Stephen Collier: LAST DAYS
October 14 - December 15, 2018
HOME ALONE Los Angeles is pleased to present LAST DAYS, an exhibition by New Orleans-based artist Stephen Collier. This show gathers recent works on paper, paintings and sculpture in addition to previously exhibited works, now re-contextualized in light of the current political and economic climate.
The shows lifts its title, LAST DAYS, from the closing signs which proliferated RadioShack storefronts in 2017 as the electronics retailer, founded in 1921, went bankrupt and shuttered 1,000 locations nationwide. These signs, which were formatted to display a consecutively diminishing number of days open for business as the countdown toward closing loomed, both lured and cautioned Collier on his nightly walks past the Magazine Street location near his home and studio. Rather than the celebratory purchasing frenzy invoked by the typical “Everything Must Go,” RadioShack’s ominous promotion of their own demise forewarned a much darker future, speaking to our economic, and by extension political, “end of days.” Collier adopts the basic layout of these signs for his drawings, and then assigns a set of material and procedural rules and works within those parameters. Rendered in primarily black and white, the crude block text is reminiscent of a pauper’s headstone, while the numerical “countdown” has been replaced by stock market graphs, electrocardiograph images, ghoulish visages, erasures and other harbingers of “the end.”
Collier’s recent paintings feature dilapidated peace symbols that have undergone several rounds of damages and repairs, and triptychs of the abstracted letters U-S-A that appear scorched and worn. The artist has created a foreboding site-specific sculptural installation in the gallery’s front yard that transforms this plot of Glendale suburbia into a semblance of a blighted storefront. The fusion of residential real estate with commercial decrepitude highlights the dilapidation of our values in the current anxiety-ridden and increasingly polarized political and cultural climate. Even as our economy is purported to be soaring, those who have spent their lives in struggle are being left further and further behind, while the homeless epidemic has reached colossal proportions across the nation. Collier’s work channels this anxiety and challenges us to confront the fragility of our democratic society through his idiosyncratic and personal contemplations on human and economic mortality.
Stephen Collier (b. 1971 Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS) lives and works in New Orleans. Colliers’s work has been exhibited at the Atlanta Contemporary (solo and biennial) , the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, the Contemporary Art Center New Orleans, Whitebox, NY; Artist Curated Projects (two-person), Los Angeles; VAG (solo), Los Angeles; Western Exhibitions, Chicago; LVL3, Chicago, and Bronx River Art Center, Bronx. His work has been is discussed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Pelican Bomb, BOMB Magazine, and his exhibition at Arcadian Center for the Arts was reviewed in Art Forum. He has been awarded residencies with the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Louisiana Artworks. Collier has received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and Warhol Foundation and was included in the Prospect 1.5 curated by Dan Cameron. Collier works in a range of media, which include photography, painting, sculpture, sound, and video. He received a BA from the University of New Orleans. Collier is a founding member of Good Children Gallery, an artist-run collective.