Santa Monica, 13 December, 2001-Track 16 Gallery is pleased to present "Viggo Mortensen: Signlanguage," an exhibition of recent paintings and photographs, and "Alan Rath: Stereo," a show of eight handmade stereos by the Oakland-based artist. The exhibitions will open with a reception for the artists on Saturday, February 2, from 6 to 8 PM at Track 16 Gallery at Bergamot Station, and will run through March 30.

"Signlanguage" is an extraordinary look into the process and mind of an artist whose boundless creative output touches a myriad of media and modes of expression: he is photographer, painter, and poet. Mortensen is convinced that photography, whatever else it may be, is a focusing on detail. Mortensen likes sotto voce details; he gives his attention to instants that would otherwise have passed by unobserved, or more significantly, unregistered. His work suggests a view of life where experience has value without the artist intervening to rearrange and structure it. He does not seek out the shockingly strange but instead notices the sharp buzz of formal or color relationships, whether he is photographing on the streets of L.A. or in New Zealand. Mortensen's paintings relate to his photography in the sense that they also teem with lived incidents. They are collages, brushings of materials and words, and as he states: "They are often painted over, written over, sanded, rewritten, crossed out, re-painted, re-sanded, re-written, etc." Words from his poems and found phrases both succumb and survive as they enter the field of the canvas.

Alan Rath's "Stereo" project originated from his unending interest in all forms of electronics-both audio and video-from his pre-teen years through his studies at MIT and his current artistic output. Rath has worked in various forms of new media: LEDs, audio woofer speakers, cathode ray tubes (CRTs), a new generation of robotics, and recently an amalgam of these different bodies of work. For Rath, the sound of a blaring electric guitar epitomized the analog sound of the 1970s and he is now paying homage to these electronic roots. The exhibition includes eight handmade stereos that feature the power amplifiers he designed and built. Though state-of-the-art, Rath's stereos are housed in a variety of "sculptures," from vintage suitcases to gleaming aluminum towers to a Chinese wall shrine, which, taken together, use sound reproduction to span both history and culture.

Accompanying the Mortensen and Rath exhibitions are the publications: Signlanguage, which features full color reproductions of Mortenson's work and an essay by critic Kevin Power, and Pinspot #12, Alan Rath: Stereo; both books are published by Smart Art Press.

Track 16 Nights will resume in February.

View photographs from the February 2nd opening event.