CONTINUING AND UPCOMING
EXHIBITIONS IN BRIEF
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Marie Thibeault, "NestBuilders Believe", o/c, 46 x 54".
These three artist prizewinners from last summer's On Site At the Gate
competition all work with dense forms and images that favor viscous, quasi-natural
textures. In what seem like slabs (or, in her sculptural installation segments,
dollops) of waxy amber Barbara Stasen embeds layer upon layer of
imagery, all of it appropriated--not quite collaged, not quite photographed--from
various sources in the artist's surroundings (personal effects, magazines,
wallpaper patterns). The nearly impenetrable jumbles of referents read more
like memories of things than as things themselves. A similar poignance pervades
Kathryn Tubbs' more aggressively installational work, conveyed both
by the crumpled, weathered textures that predominate and the strange, biomorphic
imagery that struggles to emerge from the pervasive marshiness. A mordant
wit plays around the edges of Tubbs' funky envelopes of space. Although
Marie Thiebeault is the one artist here who does not venture off
the wall, her paintings and collage-drawings also convey this sense of juicy
decay and equally tactile revivification. It is clear from details in the
work on paper, and is strongly sensed as well in the oils, that Thiebeault
is indeed referencing landscape; what is tantalizingly unclear is whether
she is painting the desert, marine life, or some intermediate bio-sphere
(Angels Gate Cultural Center, South
Sigmar Polke is an exciting
and versatile artist. He paints, he draws, he makes collages, he makes photographs
and often he combines all these mediums. In When Pictures Vanish
more than 120 pieces spanning 30 years of work are on view. The exhibition
traces Polke's use of photography in a quasichronological fashion, and moves
from representational to abstract images. Polke usually manipulates the
surface of the photograph, painting on emulsion, or marking on the surface.
He often obscures the original image--making gestural compositions that
refer back to some photographic reality (The
Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA], Downtown).
"Basic Noise: Mom and Dad in Recent American Voices", 39 speakers/135
voices/4 audio samplers/computer/random program software, 1996.
Dagmar Deming, a German artist visiting at Art Center, has created
a compelling installation entitled New To LA. This sound work utilizes
the advances in digital recording techniques to create a work in which the
multiple intonations of different people saying "mother" and "father"
are woven into an aural tapestry within the large main gallery space. A
grid of small, hanging speakers and the imposing bank of blinking computer
readout panels, where the random voice patterns are stored and relayed,
gives the impression that Demming is fearful of just how much technology
will colonize even our most primal references.. The outer walls of the gallery
have been painted in vivid colors--green, yellow and orange, and upon these
colored backgrounds are sentences that refer to sexual positions. The flowery
language of these sayings creates a double entendre and charges the walls
with meaning (Art Center College of
Design, Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery, Pasadena).
Albert Renger Patzch was
a modernist German photographer who lived from 1897-1966. He is best known
for photographs from the book The World is Beautiful. In it photographs
of flowers and the natural environment are juxtaposed with images of industrialization:
machines, tall buildings, etc. Renger Patzsch meticulously photographed
his subjects, creating sharply focused images. He was one of the first photographers
to reject the conventions of pictorialism in favor of a celebration of the
sleek and shiney. His images favored realism over subjectivity and today
are seen as amongst the first documentary images (J.
Paul Getty Museum, Malibu).
Ken Scheles' gritty black
and white photographs are urban explorations of intimate moments and chance
juxtapositions. Entitled Invisible City, this suite of images taken
on the lower east side of New York, gracefully explore the subjects of longing,
time and memory. Although Scheles' working methodology is similar to other
photographers who have chronicled the city--Robert Frank, Gary Winnogrand,
Walker Evans--these images are distinctly his own (Jan
Kesner Gallery, West Hollywood).
Kingdom of Flora is a large
and elegant group exhibition that juxtaposes contemporary and old master
images of flowers. Flowers are shown both real and sculpted, photographed
and drawn. Among the many contemporary artists well represented in this
exhibition are Adam Fuss, Doug Hall, Andy Warhol, Kiki Smith, Lily van Der
Stoker. There are also a number of historical works (Shoshana
Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica).
This sequence of three one-room one-person shows hovers around
the unifying theme of figure as subject. "Hover" because while
Anita Huffington quite forthrightly sculpts the human body out of
bronze, Dan Abramson barely refers to it in his collagetransfer-drawings.
Diane Buckler mediates between the two extemes, combining photographic
renderings of the female figure with images, also photographically derived,
of architectural details and spaces. Buckler effects these montages as low-relief
etchings in granite, conjuring ancient sculpture--and modern-day tombstones--with
equal doses of irony and elegance. Huffington's work recalls Rodin, and
especially certain of Rodin's acolytes (Bourdelle, Despiau, Saul Baizerman),
in it's emphasis on corpus as sculptural form. Despite a thoroughgoing traditionalism,
it's sensuous palpability gives Huntington's art an immediacy as compelling
as Buckler's. Abramson's work on paper, too, is rooted in a certain tradition,
that of the collage poised between texture and image. Think Rauschenberg,
think Schwitters. Think Abramson, too. His delicate approach, intimate,
restrained, notational and iconic, is as distinctive as it is delicious
(Louis Stern Fine Art, West Hollywood).