“Paradox California,” a two-person exhibition presenting works by mixed-media artist Chelsea Dean and photographer Osceola Refetoff, opens Saturday, February 23 at LAUNCH LA (170 S. LaBrea Ave, LA, 90036). There will be an artists’ reception from 6-9PM.
The two artists were paired for the show because of their mutual enthusiasm for the deserts of Southern California. Refetoff and Dean collaborated on the show’s title, which addresses the contradiction between the promise of paradise to be found in the “Golden State,” and the harsh realities of much of its terrain and opportunities. Though different in style and medium, their bodies of work complement one another. Each finds beauty and looks for the truth in landscapes transformed by weather, time, and circumstance, as well as evanescent traces of civilization. The works suggest both impermanence and timelessness. Paradox California runs through March 23.
Osceola Refetoff‘s interest is in documenting humanity’s impact on the world – both the intersection of nature and industry, and the narratives of the people living at those crossroads. His parallel careers as an editorial and fine art photographer are characterized by an evocative, cinematic understanding of how scale, point of view, architecture, and motion can be expressed as both information and experience of a given place.
Refetoff is the 2018 Los Angeles Press Club Photojournalist of the Year. His current focus is an expansive set of portfolios surveying the human presence in the deserts of the American West. He also won in the Photo Essay category for the KCET Artbound story “A Glimpse of Another America.” “High & Dry,” his writer-photographer collaboration with Christopher Langley – which was an exhibition at MOAH Lancaster in 2018 – is regularly syndicated on KCET’s Artbound. A native Chicagoan, Osceola is half Danish, half Bulgarian, and half Canadian. He holds as a BA from Duke University and an MFA from New York University’s Graduate Film Program. He lives and works on Chung King Road in Los Angeles’ Chinatown.
Chelsea Dean’s mixed media work embodies her attraction to systems that erode. She salvages history, suspending the architecture of Southern California in time with a process of carefully controlled chaos. By combining her photographs with experimental printmaking, drawing, collage, and found objects, she elevates the conflict between order and entropy.
Dean’s most recent body of work focuses around her fascination with abandoned homesteads in Wonder Valley where she continues to meditate upon the allure of beauty and decay. She gathers and incorporates discarded elements from these spaces, assigning new meaning with the addition of gold elements and embellished patterns. Memorializing architectural histories, Dean emphasizes sites in transition to re-contextualize and illuminate their inherent value. Dean was born and raised in Arizona and has a BA in Studio Art from the University of Puget Sound, and an MFA in Drawing from Claremont Graduate University. She has a studio in Lincoln Heights.
LAUNCH LA, a non-profit social enterprise, was founded by Executive Director James Panozzo in 2010. LAUNCH believes exposure to the arts enhances quality of life and strengthens community. LAUNCH LA is passionate about providing artists of all backgrounds and disciplines with opportunities to present their work to a curious and enthusiastic audience at happenings throughout Los Angeles.