This season, three shows are running concurrently at BLUM Gallery in Los Angeles. From November 4 through December 16th, BLUM presents: Tom Anholt: Sticks and Stones, Simphiwe Ndzube: Chorus, and Sam Moyer: Circle of Confusion. Formerly Blum & Poe, the newly rebranded BLUM gallery continues to serve as a steward of the international arts community by putting a series of diverse artists in conversation with one another within the gallery space– all of whom are presenting their first solo exhibitions with the gallery.
Los Angeles-based and Cape Town-born artist, Simphiwe Ndzube, has long sketched out a fictional surrealist universe known as Mine Moon. In the past, Ndzube’s Mine Moon has been constructed with multimedia materials adhered to acrylic on canvas; Chorus expands the universe multilaterally– Chorus uses oil paint, carving, and sometimes sand to achieve a pointillist effect, exploring the capacity of material and subject to act as vessels for the inspection of tradition. Honoring Black choral music traditions in South Africa (particularly Amakwaya, a traditional Zulu choir that promotes Zulu culture), Chorus is the first installment in a new series that Ndzube has titled Amakwaya, as it takes the culture and imagery associated with musical stylings of the same name as its subject matter.
Tom Anholt’s Sticks and Stones is a series of vignettes on linen. Toying with formal styles of depth and of medium, Anholt worked on the series concurrent with his twin sister, Maddy’s diagnosis and subsequent struggle with brain cancer. As such, the endeavor of recognizability comes to the forefront of the series– while Sticks and Stones manifested, Maddy’s condition deteriorated– the longer Anholt painted, the less recognizable his sister became. Maddy passed as Anholt was finishing the exhibition’s concluding work, Drifting Away (2023). The series honors her life. Anholt imbues images of the natural world with unique palettes and symbols distinctly tied to his own intimate experience of loss, interweaving universal human experience with his own iteration of sorrow. In Sticks and Stones, the Berlin-based artist communicates loss in a visual language unique to his own hand, but translatable to all.
Sam Moyer never studied painting. The Brooklyn-based artist, known for her multimedia works, is exhibiting a series of paintings and photographs titled Circle of Confusion, named for a photography term that defines the area of focus within an image; an area where a point of light develops into a sharp, well-defined circle. Moyer began Circle of Confusion in 2020 as a solution to a problem, and, as the project took shape, so too did the problem: the work dilates, reforms, and slips in and out of focus, using the flattened, cold, “Payne’s Gray” color to invoke the moment after sunset before total darkness. In addition to the paintings, Moyer is displaying seven new photographic works, all images of the eroded sea walls built on the beaches of Gardiners Bay on Long Island. Melancholy and provocative, Circle of Confusion harkens the liminal space between focus and periphery, between solution and schematic.