Chris Natrop

size variable | watercolor and white tape on cut white paper with thread and nylon netting | 2006

Having moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco just over a year ago, I found L.A. to be a surprisingly unsettled. But after months of readjustment, living at the northern-eastern fringe of the city, a sense of place did begin to settle in. I started to read the city as a network of sectors interconnected through its highways. The whole of which couldn’t be absorbed in the same way as other cities. For me, Los Angeles stands as a frenetic and disjointed place. Without an obvious city-center, I found its true heart to be its free-ranging network of arteries, its highways and thoroughfares, to be at its core. Its circulatory system is an entity onto itself. This system has its own culture as it is a city defined through its driving.

This spring, as the winter rains began to ebb, the city’s typically parched earth gave way to a lush ecosystem filled with abundant plant life. In particular, during the month of May, pervasive stalks of “Black Mustard” blanketed the L.A. terrain in swaths of lemon yellow flowers that interconnected the city’s disparate sectors in an alternate way to its highway system. A sea of gold meandered through neighborhoods and into vacant lots, pushing through cracks, and brushing against highways and buildings creating its own ulterior network. Its short-term pervasiveness both brightened L.A.’s widespread shabbiness and even out-shone some of its winsome landscaping. The city, in a sense, surrendered to a temporary overtaking of homogeneous substructure of invasive beauty.

This particular perception of the City of Los Angeles during the month of May gave way to my current installation at Raid Projects, “White White Mayday in Mustard and Gold.”

I had originally intended for this show to integrate the Fibonacci number series using the “Golden Rectangle” as some sort of underlaying principle for this work. However, my turbulent process quickly unraveled that initial concept. While holding loosely to a Golden Rectangle-type-visual-dynamic, any strict adherence quickly broke-down to be a deconstruction of it. My continual persistence resulted in a haywire attempt to maintain some sort of balance and unification through a cacophony of drips, blossoms, and spiral, nautilus-shell-like-off-shoots of white paper, white tape and water color. A process that, again, aptly mirrored the particular energy and structure of my direct environment. A type of compositional maelstrom resulted, tempered by the golden explosion of mustard blossoms with “Mayday” pertaining to my frenetic emergency as an artist creating work for an impending exhibition, as well as a new Angeleno assimilating into an idiosyncratic environment during this particular month of May.