Round Too: Durden and Ray Gets It Right – Again

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Curated by Max Presneill, Round Too – the second half of Durden and Ray’s opening – is strong, sensual, and smart.

Featuring artists  Jorin Bossen, Gul Cagin, Sijia Chen, Lana Duong, Ed Gomez, Brian Thomas Jones, Chris Mercier, Ty Pownall, Nano Rubio, Curtis Stage, Valerie Wilcox, and Steven Wolkoff, the exhibition has a cool, clean look from its colors to its spacing.  Both the style of the cohesive exhibition and that of the artists’ represented is innately different from the first half of gallery’s inaugural, Round Won.

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Christopher Mercier’s “In Proximity” describes his work as “an art conservator’s disaster.” Using frames to build new space, Mercier works with “Just paint. No rubber, no plastic, it’s just painting and the frame, latex, enamel, oil, water based ink,” he explains. By refolding the frames, Mercier has expanded the space in his wall sculpture to bring the painting into a three-dimensional space.

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The incredibly thick paint and even the artist’s unique use of space evokes the Excessivist movement. The piece is an encompassing 24 x 96 x 18 inches.

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Equally fascinating is the very different work by Nano Rubio, “Anti Flag.”

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Oil, acrylic, and spray paint on canvas, the work employs techniques Rubio often used in customizing cars. “There are lots of pin striping tools that I use, and I like to build up layers. I like the idea of trickery, that things can change your perception. Yes, the piece can be ready as very political,” he asserts.

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“Things are getting grittier to deal with politics in the California landscape.”

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Ty Pownall created his “Untitled (single fade out)” right on site. Comprised of steel, sand, and spray paint, the work needs to be created from scratch whenever Pownall exhibits it.

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“It’s loose sand raised on a steel sheet. The pigment is sifted on with a screen, you essentially tap it on in order to put the particulate on top. I do it all on site.” The piece seems to fade off into infinity at one end, creating an image that is both one of perfection and incompletion.

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Valerie Wilcox’ “Passage” is a mixed media work in cool whites, off-whites, grey and green. It’s both bold and ghostly; both all angular lines and soft colors.

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Steven Wolkoff, who curated the first half of Durden & Ray’s opening, here offers “High Adventure (a pile of gummy behrs).”


Using Behr acrylic house paint to create his miniature paint bears, Wolkoff’s deliciously tactile work is available at a crazy-reasonable cost: $5 per bear. Good enough to eat, but don’t.

The impressionist abstract of Sijia Chen’s “Stray;” the photo diptych of Brian Thomas-Jones “Untitled (Green/Tan),” which fits visually with Wilcox’ “Passage” like they were destined to be shown together; and Gul Gain’s “To Look Aimlessly,” an abstract that looks as if a head was literally exploding other shadowy forms around it – are among the other standouts in a strong exhibition.

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Above, Durden and Ray’s Dani Dodge with curator Max Presneill.

The Durden and Ray collective continues to hit their art out of the ballpark – rarely has a gallery’s “opening season” looked so good.

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Durden and Ray is located at 1923 S. Santa Fe Avenue in a building now brimming with art galleries, including CB1.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis




Durden and Ray: New Space, Same Passion

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Art collectives are a wonderful thing. They bring together and support groups of artists whose eclectic and powerful work deserves a showcase which it might not find with a solo approach.

Durden and Ray are one such collective, and they have recently made a move – from a loft space across the street on Santa Fe Avenue to a pristine, white-wall gallery in the same complex as CB1.

Above, left, Tom Dunn’s “Mesopotamia #36,” a marvelous mix of the abstract and figurative in oil. Alongside, to the right, the brilliantly textured acrylic on canvas of Jenny Hagar, “Roja.” Both leap off the wall, as different as they are well-matched.

Yes, the space is lovely and airy, the light dancing off the walls and works, but it is the art itself, and the passionate spirit the collective represents that shines.

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Above left, artist Dani Dodge with curator Steven Wolkoff.

The opening exhibition in the new space, Round Won was curated by Steven Wolkoff, the show features artists: Dani Dodge, Tom Dunn, Roni Feldman, Jon Flack, Jenny Hager, Ben Jackel, David Leapman, Alanna Marcelletti, Max Presneill, David Spanbock, Jesse Standlea, and Alison Woods.

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Above, Alison Woods with her “Utopia,” acrylic on canvas, we have geometric patterns and vibrating lines so intense that the canvas appears layered; there are elements that evoke a collage or puzzle pieces. Viewers see a city landscape that is exploding with flora and fauna.

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Above, Allana Marceletti, left, near her “Daae,” a sculptural collage of found objects, acrylic, and metal on organza with seatbelt straps. Hang on for the ride. Next to her is Dani Dodge, whose installation, “Ashes,”  is comprised of glass containing the burnt ashes of articulated, written fears.  While very different conceptually, both pieces feature sheer, almost fragile visual depth, and pull the viewer into a landscape that is shimmery and mutable.

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Max Presneill stands before his oil and enamel “RD 141.” Bold graphics and lines, shapes that stand entirely on their own yet coalesce into a vivid whole.  Presneill wants viewers to experience his bright, visceral work from the perspective of the “system of languages we call painting.”

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David Spanbock’s candy colored acrylic on linen, “The Politics of Transformation,” is a dimensional, unique take on urban life and environment.

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And what would an urban environment be without a few fire hydrants? Ben Jackel’s “Large headed hydrants (youth, middle age, elder) are stoneware and beeswax, and serve as a kind of ‘in memoriam’ to the vicissitudes of city life. The black color renders them tomb-like, yet the overall affect is lighthearted.

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Jon Flack’s “Backyard Sermon,” rear wall, takes an entirely modern approach to an iconic American subject, the itinerant preacher. Juxtaposed with Marcelletti’s sculpture and Dodge’s installation, the three works make an engaging commentary on things both profound and redemptive.

Both collectively and through each artist’s work, Round Won is more than ready for prime time.

This will be a two-part opening introducing the 24 members of Durden and Ray  – Round Too, curated by Max Presneill, will open April 1st.

The show runs through March 19th. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday noon-4 p.m. The new space is located at 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave. in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis

MAS Attack Grand Finale

Art. The final frontier, perhaps,  for beauty, joy, and in this case, SoCal style.
Catherine Ruane with her incredibly detailed graphite work – natural subject, ethereal execution.
Snezana Saraswati Petrovic – that’s 3D printing as sculpture.
Gay Summer Shadow Rick with a lovely and quintessential LA beach scene.mas-47
Annie Clavell with her light filled work.
Francisco Alvarado captures the spirit of these times.
The delicious scent of lemon oil, below in a delightfully experimental piece by Elizabeth Stringer.
Aline Mare with a piece the pulls viewers into a dramatic universe that fuses painting and photography.
Monica Wyatt with a found-art sculpture that dances with energy.
Karrie Ross with the glitter of gold, a treasure of a painting.
Kristine Schomaker offers riveting rainbows and ribbons of paint – and powerful feminist metaphor.
Below, Bibi Davidson with her “red girl,” as distinctive as the artist herself.
Photographer Hector Felix in action, documenting the scene.
Below, Dwora Fried with one of her fluid, fascinating assemblages.
Below, Mike Mollett, sometimes known as one of Los Angeles’ performance art Mudpeople, with his better half, Dee.
Below, the rich color palette of Kristine Augustyne.
Above, a close look at Dwora Fried’s box, politically potent. Below, the vibrant neon art of Linda Sue Price.
Below, the finely detailed art of Jodi Bonassi, who often depicts the warmth of the art community in LA.
In January 2013, Max Presneill, Kio Griffith, Colton Stenke, put together the first MAS attack, a mutual appreciation society for artists. The idea was for artists to hang their own work, spend time at the event meeting other artists and art lovers, make art, show it, and support it.

The final such event was held last Saturday night at the Torrance Art Museum, where Presneill is curator.  An amazing art jumble of sculpture, performance (signed ping pong balls shot from a tube, anyone), paintings, photography, mixed media – a pure wow, as exhilarating as it was encompassing.

Below, artists Shelly Heffler, Dwora Fried, and the author.
So many artists, so many highlights – and a spirit of fun and friendship that glowed throughout the museum. If you weren’t there, you should’ve been; if you don’t know these artists, get to know them now. And if you love LA art and artists, then support art, talk about it, attend openings, buy it, photograph it, openly adore it.
As an aside, if you love this blog, if you’ve ever been written about by this blog, if you’ve ever enjoyed the art, travel, food and more in this blog, then follow us! Not just on Facebook but follow us here. You’ll receive updates when new posts are made, and that is it. And it helps us thrive and survive when you add to our follow list. 
Art is on fire in Los Angeles these days, and here’s to MAS attack for being one of the delightful tinders that set the blaze going. Take a look at some of the fine flames that joined in the grand finale last Saturday night.

Contributors included:

Aaron Giesel
Alanna Marcelletti
Albert Lopez Jr
Alec Dawson
Alessandor Rachael
Aline Mare
Alison Woods
Ally Bortolazzo
Amanda Mears
Amy Fox
Andrea Bersaglieri
Andrew Foster
Andy Moses
Anise Stevens
Ann Diener
Ann Phong
Ann Weber
Anna Leighton
Annie Clavel
Annie Seaton
Antoine Guilbaud
April Bey
Arezoo Bharthania
Ashley Bravin
Becca Shewmake
Ben Jackal
Ben Zask
Betsy Enzensberger
Bibi Davidson
Bill Brewer
Bob Branaman
Brian Thomas Jones
Bryan Ida
Cameron McIntyre
Campbell Laird
Carl Shubs
Carla Danes
Caroline Peters
Carolle-Shelley Abrams
Catherine Kimball Davis
Catherine Ruane
Cathleen Abalos
Cathy Lightfoot
Cathy Weiss
Chenhung Chen
Cherie Benner Davis
Chris Barnickel
Chris Danes
Chris McBurnley
Chris Mercier
Chris Pate
Chris Shelby
Christina Shurts
Christopher Chinn
Cia Foreman
Cindy Jackson
Claudia Morales McCain
Cole James
Colin Cook
Colton Stenke
Conchi Sanford
Corrie Gregory
Cory Sewelson
Crystal Fischetti
Curtis Stage
Cynthia Lujan
Cynthia Minet
Dakota Noot
Dan Callis
Dani Dodge
Daniel Leighton
Daniela Campins
David D’Andrade
David DiMichele
David French
David Glickman
David Leapman
David Michael Lee
David Spanbock
Dawn Arrowsmith
Dawn Quinones
Debby & Larry Kline
Debe Arlook
Denise Kraemer
Dia Bassett
Diane Nebolon Silver
Diane Pirie Cockerill
Diane Williams
Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio
Doug Wichert
Douglas Alvarez
Dwora Fried
Ed Gomez
Ed Moses
Elena Johnson
Elizabeth Dorbad
Elizabeth Folk
Elizabeth Medina
Elizabeth Stringer
Elizabeth Valdez
Ellen Dieter
Ellen Riingen
Emily Maddigan
Eva Hyam
Faina Kumpan
Farzan Sabet
Feng Ling
Francisco Alvarado
Frederika Roeder
Gabriel Garcia
Gary Brewer
Gavin Bunner
Gay Summer Sadow Rick
George Garcia
George Joaquim
Georgette Buckley
Gloria Plascencia
Grant Redwine
Greg Rose
Greg Schenk
Gretchen Batcheller
Gretchen Rollins
Gul Cagin
Hagop Najarian
Helen Chung
Holly Jerger
Hung Viet Nguyen
Ian Pines
Isabel Rojas-Williams
Ismael de Anda III
Jackie Bell Johnson
James Galindo
James Goodwin
Jane Liu
Jane Szabo
Jason Ramos
Jeanne Dunn
Jennifer Gunlock
Jenny Hager
Jerrin Wagstaff
Jesse Standlea
Jessica Bley
Jessica Newman
Jill Sykes
Jodi Bonassi
Joe O’Neill
Joe Wolek
Joel Robert-Elton Woodard
John Geary
John Sollom
Jon Flack
Jon Measures
Jonathan Ryan
Jorge Mujica
Josephine Lipuma
Josh Hagler
Josh Velasquez
Juan Gomez
Julie Orr
Juri Koll
Justin Smith
Karrie Ross
Kate Sikorski
Kathi Flood
Katie Kirk
Kathleen Kane-Murrell
Kathleen Melian
Katya Usvitsky
Keariene Muizz
Kenny McBride
Kerry Kugelman
Khang Bao Nguyen
Kim Garcia
Kim Kei
Kimber Berry
Kimberly Hahn
Kimberly Rowe
Kio Griffith
Krisitine Schomaker
Krista Dawn
Krista Marlene
Kristin Frost
Kristine Augustyn
L Aviva Diamond
Lan Duong
Lara Jo Regan
Larry Gipe
Laura Catherine Soto
Laurel Paley
Lauren Michele Kasmer
Lavialle Campbell
Leah C Dixon
Leland Paxton
Lena Moross
Lena Wolek
Leslie Doyle
Lexi Aquilina
Lidia Shadow
Linda Sue Price
Linsey Gosper
Lisa Hoffner
Lisa Pederson
Loren Phillips
Lori Pond
Lorraine Heitzman
Luigia Gio Martelloni
Luke Van Hook
Lynn E Coleman
Maja Ruznic
Malka Nedivi
Manny Karkowski
Mara Colecchia
Marjan Hormozi
Mark Dutcher
Marlene Picard
Martin Durazo
Matthew Owen Driggs
Matthew Sweeny
Maurya Coleman
Max Presneill
Mayen Alcentara
Megan Frances Abrahams
Mei Xian Qui
Mela Marsh
Melissa Walter
Michael Bizon
Michael Chock
Michael Falzone
Michael Giancristiano
Michael McCall
Michael Neumann
Michele Castagnetti
Michele Wood Page
Mike McCarthy
Mike McLain
Mike Mollett
Mike Street
Mike Vegas
Monica Wyatt
Nadege Monchera Baer
Naira Hart
Nancy Buchanan
Nano Rubio
Narsiso Martinez
Natasha June Dee
Natasha Shoro
Nick Agid
Nick Ives
Nick Mansfield
Nikki Lewis
Noel Madrid
Nurit Avesar
Omar Gallegos
Pat Gainor
Patricia Mitchell
Patrick Rees
Peggy Sivert Zask
Perry Marks
Peta Orbach
Phil Amrhein
Phillip Griswold
Rachel Kastor
Rachel Stiff
Ray Beldner
Rema Ghuloum
Renee Tanner
Ric Heitzman
Richard Gilles
RJ Ward
Robert Miller
Robert Soffian
Rod Baer
Roland Reiss
Ron Linden
Ron Therrio
Ronald Price
Roni Feldman
Rouzanna Berberian
Samuelle Richardson
Sandy Abrams
Sant Khalsa
Sarah Tell
Sarajo Frieden
Scott Teson
Scott Trimble
Sean Michael Gallagher
Sean Noyce
Serena Potter
Sergio Teran
Seth Lower
Sharon Bell
Sharon Suhovy
Shell Silverio
Shelley Heffler
Shingo Francis
Shiri Mordechay
Sijia Chen
Siobhan McClure
Snezana Saraswati Petrovic
Sonja Schenk
Sophia Tise
Sovanchanreaksmeay Sorn
Stacie Jaye
Steph Sydney
Stephanie Meredith
Stephanie Sherwood
Stephen Rowe
Steve Seleska
Steven Fujimoto
Steven Seemayer
Steven Wolkoff
Susan Amorde
Susan Feldman Tucker
Susan Kurland
Susan Lizotte
Susan Poms Amorde
Suzanne Budd
Suzanne Fontaine
Tania Jazz Alverez
Tanya Batura
Tanya Haden
Terri Berman
Terry Lenihan
Theodore Svenningsen
Todd Carpenter
Tom Dunn
Tom Lasley
Tom Savage
Tony Pinto
Tracey Weiss
Trina Turturic
Trine Churchill
Ty Pownall
Tyler Waxman
Valerie Wilcox
Veda B Kaya
Virginia Katz
Wakana Kimura
Wini Brewer
Yoko Kanayama
Yokoyama Miki
Yoshimi Hayashi
Yvette Gellis
Zachry Horn
Zeina Baltagi

Above artist Catherine Ruane with artist Tracey Weiss, who is wearing her piece – a wrap made from recycled Perrier bottles. Scratchy yes, stunning, that too.
Above, Sonja Schenk’s evocative icy cliff; below Cia Foreman with her shiny green leaves.
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Above, photographic artist Jane Szabo with a fascinating change of pace for her in terms of subject matter; below Megan Abrahams with a hopeful green sprout.
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A complimentary couple: above Daniel Leighton, below Ana Leighton with their smart and beautiful works.
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South Bay Contemporary gallerist, curator, and artist – Peggy Silvert Zask with her ceramic horse, below.
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Above, Australian artist and curator Tom Dunn; below glass bricks with ashes – a part of a large installation by the always exciting, always cutting edge, poetic Dani Dodge.
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Above the woven wires of brilliantly enigmatic artist Chenhung Chen; below Steven Wolkoff showing all the girls his perfect paint etching.
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Above artists and BLAM and Durden and Ray alums, Dani Dodge, Steven Wolkoff, and Tom Dunn. Below Siobhan McClure makes the color pink a force to be reckoned with.
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Above, crazy prolific and wonderfully impressionistic story telling art by Scott Trimble; below Alanna Marcellitti shines.
Goofing around, artists Loren Phillips and Hung Viet Nguyen claim each others work as their own.
Below, the jeweled, mosaic-like work of Hung Viet Nguyen with Phillips vast floaty blue behind him.
Below: artists just want to have fun.
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Above, the gouged wood wall reliefs of Michael Giancristiano; below- wild colors in Luigia Gia Martelloni’s piece.
Above, Susan Amorde with her arrow-attacked suitcase sculpture, lethally wonderful. Below a serious moment of farewell from MAS attack founders. mas-31 mas-34
Above a close up of Hung Viet Nguyen’s work; below the jubilant work of artist Susan Lizotte.
Above, the performance art of Debby and Larry Kline ping pongs through the crowd.
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Above, artist Jenny Hager sets the canvas ablaze – just as MAS attack sparked the flame of artists creating community.
It was a farewell, it was an amazing group show and it was fun – the final MAS Attack exhibition at Torrance Art Museum was a terrific swan song.
 – Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis

Durden and Ray – Remains

Remains at Durden and Ray - DTLA
All photos: Jack Burke



Just in time for Thanksgiving, running through November 28th is the perfect exhibition to be thankful for – Remains. This group show offers abstract painting “against the tide of mortality,” according to exhibition notes. Artists showing include: Ingrid Calame, Tomory Dodge, Scott Everingham, Jenny Hager, Alex Kroll, Susan Lizotte, Clive McCarthy, Max Presneill, Bryan Ricci, Kimberly Rowe, David Spanbock, Britton Tolliver, Steven Wolkoff.

The exhibition deals with mortality, what exists, what is, what is mortal, what – like art – lives on beyond our own plane of existence. Pretty weighty stuff, with no easy answers, and a bountiful visual feast as well.  We were able to discuss a number of the provocative pieces with their creators.



Artist Scott Everingham says “I see myself as part painter, part architect.  I build spaces in which nothing is planned beforehand. I try to reveal elements that build a constructive space.” Here his works have an ethereal floating quality in which nothing is quite grounded. Everingham explains “There’s a deconstructed life guard tower floating, and it feels like the beach, but it’s all color palette, and I built on that.” In short: a vision that could be memory, could be Heaven, could be fragments of a forgotten past.

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Steven Wolkoff literally created a thousand “names” out of solid paint, as an homage to Anish Kapoor. Vibrant, filled with motion, what’s in a name, anyway? The substance we give it.


Bryan Ricci’s created his Fringe through a layering process that ties in with the many layers of perception the exhibition itself seeks to express. “For me, the layering of stains and paint and the application is more important than even the image the work creates,” Ricci says.


Jenny Hager’s Forked Tongues refers to the techno music she listens to when she works. “When I struggle on a title, I’ll pick up on something repetitious that I heard in a song. When I heard this phrase, I felt it dealt with the binary nature of beauty and darkness, so I used paints that glow like the sunset and warning signs.” Hager says she was interested in moving into something that “talked about the darkness or things we keep hidden, but the color palette and singularity is pretty consistent with all my current work.”



Kimberly Rowe’s Happiness Calls for a Party gets its name from the effect that the black, velvety oil paint center has on the periphery of this otherwise acrylic painting.  “It allows the rhythm, and the music, and the cheer of the flourishes, and brush marks, and bold color that surround it, to shine.  The result is an embodiment of one of the tenets of my life: to increase happiness, decrease unhappiness,” she says. “That isn’t to say I believe in burying my problems.  But if I focus on joy, I see more of it.  In other words, if I want it, I set out to create it.  What better way to drum up at least a handful of happiness is there than to throw a party and dance?!  Just thinking of it brings a smile to my face.” Her painting will bring a smile to viewers, too. 


Max Presneill, who curated this exhibition and has a work in it, describes the show as a lead-in to a bigger exhibition planned for the Torrance Museum of Art next June. Presneill is TAM’s director, and the upcoming show will be titled Grafferists. Presneill notes “In the context of this exhibition, my piece is concerned with the act of art making itself.”

So if you’re looking for something to put a little profundity in your Thanksgiving weekend, hit Durden and Ray’s Project Space at 1950 S. Sante Fe, unit # 207, Los Angeles, CA 90021

Hours: Saturdays 11:30-5:30, or by appointment.

  • Genie Davis; all photos: Jack Burke