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VSF Texas
1511 Commerce Street
Dallas, TX 75201
214 233 5584

Also at:
79 Dokseodang-ro
Seoul, South Korea 04419
+82 70 8884 0107

812 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
310 426 8040
Various Small Fires (VSF) is a gallery owned and operated by Esther Kim Varet established in 2012 with locations in Los Angeles, California and Seoul, South Korea. 

VSF has presented the Los Angeles debuts of many internationally recognized emerging, mid, and late career artists like Liz Magic Laser, Josh Kline, Jesper Just, Billy Al Bengston, and Judith Linhares. VSF exhibitions are reviewed regularly by The Los Angeles Times, ArtForum, Art Review, Frieze, LEAP, and many other online and print publications.

In 2014, Johnston MarkLee Architects designed the current VSF building with nearly 5,000 sq-ft (465 sq-m) of exhibition space, including a unique sound corridor for year-round audio art programming. VSF is also one of the few commercial venues to have a dedicated outdoor gallery for large-scale sculpture and installation. In April 2019, VSF opened a second location in the Hannam-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea. This new ground floor storefront added an additional 1,000 sq-ft (93 sq-m) of exhibition space in Asia. 

VSF takes social responsibility seriously. The majority of our represented artists are women. The gallery uses 100% solar energy to operate its exhibition spaces and goes to great lengths to reduce our carbon footprint and eliminate plastic by-products.
Artists Represented:
Sara Anstis
Brandon Ballengée
Math Bass
Billy Al Bengston
Ashley Bickerton
Diedrick Brackens
Alex Foxton
Jessie Homer French
Will Gabaldón
The Estate of The Harrisons
Liz Magic Laser
Che Lovelace
John Miller
Dianna Molzan
Joshua Nathanson
A’Driane Nieves
Wendy Park
Sean Raspet
Lezley Saar
Kyungmi Shin
Dyani White Hawk
Glen Wilson
Mark Yang

 
Current Exhibitions

Wendy Park

Cerritos, California



May 4, 2024 - June 1, 2024
Various Small Fires is delighted to announce the solo presentation of Wendy Park’s second solo exhibition with the gallery in Cerritos, California. This will be Park’s first solo exhibition in Asia. This collection of new works explores Park’s childhood in Cerritos, a suburb of Los Angeles, California, where the artist reflects on being alone at her empty home after school. This new body of work builds on Park’s last exhibition at VSF, where she portrayed the interiors of her parents’ lingerie and garment shop—stitched from the memories of Park’s childhood—at the swap meets in various areas of Los Angeles during the 1990s. Growing up, Park often found herself alone at home. She would search for ways to occupy her time and stave off the solitude that enveloped her. The silence echoed around the empty space, and the moments of solitude are palpable. Yet, amidst the solitude, Park discovered a profound way of learning to appreciate her own company and solace in the quiet moments of introspection. In On the Stove, Park portrays an open Domino's pizza box alongside a bottle of Coca-Cola and scattered white disposable paper plates, symbolizing the freewheeling consumption of convenience foods without parental oversight. The juxtaposition of these everyday items on the stove, traditionally a place for preparing healthy meals, suggests the irony of Park’s adolescent autonomy coupled with her longing for protection and attention within the family structure. Ironically, this delves into the nuanced interplay between independence and freedom that the artist was forced to develop as a child, as well as the natural childlike desire for parental attention and protection. On a similar note, American Pants features a Brother sewing machine, a pivotal object from Park's childhood home, where her mother taught her to sew at a tender age. Park recalls hemming her own pants and those of family members to make them wearable, as American retail pants were almost always too long and the leftovers would be used to make clothes for dolls and stuffed animals. This sewing activity, for Park, evokes mixed feelings of nostalgia, distractions from the boredom of being home alone, as well as the domestic responsibilities she had as a child of working-class immigrants. Elsewhere, Park invokes the threads connecting the family home in Cerritos back to Seoul. In The Other Side, a window reveals a landscape that evokes the style of 18th-century Korean Joseon dynasty paintings. Reproductions of these paintings are common in Korean-American households, serving as an aesthetic connection to the culture, landscape, and history left behind to create home and opportunity elsewhere. The artist’s childhood house also had these paintings, which were handed down to her by her father. On the windowsill, an ashtray filled with extinguished cigarettes sits alongside a glass of whiskey, suggesting daydreams of home as a primary leisure activity. Broken Venetian blinds partially obscure the view of the print, improbably standing in for the landscape outside. According to the artist, these painted objects serve as poignant reminders of her "unsupervised upbringing, burden of early responsibility, and accelerated childhood.” Cerritos, California offers a compelling glimpse into the artist’s personal narrative, translating intimate memories into visually arresting compositions that resonate with universal themes of youth, domesticity, and cultural identity.

Brandon Ballengée

Call of the Void



April 27, 2024 - June 15, 2024
VSF presents Call of the Void, our first solo exhibition with Louisiana-based visual artist, biologist, and environmental educator, Brandon Ballengée. Following group exhibitions with his mentors, Helen and Newton Harrison at VSF LA and Frieze LA, this exhibition will highlight the breadth of the artist’s elegant and rich transdisciplinary practice. Ballengée creates artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research. The work often deals with extinction and the consequences of pollution and extractive uses of natural resources. In his best known series, Frameworks of Absence, Ballengée cites a famous edict of Aldo Leopolf, an American philosopher and naturalist most active in the early 20th century: “We stand guard over works of art, but species representing the work of aeons are stolen from under our noses.” To create the Frameworks, Ballengée collects historic prints and illustrations of plant and animal life, carefully removes only the representations of now-extinct species with a razor blade, frames the altered print in a manner that correlates to the aesthetic preferences of the time of the original image, and cremates the paper remains removed from the illustration to display in an urn alongside this portrait of lost species in absentia. In Ballengée’s work the absence of the excised animal operates along narrative, formal, and political vectors simultaneously. There is, on the one hand, a very straightforward operation underlying these works - The viewer is presented with a clear visual representation of loss and absence. The original prints that Ballengée alters are often iconic, high value art objects in and of themselves - images meant to be conserved, not altered. The value that has accrued to illustrations by Audubon and by extension, collected and preserved images and art works in general, is placed in contrast to the relatively low value placed on vulnerable species, whose decline and disappearance is often invisible to the majority of people. There is also a formal operation at play, in which the field on which the images are made is perforated and presented with the wall visible through the work. This void, which repeats throughout the history of modern art from Lucio Fontana’s slashed canvases to Lee Lozano’s choice to absent herself from the male-dominated New York art world, contains multitudes of metaphor and affect. Alongside the Frameworks, we are also presenting a work titled Abyss. A stacked, serial sculpture composed of glass jars arranged in stacked grids separated by sheets of safety glass. Many, but not all, of the jars contain preserved specimens of deep-sea fish, giant isopods, squid and other species; species currently being put at risk from deepwater mining. Like the Frameworks, empty jars stand in for already missing, potentially extinct species. On a more hopeful note, a sculpture from Ballengée’s series Love Motels for Insects is installed amidst a native plant garden, created in collaboration with Artemisia Nursery, in the VSF courtyard. The sculpture constructs a situation between humans and arthropods, using ultraviolet lights to attract nocturnal, pollinating insects. This series of works was begun in 2001 in Central America. To date, versions of the project have debuted on boats in Venice (Italy), peat bogs in Lough Boora (Ireland), isolated moors overlooking Loch Ness (Scotland), bustling shopping malls in Delhi (India), outside Aztec ruins (Mexico), New Haven (USA) inner- city bus stops, roof tops in London (England), temperate forest mountain-sides (South Korea), Louisiana Bayous (USA) and others. Please join us for our opening reception on April 27 when the gallery will stay open late to “bug watch” at dusk with the artist.

Elisa Jensen

Heart Off Guard



April 27, 2024 - June 15, 2024
VSF is pleased to announce a solo project by Elisa Jensen (b. 1965) in & Milk opening on April 27, 2024. Heart Off Guard brings together a selection of Jensen’s paintings made between 2008 and the present. The title of the exhibition is lifted from a poem by Seamus Heaney titled Postscript which describes a mundane scene - driving along the coast from one place to another - and being bowled over by the experience of light, water, sky, and movement; fleeting, uncontainable, momentary awe. This sensation of being bowled over by the commonplace pervades Jensen’s paintings. The most recent works, all titled Riverview, are intimately scaled meditations on the passing of time outside a window. Each shows a similar view from the window of Jensen’s childhood home, observed as she was packing up her parents’ belongings after they passed. Her larger works, which include paintings of her young daughters exploring nature and common street scenes in Bushwick, present this sense of awe as all pervasive. The emotional tenor of these works is consistent - each scene is observed carefully with an eye to flickers of light, the passing of time, and the attempt to catch some small element of that surging feeling on the canvas.

 
Past Exhibition

Joshua Nathanson

Yeah, I Know What You Mean



April 3, 2024 - May 25, 2024
Various Small Fires is pleased to present Mark Yang’s second solo exhibition with the gallery and the artist’s first presentation in Texas. In Spectral Echoes, the Seoul-born, New York-based artist expands on previous works while embracing a fresh approach to his exploration of the human form. Mark Yang. Crisscross, 2023, Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 in. Courtesy of the artist, and Various Small Fires, Los Angeles / Dallas / Seoul.