size variable | water color, glitter and iridescent medium on cut paper, magic string, fluorescent lighting fixtures with colored gel overlays, LED light panels, reflective Mylar | 2012
Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 1
I was commissioned by the Los Angeles International Airport to create a temporary, site-specific installation within the permanent glass vitrine of Terminal 1. I intermixed two previous installations, Glitterati Swamp Thing and Great River Mashup, while also creating various new pieces, including an 10-foot long wall relief.
Chris Natrop is a Los Angeles-based artist who is known for creating room-sized art installations using mostly hand-cut paper. He works on enormous sheets of Lenox 100 drawing paper stretched out on his studio wall. Wielding a standard utility knife, he spontaneously cuts away at the paper to create a hybrid of abstracted landscape imagery. Natrop’s free-form process of “knife drawing” reveals the negative space by removing the emptiness in between forms. Often an amalgam of things previously observed, the graphic nature of the work is a freeze-frame of Natrop’s own direct surroundings, revealing the artist’s particular sense of place. In the case of Little River Mash Up the artist is using the Los Angeles River as his focal point.
Although urban encroachment has long overtaken the original character of the L.A. River as a natural waterway, it still contains pockets of thriving wetlands despite being restrained within the confines of a concrete aqueduct. These island wetlands are a product of mounding silt, urban detritus, and vegetative outgrowths amassed through years of seasonal flood cycles. When the rains come, the resulting water torrent contains floating refuse that becomes ensnared within the throngs of bushes, trees, and towering river grasses. When the water subsides, a tangled mixture of snarled branches and mashed-up bushes is left. To the artist, these formations become living monuments to the persistent battle between nature and urban growth. Natrop uses various landscape-based narratives, such as this, as the basis for much of his work.