Project Series 22 artist Shirley Tse and Project Series 25 artist Karen Carson in Artsy named 10 L.A. artists to know

"10 L.A. Artists Whose Work You Probably Don't Know-but Should," by Doug Harvey, Artsy Editorial

Shirley Tse

As a female Asian sculptor, Tse has had a lot of ceilings to bash against—glass, bamboo, and Cor-Ten steel. But she’s persisted by continually producing elegant and idiosyncratic artifacts that engage the audience formally, while producing a convincing mash-up of late modernist sculptural concerns and something between identity politics and autobiography. With its overriding obsession with industrial plastics, Tse’s work straddles the ambiguous zone between the handmade and the manufactured, the found and the simulated. Her recent solo show, “Lift Me Up So I Can See Better,” had a ragtag troupe of nominally figurative sculptures enacting Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince (1888) for bleachers full of disembodied heads.

Karen Carson

Carson’s 1971 MFA thesis show at UCLA consisted of a brilliant mash-up of minimalist, feminist, and relational aesthetics: zipper-connected concentric squares of fabric that the viewer was free to rearrange. In subsequent decades, her work has managed to balance a consistently bracing structural interrogation of the language of painting with deeply personal, political, humanistic, and spiritual content. Her explosively shaped paintings studded with mirrors, molding, and decorative clocks remain among the best artworks of the early 1990s, but a habit of radically shifting gears every couple of years has kept her fans on their toes, and resulted in one of the most dazzlingly variegated oeuvres of any contemporary painter anywhere. Around 2012, she was showing actual-size paintings of tractors and various farm equipment; more recently, Carson has been working on a series of wood reliefs.