by Joey Golaw
The word ‘party’ may seem odd following a term like ‘art’. It’s use in the subtitle for Room and Makers inaugural art exhibit, Chroma Chroma, an Art Party, was carefully considered.
‘Art’ already brings to mind pretention for many. Words like show, installation, opening, gallery — when they get tacked on to the end of ‘art’ they add an aire of seriousness and sophistication. Of seperation and quiet reflection. Reserved and humorless. Culturally important. ‘Party’ brings with it a lighter atmosphere, an intentional departure employed to combat the usual environment used to honor and consider art.
In today’s world, conversation is king. Social interaction has migrated to the digital landscape, drastically influencing the way we interact, both on- and offline.
The reserved, composed demeanor of generations past has been replaced by an anxious, fumbling caricature of a twenty-something who takes to their smart phone with the same regularity they breath or blink with. The only conversations Millenials are having at art exhibits are with security guards pertaining to why they can’t take pictures of the art. That’s at least the general perception and public’s idea of this generation, dubbed Millenials, a term scoffed at by many who fall within it’s range.
Lauren Randolph and Jimmy Marble, the two Los Angeles-based photographers featured in Chroma Chroma, are both Millenials. They’re unique work and personas are a reflection of the busy, bumbling world that brought them up. Their photos are smart, colorful depictions of their lifetstyles as working photographers in Southern California.
Chroma, the Greek word for color, is often used today to describe perceived intensity or purity of color. Both Lauren and Jimmy understand the power that vibrant, saturated colors can have. Whether for personal projects or clients, they both exude playfulness in their work, depicting scenes and scenarios both staged and nautral, bright colors often playing a major role alongside their subjects and settings.
Chromalogical Order, Lauren’s series included in Chroma Chroma, shows her working with a constrained approach to color. The series features brightly-clad women, one each for many of the primary and secondary colors of the Red-Yellow-Blue color model.
The women of ‘color’ captured in Chromalogical Order live in a nearly-colorless world, were it not for the subtle nods in each of their settings to the colors they’re decked head-to-toe in.
Each woman’s prop and pose are reflections of Lauren’s idea of each color. For instance, Pink’s rosey-eyed view of the world is complete with the standard pink donut box and sprinkled, cherry-glazed donut. Yellow (Lauren’s color of choice) is stretched out on the beach by herself, complete with yellow towel, bikini, sun hat and glasses. Who knows how long she’s been laying there: her arm blocks her face from the sun as she lay surrounded by the footrpints of hundreds of passerbys, none of which are anywhere to be seen.
For anyone familiar with Los Angeles landmarks and public spaces, many of the settings Lauren chose are instantly recognizeable: Pink looks over the city from Griffith Park Observatory, Blue wanders through the corridors of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Black wanders beneath the iconic 6th street bridge seen in countless commercials, movies and TV shows.
As a transplant to the area from her native Reno, NV, Chromalogical Order is as much a study in color as a study of a woman’s adopted home.
Jimmy is no stranger to L.A. vibes either. His view of the city captured in L.A. in Discovery, his serial contribution to Chroma Chroma, focuses on hallmarks of his work: beautiful fashionable women, colorful props, and a candid take on the human (mostly female) form. Like Lauren, his series for Chroma Chroma uses color in a more calculated fashion then his previous works would suggest.
In each of the photos in L.A. in Discovery, the bright California sun creates dramatic lighting as it strikes the mobiles of brightly tinted plexiglass hanging over his muses heads, creating crisp blocks of color and shadows that the two pale women interact with and pose amongst. Both women are swimming in oversized white blazers, one paired with a skirt, the other bare from the waist down.
Their dark, modern hairstyles are slick and shiny, shimmering in the sunlight. In one of the photos, the red-haired woman shields her eyes from the sun as she stares directly back at you, her partner’s cropped torso and legs standing close by. The idea of light comes to mind. It is, after-all, the source of all color: it is in fact all of the colors shining in harmony.
The two women in L.A. in Discovery seem to bask in the sunlight. The edges of Jimmy’s subjects — both human and otherwise — are exceedingly crisp; the natural light produces a stark contrast between the subjects in each photo. Layers of color from the giant colorful plexiglass mobiles hanging overhead fill the background of each shot with shades and shapes often the study of artists practicing Minimalism.
Both Chromalogical Order and L.A. in Discovery take a minimal approach to color use. As photographers who often fixate on the colorful, Lauren and Jimmy’s approach in their respective series come off as explorations, exercises in search of new perspectives on old friends.
Unsurprisingly, Lauren and Jimmy are friends in the same scene of creative editorial photographers living and working in L.A. They both have significant followings on Instagram, a reality used to promoteChroma Chroma with a curated hashtag on the service. Lauren and Jimmy will be selecting their favorite posts to be printed and shown alongside their work. #chromachroma now has over 1,500 submissions on Instagram. The colorful tiles that make up a search of the hashtag are an homage to the inspiration of the show: color.
Color plays an important role in everyday life, more than we probably recognize day-in and day-out. Chroma Chroma is intended as an homage to the colorful, a celebration of all the colors of the spectrum. A time and place to be inspired by the colorful personalities, views, and works of others.
Chroma Chroma, an Art Party featuring work by Lauren Randolph and Jimmy Marble will open Saturday, February 1st at Room and Makers, a collaborative workspace in SoMa San Francisco. For more info, please visit the Room and Makers website.