“Sensual alien,” “Being human is embarrassing,” a crudely-drawn image of a cactus, “20 5/8,” “Analytic sofa,” and “To do: wake”--these are just a few of the seemingly random phrases, images, and numbers embedded in the seven new Margaux Ogden abstracts now on display at Hollywood’s ltd art gallery. Ciphering the enigma that is this exhibition became a hunt for patterns and meaning during Friday night’s opening reception.
Chekhov’s Gun refers to the notion that every part is crucial to the whole. Even the tiniest and most bizarre facets of these works point to something deeper, and in this case, it’s the artist’s mental state. With titles such as “Overcoming Paranoid Thoughts,” “Being Human is Embarassing,” and “Cursed From the Start,” it's as if the canvas acts as a mental map, and these phrases, numbers, and hieroglyphic-like drawings smattered all over the picture plane are indicators, gauging her level of anxiety.
The 32-year-old Brooklyn-based painter’s content is not the only thing that’s fragmented and chaotic in this series. Her canvases are divided into countless jagged and rounded puzzle pieces, reminiscent of Picasso’s later Cubist work. Much like his celebrated Blue Period, many of the paintings in Chekhov’s Gun are largely monochromatic variations, marking a departure from her older work, which was more colorful, centering around vermillions, and fuchsias.
Circulating in a counter-clockwise motion, a narrative was recognized: the descent into and rise out of Depression. The progression of color from the deepest and darkest purples to cheery pink-lavender and the “2000/2000” prominently featured on the final canvas in the series pointed to major improvement. With Chekhov’s Gun, Ogden provides hope that the human mind, the most obstinate of foes, can be tamed.
Margaux Ogden: Chekhov’s Gun is on view at ltd los angeles until September 12, 2015