Kelly Akashi at Ghebaly Gallery / Los Angeles

Kelly Akashi / Being as a Thing

November 12 – December 23, 2016

Ghebaly Gallery
2245 E Washington Blvd., 
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Ghebaly Gallery presents Being as a Thing, an exhibition of new work by Kelly Akashi. 

Working between sculpture, installation, and photography, Akashi cultivates relationships among a variety of ‘things’ to investigate their ability to transmit consciousness and how they can actively communicate their histories and potential for change.

For this exhibition, the artist constellates interconnected processes of extended looking at—and by extension, coming to know—objects. Microcosms of glass, wax, bronze, and fiber highlight organic forms, at once familiar and foreign. The works presented balance the controlled environment of the gallery space with materials and displays that oscillate between the ephemeral, the durable, and the impressionable. 

A series of weeds, drawn from life with meticulous leaf tracing and entombed through lost wax bronze casting, take root in the floor and walls of the gallery suggesting a bridge between different modes of knowing, unknowing, and scrutiny. These studies of growth and change embody the artist’s attempts to understand the original thing.

Walnut wood with corner splines frame a suite of photograms that offer an alternative perspective of several objects in the exhibition, resulting in an index of strange fossils that compress time and dimension. 

Central to Akashi’s practice is the production of candles in limitless forms, challenging the notion of what a candle can be, and what candle technology might afford as a process of making. They are burned or left in their uninterrupted form, suggesting a stymied action that oscillates between possibility and impetus, consecration and function. The dim light of the candles ask that the works around them be examined at close range, allowing a plaster headboard accumulating with gum or a bronze candle wreath to emerge in the space. 

Elsewhere, delicate lead mounds emerge from brick surfaces encrusted in the gallery’s brick wall, embracing the building’s industrial past. Hovering between her familiar bronze and wax materials, the lead behaves like candle wax, slowly accumulating in drips, gilded by chemical properties in the air that change the lead patina slowly over time.

Two pairs of bronze hands draped over a small wall are a point of entry and a coda, each a unique moment of the artist’s physical history solidified in time. They are crystallized examples of the artist’s consciousness imbued in her things, but like the others, they are not her.