April 25 – June 6 2015
Opening Saturday, April 25, 7-10pm
Anthony Lepore’s third solo presentation with the gallery features new work created in his father’s bikini factory.
Lepore’s grandfather built the factory in 1971, and two years ago the artist’s father rearranged several rows of obsolete sewing machines to make room for a studio.
Surrounded by the droning hum of machines, punctuated by the babbling conversation and laughter of the seamstresses, Lepore creates these photographic works in a space that continuously flexes between the mundane and the whimsical. Lepore pinpoints moments emblematic of this dynamic—an unintentionally suggestive handle for a cardboard box made from the same bikini straps the box contains, the apparition of a gold-striped mirage in a puddle of mop-water. Circumventing digital manipulation, Lepore’s working methods mirror the analog production that has continued unchanged in the sewing factory since the 1970’s.
Many of these works explore the enigmatic qualities of spandex, in photographs that Lepore composes with the excess material also being used by the other workers in the factory around him. Stretching a few feet of fabric in a picture frame—equivalent to the amount used to make a single bikini—Lepore stages intimate interactions between the fabric and the stuff of the workplace. Printed to the scale of the original objects, these works elicit an uncanny illusionistic presence.
In his series of Factory Chairs, Lepore has documented the workers’ own interventions. Over the years these women, who have known the artist since birth, alter, dress, and decorate their sewing station seats with the same material they work with, both to individualize them, but, more importantly, to make them comfortable. Lepore photographs the chairs in a neutral but illusionary space—hung on the outside wall of the factory just before sunset, making them look as though they might be floating, or reclining—figures sunning themselves in makeshift bikinis.
The exhibition at Ghebaly Gallery coincides with an installation of Lepore’s work curated by Lauren Mackler on-site at the bikini factory in Lincoln Heights, available to view by appointment.
Anthony Lepore lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his BFA from Fordham University in 2000 and his MFA from Yale University in 2005. His work has been exhibited internationally, from Los Angeles and New York, to London, Paris, Turin, Milan, and Shanghai, and is held in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, Missouri) and Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Connecticut), among others.