Erlea Maneros Zabala is a Los Angeles artist that has come to Los Angeles by way of the Basque Country. Her work is really challenging, using found photos and images that through sculpture and presentation seeks to alter the history or meaning of the photos. She currently has her first major solo show up at REDCAT and we stopped by to see the works for ourselves.
The REDCAT gallery space is quite understated and, on a weekday as we went, can be ghostly and cold as the space does not attract much foot traffic at the bottom of the Disney Concert Hall. This worked in the show’s favor, as Maneros Zabala’s black and white photography and mechanized photographic sculptures seemed hard at work droning along in silence, playing against unfinished cement gallery space. The show is broken up into to parts: the still, framed photographic pieces and the moving, mechanized sculptures.
On the walls, the framed photographic pieces ranged anywhere from large, swirling india ink on paper pieces that seemed to be drugged and spoiled imitations of the other photographs she also had framed, that were found and reclaimed photographs all recalling times from the early twentieth century. Truth be told, the reclaimed and older photographs were not as exciting as the swirling, monochromatic tie-dies that were her Exercises In Abstraction series.
To the other end of the spectrum, were large sculptures of panels that formed almost triangular displays for projections. They were adorned with framed and unframed archival photos and, like the framed Abstractions, were abstracting meaning to the photos, in these little theaters she has created to show them. Every few seconds, the projectors would all click along around the same time to show a new photo that was abstracted in how it was being shown (some were upside down, duplicated, skewed by an angled display surface, etc.). The result created these stories from photos that had neither context or history when placed together except for what was displayed there. It was interesting to see how this was accomplished, especially in various manifestations.
Yes, Maneros Zabala’s work “restages visual information to unearth narratives that have gone otherwise overlooked through time.” But she also has a very, very keen way of being able to create new stories with them, telling their tales in a slightly more dramatic fashion. Maneros Zabala’s work will be on display at REDCAT through November 6. The show is totally free and the exhibit is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 12PM to 6PM.