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Simone Gad: Vertigo / Track 16, Los Angeles

Simone Gad: Vertigo

Track 16, Los Angeles

February 17 - April 13, 2024

Video by L.A. Art Documents /


Track 16 is proud to present “Vertigo,” the first exhibition of Simone Gad’s work since her passing in 2021. Opening Saturday, February 17 and continuing through April 6, 2024, the exhibition consists of paintings and collage works from 2007 to 2021. This is also the inaugural exhibition in Track 16’s new space on the first floor of the Bendix Building, complementing the existing 10th floor gallery, occupied since 2017.

Best known for her collaged drawings, Simone’s playful, brutal, and sexual pieces oscillate between trauma and eroticism. The pinup models and rescue animals who were her main subjects are treated with humor and empathy. Her own experience of being unprotected as a teen actress in Hollywood resonates through the work. Gad offered that, “The pin-up drawing collages are like self-portraits in a way, and of my survival of sexual abuse when I was a young girl and actress.” Gad was bisexual and wanted to be out of the closet, but felt forced back in on numerous occasions due to the “gay bashing” in American society and the strong lines drawn by Hollywood to keep any homosexual relationships completely hidden. Her assemblage sculptures and collage drawings became an outlet to express this side of herself.

Gad, who herself had done modeling in the 1970s both to make money and because she enjoyed collaborating with favored photographers, said she was struck by the Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie catalogs and over time developed a connoisseurship of pinup and fetish photographers like Bunny Yeager and Elmer Batters. Eventually the erotic imagery of pinups began appearing as collage elements synthesized with drawings and paintings of rescue animals and sometimes architecture. Her architectural subjects, which are also represented in this exhibition, were the facades of intricate endangered architecture that she captured in thick, acrylic gestural paintings. The buildings that she chimerically channeled were art nouveau in Brussels and Barcelona, Victorian homes in San Francisco, and the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The energy in Gad’s drawing, deriving from her topsy-turvy lines, were in service of her irresistible love of animals. Whether using ballpoint pen, markers, or oil pastels, she kept her lines going and lifted the instruments off the paper as few times as possible which created abstractly spirographic effects. The curious juxtaposition of photographed pinup models and wildly gestured renderings of rescue animals forges a resilient alliance – a dualism. The viewer can plainly see how connection and understanding can lead to healing, which is what Gad was trying to accomplish for herself through her work. Being the victims of abuse and subjects of appraisal, the model and animal are stronger together. They are rescuable.


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