A visit to the personal exhibition of Dallas photographer and artist Kathy Lovas at the Liliana Bloch Gallery is heartbreaking.
The walls of the galleries are lined with hyper-realistic images, installations, paintings and clothing, including ball gowns, jeans and women’s underwear. Clothing crimes titled. and misdemeanors, the show largely focuses on 88 specially printed images of clothing spread along a huge wall.
While the work itself is intriguing, the story behind it might cause viewers to take a closer look. The clothes in the prints were found in Lovas’ car after it was stolen from his driveway four years ago.
The theft took place on a Friday afternoon and Lovas didn’t notice her Honda SUV was missing until her husband mentioned it. After police found his car, Lovas picked it up from the impound and noticed it contained a pile of clothes. Rather than worrying about it, she went to work.
I thought: Oh, great art projectLovas said over the phone. Right away I said to Liliana [Bloch], and she was very excited about it too. The two have been working together since 2014.
Lovas tried to imagine the story intertwining with car theft and an abandoned wardrobe.
Apparently they must have lived there or something, Lovas says. It looked like there were men’s clothes and women’s clothes, and they were small sizes. Women’s clothing was size five or something. The styles that many young people would wear. Maybe it was a couple.
Before pursuing an artistic career, Lovas obtained an undergraduate degree in biology. Biology plays a major role in his practice, especially his old habit of collecting seaweed and documenting their location.
One of the areas of biology that always fascinated me was taxonomy collecting leaves and pressing them and Latin names and everything, Lovas said.
Hidden along the perimeters of the full-size clothing is Lovas’ genera and species classification system. He takes Latin terms generally applied for flora and fauna, but reuses them for the clothes his car thieves left behind.
Lovas was unable to attend his exhibition due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. She had the works delivered and installed remotely via FaceTime.
A work titled DOPL / GNGR hangs behind the Blochs desk in the gallery. It consists of black and white photos depicting his mother’s childhood which Lovas distorted during the image transfer process.
What is a photograph? Lovas asks. It has always fascinated me. We say: it’s grandmother. But it’s not grandmother. It’s a black and white piece of paper that looks like grandma.
The smaller works orbiting the main wall Lovas calls the misdemeanors. These are installations, as opposed to simply hanging images, and include actual clothing, such as an old yellow ball gown in a clear plastic bag.
Lovas integrates literature into his work as much as science. A piece entitled JSTC: After Oliver Ready refers to the famous introduction of translators to Dostoyevskys Crime and Punishment. Lovas scrambles and distorts the words Readys, making them only partially readable.
I have a problem with the text, so I fundamentally question the very idea that justice is served when a crime is committed, Lovas said. In a way, I feel like it concerns everything that is going on in the world now.
Clothing crimes. And Misdemeanors is on view through October 10 at the Liliana Bloch Gallery, 4741 Memphis St., Dallas. By appointment only. lilianablochgallery.com
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