Los Angeles – Oscar Murillo: “Distribution Center” At The Mistake Room Through April 12th, 2014

April 10th, 2014

Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed
Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed

The newly opened Los Angeles Gallery The Mistake Room is inaugurating its downtown space with Oscar Murillo’s Distribution Center, a show of recent works by the artist.  Murillo, who is only 28, is perhaps best known for his large-scale paintings, if not for his young age and recent rise to the upper echelons of the art market. Here, his signature style is quickly noted, with canvases bordering on sculptural assemblage, debris and ephemera from his studio and travels are directly transplanted on to the canvas. Even in their installation, very few works happen to hang directly on the wall. Instead, they litter the floor and table surfaces like large, mis-matched carpet tiles, creating a kind of multi-layered horizontal work across the length of the room.

Oscar Murillo, Untitled (2014), via Art Observed
Oscar Murillo, Untitled (2014), via Art Observed

Formally, there is a quick connection to other practices which work with found materials, such as Rauschenberg’s Combine series, but while, Rauschenberg or Andre Breton use this technique to cull a meaning from the juxtaposition from dissimilar objects, Murillo’s work seems more interested in the function and translation of his materials through his own labor.

Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed
Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed

With such a focus on notions of labor and communication, it seems fitting that the Mistake Room’s opening was preceded by a residency period, wherein Murillo occupied the the former industrial warehouse to create a new body of paintings, objects and the overall, “installation-mess.” Rumors that Murillo specifically requested Mistake Room not to continue renovating until the show’s completion further echo his process and the economic values he seems to be discussing with the work.

Oscar Murillo, Untitled (2014), via Art Observed
Oscar Murillo, Untitled (2014), via Art Observed

Aided in this process by day-laborers and construction crews, it is unclear what is finished, un-finished or meant to lie in-between. With the exception of one of the videos depicting workers in various locales, none of the individual pieces are titled, and the lack of text seems to make the end of one work almost indistinguishable from the next. There is no sign of polish here, and the tone of the installation implies a suppressed energy: there is still so much work to be done.

Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed
Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed

The performance of labor is continued with a raffle held by Murillo and Mistake Room director, Cesar Garcia. The three winners will receive an original artwork by Murillo produced on a tee-shirt, an ongoing format for Murillo.

Murillo’s show at The Mistake Room closes on April 12th.

Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed
Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed

Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed
Oscar Murillo, Distribution Center (Installation View), via Art Observed

—M. Lax

Read more:
The Mistake Room [Gallery Site]
“Oscar Murillo ‘Distribution Center’ at The Mistake Room” [LA Times]
“Oscar Murillo Keeps His Eyes on the Canvas” [NY Times]