For your face

My first l.a.Eyeworks’ frames were called Cheeks. These were thin and geometric, in aluminum red. Its surface slightly changing colors depending on light, discretely iridescent, just like a can of Coca-Cola. They looked… tasty. I was introduced to l.a.Eyeworks and their Cheeks by Alex Gray, who was my supervisor (and early mentor) during a summer internship at ArtPace in San Antonio, Texas. Cheeks were difficult to wear. They were, literally, in your face. And weird. But he convinced me. That was ten years ago.

It was a nice surprise to learn that visual artist Emily Roydson, who I worked with another summer, the one of 2004, just made a pair of l.a.Eyeworks frames. Titled Surprise… you’re pregnant!, Emily considers them a conversation piece: “Making the gaze manifest, the person wearing this work has their perspective elaborated for all to see. Provoking conversations about gender and recognition, objecthood and form, dominance and self-possession, the piece elicits a revisioning of how we read and approach each other.”

l.a.Eyeworks was established in 1979 by Gai Gherardi and Barbara McReynolds, who remain the primary creators of these handcrafted designs. Not long after their start, their frames became ubiquitous stylizing props in movies and music videos – and their stores have served as film locations, too. Not surprisingly, they’re also close to the art world, starting with their ad campaign launched in 1981 in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine.

Oh, and about Alex. He eventually moved to New York, where he opened his own art gallery: Alexander Gray Associates. He represents artists that emerged in the seventies, eighties and nineties and that were, for some time, for many reasons, largely left unattended by the marketplace. The exhibition program is strong. And he’s never been more convincing. His upcoming exhibition centers on early and current work by one New York’s best artists: Paul Ramirez Jonas.