Jasmine Little: The Olive Garden

May 23rd - July 13th, 2024
  • Jasmine Little: The Olive Garden, Installation View. Photography by Clare Gatto.

Nina Johnson is pleased to announce The Olive Garden, a solo exhibition of entirely new paintings and sculptures all created this year by Los Angeles-based artist Jasmine Little opening May 23 in the Exhibition Library. The exhibition emphasizes Little’s skillful technique of melding varied art historical and archival references across mediums, evoking a visual representation of the passing of time and the entirety of the human experience.

  • Jasmine Little, Pond Life, 2024, Stoneware, 11 x 11 x 11 in.
  • Jasmine Little: The Olive Garden, Installation View. Photography by Clare Gatto.

Little is best known for her body of ceramic work created over the past five years, characterized by their handcrafted cylindrical stoneware form and hand carved exteriors inlaid with figurative iconography. With The Olive Garden, Little merges her sculptural practice with a return to her early career painting practice. The exhibition features two large-scale oil paintings on canvas, which depict classical still life and forest floor imagery inspired by the earthwork and rock art of the West Coast deserts in which the artist spent her youth and early career, and paying homage to a blend of art historical references from which the artist draws influence.

  • Jasmine Little, Blue Bouquet, 2024, Oil on canvas, 92 x 66 in.
  • Jasmine Little: The Olive Garden, Installation View. Photography by Clare Gatto.

Little describes herself first as an appreciator of art and secondly as an artist, and with this exhibition she casts a purists gaze on the respective mediums with which she works. The resulting still life paintings are representative not just of the vista they portray, but of the genre and practice of painting as a larger form—thoughtfully procuring a sense of the classic, the iconic, and even the generic.

  • Jasmine Little: In the Shadow of Giants, 2024, 19 x 17.5 in.
  • Jasmine Little: The Olive Garden, Installation View. Photography by Clare Gatto.

The paintings hang alongside approximately fourteen stoneware and earthenware vessels, hand built with porcelain inlay, carved, glazed, and then carved again once fired. The vessels are decorated with references from mythical and religious history, most recognizably, classical black and red figure Greek ceramics. Through her use of familiar sculptural shapes and classical carvings forms, Little elicits a broad sense of iconography creating a blank canvas of sorts onto which viewers can cast a subjective gaze towards the almost universal human practice of marking time through artistic and functional object representation. Through her meticulous research and dedication to the tradition of form, Little creates a dialogue threading through the dialogue of art historical imagery, and its subjective and objective influence on contemporary work today.

  • Jasmine Little, Squirrel's Bathtub, 2024, Stoneware, 22.5 x 19 in.
  • Jasmine Little: The Olive Garden, Installation View. Photography by Clare Gatto.

“Every work is created in one shot, so everything on the surface represents time passing in the making of the works,” said Jasmine Little. “I want the works to remain accessible and relatable so the basic shapes, the painterliness of application, and the functional aspect of the ceramics suggest to the viewer the ability to interact with the objects or the idea of making them. Making objects and decorating objects is one of the most basic human things to do, and I take pleasure in being in the general lineage of humans who exist and make objects as time passes.”

The Olive Garden will be on view through July 13th.

  • Jasmine Little, Echos of Cosmic Wind, 2024, Stoneware, 22 x 19 in.
Jasmine Little

Jasmine Little was born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1984; she lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She studied at Copper Mountain College, Joshua Tree, CA, the University of California, Los Angeles, CA and Adam State University, Alamosa, CO. Little has exhibited internationally including exhibitions at Foundation Thalie, Brussels, Belgium; Lefebvre & Fils, Paris; Galerie Dumonteil, Shanghai; and HangART-7, Austria. Nationally, she has exhibited at Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Nina Johnson, Miami; Deitch Projects, New York. Little’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Perez Art Museum, Detroit Museum of Art and the Nevada Museum of Art.