White Columns

White Room Emma Spertus

White Columns is proud to present a solo exhibition by the Oakland-based artist Emma Spertus. Working with both the formal and psychological languages of architecture, urban planning, and corporate design Spertus’ installation is derived in part from a series of recent images she has taken of abandoned car dealerships along Oakland’s fading auto-row.

Spertus’s installation juxtaposes the optimism of early modernism - through its celebration of rationality and order, and its fixation on the grid – with our current social and economic dystopia, evidenced through her depiction of the now-vacant showrooms, potent symbols for the larger economic forces currently at play across the United States. As with her earlier work which considered the depiction of architectural space in Hollywood horror films, Spertus’ recent work amplifies a genuine sense of foreboding that persists in the American landscape and psyche.

Employing low resolution photography and modest digital prints, Spertus stages the resulting imagery on precariously constructed platforms and display-structures. In her Xerox publication ‘New Platforms For Old Ideas’ – which acts as a coda to her White Room installation – Spertus free-associates between early European modernism, its post-war Californian off-shoots, and the architectural legacies of late 20th Century capitalism.

Privileging fragmentation, Spertus has suggested that the work is ultimately concerned with: "… pieces of things: surfaces, entrances, and otherwise neglected corners, which all act as architectural ‘moments.’ The outcome is a play between surface, illusion and meaning, which aims to trigger a sense of déjà-vu in the viewer, an uncanny sense of both the familiar and unfamiliar.”

Emma Spertus received her MFA from Hunter College, New York in 2008. Recent exhibitions include "0%" at Important Projects, Oakland, CA (2010); "Booked" at Forthrite Gallery, Oakland, CA (2009); “Transitional Space Platform", Hatch Gallery, Oakland, CA (2009); and “One Week Only”, White Columns, New York (2008).

Installation view

Installation view

Installation detail