Casey Kauffmann & John de Leon Martin
August 6 - August 20
Human Resources LA presents a two person show of painting, drawing, video, and sculpture by visual artists Casey Kauffmann and John de Leon Martin.
The exhibition opens Saturday, August 6th from 6-9pm and will run until Saturday, August 20th. Gallery hours: Wed-Sun, 12-6pm.
This show was initiated by Jeann Bofwel, who saw similarities in the maximalist fascination with pleasure and suffering in both Kauffmann and Martin’s work. Both Martin and Kauffmann take on the dual roles of critic and fan, investigating media consumption as an interpersonal act. While Kauffmann’s digital video collages utilize images from reality television and other limitless online resources to examine culture’s relationship with the feminine, Martin’s paintings and drawings, largely inspired by his love of Dungeons and Dragons, employ fantasy tropes to create sites of queer possibility and pain. The landscapes of California, both emotional and actual, also loom subtextually in both artist’s work- They appear in the faces of Kauffman’s Hollywood stars and the Redwood Dryad that centers Martin’s oil painting If You Were a Tree, What Kind of Tree Would You Be?
Perhaps the greatest commonality between Martin and Kauffmann is that they are both collagists, constantly mining from the media and experiences they love. In 19th and early 20th century Europe, in works like the Cottingley Fairy photographs or the collages of Lady Filmer, collage was a format utilized by mostly female artists to evoke the otherworldly and call into question the treachery of images. It was considered a hobbyist craft not to be taken too seriously by the artistic elite. But why? Perhaps because a recurring mode of western art has been to present art works as the product of a singular artist who in solitude plumbs each creative idea from the depths of their genius. Collage, with its direct acknowledgement that not everything in an artwork is created by the artist, instead points to the interrelated nature of life. Perhaps in some ways this threatens that aforementioned premise of artistic solitude? It is Kauffmann and Martin’s hope that you will feel threatened by this show in similar ways.
Casey Kauffmann is an interdisciplinary artist working in drawing, installation, video, and a variety of digital mediums. She is a lecturer at the University of California San Diego. Kauffmann was born in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California in 1989. She lives and works in Oceanside, California and received her MFA from The University of Southern California in 2020 and her Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Her work has been featured in publications such as Artnet, Artillery, LAWeekly, The New Yorker, I-D Vice, and Hyperallergic. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally in galleries such as Transfer Gallery, Centro de Cultura Digital, the Brand Library in Glendale, Lyles and King, Coaxial, Arebyte, Cirrus, and more. Kauffmann’s collage Instagram project @uncannysfvalley, which she started in 2014, features digital collage works and GIFs created using only her iPhone. The pieces Kauffmann posts to this account are an ever-accumulating collection of material from all corners of the internet, sourced from Tumblr, Instagram, and Google. This Instagram account and body of work has been exhibited in many galleries, written about in several esteemed publications, and led to her admission to the MFA program at the University of Southern California. Kauffmann’s drawing practice functions as an inquiry into the representation of femme emotion and hysteria in both art history and popular culture.
John “Johnnie JungleGuts” de Leon Martin is an interdisciplinary artist working in drawing, installation, painting, and performance. Martin was born in Riverton, New Jersey in 1987. He lives and works in Highland Park, Los Angeles and received his Bachelor of Arts from California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. Martin’s primary goal as an artist is to express enthusiasm and hope, although he has also started to allow feelings of anxiety and fear to be present in his visual art. As a result, Martin’s work often straddles the line between artist and fan. He curated a cosplay fashion show and a panel discussion on Pokemon as part of Kchung Radio’s Hammer Museum Residency and Made In LA exhibition. Martin is also a fan of animals- he has volunteered hands on with a variety of primates, canids, turtles, and cats both big and small. In 2011 Martin was awarded the Michelle Lund artist’s residency at Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary in Idaho. His work has been displayed at MOCA Geffen, Night Gallery, Machine Project, and on an episode of A&E’s Storage Wars where he appraised a collection of My Little Ponies. His work has been featured in publications such as Artforum, The New York Times, and Art in America. He has been a frequent guest lecturer at Calarts and was a guest lecturer at Cornell University in 2021. In his work for this show Martin utilizes fairies, preternatural beings which are a part of nature but mysterious to society at large, as a metonym for being gay.