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Love Builds Up @ BENT ~ South Pasadena


Ben Loiz & Carolina Chaves: "Love Builds Up"
March 31st - April 29th
@ Bent's Backroom Gallery ~ (626) 403-6453
~ 1011b Mission St., South Pasadena,91030

Bent's backroom gallery is a small space that can't hold an abundance of art, but the room was more than filled with the good-vibes put out by this exhibit. Best of all, the aforementioned good vibes don't stop at the gallery walls, as %10 of the exhibition sale proceeds are to be donated to Welcome Home Ministries, an orphanage in Uganda, Africa where Loiz's cousin is living and working.


It's no surprise that these two artists are thinking about helping people on the other side of the word, as they have lived in a few places beyond our beloved Southland. Loiz grew up here, but also lived in Connecticut and Atlanta. Carolina grew up in Uruguay. They've collaborated on and off since meeting in Atlanta in 2002. Loiz also collaborates with his wife Renee on a product line called NeeNoon, which markets limited-edition silk screens, t-shirts, accessories, and do-it-yourself art kits.


Sources say that Loiz is lately going through an artistic phase that is very focused on text. Most of the purveyors of the Taco Lifestyle might prefer their text art in the baroque abstractions found in tagging and street graffiti, or maybe on t-shirts in the snarky messages of NaCo or mischievous play on words, logos, and pop culture from vendors like Busted Tees. But Loiz’s work is at the other end of the spectrum, unabashedly uncynical and positive. They reminded me somewhat of the myriad of positive affirmations central to the murals of Chase, which has appeared in other LA Taco posts. But whereas most of the aphorisms displayed in Chase’s works are more general, almost new-agey encouragements, Loiz’s words seem more intimate, things you would say to your loved in hushed tones, in a situation where you are not afraid to be cheesy or even vulnerable. Like after you’re really fucked up or after you’ve really fucked up, if you know what I mean. Also, like the things you might say when you are drunk, Loiz’s word are often unencumbered by punctuation, literal meaning or even logic (see “I can hear you smiling” or “Our love just like/ the hot Georgia air...”).


As I mentioned, the exhibition space here is a bit small and the works not particularly numerous, but by focusing on an uncluttered presentation, it allows each individual piece to be set apart and pondered and jibes with the simple and almost minimalist aesthetic cultivated by Loiz and Chaves. At the same time, I left hungry to see more work by these two artists, eager to really understand where their talent and vision is leading them.


Bent is a cool space in itself, selling some cool clothes, such as the NaCo shirts mentioned above. They have a really cool aesthetic; I was tripping on the murals on the wall, of which they were nice enough to let me take pictures (see below). The girl on the bike wasn't there when I took these pictures, though; it's from their promotional materials. Alas...


What I really appreciated was their magazine rack, with some design magazines mixed in with some decent xeroxed zines for sale, including some really bizarrely humorous work from the SF based artist Aiyana Udesen, who has a way of drawing celebrities and animals together like none other. Maybe I can find out what her favorite taco is when she is in LA... liltaco.bmp


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