Like falling leaves from autumn trees elsewhere in the country, in Los Angeles, the vibrant colors of art in a wide variety of permutations is fluttering down on the City of Angels. Here’s a brief look at some recent shows:
The light-filled sculptures of Brad Howe and the astronomy-as-art acrylics and mixed media work of Susan Woodruff create an exciting show in Properties of Light, at La Ciegena’s George Billis Gallery.
The pairing of these artists has created a visually uplifting exhibition, reflective and immersive. Entering the gallery, there’s an immediate sensation of walking onto another planet – one in which glowing light suffuses the almost sentient stainless steel sculpture of Howe, and Woodruff’s abstract cosmos-evoking works. Afterward, you may want to go watch 2001: A Space Odyssey again. A beautiful show.
Other beauties are also available on Culver City’s art row – with so many galleries hosting openings in one night, the 10th, we joined the crowd in essentially trick or treating for art, and found one of art’s coveted giant Hershey bars (well, that was always what I coveted when I trick or treated) at Edward Cella, where Jun Kaneko’s Mirage drew gaping pleasure. A site-specific installation of nine separate large scale canvases, the titular piece unfolds into 63 feet of dazzling color vibrating in lines that shift from golds and yellows to oranges and reds. His ceramic works, some diminutive and one towering at 7 feet in height, exhibit the artist’s signature, meticulous, ceramic process in black and white.
Intriguing, Matisse-like works in thick, puzzle-piece like shapes was the order of the day at Zevitas Marcus, where Andrew Masullo’s exhibition Pretty Pictures and Other Disasters, is all about bold color, straight-from-the-tube paint, that grabs the eye and the imagination.
And at Honor Fraser, Ry Rocklen: L.A. Relics, are diverse and clever. With mirrored backing, the artist creates two-sided sculptures that form incisive and delightful works based on his own personal possessions. A wonderfully whimsical show that also offers stirring insight into the every day world.
In Chinatown, check out Raven Servellon’s Velvet Sunflower at
Coagula Curatorial through early October. Intensely colorful, shaped from stenciled images on handmade cutouts, each minutely detailed pop-art piece encourages repeated viewing, as new images surprise, surfacing from the depth of these absorbing works.
Just down Chun King Alley from Coagula is Glenn Goldberg’s Somewhere at the Charlie James Gallery. Painted in pastels, these sweet images of birds, dogs, and other beings are designed, according to the artist, to make viewers feel lighter and happier. “A lot of artists put their finger on the problems of the world. I’m looking more to provide a gift or offering.”
As to his subjects, he notes that his choice of bird images are both designed to evoke the freedom of flight and the poignant limitations on their lives, while his dog images represent the idea of a “friendly, domesticated protector.” This is lovely work, that both soothes the soul and expands it.
Over at CB1 Gallery in the warehouse arts district, Mira Schor’s War Frieze (1991 – 1994) and “Power” Frieze share space with a retrospective of Tom Knechtel’s work, The Reader of His Own Self. Schor’s earlier work War Frieze is a strong companion to Power Frieze, with the former taking on the subject of the military, the recent, large scale works on paper with today’s political agendas.
While inspired by African sculpture both artistically and philosophically, Schor’s work also reminds one a bit of Modigliani – the long, long-figured works created on tracing paper in rolls also evokes Japanese scrolls.
“I’ve only worked in this degree of figuration and scale for the last year, except for figurative life size pieces I created in the 70s and 80s,” she says.
Knechtel’s retrospective ranges from the present all the way back to 1979. The beautiful and carefully drawn graphite works and prints tackle a variety of subjects including self-image; when asked which piece was his favorite in the collection, he laughed.
“That’s like asking a mother which of her kids is her favorite,” he said. Overall each piece presents strong texture that seems tactile, regardless of subject.
Across the city in Santa Monica’s Bergamont Station, don’t miss Chilean artist Rebecca Puga’s lines and geometric shapes at Sloan Projects, a collection of her New Paintings in oil. “They are all related to specific spaces, to the time of day. I didn’t even realize this. When I saw the titles of paintings here, it occurred to me that these were all about ideas of space and time, and that brings meaning to our lives.” And to her abstract works.
Also at Bergamont, at Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Tran T. Le’s In Transition and Trygve Faste’s Op-Tech each offer superlative abstractions. Le says of her work, “This exhibition represents me going back to my roots, being a Vietnamese American, and a woman, going through changes in my life, which include a divorce after eighteen years. The paintings are each very different, you can see the transition between each painting. The lines keep me grounded and help me meditate.”
Lovely and lyrical work by both artists.
If this isn’t enough to keep you going through the next weeks, don’t worry, we’ll have more soon!
- Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke, Genie Davis, and many thanks to George Billis, Coagula, Charlie James for supplementing our photos.