October 10 – November 11, 1998
Los Angeles-based artist John Souza has produced a wealth of images and objects over his thirty-year career. During his lifetime, Souza has pared down his possessions to the point of living with almost nothing, and he has destroyed much of his own work in the process. In recent years, he has sought to transfer his innate tendency to dismantle his physical surroundings to a larger exploration of the law of entropy.
Mezzanine consisted of a three-part installation that combined seemingly disparate architectural elements executed and installed with Souza’s trademark precise engineering and refined detail. The three stations in the installation offered opportunities for observation and repose, and invite a perverse consideration of both.
The artist’s intention was to conceive of a quiet, contemplative space where nothing seems to happen. But in fact, viewers were presented with a subtle yet charged environment that illuminated the contradictions and gaps between desire and objects of desire. About Mezzanine, Souza said, “This is a fugue state that lasts for only a few moments.”
Souza uses his artwork to devise systems that organize a collection of personal memories, which he integrates with collective histories in order to form new sites for experience and reason — and the subsequent complete erasure of both. According to Souza, “Mezzanine is the place where outcasts can celebrate rulers and their sidekicks.”
In conjunction with the exhibition, Souza with his band Deer Nuts performed musical selections ranging from the horrific to the comedic. Deer Nuts is an evolving entity comprised of between four and seven musicians, most of whom are also visual artists. Souza, himself a guitarist, describes the music of Deer Nuts as being “an eclectic mix that keeps us entertained.”
John Souza has been one of Los Angeles’s premiere, yet overlooked, artists with a career spanning over nearly twenty years. He is regarded as a provocative thinker and inventive sculptor who uses precise detail to suggest his conceptual intentions. In 1994 at the Sue Spaid Fine Art Gallery, Souza installed “Rememberentering,” a micro-museum in which he fabricated displays of an a historical view of the City of Angels. The exhibition included medieval-like ornamental ironwork, S & M rubber straps and chains, and a farcical sculpture of kitsch home decoration objects, which combined to comment on trendy L.A. pop deconstructionist architecture. The installation was a clear critique of our constructed environment. In his work Souza exposes the power of the mundane materials we pass by each day in order to lead the viewer to a closer examination of architecture and elements that surround us.
Concerts by Deer Nuts on 9 January and 30 January 1999