Office Baroque is pleased to announce the first individual exhibition of John Divola at our gallery on Bloemenhofplein in Brussels.
The color photographs in Isolated Houses are from a series photographing isolated structures in the high desert of Southern California. All of the images are made in the east end of the Morongo Valley Basin, Wonder Valley, and the area surrounding the town of Twenty-Nine Palms. This is an area approximately one hundred and fifty miles due East of Los Angeles. From the oceans edge in L.A., to the area that Divola is photographing, the landscape is continuously occupied. This area is the final edge of a vast urban expanse. For social, financial, or personal reasons individuals are pushed, or pulled, or simply seek this literal cultural edge. Beyond this point is unoccupied desert.
In the past Divola has perused projects which dealt with the iconography of transcendence and the sublime. In other projects he has investigated the literal desire to get “outside” of or beyond the cultural (a desire with the ironic consequence of transforming the natural into the very condition one wishes to escape). It is this conceptual trajectory which has led Divola to this body of work.
Isolated Houses is an extension of the investigation begun in the “four landscape” portfolio. The structural rigor of that work has been replaced with concerns which are aesthetic and social. On the simplest level Divola is drawn to the vernacular character of the architecture (painted with a Home Depot palette) as well as the amazing visual character of these structures on this vast desert plain lit by an extraordinary light. However, at base, his primary interest is to create images which are iconographic of a desire. A desire to be “beyond,” a desire to be alone – a sign of man on the landscape.
John Divola is based in Riverside, California. Recent exhibitions include STRATUM/Clive Wearing’s Dilemma, currently on view at the California Museum of Photography, Riverside (2019); Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum of America Art, New York (2017); As Far As I Could Get, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Pomona College Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2013); Surface Conditions: The Photographs of John Divola, Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany (2012).
His work is in the public collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; The Centre Pompidou, Paris and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London among others.