Landon Ross is a Los Angeles based multi-media artist who recently staged a solo exhibition at LAXART. Our curator Lauri Firstenberg in conversation with Landon Ross:
What was the first artwork that you made?
It was a large and fairly minimal oil painting of a warped and dripping hourglass. I used only bold and dark colors. It reminds me somewhat of a Georgia O’Keefe, were she to have used a dark palate. I was 18.
What are you presently working on?
I’m seeing if I can build a sculpture - a cloud chamber that will actively detect cosmic rays, among other particles, consistently enough to install into a gallery. I’m always making paintings.
How would you describe your practice?
It is the underlying structure of the universe, what can be said to exist, how we know, and a deeply naturalistic perspective that interests me as a subject matter. It’s an incredibly rich landscape to explore.
In some sense, my interest in these subjects goes back as far as I can remember. I have always been as fascinated by the stories the universe has been waiting to tell, as we develop the ears to listen, as I am by the stories that humans tell about ourselves.
What writers inform your work?
Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett on theories of consciousness and evolution’s philosophical implications.
What are you presently reading?
I’m also (slowly) getting through Fukuyama’s Political Order and Political Decay. It is timely in that the idea of “institutional decay,” and the difficulty of regaining institutional integrity once dysfunction subsumes the actual purpose of a democratic institution, is fully operative on this election cycle.
I’m starting Saul Bellow’s The Dean’s December. About ten years ago, I read Ian McEwan eulogy of Bellow in the New York Times. He cited a moment from the novel during which a visiting American, appraising a Romanian dog’s incessant bark, imagines it to be protesting the limits of canine comprehension: “for God's sake, open the universe a little more!" That image was instantly burned into my consciousness. I feel like the dog.