Inside the box

Celebrating Urban Sprawl

Australian born, Los Angeles-based artists Paul Davies and George Byrne focused on Los Angeles' mid-century architecture, endless sunshine, suburban sprawl, and the cinematic appearance of the city in order to pay homage to their adopted home. Other Desert Spaces, for The Box at The Standard, Hollywood opened last week.

Standard Culture: Talk about your inspiration for Other Desert Spaces.
George: We're both inspired by the urban life paintings of late Australian artist Jeffrey Smart. His choice of subject matter over the typical “iconic Australian landscape”, together with his extensive overseas travel, provides a departure point for our work. The show is a response to Smart's sense of urban isolation.

How do you feel about your art sharing a space with a live model?
Paul: The human form is omitted in all my work, to invite the viewers to generate their own response to the image. However, George’s work includes figures and I really like the way he treats the subject.

What’s your favorite building in Los Angeles? And why?
George: In terms of creative inspiration, it's be a toss up between the Paul Smith building on Melrose and the 99c store on La Brea (odd bed fellows, indeed, but I swear you can't take a bad picture of either of them!). In terms of stand-alone brilliance I’d have to go with City Hall – it’s such an imposing classic.

The Paul Smith store on Melrose, 99cent Store on La Brea, and Los Angeles' City Hall

What’s been your favorite adventure so far in your career as an artist?
Paul: I was fortunate to be on residency at the Cite des Arts Internationale last year in Paris, to create a series of work on Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in Paris. I juxtaposed this building, which has a history of owners, with various elements including forest, palm trees and swimming pools. I exhibited some of these paintings in Delhi recently at Art District 13 gallery and was asked if the work was based on the mid-century modern houses of Goa. For me it is interesting that these examples of modern architecture once displaced can translate to different places as a utilitarian machine for living.

Painting by Paul Davies, part of the Other Desert Spaces installation at The Standard, Hollywood

Describe your perfect day in Los Angeles. Where would you go? Eat?
George: As a man of simple pleasures, I'd say a day down at Laguna Beach, a burrito at Alegria and a couple of Californian pale ales down at the the Thirsty Crow (both East Side institutions).

Paul Davies and George Byrne's site-specific installation, Other Desert Spaces, for The Box and Lobby of The Standard, Hollywood will be on display through the end of September. Follow Paul Davies on Instagram at @pauldaviesartist and George Byrne at @george_byrne.

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