|CONTINUING AND RECOMMENDED, JUNE 2016|
Robert Mapplethorpe, "Lisa Lyon," 1982, gelatin silver print. Promised gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Whether the subject is portraits of celebrities or personal friends, nudes, floral still-lifes or his controversial “X Portfolio” depicting the gay S&M community, Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography is dominated by formalism — the sculptural nature of forms and an obsessive attention to detail. His highly prolific art career was cut short at age 46 due to complications of AIDS, but his mostly black and white photographs, as seen in this joint retrospective “The Perfect Medium" at two of L.A.’s premier museums, are stunningly distilled images that retain their capacity to mesmerize, shock and amaze us. His work reflects American cultural markers of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s — the sexual revolution and those marginalized by it, queer and gender issues, fashion and music and art icons. The subjects of his photographs were always people in his own personal world, starting with the long-standing friendship with Patti Smith; his long-time lover, patron and curator Sam Wagstaff; and himself. His photographs of African-American men in both portraits and nudes are posed to remind us of finely chiseled classical nude sculptures. Mapplethorpe's collaboration with female body builder Lisa Lyon challenged the era's notions of ideal female beauty.
LACMA’s exhibition includes work from early in his career, including jewelry he designed and assemblages using clothing, collage and constructions inspired by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Installation works incorporate Catholic iconography drawn from his family's Catholic background. And appropriated imagery is lifted from homosexual periodicals. Elements of “dress up,” theater and playfulness are also expressed, especially in his portraiture. His goal of physical perfection in his models, as well as in the crafting of the photographic prints themselves, is visible throughout. The scope of Mapplethorpe’s work, seen twenty-seven years after his death, is additionally fascinating for its connection to the formative social issues surrounding gender and identity issues (Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA], Miracle Mile and J. Paul Getty Museum, West Los Angeles).
Gershon, “Stack of Two Delftware Bowls,” 2015, oil on panel, 19 1/2 x 19 1/2”, is currently on view at Lora Schlesinger.
“Abstraction” includes the visceral and engaging work of Miya Ando, Richard Bruland, Sophia Dizon Dillo, Mark Steven Greenfield and Maxwell Hendler. Each artist’s unique take on the conceptual form of abstraction it both tactile and thought-provoking. Ando’s “Forest Green Meditation Mandala,” utilizes dyed bodhi skeleton leaves and microfilament to create a delicate, surreal dandelion puff, or an imploded planet, mounted on archival tagboard. Her dye-printed “Clouds” shimmer from an aluminum surface. Equally engaging are Dillo’s nearly transparent works, their illuminative qualities driven by her fascination with the use of light and shadow. Richard Bruland’s technique involves painting flat acrylic grids on panel. Covering the grids in thick paint, Bruland creates peaks and valleys, colorful moonscapes. Seeking to create depth, the artist’s work invites viewers to wade into the image, and look beneath the surface to the visual and metaphorical layers in his work. Hendler’s minimalist colored objects use numerous layers of resin on wood. Greenfield creates intricate, intensely detailed pen and ink on Dura-Lar. Also on exhibit is Gershom's solo show, “Silence is a Thing I See.” These pristine still-life paintings feature precisely rendered objects, works focused on texture, color, and light. His oil on panel “Stack of Two Delftware Bowls” takes a simple kitchen cloth and a pair of blue and white bowls and makes them eternal (Lora Schlesinger Gallery, Santa Monica).
Dirk Braeckman, “X.L.-I.C.-16,” 2016, gelatin silver print, 47 1/4 x 31 1/2", is currently on view at ROSE.
Dirk Braeckman is a Belgian photographer currently living in Ghent who has exhibited nationally and internationally since the mid-1980s. His black and white photographs are purposely dark in tonality giving the images enigmatic and mysterious air. His depictions of people, places and things are printed at such low contrast levels that they seem solarized, and it is often difficult to distinguish the foreground from the background. Braeckman has become a master at manipulating his imagery in the darkroom, where he often transforms a banal subject into something delicate, evocative and extraordinary. By minimizing contrast and keeping his images dark, gray and at times out of focus, he transforms the ordinary and the visible — that which can be photographed— into something other-wordly. Braeckman remarks, “Photography is, for me, an almost obsessive attempt to scan, in my own way, everything around me, everything I meet, driven by the desire to give order to chaos. With or without a camera” (ROSEGALLERY, Santa Monica).
Lorenzo Maria Raymond de’ Medici, “Il Buio (Lux),” 2014, mixed media, is currently on view at the Italian Cultural Institute.
Historian and artist Prince Lorenzo Maria Raymond de' Medici knows how to captivate his viewers through mixed-media works that combine Italian Renaissance and 20th Century Pop Art. The exhibit offers an introduction to his famed ancestors, the de’ Medici family, who ruled Florence and later Tuscany during most of the Renaissance. Apart from controlling the economic and political life in Florence, they were patrons of the arts, sponsoring artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo da Vinci. They also hired architect Filippo Brunelleschi to design the sacristy of San Lorenzo and to astronomer and philosopher Galileo Galilei, who worked for them as a tutor. The show revolves around “Lorenzo discovers America,” a portrait of Lorenzo il Magnifico, considered to be the most versatile and brilliant member of the de’ Medici family, portrayed against a backdrop of the American flag. Then there is “Il Moro” that depicts Alessandro de' Medici, who generated buzz among art historians. Some recognized him as the only son of Lorenzo II de’ Medici (grandson of Lorenzo il Magnifico), born to Simonetta da Collevecchio, a servant of African descent. A few believed him to be the illegitimate son of Giulio de’ Medici, who became Pope Clement VII. There’s also “Medici Pop Armour”, a ceramic and gold leaf sculpture of a Medici helmet; the “Medici Family Letter Collage;” and a golden framed painting of the Villa Medicea di Cafaggiolo, which served as a meeting place for some of the greatest intellectuals of the Renaissance. Other intriguing works are inspired by some eighty originals owned by the artist’s father (Italian Cultural Institute, West Los Angeles).
George Condo, “Orange and Green Diagonal Portrait,” 2016, acrylic, oil and oil pigment stick on canvas, 84 x 82”, is currently on view at Sprüth Magers.
George Condo's large expressionistic paintings are in-your-face confrontational. They take their point of departure from other artists — Warhol, Goya and Picasso — and while some of the paintings are self-portraits, they are simultaneously nods to the masters. Many of the paintings follow the broken-apart-cubist-style, yet are simultaneously cartoon-like reinterpretations of Picasso's and Goya's characters. Condo's two homages to Warhol divide the canvas into quadrants, each of the 4 sections depicting a slightly different expressively painted image of the artist's head. Titles such as "Self Portrait Facing Cancer" contextualize the brooding mood of the artist. Through bright color and wide expressive brush strokes, Condo successfully imbues these paintings with life even as they take on despair (Sprüth Magers, Miracle Mile).
Elliott Hundley, “There is No ore Firmament” installation view, 2016, currently on view at Regen Projects.
Elliott Hundley's latest accumulation of organized chaos is also his best to date. "There Is No More Firmament" feels like an appropriate title for this election season, but Hundley doesn't engage (or work) in such short-term timeframes. Indeed the name and the show's inspiration are derived from an Artaud play. As has been the case in previous efforts, the (one) sculpture and a couple of paint-only works feel extraneous at best and highly inferior at worst, but they're unassuming enough to not get in the way of his bread-and-butter — collage-based works incorporating magazine and photo cut-outs, mixed-media sculptural elements, including things like mirrored tea candle holders and abalone, painting, and his signature bobby-pinned cropped photo specimens floating several inches off the surface. Referencing Artaud, compared with the Greek tragedies that have been his source in the past, means modern pop-cultural imagery has infiltrated the premises, adding a certain familiarity, and, well … pop flavor. But as always and to Hundley’s credit, the imagery is too dense and visually and referentially complex for one to get too firm a handle on it. You may never get the same read twice, and, given your willingness to accept that, will be easily (and happily) swept up into Hundley's maelstroms (Regen Projects, Hollywood).
Doran Gazit, three “Frozen Flow” sculptures, currently on view at The Loft at Liz’s.
Nature’s power and beauty is harnessed in “Elements.” Six artists, Doron Gazit, Michael Giancristiano, Moses Hacmon, Luigia Martelloni, Jeff Frost and Joan Wulf present transcendental images that collectively fuse to embody fire, air, water, and earth. Environmental artist Gazit provides incandescent wind sculptures that shift and undulate, effectively visualizing the invisible. His kinetic sculptures, “Frozen Flow,” are sinuous and alive, breathing a breath of astonishing air into the exhibition. Equally riveting, Martelloni's earth installation involves crystals, dirt, a wooden cartwheel and a triptych of paper prints. The works’ tactile nature is imbued with energy. Bathed in whites, reds, browns, golds and pinks, it's like digging into the psyche of the earth itself.
Wulf burns her impressions of fire directly onto canvas, creating a type of pyrographic art that has the resonance of ancient cave paintings, the shape of fossilized fish, or serves as an aperture that leads into a new world risen from the ashes of the old. In some cases the rust colored abstract patterns and shapes also utilize metal, water and air in their creation of shapes as unique as the flames she paints with. Also working with fire, burnished video images seduce the eye in Frost’s vivid “Firechasers.”
Hacmon invented a technique to capture images of water. His liquid film process is presented on aluminum, creating blue depths that shimmer with the illusion that the viewer is looking at water pressed against a silvery window. Giancristiano’s representations of air feature air plants, growing on functional handbags and sprouting from circular white panels that have a mystic and tribal feel. Conceptually working with the idea of “reanimated organisms,” the artist uses dirt and other living, interchangeable organic materials to create his art (The Loft at Liz’s, Miracle Mile).
Valerie Green, “IMG7478 (auto-rotate),” 2016, dye sublimation on aluminum, 40 x 30”, is currently on view at Moskowitz Bayse.
Studio-based digital processes used to create artwork about making art, could, in lesser hands, be the equivalent of artistic navel-gazing. Valerie Green’s “Left to My Own Devices” goes beyond the self-referential and into a world that presents a different dimension, a different universe. Crafted by photographing her own images on a computer, smartphone or tablet, employing the use of a liquid spray cleaner as a prism, Green creates a surreal and colorful landscape. She also re-photographs her original images, slicing, dicing, and dissecting them into multi-dimensional confetti. Some are seen here as hand-punched and self-titled “Perforations,” others are shredded or pinned “Labels.”
Green has been working in this manner for several years. “Originally I used a solid grey computer screen and liquid from lens cleaner that created its own lens on the screen. The image I’m spraying on now is a screen with other images,” the artist relates. She also uses Photoshop editing tools, such as the iconic black and white “marching ants,” as an additional visual layer on some works, although she does not actually use Photoshop to create the works themselves. By translating virtual space from 2D to 3D, Green creates a near-translucent world that reflects the inner color of today’s technology-driven society (Moskowitz Bayse, West Hollywood).
Penelope Umbrico, "Bad Display (Drawings/eBay)," group of 42, 2016, color laser print on acetate, each 8 1/2 x 11”, dimension variable overall, is currently on view at Mark Moore.
Penelope Umbrico is a Brooklyn-based artist who has made a career out of using search engines to scan the internet for imagery, transforming her finds into compelling series of photographic works based on selective clustering and categorizing the found images. Her first series — "Suns from Flickr," which began in 2006 — has grown to include over 500,000 images based on the search for sunsets. For that series Umbrico had thousands of small prints made from the images, which she sequenced and presented as large expansive grids. In her current series "Bad Display," Umbrico focuses on images not only from, but of the computer screen. Fascinated by the images she encountered where it seemed impossible to make a non-reflective image of a screen, she broadened her search on sites like Craig's List and eBay looking specifically for images of screens presented for resale. What she found were images with highlights and light-bursts from a flash that illuminate scratches and streaks on the seller's screen. These "glitches" are the sought-after nuances in Umbrico's appropriation of these images. The installation of “Bad Display" images spans the gallery walls, filling them with variously sized photographs, some black and white, others color. Umbrico's presentation transforms these found and anonymous photographs of screens into something aesthetically pleasing. Her work is as much about the individual image as it is about the installation, though more often than not she organized her appropriated imagery into grids or leans them against the wall, which foregrounds the group rather than the unique image. Umbrico also presents images of useless hardware and cables as well as a series in which the seller has illuminated the screen's defect by a circle or arrow. Her expansive project reflects on the seemingly infinite similarities and differences that can be found by Google searching a particular word.
In "Ersatz Infinities" Christopher Russell continues his exploration of the relationship between photography and drawing. Russell begins with a colored photograph of a fuzzy or out of focus landscape. He then scratches into the surface creating a pattern that aggregates the textured white lines that emerge from ripping the image's surface. Often the drawn element parallels what is depicted in the original photograph, echoing the shapes within the imagery. For example, what appear to be mountains become triangles filled with intricate floral patterns. Russell's delicate lines and carefully constructed patterns as beautiful, but can also be seen as violations of the pristine surface of the photograph. Nonetheless, this scaring of the surface has a seductive appeal. Russell's works investigate the relationship between construction and destruction as he in many ways destroys the surface of the work, while simultaneously using the act of mark-making to enliven the work's content (Mark Moore Gallery, Culver City).
“Default” installation, 2016, is currently on view at Honor Fraser.
"Default" is a compelling group exhibition put together by Eden Phair that investigates the word of the title. A default is a preselected setting provided by a computer program that is implemented when no choice is made by the user. A default can be thought of as a readymade, as a basic template or as a fall-back. Each of the ten artists included (Trisha Baga, Morgan Canavan, Cheryl Donegan, Victoria Fu, Guthrie Lonergan, Miami-Dutch, Erin Jane Nelson, Adam Parker Smith, Jesse Stecklow, and Mungo Thomson) fall into the so called post-internet genre of art-making, as they use pre-existing content for their points of departure: found imagery or video, basic computer software and mass produced objects. The group works in wide range of media: video, installation and sculpture. They consistently take advantage of myriad ways, manipulating both the form and the content of the originals. While there was a definitive appropriationist strategy that was associated with works made in the 1980s and 1990s, works today that investigate “givens," accept those "givens" at face value rather than challenging the notion of media or mediated culture. The show is also interesting for its presentation of artworks by younger artists (an exception being Cheryl Donegan, born in 1962) who deal with the content and the context of the world that surrounds them as found rather than created (Honor Fraser, Culver City).
Douglas Tausik, “Venus,” 2016, wood, 63 x 56", is currently on view at Jason Vass.
“Before the Bridge” is a singular exhibition. Deborah Brown, Dan Callis, Mark Dutcher, Cynthia MacAdams, Douglas Tausik and Gene Vass offer works intended to serve as transitional marker before the coming demolition of the Sixth Street bridge, which stands cheek-to-jowl alongside the gallery. Tausik’s “Venus” is a massive, fecund wood sculpture created in response to his wife’s pregnancy. Tausik’s large-scale work is abstract but utilizes a classically figurative image of “Venus" as mother. Transition doesn’t get any more profound than this beautiful, serene piece. Dan Callis exhibits paintings that seem to glow from within, presenting images whose dense layers subvert and deconstruct our common understanding of space. His “Open” uses a pastel salmon pink behind an almost translucent blue. The structures each reflect a sunset as vast as it is encompassing. A non-linear patch of blue rises like a tidal wave to one side.
Mark Dutcher’s abstract painting also presents images of contemporary landscape, here writ on canvases as large as the city itself with black lines weaving a seductive and urgently flowing landscape. His “I am Hart Crane,” blue with black graphite lines, evokes rivers, roads and veins. Deborah Brown’s “I Thought I Could Handle It” is an immediately riveting sculpture, combining female torso and legs with a mushroom head, evoking the female body as transformed by the magic-mushroom of male desire. Brown’s treatment of feminine sexuality and identity is as provocative as it is visually arresting. Likewise, photographer Cynthia MacAdams deals with the aesthetics of feminism in iconic photographs of both sexes that arrest the eye and intrigue the mind. Abstract expressionist Gene Vass offers dark, monolithic shapes with slivers of light slipping through images of dominance or despair. An altogether strong show, “Before the Bridge” connects multiple artists and disciplines with its powerful perspective on change (Jason Vass Gallery, Downtown).
Lewis deSoto, “Paranirvana (Self Portrait), 2015, painted vinyl infused cloth, electric air fan, dimensions variable, is currently on view at Santa Barbara Museum. Courtesy of Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.
"Puja and Piety" is a sprawling exhibition featuring Hindu, Jain and Buddhist Art from the Indian Subcontinent. The approximately 160 works are drawn from the Museum's vast collection and span 2,000 years. In the courtyard area, before the entrance to "Puja and Piety," visitors will encounter a new work by Lewis deSoto commissioned for the museum to coincide with "Puja and Piety." DeSoto's remarkable sculpture is part of his ongoing "Paranirvana (Self-Portrait)" series of oversized inflatable figures, resting calmly on their side, based on the 12th-century Buddha at Gal Vihara in Sri Lanka. "Paranirvana (Self-Portrait)" is a meditation on life and death that was also inspired by his father's passing. Thinking about the questions: What happens after you die? What is that experience like? The Buddhist event of paranirvana, nirvana-after-death, lies at the conceptual center of these sculptures. Being inflatable, the works are large but light. DeSoto personalizes them by superimposing his features onto the Buddha's face. The sculpture in the museum is re-inflated each morning and deflated each night, an allusion to the idea that the sculpture inhales and exhales its spiritual breath. A soft hum emanates from the form, furthering the metaphor that the work is alive. These engaging sculptures are simultaneously monumental and ethereal, and constitute a complex and seductive dialogue between the formal qualities of the sculpture, and the very personal matter of life and death (Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara).
Andrea Polli, “Sonic Antarctica,” 2009, installation in Deep North, Transmediale 09, The House of World Cultures, Berlin Germany, currently on view at MCA Santa Barbara. Courtesy the Artist.
"Beyond 2 Degrees" is a thought-provoking group exhibition about the environment and the exploitation of natural resources as seen through the work of ten international artists: Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares, Carolina Caycedo, Olga Kisseleva, Nicholas Mangan, Otobong Nkanga, Robert Zhao Renhui, Andrea Polli, Amie Siegel and Melanie Smith. Each artist has ample space to display their project — ranging from a suite of images to site specific installations. Among the most compelling works are Kisseleva's looping projection "Arctic Conquistadors" in which a map of the Arctic region programmatically becomes layered with corporate logos. Polli's "Sonic Antartica" invites viewers to lie on the floor under a tent-like canopy illuminated by projected imagery and a sound track recorded during her seven-week National Science Foundation residency. Also of note is Siegel's glowing photographs of radioactive minerals and pages from Singapore-based artist Zhao Renhui's book "A Guide to the Flora and Fauna in the World," where he artfully and somewhat ironically depicts genetically modified species of animals and plants that according to the artist "have evolved in often unexpected ways to cope with the stresses and pressures of a changed world." Though the exhibition space is a squeeze for the volume of work, the exhibition resonates (Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara).
Monica Wyatt, “San Andreas 3,” 2016, found materials, is currently on view at South Bay Contemporary.
A wide range of three-dimensional urban landscapes comprise “Skyline,” a powerful group show entirely mounted on a 7-inch shelf that traverses the walls of the exhibit space, creating one continuous, if diverse, urban silhouette. Curated by Ben Zask, 38 participating artists contribute sculptural pieces to fit the shelf space, with most of the works made from mixed media and found material. Some pieces are poetic and fluid, as with Cie Gumucio’s “The Skyscraper that Dreamed of Being a Tree.” The work features a branched tree image and a mesh skyscraper bent to emulate it. “It’s about the power of longing,” Gumucio says. Elsewhere in the installation, Gumucio has crafted a whimsical diorama, “If Ever a Wiz There Wuz,” presenting the story of the Wizard of Oz with found materials such as an Emerald City whose spires are created from the broken shards of a street lamp.
Wood sculptures by Monica Wyatt, such as “San Andreas 3” and “San Andreas 2” use shape and form to convey what could be an urban disaster. Their positioning contrasts with David Lovejoy’s “You said to meet on the Bridge,” a more representational work that offers a look at balance and nuance, an elaborate bridge constructed from salvaged wood and piano parts. Other standouts include Anne Weber’s “Portal,” an entrance into an unknown world crafted from found cardboard and polyurethane. June Diamond’s untitled ethereal, jewel-like metal and recycled glass pieces glow in vivid blues and greens. The artist says she dreamed the images she created. Dream or reality, “Skyline” is a landscape to be savored (South Bay Contemporary, San Pedro).
Patrick Fraser, “In-N-Out OC,” 2016, photograph, 13 x 19”, is currently on view at the Orange County Great Park.
“Smile: Expressions of Orange County” is a feel-good photography show that began with The Photographic Society of Orange County’s documentation of the OC during the 2014 Labor Day holiday. Along with the requisite beach, surfer, harbor and Disneyland scenes, there are several settings that tell us something about middle America. These include an elderly man playing pool in Laguna Niguel, a meat laden butcher department in Santa Ana, the art deco style façade of the Gem Theater in Garden Grove and a young clerk in a Los Alamitos donut shop. Inspired by these images, the gallery’s curators approached other photographers, amassing images from 34 cities, and a few unincorporated ones.
Of all the pictures in this show, a wall of ten images of In-N-Out Burger joints from Westminster to Irvine by Patrick Fraser draw significant attention. While the viewers were absorbed in searching for their favorite burger places, a larger perspective of these similar but distinctive red and white buildings evokes Ed Ruscha’s gas station series. Another compelling series is Nathan Vernes’ ten images of parked cars. Yet instead of shooting glossy high-end autos, the photographer chose old, weathered vehicles, including one faded green car with a crashed in driver’s door. Sam Tenney’s “Backyard Sumo” depicts two local wrestlers in a Garden Grove backyard. But the most famous images here are three of dogs in an animal shelter by Seth Casteel. The first image is of a poorly groomed but happy dog, a departure from the typical animal shelter shot. The other two are of delightfully playful dogs in pools, shot from underwater. These were part of a bestselling photography book of underwater dogs (Orange County Great Park Gallery at the Palm Court, Orange County).
Mischa Askenazy, “Sunset Blvd.,” 1935, oil on canvas, 20 x 24”, is currently on view at the Irvine Museum.
Granville Redmond’s “Untitled, Moonlight Marsh” is a thickly painted deep blue oil that is a fantasy interpretation of a marsh illuminated only by moonlight. Its reference to the beauty and importance of water makes it a natural component of “The Nature of Water: Our Most Precious Resource.” This show opens with charts documenting how a fixed quantity of water has remained in place for hundreds of millions of years, and how the amount of water on Earth is being cycled through the ocean, sky and land. The paintings illuminate the variety of forms in which water appears — through streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, rain and snow. The oldest painting is Thomas Hill’s “Following the Trail, Hetch Hetchy” (1868), depicting a verdant stream that was later dammed up to provide water for Los Angeles. Misha Askenazy's contrasting “Sunset Boulevard” shows a rain and windswept street with ramshackle buildings, flooded walkways and people huddled to shield themselves from the downpour. The image transports us to the early days of the iconic thoroughfare. Ruth Lotan’s watercolor “Lightning Storm” is a vivid illustration of an ominous gray sky and lightning over a broad expanse of farmland. Large, puffy white clouds dominate 80 percent of Paul Grimm’s “Cloudy Sky.” Guy Rose’s “Pt. Lobos” is a dramatic rendition of this Carmel area tourist destination, its rock formations rising out of the blue ocean. These and the other paintings gather for this show help advocate an important mission — to preserve our precious and vanishing environment (Irvine Museum, Orange County).
David White, “TARP Reform,” 2016, detail of installation, is currently on view at Space 4 Art.
San Diego takes as its nickname America’s Finest City, but David White’s exhibit challenges how the urban environment of the eighth largest city in the United States is being transformed without respect for history or its current residents. There has been a movement back to central cities by a younger generation in recent years, a reversal of the post-World War II period that sought comfort and a better life in the suburbs. Right outside the doors of Space 4 Art Gallery is an enormous apartment building called Pinnacle on the Park, a development that is critiqued by White throughout the installation. A quote by Neil Smith is written on the wall of the gallery that contextualizes his framework: “The idea of ‘urban pioneers’ is an insult applied to contemporary cities as the original idea of ‘pioneers’ in the U.S. West. Now as then, it implies that no one lives in the areas being pioneered — no one worthy of notice, at least.”
The exhibit features several photographs of the Pinnacle building and juxtaposes them with screen shots from websites like Mike’s Hard Lemonade that suggest what urban living can look like. The artist pushes these ideas further by creating light boxes from trash removal and impounded property notices linked to the construction project. The enormous vinyl banner that hangs on the central wall is perhaps the most powerful image, as it features the completed Pinnacle building with bright yellow and blue tarps hung over a homeless person’s belongings in the foreground. These tarps were distributed to the homeless population in 2015 and contradict the investments/apartments in the new structure in the background. While tactical urbanism sounds like a good idea, White intends to reveal there are harmful ideologies present in San Diego that are not inclusive to its residents and shortsighted for a population that never left the city (Space 4 Art, San Diego).
G. James Daichendt
Jeff Ray, “Decaying Bunker, Pacifica California” (detail) 2016, mixed media, is currently on view at San Diego State University.
An atheist who loves cathedrals? Take San Francisco Bay Area artist Jeff Ray. His multi-sensory exhibition of “Cathedrals” is comprised of photography, video, sculpture, drawing, sound and multi-media expresses a love of architecture and nature. Starting with photographs of interiors and exteriors of cathedrals, houses, commercial buildings, ships and bridges, Ray overlays multi-colored ‘lines’ to create geometric shapes. Many of his works are created on graph paper, some with LED backlighting, which feature Ray’s narratives and investigations of architectural spaces and their interface with the landscape and surrounding environment. The geometric drawing atop and within these photos lends them depth. Ray is on an obsessive search to locate the multi-dimensional layers found in both visible and implied architectural spaces. Some of the works include Ray’s original sound compositions, which punctuate timing, movement and rhythm within the visual compositions. Two large-scale long and narrow inkjet prints on paper convey a spiritual feeling that is the foundation of this exhibition. These are site-specific works on columns within the gallery. "Cathedral of Light, Oakland #1" is a dramatic interior image of a cathedral. A related work is an outdoor image titled "School with Redwoods, Canyon, Oakland #1," tall trees forming a different kind of cathedral, in nature (San Diego State University Downtown Gallery, San Diego).