Moving West: An NYC Gallery’s Journey to L.A.

By Kaila Allison


If you’re a contemporary art-lover and have been to New York City, it’s possible you have yet to discover Garis & Hahn gallery. Founded in 2013 and located in the heart of the Bowery, the “gallery-cum-Kunsthalle” engages niche and wide communities alike with diverse and conversational contemporary art. For the first time, the gallery is expanding its reach to the West Coast — in 2017, directors Mary Garis and Sophie Hahn are setting up shop in Los Angeles. To prepare for the exciting move, Garis & Hahn is presenting the pop-up exhibition, Hand Cut Paper with Collage, this week at O Gallery.


Samuel Stabler is the artist behind Hand Cut Paper with Collage. An Atlanta, Georgia native and graduate of London’s Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, Stabler gained international respect for his meticulous paper collages. His works have been featured at galleries and shows around the world, including National Arts Clubs, Christie’s, Japan’s Tumuboko Gallery, and Belgium’s The Coffee Shop Gallery. Stabler anticipates the opportunity to show his work in L.A.  ”Someone told me once that my work has a West Coast sensibility to it,” Stabler says. “ I’m hoping that when I’m out there I can figure out what the hell that means.”


This exhibition will display Stabler’s intricate lattice-work pieces. His technique involves hand-cutting paper lattices and manipulating them into abstract forms before applying color in the style of a printmaker.


Here, he describes his process:


The cut outs start as line drawings. I draw what’s around me and what I’m thinking about. I’m living in Georgia now and my kids are getting older. I garden. I have a car. I watch cartoons and listen to the news. It’s an election year. The world is changing rapidly so I listen to history podcasts. And comedy podcasts. Comedians talking about politics. So many podcasts.


Then, I start cutting and making sure to keep all the pieces that I cut out. The shapes are unusual. Sometimes it’s clear what lines of my drawing created the contour of the cut piece, and sometimes the piece is more anonymous. The shapes are always better than anything I would have come up with if I just decided to cut shapes randomly. The drawing makes them dynamic. Then, I reassemble the pieces. I try to avoid applying any logic to the assemblage so that the collage is as removed from the original drawing of house plants, tools, cartoons, civil war generals, Napoleon, Portraits of Jerry Jeff Walker, or whatever, as possible.


In the exhibition you’ll find diptychs, triptychs, and individual pieces ranging from 15 to 21 inches square. Stabler plays with space and symbolism, using striking colors that go beyond his signature neon yellow and grayscale. His works are more than just visually puzzling — their intersecting lines reflect a deep rooting in the subconscious.


“Samuel Stabler’s cut out works are minimalistic and understated,” says Mary Garis, “yet often, the imagery in the cut outs is so full and layered it becomes abstracted. The artist’s focused attention to precision and detail makes for a refined end result.” When asked about the choice to have Stabler represent the gallery’s big move, she says, “We felt Stabler was the perfect selection for our inaugural exhibition – his work is easy to enjoy, and upon closer inspection a complexity emerges that keeps the viewer engaged – there’s something in the works for everyone.”


The week-long show will celebrate Garis & Hahn’s continuation of unique programming centered on conceptual narratives. And most importantly, we’re excited to see how the gallery will transmit its East Coast flair to the up-and-coming West Coast scene.


“G&H was a great place to show in New York,” Stabler says. “Mary and Sophie are supportive and let me work, so I’m thrilled to have people I trust to work with in L.A. I’m honored to be their first show out West and am excited to see them flourish there.”


FORTH Magazine welcomes Garis & Hahn to Los Angeles, and encourages our readers to stop by and experience Hand Cut Paper with Collage.


Samuel Stabler: Hand Cut Paper with Collage

Exhibition Dates: July 21 ­- 2­8, 2016 from 2-8 PM

Reception: Saturday, July 23, 2016 from 7­-10 PM

O Gallery LA, (6367 Selma Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90028)

Samuel Stabler (b. 1984, Atlanta, Georgia) studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, and at the University of Georgia, Athens. His work has been exhibited internationally, in New York at Garis & Hahn, Dorfman Projects, Gallery 151, National Arts Clubs, and Christie’s; in London at Degree Art Gallery, The Conningsby Gallery, and The Window Gallery; Gallery 60Six, San Francisco; Subliminal Projects Gallery, Los Angeles; Tumuboko Gallery, Kobe, Japan; the Chinese Characters Gallery, Budapest; and The Coffee Shop Gallery, Brussels.


Curated by FORTH Nonfiction Editors.

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

© 2014 forth magazine