los-angeles

Jeffery Vallance

Rosamund Felsen Gallery

Wryly entitled “Icelandic Women and the King of Tonga,” Jeffrey Vallance's latest exhibition explored two very different cultures through the mythic power of their chief icons: Tonga's avuncular, 462-pound King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, and Iceland's beautiful, flaxen-haired women. Vallance followed his usual procedure of visiting the distant island communities and, through prearranged audiences with the local heads of state and collaborations with native craftsmen, combining and confusing the roles of artist, ambassador, sociologist, and travel correspondent to produce work that resembles a TV-generation encyclopedia of cultural hybridization. Like most of Vallance's projects, the show was divided into distinct yet interconnected semiotic parts. Hand-tinted photographs of the artist with the Tongan king and with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland, alongside letters of introduction from

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