Samuel Freeman presents How to Build a Foghorn, an exhibition with Mie Olise, Erik Parra, Craig Kauffman and Bridget Beck. These artists translate the hidden language of the man-made landscape through painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture. We navigate our daily passage through a subconscious negotiation where expectations are met constantly and unnoticeably, but when the fog rolls in it creates an ambiguous environment without the normal cues for location or definition. The gathered works in How to Build a Foghorn do not so much warn of impending danger as reveal a different understanding of the reality all around us. Expected constructions shape-shift into novel configurations, ships, tree houses, benches and structures, while flowers become skyscrapers who have simply forgotten that scale is a matter of perspective.

In her latest series of lithographs, printed at Edition Copenhagen, Mie Olise shifts and rephrases the visual narratives of man-made constructions and disused architectural spaces. The abandoned buildings of the former soviet mining town Pyramiden inspired the visual dialogue found in Olise’s lithographs. Remaking these vacant buildings gives new life to the industrial monuments of a throwaway society, creating space to step inside and activate abandoned treehouses and airborne houseboats. Olise creates a vehicle for the audience to communicate with the forgotten waters of their own imaginations.

Erik Parras practice draws on the visual imagery from mid-century aesthetics, classic horror films, and current affairs to pose questions about our sociopolitical narratives and the language surrounding the pictorial constructions of our own environments.[1] Parra states the he, “Often works in small series’ of original compositions that conflate my personal history and knowledge with modern historical narratives in order to view important, current social concerns through the lens of history. This serves as an entryway into a process of constructing images that draw on our conception of space and the stories we tell ourselves in order to navigate the environments we build.”[2] Parra’s paintings and sculptural installation will serve as a new lens for the viewer to see and navigate the layered sociopolitical narratives of our built environments.  Parra draws attention to the dangers of blindly accepting a manufactured environment produced by the rhetoric of American exceptionalism and consumerism.

In Craig Kauffman’s Number series we see a reflection of the architectural and cultural landscape of Philippines, through the eyes of a fascinated foreigner. As Frank Lloyd argues “The large-scale paintings—some as tall as ten feet—were made following Kauffman’s first move to the Philippines. A rich landscape and powerful native forms from his new-found home are interwoven with the layers of numbers.”[3] Kauffman uses his traditional style of the broken, skipping line on large silk canvases to transfer the cultural landscape of his “new-found home” into these architectural paintings of Orchids and Birds of Paradise. Kauffman repurposes the familiar tropical imagery to craft and communicate a hybrid language within an alien landscape.

Bridget Beck’s practice consists of large scale sculptural installations and drawings that rely heavily on the connection between site, community, communication and materials. Beck describes her work as a “constant communication with the viewer. This conversation posits drudgery and play in a cosmology of opposites.”[4] Beck will be constructing new sculptures entitled Portland Carts made from the salvaged sections of older discarded works. After the exhibition, Portland Carts will act as crates transporting Beck’s life and studio from Los Angeles to Portland, giving a third life to the original scavenged parts. “Because my work is the journey and the ship, as the traveler I keep asking myself…what is land, what is sky and what of this voyage is missing?”[5] Beck connects with the imagination of communities, constructing impossible structures that function outside of the confines of functional architecture, guiding communities through a fog of misunderstanding and miscommunication.

[1] Erik Parra, “Artist Statement,” Erik Parra,, Accessed June 24, 2016.
[2] Erik Parra, “Artist Statement,” Erik Parra,, Accessed June 24, 2016.
[3] Frank Lloyd, ” Craig Kauffman: The Numbers Paintings,” Frank Lloyd’s blog,, Accessed June 24, 2016.
[4]Bridget Beck, “Thesis Statement,” University of California- Los Angeles, CA Master of Fine Art, 2014.
[5] Bridget Beck, “Thesis Statement,” University of California- Los Angeles, CA Master of Fine Art, 2014.

Mie Olise b. 1974 in Denmark, lives in Copenhagen and New York. Olise works as a painter, sculptor and film/soundmaker. Since graduating with an MFA (distinction) from Central St. Martins, London in 2007, Olise has been awarded residencies at Skowhegan and The ISCP in New York. She additionally holds an MA in Architecture. Solo shows include: Samuel Freeman, Los Angeles; Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Centre; Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; SNYK, Skive New Museum of Art, Denmark; Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston, Texas; Duve, Berlin. Group shows Athens Video Art Festival 2011, 10th Istanbul Biennale, The Liverpool Biennale 08, Damascus Video Art Festival 2011, Fonlad Video Arts Festival 2011, The Whistable Biennale 2010(UK), Torrance Art Museum, LA; Museum of Contemporary Art, UTAH and Philara Sammlung e.V.,Dusseldorf. She was a finalist in the Saatchi competition “4 New Sensations” in London as well as the Celeste Art Prize.

Erik Parra b. 1975 in El Paso, Texas. He received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his BFA from the University of Texas, Austin. Upon completion of his MFA (2004) he moved to Brooklyn, New York where he maintained a studio, taught art and exhibited his artwork. Notable exhibitions include Each Devil His Own, Transmission Gallery (Oakland, CA), @HOME, Project Grant Artist Residency (Buffalo, NY), Between Currencies- Johansson Projects, Oakland, CA, Salon09- Matt Roberts Arts (London, UK) and the Museu de Arte de Brasilia. Erik Parra currently lives and works in San Francisco, California.

Craig Kauffman (U.S., 1932-2010) is considered to be one of the most inventive American artists of the postwar era. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1955 and 1956. Often cited as a seminal figure in the Los Angeles art world during the 1950s and 1960s, Kauffman was part of the original stable of artists exhibiting at the Ferus Gallery, in shows that inspired the clean, cool abstraction that defines the period in modern art from Los Angeles. Throughout his career, Kauffman remained a painter, and his work reflected his many trips to Europe as much as it reflected the atmosphere of the West Coast. Kauffman was the first contemporary artist to use vacuum-form technology to mold plastic into wall-relief paintings. Described at the time as part of an “L.A. Look,” they were seen by curators and critics as evidence of a promisingly sophisticated aesthetic that was unique in its fascination with light and shadow, use of commercial materials, and obsession with physical perfection. Although he is often associated with that movement, Kauffman’s work was always informed by a broad historical knowledge of European painting and Asian art. Craig Kauffman’s works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, the Chicago Art Institute, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, and over 20 other major institutions throughout the world.

Bridget Beck grew up in South Dakota where she soaked in the plains and the sky until graduating from Augustana College in 2000 with a BA in English and Art.  She then spent some time at Franconia Sculpture Park, Socrates Sculpture Park, Mark DiSuvero’s Spacetime Studio, and the Connecticut Sculpture Park. Bridget then supplemented her eclectic resume with an AS degree in Geomatics (Civil Engineering) which she completed in 2006.  After receiving her AS degree she was employed by Ramsey County, MN where she designed roads in 3D, surveyed the lay of the land, inspected road projects, and tested soils until 2012.  She then attended graduate school at UCLA. Bridget is a fellowship recipient and recent MFA graduate who is currently the Director of the UCLA Summer Art Institute and Program Coordinator for UCLA’s FORM Academy (a pilot program for disadvantaged teens in Los Angeles).  Bridget’s has exhibited outdoor sculptures in California, Kentucky, South Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Vermont, and is planning a move from Southern California’s thriving art scene to Portland, OR with her Portland Carts immediately following the close of this Samuel Freeman show.