Lee Krasner, "City Verticals," oil and collage on board, 41 1/4 x 31 1/8", 1953.
Lee Krasner began showing in the early 1950's. She was a powerful colorist who could get the subtlest, evocative tensions out of abstract, flowing marks. Her only mistake was to be born a women at a bad time for that sort of thing, and to have married America's macho art icon, Jackson Pollack, around whose aura there was not much room. This show is a terrific look back at Krasner's career, with a special focus on that rich creative decade between 1953 and 1963. Triple Goddess is a potent, sonorous canvas, and even when Krasner is being "sweet," as in Butterfly Weed (worked from 1957 to 1981), she still exudes a force to contend with. This must-see show reminds us that she was very much her own painter, influencing as much or more than she was influenced by her famous husband (Tasende Gallery, West Hollywood)
Peter Shire, "City on a Hill", ceramic.
Peter Shire believes that people don't really see things clearly during the course of their mundane routines. By placing his wild and zany sculptures in the context of a living room setting, he thinks that viewers will look "at" art instead of "past" art or "through" art. In Peter Shire's Living Room Circus we find his whatchamacallit coffee table standing next to a velvet chaise lounge, or wildly imaginative teapots sitting on traditional bookcase shelves. Hilarious floor lamps are arranged next to functional straight back chairs, while his Mr. Mazz unicyclist rides a tight-rope back and forth over the heads of everyone in the gallery. In the guise of absurdist comedy, this delightful exhibit has much to say about life in our contemporary culture (Palos Verdes Art Center, South Bay).
Rudy Ortiz Torrez, "Alien Toyz," installation.
In Ruben Ortiz Torres' installation, Alien Toyz one has the opportunity to see Salvador "Chava" Munoz's infamous low rider truck separated within the gallery. Also on view is Gomez Bueno's exhibition entitled Board Graphics. Here, Bueno's wild graphics can been seen in both their incarnations--paintings on canvas as well as on skate boards and snow boards (Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica).
Unknown photographer, Untitled (Two Men Playing Chess), date unknown.
A sad elegance abounds in And I Still See their Faces: Images of Polish Jews. We are used to seeing the horrors of the Holocaust and the aftermath of Jewish lives capsized by World War II. It is rarer and somehow almost harder to see these lives as they existed, full of promise and dignity, before Hitler. These are mostly anonymous family photos--young scholars playing chess in a park, a family of winsome adolescents, village elders reading the daily paper outside a stone brick building--gathered along with diaries, poems and letters by the Warsaw-based SHALOM Foundation. There are 456 photographs of those culled, and they collectively convey the rich culture of Polish Jews from the late 19th Century through 1940 (Museum of Tolerance, West Los Angeles).
Susan Weller, "Anatole XXVII," monotype/mixed media, 16 x 12".
Susan Weller presents a profound and sensitive body of paintings on canvas and paper, and monotypes Landmarks/Watermarks. Borne out of personal tragedy, the artist looks at life's metaphysical journey and depicts two general forms it takes. She creates colorful abstract representations of land masses and architectural ruins, symbolizing the known signposts that guide us through life. Then there are immense seas--where markings disappear and, without maps we must chart our course alone. The Beautiful Swimmer shows a lone swimmer submerged in the sea. Despite her strong and perfect body, amid lush colored markings, the swimmer must find her way out of the watery maze. The universality of these themes and the manner in which they are executed gives Weller's art a timeless, even a primordial look, somewhat reminiscent of ancient pictographs. The dominant imagery of simple markings, often circular shapes contrasted by horizontal lines, draws the viewer in to explore the many engaging details the artists renders (Diane Nelson Gallery, Orange County).
Catherine Opie, "Untitled #40," from the "Freeway" series, platinum print, 1994-95.
The urban landscape has long been a subject of fascination for Catherine Opie and in this, her first solo museum exhibition, two bodies of work are presented. These include abstract photographs of freeways as well as her more recent series of mini-malls. Both series are black and white. Whereas the freeways are precious palladium prints, the mini-malls are large scale Iris prints. Seeing these two bodies of work together gives viewers a chance to see aspects of Opie's interpretation of the Los Angeles landscape (Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA], Downtown).