Whats it like to be a loon

June 18 - August 26, 2023



Pretend by Appointment and Stroll Garden are pleased to present “What’s it like to be a loon,” a two-part group exhibition curated by Ezra Woods. Two seemingly disparate gallery settings in Hollywood will converge under a single grouping of artworks, comprising a wide range of genres and mediums and featuring artists including Strauss Bourque-LaFrance, Max Jansons, Henry Kim, Shun Kumagai, Raina Lee, Jeffery Sun Young Park, Beverly Pepper, and Mary Weatherford, among others.


The exhibition borrows its title from a 1972 radio interview with Marc Bolan of T-Rex, who reveals his seminal song from the previous year, “Cosmic Dancer” is about reincarnation. The gentle lullaby of the song describes dancing from womb to tomb and alludes to the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, famously depicted in sculpture as the “Cosmic Dancer.” The cosmic dance embodies the fivefold aspects of Divine control over the universe: creation, preservation, destruction, illusion, and grace. Bolan’s enigmatic question, “What’s it like to be a loon?”—pronounced to resemble “alone”—finds a cryptic response in his own words: “I liken it to a balloon,” symbolizing an eternal quest forever ascending towards infinity.


For “What’s it like to be a loon,” Woods draws on the idea of reincarnation to explore the unlived ulterior lives of a selection of artworks in a newly-considered context. Jeffery Sun Young Park’s mythical ceramic sculpture, “Yong (Dragon) Foot” (2022) is part of his evocative “Dokkaebi Parade” series, comprising ceramic feet inspired by birds and mythical creatures. The sculpture is a nod to the rich tradition of Korean folklore, as Park vividly recalls his grandfather’s enchanting stories that once convinced him of their reality. This mythical creature is perched by Mary Weatherford’s “Vines” (2008), depicting a tangled mass of vines rendered in shades of gray, with sporadic hints of green and yellow leaves and patches of white light shining through the labyrinth of vines. While Weatherford’s paintings convey actual places in time, the ethereal quality of “Vines” resonates with the realm where dokkaebi, a mythical creature, could conceivably dwell. “What’s it like to be a loon” is an expression of one “dancing from womb to tomb,” and doing so in potentially new or unexpected ways.