Higgins has said he’s been fascinated by how people approach his photography and the questions they ask. Often they ask him where a particular scene is from.

“I always find that kind of interesting,” Higgins said. “Each of these works is that of a specific place, but it is not a real place. The landscape you see in these works is not a real place. It’s always an interesting conversation for me because it doesn’t exist as a place, but everyone always asks where it is.

He started this series of landscapes in 2014 or 2015 and he jokingly calls it his endless series, a series in which the landscapes pile up on top of each other and look like endless hills that go on forever. It’s part of what he’s trying to convey and he plans to do more landscapes in this series for years to come.

The photos are collages of digital photographs that Higgins assembles. He prints them using an inkjet printer on 100% rag paper. Some of his works are available in NFT. The ceramics in the LA Louver exhibition are something quite new to him.

“Ceramics came out of nowhere,” Higgins said. “I’m not normally a sculptor. I’m not normally a ceramist, but this idea came to me and I decided to pursue making 3D objects.

Some of these grew out of his interest in geology and public domain datasets. He was exploring 3D datasets available through the United States Geological Survey and used some of this data to model his own targets and create ships based on it. The ceramics include items such as Crater Lake, the volcanoes of the Cascade Range, and the geological curiosities of the west. He created them with food-safe frosting so they could be both functional and artistic.

Part of the idea came about by looking at how people reacted to various geological disasters and created art from them.

“After Mount St. Helens erupted, there were all these things that people made to commemorate the disaster and I thought that was a really interesting idea,” Higgins said. “If you go to eBay you can find a Mount St. Helens ashtray from the eruption or there is a large salt and pepper shaker set that has been modeled in the shape of the volcano.”

Higgins found it a fascinating way to take something scary and remember it in a unique and artistic way. He likes to talk about the process of making ceramics because it’s such a new process for him. It starts with a 3D model on the computer. He then prints it using a 3D printer and molds it. At this point, he uses traditional cooking processes.

“Ceramics is a very old tradition, but it’s made from 3D modeling,” Higgins said. “I’m interested in this conversation – ancient form transformed into modern form in a strange way.”

Like his landscapes, Higgins plans to continue making ceramic objects and expand his exploration of what he can create with them.

WHAT: Sean Higgins exhibition at LA Louvre

WHERE: 45 Venice North Boulevard, Venice

WHEN: Until September 2