CONTINUING AND RECOMMENDED EXHIBITIONS
John Mason's sculptures are large totemesque
works--freestanding vetical columns made up of different geometric
shapes, and sombre earth-toned colors. These sculptures are human
in scale and stand like statues upon their white bases in the
middle of the gallery floor. Also on view are a number of Mason's
wall pieces that are studies in the overlapping of geometric forms
(Frank Lloyd Gallery).
John Mason, "Vertical Torque," stoneware,
59"h., 1997. Photo: S. Einstein
Braunstein, from the series "Boundless," photomontage,
11 x 9", 1996.
Terry Braunstein has extended the definition of photomontage
with three series of small sculptures created from found objects
(vinyl cubes, wire globes, and plastic plumber joints) into which
she has inserted select photographs and illustrations from old
manuals and turn-of-the-century textbooks. Titled Diffusion,
Navigation and Conduit, these three-dimensional
miniature stage sets operate on multiple levels. All deal with
passage (both physical and ritual), quest (spiritual desire),
elightenment (human knowledge), and transcendence (life and death):
issues that have historically both plagued and informed the human
condition. Two additional series of photomontages juxtapose images
culled from old medical books and encyclopedias. Boundless
explores the act of letting go, of taking risks; Modern Times
concerns mid-life anxiety and attempts to postpone mortality in
the Age of Technology (Craig
Krull Gallery, Santa Monica).
criticized in the 1950s for his curvilinear design of the Fountainbleau
Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, Morris Lapidus has outlived
his critics to get the last laugh. At a time when minimalism and
restraint were the rules of the game, Lapidus bucked these trends
and built dramatic showcases that the critics despised. Architects
deplored their vulgarity and lack of taste, but world travelers
adored them. Today, the 94-year-old flamboyant "Architect
of the American Dream" is being hailed as a "Mid-Century
Modernist" and "pioneer of the Ersatz Style." This
exhibit of 80 black and white photographs documents the development
of this controversial architect and the theories behind the creation
of what turned out to be Miami's most glamorous hotels (CSU
Long Beach, University Art Museum, Long Beach).
Morris Lapidus, "Seagram's Bar," 1934.
Brad Durham, "Celtic Memory #4," 71 x 56 x 2",
Wade Hoefer, "Aestuarium," o/c, 96 x 72", 1996.
In this two-man show of twenty paintings and lithographs, Wade
Hoefer and Brad Durham explore the pastoral realm of
the landscape. Hoefer uses a "picture within the picture"
motif to empasize the illusory quality of realist painting such
as landscape. Durham's landscapes are rendered in glowing earth
tones, with superimposed geometric forms that read as symbols.
Many of these works suggest dawn or evening's ethereal light.
They are romantic, pleasing to the eye, but also retain an edge
that addresses something beyond what is being represented (Diane Nelson Fine Art, Orange
Prostitution--Then and Now is a tasteful look at what is
often a shunned subject. Both color and black and white images,
abstractions of the body as well as documentary essays about places
of prostitution, are presented, dating from the early 1900's to
the present. Among the photographers included are: Nan Golden,
Mary Ellen Mark, E. J. Belloq, Brassai, Arbus, Lissette Model
and Bill Brant. Among the most compelling works in the exhibition
are Merry Alpern's grainy surveillance-like images that present
the idea of prostitution as fragmentary and distant, depicting
anonymous interactions in a bathroom. This show is less about
sex than it is about photography's ability to distance and transform
(Paul Kopeikin Gallery,
E.J. Bellocq, "Storyville Portrait, Bellocq,"
plate 11, printing out paper print, c. 1912, printed later. Photo
courtesy Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles.
In An Affinity for Nature, Barbara Simundza's landscapes
include components that comprise majestic scenery: the full moon,
a rainbow, mountains and a waterfall. The inclusion of elements
which allude to passageways --a gate, a road, an inlet of water--along
with an undercurrent of darkness, suggest a more complex view
of nature. The green forest in Road to the Stars is inviting,
but the route leads beyond, to a foreboding darkness. This is
subtle in the smaller works, stronger in a large painting, Two
Women. The figures, painted in black, are falling through
a black space, disconnected from their surroundings (The Iguana
Gallery, East Los Angeles County).
Barbara Simundza, "Two Women," a/c,
9 x 12' (2 panels).
Two European artists/photographers' works are
presented in an exhibition curated by Rosanna Albertini. Jochen
Gerz uses images of the landscape. He frames each image and
presents the framed photographs in large grids, sometimes distorting
the harmony of the rectangle while still keeping the photographs
along the grid's axis. On each of the 20 photographs presented
here is the phrase: "The opposite of one is not reproduction
but time." This line changes color, but that is the only
difference in each of the 20 images. Gerz' work combines conceptual
and philosphical questions with images of the natural world. Jean
Louis Garnell makes color photographs of people, places and
things. His work shares Gerz's conceptual agenda but his method
of presentation is vastly different. Garnell photographs everyday
objects and presents them juxtaposed against one another to create
meaning. This resembles that of many other European photographers
who matter-of-factly present what is there (Gallery Ram, Santa
Three large paintings, 16 small paintings, and
a single sculpture cohere in the work of Enrique Martinez Celaya.
The large paintings are on a translucent material that allows
the stretchers or wall behind the work to show through. Each presents
a small image: A drawing of a hopscotch game, a pair of gloves
hanging from a nail, or a yellow silhouette spewing white liquid
above the words "new of my virtue." The paintings are
more like large drawings in which the figure-ground relationship
is central. These larger works are juxtaposed with the smaller
paintings on linen, each of which has a small rendering of what
appear to be a feather or a bud. The final element is a plaster
body cast of a female figure. Hung high on the wall this figure
represents the earth. She is painted half blue for sky and half
green for earth. The show is stunning, and the works, although
ambiguous, are compelling in their elusiveness (Burnett Miller
Gallery, Santa Monica).
The Vegas Show, curated by Jeffrey Vallance,
presents the work of 10 artists who use Las Vegas as their point
of departure. All the myths and cliches associated with Vegas
appear. The glitter, the pop iconography, the lure and the seduction.
Works in the exhibition range from Charles Morgan's color photographs
to Troy Swain's sculptural installation--remakes of Power Ranger
type toys now entitled Modern Man. Also included are drawings
of religious scenes and a photograph of Area 51 (the Alien Zone)
by the Reverend Ethan Acres, as well as Vallance's own Clown
of Turin display. Other artists in this fun show include Phil
Argent, Jane Callister, Steven Molasky, Victoria Reynolds, Mary
Warner, and Mike Westfall (Rosamund
Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica).
After Pierre Menard is a conceptual exhibition
centered on rethinking the purpose of, and invisible life still
remaining in, discarded items. Six artists take up the challenge
with vigor, humor and inventiveness. Most noteworthy is David
Bunn's use of outdated library catalogue cards. He renders a series
of collages of alphabetically arranged cards. In another work,
he writes poetry based on like book titles of the card series.
Meg Cranston stacks, into piles of varying heights, old books
of assorted heroes--Harriet Tubman to Santa Claus--then dresses
the rectangular piles in fabric specific to the hero, the image
resembling a three-dimensional bar-graph. Old black and white
postcards of great works of art are arranged on the gallery walls,
turning them into wall decoration. Thus the art pictured in the
postcards becomes a new work of art (Guggenheim
Gallery, Chapman University, Orange County).
Georganne Deen's quirky narrative paintings
depict cartoon-like figures going about their business, as characters
in a mini drama. Each canvas tells its own story through fragments
of text, collaged elements, and carefully drawn figures who are
striving for a better life. The back gallery features Tom Friedman,
known for his obsessive sculptures made of ordinary materials
(like lifesavers, pencils, and plastic straws). In this exhibition
he does not disappoint. A floor work made out of clear plastic
straws is the centerpiece. Fashioned into a donut-like configuration
are hundreds of straws joined together eminating from the center
hole. This piece becomes a beautiful minimal sculpture. Also on
view attached to the wall is a tiny pencil that recedes in perspectival
space, as well as a number of obsessive drawings (Christopher
Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica).
Terri Friedman's exhibition, Water in
a Straightjacket, is a vibrant and exciting show. It is full
of kinetic sculptures that move liquid around in unbelievable
ways. Colored water moves through tubes caked with glitter. It
spurts from baby blue fabric covered tubes into a large aluminum
vat, only to be siphoned up the tube again. Friedman is a 1990's
neo-light-and-space artist who uses '60s design as her point of
departure, and '80s throw-away materials like plastic as her source
to create works about atmosphere, light, shape and sound (Special
K Exhibitions, West Hollywood).
Tim Hawkinson is a tinkerer who has an incredible
ability to make the everyday into something else. In Secret
Sync he has connected and transformed objects like a briefcase,
a Coke can, and a tube of toothpaste into time pieces, each moving
and recording the passage of time. Tucked away in a back corner
of the gallery this piece requires close examination in order
to discover Hawkinson's intervention (ACE
Contemporary Exhibitions, West Hollywood).