The experience of being a foreigner in LA has kind of pumped up certain elements within my practice and drawn a stronger thread between the personal and political.
— Alice Lang

Interview by Amanda Quinn Olivar, West Coast Editor

Alice Lang is an Australian artist currently based in Los Angeles. Her cross-disciplinary art practice utilizes a variety of media such as ceramics and painting to examine how existing power structures disseminate and manifest within individual bodies and mass culture. Her work examines the way in which culture and context influence the meaning and value of text, objects and images and how this shifting relationship can be used to subvert dominant paradigms and reclaim space for female voices.

Lang graduated from the MFA program at CalArts in 2015 and has completed residencies in Canada, New York and Los Angeles. She has been the recipient of awards such as the Queensland Art Gallery Melville Haysom Scholarship (2009), Australia Council New Work Grant (2012), Lord Mayors Emerging Artist Fellowship (2012) and the Freedman Foundation Traveling Scholarship for Emerging Artists (2013). She is also a founding member of the feminist art collective LEVEL which is based in Brisbane, Australia.

What was the aha moment that led you to art... and did Los Angeles play a part in your career decision?

I grew up in a rural area and didn't really have much exposure to contemporary Art until I went to high school. I think I decided I really wanted to become an artist the first time I went to a museum on an excursion with my art class. Los Angeles came a little later…

How has living in LA informed your approach and aesthetic?

Living in LA has given me some personal experiences that have fueled new bodies of work. For example, the experience of explaining Australian slang has made me think a little differently about language and the text-based work that I make. Experiences of street harassment and everyday sexism led me to make vessels out of a 3d print out of my own body. The experience of being a foreigner in LA has kind of pumped up certain elements within my practice and drawn a stronger thread between the personal and political.

When and how did you first feel embraced by our LA art community? 

I think I first felt embraced by the LA art community when I went to CalArts. It was an intense environment that forged a really supportive community of artists that I am lucky to be a part of.

Alice Lang
Better Half #5, 2018
Marbled porcelain, lava glaze, ply and wood dye
105.4 x 63.5 x 41.9 cm
41 1/2 x 25 x 16 1/2 in
Photo: © Alice Lang
Courtesy of Over the Influence

The exhibition speaks about the vitality of our art community. Which pioneering LA artist influenced you the most?  And whose work do you find intriguing right now?

Mike Kelley has always been a pretty big influence on my work. Some of the artists I find intriguing right now are Rebecca Morris, Patrick Michael Ballard, Laura Owens, Aimee Goguen, Jemima Wyman and Amy Bessone.

What is your favorite art accident?

I really like marbling paper, you can guide the inks but you never really know exactly how it is going to turn out. It's the same with lava glaze, you can guide where you want it to go on the work, but the glaze is usually going to do whatever it wants in the kiln, which is usually a nice surprise.

How They Ran
Over The Influence
August 12 - September 5, 2018