Articles
MARCH, 2015

 

 

 

Our current Previews feature our editors' and contributing writers' evaluations of exhibition that open or continue into the current month, so as to provide you with the opportunity to view those that are of interest to you.

 

To look up past articles you can go to our archive of Articles forward from April, 2010; or the ArtScene Articles Archive prior to April, 2010 will be called up from a database separate from those starting April, 2010, so you will experience differences in appearance and navigation.

 

Here are our Previews and Recommendations for March, 2015.

 
ROBERT WILLIAMS

 

Robert Williams, “Pathos in Paper Mache"

 

 

February 21 - April 19, 2015 at Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Hollywood

by Elenore Welles

 

 

Conceptual Realist Robert Williams’ psychedelic cartoon paintings bring a history of art parody into the contemporary sphere. Cartoony grotesqueries and caricatures go as far back as Pompeii, with the popularity of this ironic art form continuing throughout ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. By the late Middle Ages, artists as singular as Leonardo da Vinci raised satirical lampoons to a high art, inspiring future artists such Monet and Daumier to use the art form for political and social purposes. Versions of rebel art, such as those conceived by Williams, continue to thrive and persist as centers of controversy. Often provoking strong emotions, one need only to look to the recent events at Charlie Hebdo for testament to its quite real and perceived power.

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DANI TULL

 

Dani Tull, “Sunset Trip (for Olivia)”

 

 

February 28 - April 11, 2015 at LAM Gallery, Hollywood

by Suvan Geer

 

 

The way Dani Tull mixes painting, sculpture and installation makes for a mad romp through all kinds of interconnected but unrelated metaphors for developing consciousness. For this exhibit, entitled “From Enchantment to Eschaton” (words stretching from alpha to omega in differing belief structures), the artist tumbles together all kinds of allusions. Along the way he visits mind bending psychological states, tosses off bits of flotsam from America’s popular culture and warms up experiences from different points in time. Interestingly the eras and their associations often feel both familiar yet distinctly strange at the same time.

 

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FRED TOMASELLI

 

Fred Tomaselli, “Feb 11, 2009,” 2014, collage, gouache and archival inkjet print on watercolor paper, 10 3/4 x 12”.

 

 

February 15 - May 24, 2015 at the Orange County Museum of Art [OCMA], Orange County

by Jeanne Willette

 

 

Native son Fred Tomaselli moved to New York City in the mid-eighties, leaving Disneyland and its mind-bending take on faux experiences behind. Veterans of the LA art scene in the nineties remember his pill-laden offerings that found their way back to the local galleries. Although Tomaselli’s immersion in the local drug culture of Orange County led him to earn his reputation as an artist who embedded pharmaceuticals in resin covered collages, this latest body of work runs away from pleasure and escapism to confront the daily reality of the twenty-first century. That realism arrives daily upon his Brooklyn doorstep with the thump of a tossed copy of The New York Times. As all inveterate readers of the Times know, the major stories of the day can be easily grasped according to a layout formula long emulated by most print media. The most important events are “above the fold,” announced by a large photograph centered between a left hand column (less important) and a right hand column (most important) headlining the day’s leading stories. One day, Tomaselli’s attention was captured by a recent arrest of a financial wizard, caught in a brilliant moment of fate’s cruel irony.

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YU JI

 

Yu Ji, “Passage”

 

 

February 23 - March 19, 2015 at Saddleback College Art Gallery, Orange County

by Liz Goldner

 

 

Figurative artist Yu Ji presents an impressive body of work, using as his inspiration his years growing up in China’s rugged countryside during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, where he received contraband art training from fellow detainees. Other influences include his later study of figurative artwork at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Art, at art schools in France and the U.S., and his lifelong practice of sketching people in public places. With this background, the artist creates detailed drawings that have the practiced artistry and emotional depth of 20th century Ashcan School works. Some of his artistic heroes, including Robert Henri and Raphael Soyer, were giants of that school.

 

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DAVID KAPP

 

David Kapp, “Wall Street I, Looking Up”

 

 

February 28 - April 10, 2015 at Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica

by Jody Zellen

 

 

David Kapp’s frenetic paintings depict the urgency of urban life. He delights in the colors and shapes of the city and makes paintings that celebrate movement. Kapp, based in New York City, can walk down the street or look out his window for inspiration. He transforms his observations into delightful compositions in which the play between human forms and architecture is paramount. Although he acknowledges the importance of painters like Henri Matisse, Willem De Kooning, Franz Kline, David Park and Richard Diebenkorn, his work is uniquely his own. His paintings, while all urban themed, range from a focus on a particular street corner or intersection, as in “Lafayette Street South,” to the bustling crowds crossing the street or waiting in a ticket line.

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CHRISTINE FRERICHS

 

Christine Frerichs, “Aubade"

 

 

March 7 - April 11, 2015 at KlowdenMann Gallery, Culver City

by Andy Brumer

 

 

The matter of artistic influence unfolds with poetic grace, intellectual rigor, as well as a fierce quality of engagement in this collection of paintings by the young and immensely talented Christine Frerichs. In her large sturdy, colorful, yet tender mixed media works on canvas, all displaying thick, textured layers of paint often scarred and molded into sculptural relief, one readily perceives echoes of Jackson Pollock, Larry Poons, Jay DeFeo, Anselm Kiefer, Antoni Tapies, the later work of Brice Marden and even the cosmic creaminess of Vincent Van Gogh. However, unlike the angst ridden struggle with one’s artistic precursors, the likes of which the literary critic Harold Bloom analyzes in his book "The Anxiety of Influence," Frerich’s paintings all present both feeling and proof of confident independence.

 

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CONTINUED AND RECOMMENDED, MARCH 2015

 

Larry Sultan, “My Mother Posing for Me” from “Pictures from Home,” 1984, chromogenic print, 28 1/2 x 34 7/16”, is currently on view at LACMA.

 

 

Rarely does work that is, for all intents and purposes, documentary photography, carry as much density, relevance and visual intensity as Larry Sultan’s. His most notorious work comes out of his circa-turn-of the- 21st -century series “The Valley,” within which he recorded the down-time moments on- and off-set of pornography films, shot in neighborhoods like Woodland Hills. Despite depicting, at least in theory, moments of banality (two crew members nap on either end of a couch, an actress in curlers posed nonchalantly between them), Sultan extracted every ounce of Baroqueness from them. Their inevitable proximity to the onset action, however contrived, permeates the vintage kitschy Valley environs. There are great non-porn images here as well, including an adolescent perched meditatively on a high-end suburban roof above a backyard expanse, his existence lying somewhere along the spectrum between impending suicide and private superhero-dom. Other attention-holding series include the late '70s/early '80s “Swimmers,” featuring dramatically surreal underwater portraits, and the relatively recent “Homeland,” with Latino men moving biblically through sweeping Bay Area landscapes. Yet the works arguably most associated with Sultan's oeuvre and eventual legacy are the photos he took of his parents — mostly separate, even when together — from the series “Pictures from Home” (1983-92). The vulnerability conveyed by these portraits, more implicit than explicit, can be cycled back to the artist himself as much as his aging retiree parental subjects, as their exposure, whether via carefully constructed repose or cinema verité, is, by necessity, also the artist's. It's a dynamic that recalls writer Philip Roth: family is where the gold is, but just what to expose or withhold remains a persistently tricky path to navigate (Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA], Miracle Mile).

Michael Shaw

 

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FEBRUARY, 2015

 

 

 

Our current Previews feature our editors' and contributing writers' evaluations of exhibition that open or continue into the current month, so as to provide you with the opportunity to view those that are of interest to you.

 

To look up past articles you can go to our archive of Articles forward from April, 2010; or the ArtScene Articles Archive prior to April, 2010 will be called up from a database separate from those starting April, 2010, so you will experience differences in appearance and navigation.

 

Here are our Previews and Recommendations for February, 2015.

 
“BOTTICELLI, TITIAN AND BEYOND: MASTERPIECES OF ITALIAN PAINTING FROM GLASGOW MUSEUMS”

 

Sandro Botticelli, “Annunciation”

 

 

February 8 - May 3, 2015at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara

by Mario Cutajar

 

 

We can thank the quaint Victorian belief in the improving power of art for the astutely assembled collection of Italian, Dutch and Flemish works that Archibald McLellan bequeathed to the city of Glasgow upon his death in 1854. The bequest of 510 paintings came with a price. McLellan, who had made his money as a coachbuilder and then extended his interest to real estate development, had died insolvent, and the city had to come up with the funds to pay off his debts before it could get hold of the paintings. Some on the Town Council questioned whether this was worth it, one councilman going so far as to dismiss the collection as rubbish and another expressing reservations about the nude figures in some of the pictures. In the end, however, more discerning heads prevailed with the aid of testimony from expert evaluators. The city ponied up and the collection passed into its hands along with the buildings in which McLellan had intended to house it. In the subsequent century, the McLellan collection became the nucleus that attracted other bequests and enabled Glasgow Museums to amass holdings that encompassed a broad range of European art.

 

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