Jessica Rath is neither a pomologist nor a horticulturalist. She's not even particularly fond of eating apples. The Los Angeles-based artist's interest in apples is, as she says, purely philosophical. With photography and ceramics, Rath has produced a body of work that looks at the beauty, diversity, and existential dilemma of the apple: how do apples propagate, and how do varieties survive?
Last year I met a woman who had just moved into a house with an extraordinary tree, she said—one that grew lemons, limes, and oranges. On the same tree? A backyard citrus bounty is standard practice in Southern California, but generally a yard might have one or two trees with different fruits. You have grapefruits, but no lemons, so you meet your neighbor by asking to pluck some of his. This woman's fruit claim was incredibly exciting, but then she seemed to disappear, and with it my chance to see her tree.
Xavier Dumont’s hand-sculpted furniture pieces twist with an organic elegance that looks like he willed the branches to weave themselves into loose shapes. Those natural forms wind up resembling a desk, easel, mirror frame, arbor, or bench.
In the 1950s, California's southern coastline could be mapped by its roadside attractions. A land of limitless dreams and unclaimed parcels of soil, it offered post-war America the opportunity to see and do the improbable.