“I imagined that everything happened in a leap second in this missing measure of time—a sort of phantom, fairy-tale kind of place,” says Moscow-born, New York-based artist Kon Trubkovich of the mystical,personal moment he sketched, painted and drew inspiration from for hisnew show, “Leap Second,” which opens tonight at OHWOW in Los Angeles. A single moment—a fractured second drawn from a home video of the artist’s mother at the family’s last party in the U.S.S.R. before immigrating to the US—manifests in a series of large-scale, progressively abstract portraits that form the basis of the exhibition. These start with almost Baroque images of the Trubkovich’s mother in stoic celebration and give way to abstract, oil-on-linen paintings of the comedian Lenny Bruce and the word “Mama,” each more fractured and less recognizable than the last. A collection of lovingly rendered drawings on paper (of Ronald Reagan and Trubkovich’s wife, among others) and a sound piece accompany the portraits.
“By taking an image of my mom from the same age as I am now and dividing it into many frames, I create an emotional space immediately,” explains Trubkovich. “I wanted to strip everything of metaphor and go to a very primal state. There’s not a lot of distance between myself and the work—I don’t need it anymore.”
The exhibition will be Trubkovich’s first in Los Angeles. “I feel a little bit like Woody Allen in Annie Hall when he goes out to LA, and he’s like this nebbish-y Jewish guy that’s constantly obsessed with his mother,” says Trubkovich. “At the beginning, I was thinking to myself, ‘What am I doing here?’ There seemed to be a kind of dissonance. But now, I’ve embrace it, and I think it’s kind of amazing.”
Kon Trubkovich, Out of the black and into the white, 2012.