Roni Shneior: Place in the sun is the first major solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Roni Shneior at a non-profit arts space in the United States. The exhibition presents a new body of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics within a site-specific installation conceived by the artist.
With a nod towards Bay Area Funk of the late 1950s and 60s, Shneior’s sculptures teeter between the absurd, the erotic, and the eccentric. At the center of the exhibition is Bloom (2017), a gnarled mass of twisted limbs flung akimbo. As if emerging, or blooming, out of the ground, the arms stretch, prop, push, grope, and slither along the floor and wall. A set of three small ceramic sculptures, Duck (I), Duck (II), and Duck (III) (all 2017), are scattered throughout the space. These bewigged creatures balance on mangled and bent limbs, as if birthed by Shneior’s massive crude and ungainly knot of painted papier-mâché and ceramic forms.
Shneior approaches painting in much the same way as she does her ceramic and sculptural work, often building out her surfaces over time to create highly impastoed renderings of trees, bushes, and cacti found in and around Southern California. In their organic, anthropomorphic treatment, Shneior’s Trumpet Trees (Brugmansia), Bottlebrushes (Callistemon), and Agave plants extend the artist’s playful if irreverent approach to representation. Significantly, both the paintings and sculptures are based on an intuitive method of art making, one influenced by the personal and lived realities of life lived in a foreign city. Like Shneior, the Trumpet Tree, although rampant in Los Angeles, is non-native. Originally found in South America, the highly toxic and hallucinogenic plant is now extinct in the wild. Shneior depicts her subjects at dawn or dusk surrounded by washes of violet blues or peach pinks. Their leaves and flowering limbs stand tall, sag, or droop much like the spider-like arms of Bloom. As with her sculptural work, Shneior’s paintings articulate a kind of irresolution as if they were continuously in a process of becoming, eternally blooming in the sun-drenched city of Los Angeles.