February 14 – April 14
Opening reception: February 10, 2 – 5 PM
The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is pleased to present the first institutional solo exhibition in Los Angeles by artist Mariah Garnett. Surveying Garnett’s work to date, the exhibition includes a selection of her films and installations from 2010 to the present day, alongside related prints.
At the heart of the exhibition will be an installation of her new film Trouble, a feature-length experimental documentary about the artist’s burgeoning relationship with her Northern Irish father, whom she only met in adulthood. The film travels to his native Belfast, in Northern Ireland, where Garnett immerses herself in past and present political struggles, collapsing the city’s legacy of sectarian violence and her father’s Civil Rights activism with the landscape of the present day. The film highlights the ways in which people, as much as places, can carry traces of past histories. A deeply personal investigation, Trouble has been in the making for over four years and represents the culmination of all of the works in the exhibition.
Garnett’s earlier work ranges around seemingly disparate subject matter, from war veterans turned Hollywood stuntmen in Full Burn (2014) to a friendship with a gender ambivalent ten year old in Picaresques (2011). What unites the films, however, is a conscious dismantling of the power structures surrounding representation in mainstream cinema. To do this, she incorporates the process of making the film into the film itself, often appearing on screen as both herself and impersonating her subjects. The works ultimately become portraits of relationships between unlikely companions mediated by the camera and the power dynamics involved in that exchange.
Garnett’s works deconstruct the conventional hierarchy between filmmaker and subject, a mode that has historically been the purview of directors who are economically, racially and gender privileged. By including her own image, Garnett positions queerness in relationship to subject matter that on the surface may seem disconnected from LGBT identity. The films simultaneously acknowledge a natural human desire for contact with ‘the other’ and the legacies of abuse that have surrounded the mediation of that desire through history. In this way, Garnett creates a space in her films where more than one thing can be true.
Mariah Garnett holds an MFA from Calarts in Film/Video and a BA from Brown University in American Civilization. Her work has been screened and exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the following venues: The Hammer Museum’s 2014 Made In LA, The New Museum, Goldsmiths College, Chisenhale Gallery, among others. She lives and works in Los Angeles.