B-LA Connect Festival – SomoS Hosts Nothing Special

Los Angeles - Berlin Exhibition Exchange Project

01.06.2019   - 09.06.2019

Featuring Mark Flores, Julienne Fusello, William E. Jones, Anthony Miserendino, Jeff St. Andrews, Frank J. Stockton, Willa Wasserman

June 4-9, 2-7pm (June 2-3 by appointment)
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 1st, 2019, 6-9pm

BL-A Tour 1 Neukölln/Kreuzberg: Saturday, June 8th 1-8pm
Artist Talk Frank J. Stockton: Sunday, June 9th, 3-4:30pm
“B-LA Connect,” is an international project in which 20 Art Spaces form LA engage in a cultural exchange with 22 Art Spaces in Berlin. SomoS is delighted to host “Nothing Special,” a 11 by 11 foot artist-run space based in West Adams, Los Angeles as part of the festival.

Nothing Special written i gray and white font on a velvet-like black background.

About Nothing Special

Founded and curated by visual artist Frank J. Stockton, Nothing Special’s exhibitions revolve around simple themes that make a virtue of the gallery’s limitations, featuring projects that either expand upon or exist in parallel to the participants’ usual artistic practice.

Nothing Special’s mission is to promote the work of artists and to spark creative dialogues between members of Los Angeles’s art community. Each Nothing Special show is numbered in sequence for the duration of the series, and includes a limited edition ‘zine intended to broaden the scope and reach of the conversation. Convinced that artistic merit should not be determined by commercial viability, Nothing Special works outside the mainstream gallery system in Los Angeles and encourages accessibility via an engaged social media presence.

Nothing Special, 4620 W Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. 90066


Presented Artists:

Mark Flores

Mark Flores
Mock Temple, Mock Wall, 2018
Oil and paper on canvas
12 x 16″ / 30,5 x 41 cm
The dimensional paintings by Mark Flores (b. Ventura, CA, 1970) demonstrate his ongoing interest in set and setting, color theory and the deceptive interplay between the gestural and the controlled, the hand-made and mechanical. Flores works as a set builder in the theater, borrowing many of his aesthetic devices from that modular and decorative practice, but combined with an exclusively hand­-painted surface. Many of his source images originate from black and white Hollywood monster movies, such as Frankenstein.

Mark Flores received his MFA in 2002 from CalArts and his BA from UCLA in 1999. Flores is a 2014 California Community Foundation Fellow. His solo exhibitions include David Kordansky Gallery (Los Angeles), Agency Contemporary (Los Angeles), Alison Jacques Gallery (London), Cardi Black Box (Milan), and Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). His work was also included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Orange County Museum of Art (Newport Beach), Patricia Faure Gallery (Santa Monica), California State University (Los Angeles), Golinko Kordansky Gallery (Los Angeles), Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Reviews and articles appeared in Artforum, Flash Art, Los Angeles Times, Frieze, and The New York Times.

Julienne Fusello

Stream of consciousness text painted on clay tablet made by artist Julienne Fusello.
Julienne Fusello
The Perfect Ride, 2018
Ceramic, glaze, graphite
9.75 x 6.75″ / 25 x 17 cm
Julienne Fusello is a Los-Angeles-based painter and ceramicist. While form tends to take visual focus in her works, employing fiction and imagination to position themselves between the real and unreal, her “Under the Sun, Nothing Can Hurt Me” centers text and the written word. Indeed, referred to by Fusello as a “book”, this text-based ceramic tablet series articulates thoughts from stream-of-consciousness-like meditations and writings about the vivid experiences of driving at night.

The series was exhibited in May 2018 during Spring/Break Art Show at Seymour Polatin’s Gallery1993; a gallery set in a champagne-colored 1993 Ford Crown Victoria. Continuing the theme of mobility, part of “Under the Sun, Nothing Can Hurt Me” shall be exhibited at SomoS in the beginning of June. Fusello also completed her first solo exhibition Rising star, somebody loves me at as it stands in May 2018 in Los Angeles. Her work will be part of Nothing Special no. 5 in Los Angeles in the Fall.

William E. Jones

Depression-era photo of the black kids in a park-like area, near a sign saying "Colored."
William E. Jones
Killed, 2009
Sequence of digital files, black and white, silent
1 minute 44 seconds
Courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles
William E. Jones is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, writer, and visual artist (b. Canton, OH, 1962). Over a period of more than two decades, Jones’ practice has been rooted in the study of archival material and their broader social and political implications. The studied archival material is not merely presented historically, but rather shaped through experimental re-interpretation and re-contextualization and often intentionally intersected by episodes from recent history and the digital age.

His presented video montage Killed brings to light the underlying political forces involved in processes of censorship, forgetting and rediscovering. Killed recontextualizes rejected 35mm negatives by photographers from the Historical Section of the Farm Security Administration. Hidden for decades, these images show glimpses of American society during the Great Depression. After being sent to Washtington, DC for processing the images were “killed” by social scientist and educator Roy Emerson Stryker who deemed them unworthy for publication. By salvaging and aesthetically reframing often poignant and poetic photographic imagery, Killed relentlessly reimagines the act of censorship.

William E. Jones received an MFA in 1990 from California Institute of the Arts and a BA in 1985 from Yale University. He has participated in the 1993 and 2008 Whitney Biennials and the 2009 Venice Biennale, as well as exhibited at Tate Modern (London), Musee du Louvre, Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles). He has published books including Is It Really so Strange (2008) and Tearoom (2008). In 2019, Jones has been taking part in the Red Bull Arts Detroit Visiting Writer Fellowship in Detroit.

Anthony Miserendino

Navel, 2017
Gypsum cement, and porcelain dust
3 ½” / 9cm (diameter)
Los Angeles-based artist Anthony Miserendino (b. 1985, Baltimore, MD, USA) gives the sculptural art of the relief a new contemporary interpretation. While Miserendino’s relief works are largely informed by antiquity, he describes the state of being “in relief” as having a tangible relationship with your environment. In this sense, his works both generate pictorial space and simultaneously act as contemplative surfaces responding to elements of the viewer’s space. Invested in real life motifs, Miserendino’s detailed work ranges from small, intimate works to ambitious large scale wall pieces.

Miserendino earned a BFA from the Cooper Union in 2007 and an MFA from UCLA in 2014. He has been a fellow at the La Napoule Art Foundation Residency, France, and has received a merit award from Vermont Studio Center. His work was an Editor’s Pick in New American Paintings No. 127 Pacific Coast Edition. He will be attending the Villa Lena Foundation Artists Residency in Italy Fall. 2019.


Jeff St. Andrews

A slashed Obama poster in a photographic artwork by artist Jeff St. Andrews.
Jeff St. Andrews
Church’s (series title), 2015 – 2019
archival pigment prints
18.5 x 12.5” / 47 x 32 cm
Jeff St. Andrews is an artist engaged in long-term documentary projects using photography, sculpture, video and writing. His works address the everyday conditions of social and political life in an era of late capitalism and from an intersectional working class perspective. People, landscapes, objects and images become depicted in a sensitively interconnected manner, positioning them all within the global capitalist superstructure, whether as compliance or resistance. In interpreting his subjects on both a micro and macro level, Andrews’ works become poignant markers of the politics of the everyday.

Jeff St. Andrews recently exhibited a selection of his work in Oakland, CA at Lottie Rose Gallery (Church’s, 2018) and at Black Crown Gallery (Capital, 2017). St. Andrews received his MFA from UCLA in 2014 and currently teaches photography at Youth Radio and UC Santa Barbara.


Frank J. Stockton

Toddler and baby playing in the grass in a painting by Frank J- Stockton.
Frank J. Stockton
Untitled (Zeit crops), 2019
Acrylic and oil on canvas
24 x 18″ / 61 x 46 cm
Deeply involved in the “tender embrace of both “high” and “low” art,” the painting of Nothing Special’s founder, Frank J. Stockton (b. 1980 Santa Ana, CA) has been described as an exploration of the breakdown of American masculinity, exceptionalism and heroism. Enabled by a mixture of representation and abstraction, the energetic works form interconnected visual storylines and systems, often making use of tropes and imagery from pop culture media, such as graphic novels or illustration.

During the exhibition at SomoS, a set of acrylic and oil paintings by Stockton shall be presented that appropriate some of his commercial work, sourced from a cover of Zeit that he was commissioned to do of a happy father and three children approximately nine years ago.

Stockton achieved an MFA from UCLA in 2015. In 2018, Stockton’s work was presented at the Seattle Art Fair by Sam Freeman in the solo exhibition titled You’re an Eagle Now. He has also been part of group exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art (Portland, 2017), Common Street Arts (Waterville, 2015) and The Pit (Glendale, 2014). Stockton is currently a teacher of drawing at California State University at Fullerton.

Willa Wasserman

Tender flower painting on yellow hues.
Willa Wasserman
Still Life with View and Snail, 2019
oil on muslin
13.8 x 17.7” / 35 x 45 cm
Willa Wasserman (b. 1990 Vanderburgh, IN) is a Los Angeles-based painter and visual artist whose works are often formed through direct observation of both still-life and portraiture. Wasserman’s soft and almost dream-like paintings uncover the multi-layered perception of painting through observation: “While painting from observation, I have this persistent illusion: that I can see what I miss, that I can see what I can’t…[it] allows one to touch what is far away.” In this sense, Wasserman’s paintings become “polite and beautiful in unexpected ways,” as Nothing Special’s curator Frank J. Stockton states, while somehow simultaneously appearing both heavily labored and gentle.

A 2019 candidate for the Master of Fine Arts from UCLA, the artist also works in collaboration with Jenny Gagalka and Beaux Mendes, producing drawings and paintings under the heading “En Plein Error.” Nothing Special no.2 in March 2019 focused on exhibiting Wasserman’s delicate paintings alongside floral works executed by their grandmother Martha Harlan Morgan.


About B-LA Connect

B-LA Connect is a platform to promote the cooperation and interlinking between the two sister cities’ creative communities. Over the next two years a major exhibition and exchange project is scheduled to take place between artist/curator run project spaces and collectives from Berlin and Los Angeles: In June 2019, 20 art spaces from Los Angeles will exhibit in 22 art spaces from Berlin. The interdisciplinary program includes art exhibitions, film screenings, performances, talks, and more. The following year, in 2020, the Berlin art spaces will travel to LA for a return visit.

B-LA Connect understands itself as an international cultural exchange on a grass-roots level. It brings together members of different art spheres and scenes from both cities. New opportunities for interacting and connecting with each other are created and extended locally and transnationally between the two cities.

In the sense of a positive globality B-LA Connect seeks to advance the cultural partnership between Berlin and Los Angeles. B-LA Connect wants to celebrate urban diversity, show presence and stand against reactionary forces. Berlin and Los Angeles share the urban self-image of being the world in small, a place of cultural diversity and individual freedom. In light of the rising authoritarian and regressive currents worldwide the two cities stand for a liberal and cosmopolitan openness towards the world. B-LA Connect wants to build bridges where others erect walls.


Events during the exhibition:

-Artist Talk with Frank J. Stockton: Sunday, June 9, 3-4:30pm
-Festival Tour 1 – Kreuzberg/Neukölln: Saturday, June 8, 12-7pm
More info: https://www.b-la-connect.org/tours.html

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