About this project
First off, for those people who are thinking, "that video is cool, but I wish I could see her a little better," here you go:
Hi my name is Alia Malley and I'm an artist based in Los Angeles.
Welcome to my new project, A Cavalier in Sight of a Village.
I'm very excited over the new photographs I've been making this past year, and am thrilled to start sharing them with a wider audience. Not only do I envision these photographs as objects on gallery walls, but as images printed in a book. I self-published a catalogue for my last project, Southland, that was fantastic, but this time I want to step it up a notch and make something nicer. 11x14 inches. Hardbound. 32 pages. Foil stamped linen cover. That kind of nice.
So that's what this is about: publishing the book. But first let me tell you more about this project, and why I love it so much.
A (brief) Artist's Statement...
As the video says, the first time I drove through the north end of the San Fernando Valley and saw a kid on a horse down in the arroyo, I almost careened my car off the road. The sighting was just like the scene in Roman Polanski's 1974 classic, Chinatown: "The water...it comes in different parts of the river...every night a different part..." A 1970's filmed version of 1930's Los Angeles had come alive in front of me in 2011. Unbelievable things happen along the edges of the city. I like to make photographs there.
Around the same time, I stumbled across a dubious website offering "hand-painted oil reproductions" of classic paintings, including one landscape of a horse and rider on the outskirts of a town, attributed to Courbet from 1872, that was entitled A Cavalier in Sight of a Village (the title itself is dubious, as further research returned no additional information). In a way, it looked a lot like some of the images I had been making:
As I envisioned highly skilled Chinese laborers in Shenzen churning out the fake Courbets, I realized that--at least in terms of subject matter-- those images are not dissimilar from my current experience of driving along the unincorporated fringes of the Valley. In the 21st century the cavaliers ride in sight of Los Angeles. I take my title from this.
Beyond the invocation of Chinatown and imagery of travelers on horseback in classical Old Master paintings, there was also the cowboy factor to contend with. Often the scenes in front of me felt straight out of a Western. Or more specifically, a mid-20th century scripted Hollywood version of the 19th century American West. Maybe this imagery is just as phony as the Chinese reproductions. Images based on other images with historical precedence. Or maybe not. Either way, I find this compelling.
As I made these photographs, I literally worked in sight of my own village—I realized my locations fell within the Studio Zone, the film industry term for the 30 mile radius from Hollywood that allows union film crews to work as locals. This also placed me in the vicinity of the original movie ranches, the parcels of land that were transformed into permanent Old West towns and homesteads sets. So empirically, the cowboy in the landscape imagery should not be unfamiliar—we know this is where those iconic movies were made. But the last thing we expect to see in contemporary Los Angeles is a real-world cowboy, or a cavalier, or their horse. But there they are. I have the pictures to prove it.
The book will be beautiful / thanks for your consideration.
About the prints being offered...
All photographs are archival pigment prints, signed and numbered by the artist. All photographs are offered here in a special, one-time limited edition for Kickstarter only. The editions of each size will be open only during the 21 days that the Cavalier Kickstarter project is open. Once the project has ended, the edition will be closed and no longer available.
Below is the print that is offered at the $50, $100, and $250 reward level:
The $500 reward level receives two 11x14" prints: print #1 of LVT_6455 (above) and print #2 of LVT_6470 (below):
Be sure to visit www.aliamalley.com for more information, including links to interviews and videos about my work. xa
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