How to Remove Stains is the first two-person exhibition by Reaves and Stone and the result of their recent residency at Del Vaz Projects. It is also the first presentation by both artists in Los Angeles.
Operating as functional elements of the interior as well as sculptures, the works in this exhibition re-evaluate the enduring role of function in sculpture. Within this dialogue, both artists choose to integrate, and in some ways showcase, the humble nature of the materials they work with. Inherent in each artist’s practice is a refreshing candor towards materiality; Reaves is not concerned with the quality or direction of the wood’s grain nor is Stone concerned with the durability or knot count of the carpet.
The installation of these works is particularly effective in activating the dual nature of the apartment-gallery and playfully interacts with elements of the interior such as doorways and narrow corridors. In doing so, they attempt to unravel many of the notions that inform interior design and decorating: taste, quality, function and comfort, pulling at these threads with a delicate forcefulness. Midway through the exhibition’s 3-month duration the project will be re-installed at a new location, further emphasizing the persistently flexible nature of these works.
Reaves often uses fragments of discarded upholstery foam as a decorative and exterior material. There, the foam takes on a more human nature, calmly and confidently baring its stencil lines and inventory numbers. At times the foam is sculpted erotically over a chair frame; in other cases, rough-cut pieces are idly assembled as they were found. Upholstery fabric is used sparingly — in its place are sheer silks and nylons that leave the foam exposed to the will of domestic elements.
The shelving units are constructed using various engineered woods but are given dimensionality by mimicking the technique in which engineered wood is manufactured. Floor sweepings and sawdust are pressed into a mold with glue in layers but then cut away. The result is a design anomaly, an object that ends precisely the way it began; undoubtedly carved and manipulated but fundamentally returned to its natural state.
Stone’s approach to construction is similar, the confrontation of various elements and materials resulting in complex patchwork rugs. Woven plastic mats, manufactured carpets and interior textiles are continuously cut, painted over and re-woven together, resulting in a simulated interdependency between the components. Within this series of floor pieces, rugged texture and construction are juxtaposed with moments of painterly sensitivity and detail. These layers of paint and decorative elements embed themselves in the carpet’s pile, concentrating and collecting in the places where dirt or debris would naturally accumulate.
Both of these artists embrace the mark making and the degradation of materials that comes from use over time. For Reaves and Stone, a stain is a signal, an opportunity to play.
Jessi Reaves (b. 1986, lives and works in New York) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009. Her work has been shown at Bedstuy Love Affair, Shoot the Lobster and the Swiss Institute. Following her presentation at Del Vaz Projects, she will have a solo exhibition at SculptureCenter and Bridget Donahue.
Sophie Stone (b. 1987, lives and works in New York) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009. Her work has been shown at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, Eli Ping, Shoot the Lobster and Night Gallery. Stone is also a co-founder of Petrella’s Imports.