Artist Tahnee Lonsdale has been featured in a recent Financial Times article on British creatives and their artistic journeys to America’s West Coast. The article spotlights several UK natives such as Kour Pour, Polly Wales, Alex Tieghi-Walker, and of course, Lonsdale, as they navigate Los Angeles. As the artist community in LA is rapidly growing, the city is influencing artists’ work in unimaginable ways.
“There’s a really diverse and interesting mix of art being shown here at the moment,” says British-born painter Tahnee Lonsdale, who moved to LA with her husband and two young children in 2015. “Everyone is opening spaces,” she adds of the city’s art scene, which was whipped into a frenzy by the arrival of the Frieze art fair in 2019. Her gallery highlights include Hauser & Wirth (“the most beautiful space”), Jeffrey Deitch (“always quite epic”), Matthew Brown (“a really young, exciting gallerist”) and Harper’s, a New York outfit that opened its LA outpost on Melrose Avenue last year. The chain reaction of blue-chip arrivals continues with Pace, which opened in April, to be followed by Sean Kelly in September and Lisson and David Zwirner in 2023.
“The energy around Frieze in February was amazing,” says Tieghi-Walker, who curated the exhibition Everyday Rituals with photographer Max Farago to coincide with the fair. “It was housed in an old theatre in Downtown. We didn’t want it to feel like an art show but to be more informal.”
For Lonsdale, this more ad-hoc counterbalance to the mainstream art offerings is what makes LA feel so vibrant. In May and June, she had a solo show at Night Gallery, a space founded in 2010 by Davida Nemeroff in a strip mall, and originally only open from 10pm to 2am. “It really feels like there’s a lot of opportunity here. And anything goes; anyone can set up a gallery in a garage,” says Lonsdale, citing Five Car Garage, run by another Brit, Emma Gray, as a favourite space.
Lonsdale began painting at art school in London. “I did not make good art there, though,” she says. “I did this weird series of whale paintings….” The change in her work over the past seven years in LA has been significant: busy colour-block canvases resembling hectic cityscapes have given way to bold, spare compositions of semi-abstracted figures. “There’s just less stuff in there now; it’s much more simplified,” she says of her newest paintings.
Watch Artist Tahnee Lonsdale’s Studio Tour and her most recent body of work, True Romance, exhibited at Night Gallery May – June 2022.