A new work by Los Angeles artist Nathan Mabry, Conversation Piece (Jackin’, Stackin’ and Crackin’), continues the connection between traditional ritual experience and contemporary culture and art. Atop a pedestal—one that references early McCracken sculpture—sits a clay llama head derived by the artist from a Pre-Columbian vessel. The teeth of Mabry’s llama head are capped in white gold with inlaid crystal letters that spell out P-E-A-C-E. The llama—a cloven-hoofed pack animal—references the pressures asserted by war and technology on any society; the gold and crystal PEACE invoke the free floating politics and language of youth culture and its inability to address real crisis. As with his previous works, Mabry posits a seemingly formal juxtaposition between disjointed sources, revealing in the comparison that their concerns and struggles may be closer than at first they appear.
Nathan Mabry received a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. His work has most recently been seen in Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Rogue Wave ’05 at LA Louver, Venice, CA and Cornceptual Popstraction at cherrydelosreyes. A solo exhibition is scheduled for February 18, 2006 at Cherry and Martin. Mabry lives and works in Los Angeles.