Elana Mann Sounds from the Swamp

October 10, 2020 – January 16, 2021 Mary E. Bawden Sculpture Garden

About the Exhibition

Sounds from the Swamp by Elana Mann repositions the call to “clean up the swamp” by our sitting President, and instead celebrates the sounds, voices, and music emanating from the marshy bayous of Houston. The exhibition takes place in Lawndale’s Mary E. Bawden Sculpture Garden and is accompanied by a series of experimental musical pieces by Houston-based composers—including Emilý Æyer, Anthony Almendarez, and Jawwaad Taylor—and a text object by JD Pluecker.

The exhibition features three aluminum and bronze sculptures that blend casts from the human body with bells of wind instruments to create uncanny megaphones that speak to the resiliency of the human voice at a time when dissent is being actively suppressed by our national government. The sculptural megaphones are placed among spray-painted circles, reflecting the  physical, social, and political disarray  of the present moment.

The accompanying sound pieces produced by collaborating composers are inspired by these sculptural instruments and will be showcased in Instagram live sessions and in videos streaming online during the run of the exhibition.

In a time of massive crisis, Sounds from the Swamp looks to wetlands and swamps as models for transition, regeneration, and diversity, seeking the local sounds that will move us towards restorative change.

About the Artist

Elana Mann creates artwork that brings a greater consciousness to the listening and speaking we practice in everyday life, with the goal of building equanimity in ourselves and increasing equity in our world. Her artwork bridges sculpture, performance, community engagement, and politics. She is a recipient of the 2019 Stone & DeGuire Contemporary Art Award and a 2020 City of Los Angeles (COLA) Individual Artist Fellow. Mann was the 2019 Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator and the inaugural ceramics artist-in-residence at Pitzer College from 2017-2018.

Mann has presented her artwork in museums, galleries, and public spaces in the U.S, and abroad, most recently with solo exhibitions at Pitzer College Art Galleries (Claremont, CA), Commonwealth and Council (LA), and Baik Art (LA). Her artwork is part of public collections at the Getty Research Institute and the Center for Political Graphics, among others. In addition, Mann curates, collaborates, organizes, and writes. She co-edited, with John Burtle, the performance score anthology, “Propositional Attitudes: What do we do now?” (Golden Spike Press: 2018), with book events at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. She lives in Southern California with her two children and partner, where she is a founding member of the Anti-Racist Committee of South Pasadena.

Forthcoming: Essay by JD Pluecker.

About the Collaborators

JD Pluecker is a language worker who writes, translates, organizes, interprets, and makes art. In 2010, he co-founded the transdisciplinary collaborative Antena and in 2015 the local social justice interpreting collective Antena Houston. Their undisciplinary work is informed by experimental poetics, language justice, radical aesthetics/politics, and cross-border/cross-language cultural production. They have translated numerous books from the Spanish, including most recently Gore Capitalism (Semiotext(e), 2018) and Antígona González (Les Figues Press, 2016). Their book of poetry and image, Ford Over, was released in 2016 from Noemi Press. They are a member of the Macondo Writing Workshop and has exhibited work at Blaffer Art Museum, the Hammer Museum, Project Row Houses, and more. More info at www.johnpluecker.com and www.antenaantena.org.

Information on the performers forthcoming.

Above Image: Portrait of artist and activist Audrey Chan with Elana Mann’s hands-up-don’t-shoot-horn (2016). Image courtesy of the artist.