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David DiMichelle's installation has two interlocking parts: a room sized painting into which the viewer is absorbed wholly and integrally, and a window space in which photographic reproductions of other rooms enveloping other viewers are on view. The painted room itself stands between everyday decoration and bland abstraction. It is it’s inhabitation that activates it. DiMichelle knows that; it is his point to contextualize contemporary art as a spectator oriented activity. The photos are actually computer gener-ated collages where the spectators have been digitally "dropped into" small sketches by the artist. Therein lies the humor and underlying social criticism the artist levies upon the art world (CSUF Grand Central Art Center, Orange County).

David DiMichelle, "An Automatic Drawing Environ-
ment", installation, 2000. Photo: M.O. Quinn.

Nicholas Lowe and Sheridan Lowrey, "Careless
Exhibition", installation as one sculpture, 2000.
Nicholas Lowe and Sheridan Lowrey are artists/designers/architects who have created a complex and thought provoking exhibition. Here they recreate others’ works, specifically sculptures by Hiam Steinbach and Anne Hamilton, commenting on as well as transforming the experience of viewing. Each element in the exhibition is perfectly designed to work with each other. Viewers are invited to listen to tapes and press buttons, as well as to read a theoretical text that begins to deconstruct the work. Although confusing at first glance, this exhibition is one of the most stimulating and thought provoking debut installations in L.A. this year (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Hollywood).

Barbara Benish's Hybrid Histories presents a nucleus of the artist’s work from over the last decade. Installations of mostly billowing soft sculptures alternate with drawings cast into resin and sketched on parchment. Eclectic and ambitious, Benish forges ahead with an almost anthropological impulse to re-script the master narratives she finds before her. Whether it is comparing the maps of native Americans to the mappings of contemporary art or breathing a new view into recurring myths, she carefully looks for ways to graft her vision with the historically predetermined version.

The performance/installation work of the artist team of Lynne Berman and Kathy Chenoweth has antecedents in the theater of the absurd. Having amassed a sort of molecular model style, an agglomeration of shiny poles and bungy cords. The pair proceeds to construct a structural entity. What surrounds the construction of this "sculpture" and its virtual recreation is a labyrinthine set of instructions and recorded responses to the project. Participants in the Pomona College Beta-Tests will find themselves, along with Vladamir and Estragon, waiting for Godot. Perhaps the artists find this activity an apt metaphor for making art in the time warp we call ‘now’ (Pomona College, Montgomery Gallery, East L.A. County).

Barbara Benish, "Dandylion,"
steel and mixed media,
72" diameter, 1995.

Lynne Berman and
Kathy Chenoweth,
photograph from
"The Pomona College
Beta Test",


Gilbert & George, "Sex City," hand colored
photographs, 28 panels, 111 3/4 x 232 1/2", 1998.

Gilbert and George's recent photographs fill this vast gallery space. These British art stars, now in their 60s, make multiple-paneled hand colored photographic works. The artists figure prominently, both clothed or unclothed in many of their pieces, whose subject range from sexuality and disease to the ins and out of the London scene. The pair resides in their work, functioning both as spectators and commentators on the world at large. Often humorous, always witty, Gilbert and George's works are a must see for those who are not familiar with their work (Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills).

Stefanie Schneider, "Untitled
(Marlboro Sign)", C-print, 50 x 58", 1998.

Stephanie Schneider is a young artist from Germany who inaugurates this new Wilshire Boulevard space--a welcome addition to the gallery scene. For this exhibition, Schneider has push-pinned numerous enlarged snap-shot-like color photographs of her friends and of obscure landscapes. The works, in various sizes, are fuzzy and casual. They take their cues from both the world of fashion and the world of art. Although her images are sincere, the work is reminiscent of a lot of other young photographers who look to popular culture for their inspiration (Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, West Hollywood).

Mel Bochner, "Either/If/Or/Both (And)", oil/acrylic on
fourteen pre-stretched ready-mad canvases, 1999

Mel Bochner is a well known conceptual artist who began his career in the 1960s. His work is about structure and process and numbering systems. This exceptional exhibition brings together works from both the present and the past to clearly articulate the evolution in his work. Bochner's paintings are about measurement and how we perceive objects in space. If an arrow says the distance between two points is nine inches, who is to argue that it is not? Bochner questions these truths and presents his findings in complex and beautiful works (Grant Selwyn Gallery, Beverly Hills).

Frederick Sommer's contact photography works are surprisingly tantalizing even at a certain physical distance. Once you get up close, they are amazing in their depth and abstract sumptuousness. Grouped as they are, one gets to follow the artistic trajectory of his experiments and to see the variety of nuanced photos which resulted from his research. Painted cellophane and plastic surfaces (the modern miracle material) are the things he used to make an exposure on a negative, which he then printed photographically. Beautiful miniaturized non-objective images are the result. The severity of working only in shades of back and white is tempered by the richness in detail and even of mood (Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena).