CONTINUED AND RECOMMENDED, MAY 2015

JMW Turner, “Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1934,” oil on canvas, is currently on view at the Getty Museum.

 

During the last sixteen years of his life, when he produced some of his most innovative work, the audacious British painter JMW Turner found inspiration in waterways and the luminous atmosphere rising from them as his theater for drama. Inspired by poetry produced by flamboyant peers such as the Romantic poet Lord Byron, Turner typically launched his work by attacking blank canvases with veils of thin oil paint, applied with rags in long, nimble sweeps of his arm. This set the stage and overall tone for the buildup of more detailed imagery, applied with brush, pallet knife or even the artist’s fingers, with a final topping of varnish or beeswax to amplify glistening highlights. Turner’s hands on, experimental method of working was remarkably successful, particularly in paintings such as his version of the fable of “Regulus” and scenes from Venice, Italy, where he successfully blurred the boundaries between water and air. Watercolors became the ideal media for sketches Turner made during his travels a well as larger finished works. This exhibition includes 27 watercolor paintings, along with 35 oils, grouped thematically. Among the outstanding works, many on loan from the Tate’s collection, are oils including “The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons,” and “Whalers,” and watercolors such as “Venice at Sunrise from the Hotel Europa, with Campanile of San Marco.” Several are paired with appropriate poetic texts, Turner’s own poems or poetry like the following excerpt from Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage:” “The moon is up, and yet it is not night. The sun as yet disputes the day with her” (J. Paul Getty Museum, West Los Angeles).

 

Diane Calder

 

 

 

Robert Henri, “Tam Gan,” 1914, oil on canvas, is currently on view at the Laguna Museum.

 

 

Robert Henri, founder of the early 20th century Ashcan School for his portrayal gritty New York City scenes, was also a traditionally trained portrait artist, as seen in "Robert Henri’s California: Realism, Race, and Region, 1914-1925." During the artist’s 1914 visit to La Jolla, he sought out for his exquisite portraits ethnically diverse young people, including Native Americans, those of Chinese and Mexican descent, and Negroes (the polite terminology of the time). In this show’s accompanying catalog, he is quoted: “I was painting a beautiful little Chinese girl, in Chinese costume today. She is only eight years old … and poses as well as anyone could.” He also wrote, “I have a good portrait of a Negro boy laughing … I had him sitting like the prince of Africa ...” The artist’s belief in “the dignity of life” informs his blend of academically oriented and early modern influences. “Tam Gan” depicts a little Chinese girl outfitted in lavender Asian garb and set against expressive orange brushstrokes. “Tom Po Qui (Water of Antelope Lake/Indian Girl/Ramoncita)” is an Indian woman in Native American attire and jewelry. The artist describes her as, “… young, perhaps 18, a powerful indian (sic) type, deep copper color, wide cheek bones, straight nose — and the look of the sphinx.” Two gestural paintings of an African American boy are “The Failure of Sylvester,” presenting the boy asleep in an elegant high-backed chair, and “Sylvester Smiling,” a compassionate close-up that exemplifies the artist’s motto, "art for life's sake." While in La Jolla, Henri also painted two portraits of his beautiful, young wife Marjorie: “The Beach Hat” and “Mrs. Robert Henri,” both depicting the subject in a deep magenta shawl with similarly colored lips and hat band. These colors may well have been influenced by European Fauvism. Commissioned portraits of upper class Los Angelenos, painted during Henri’s subsequent visits here in 1918 and 1925, are led be “Portrait of Miss Louise Getz.” These later paintings, diverging from the show’s earlier theme and expressive style, return to the artist's classical training and attention to detail (Laguna Art Museum, Orange County).

 

Liz Goldner

 

 

Helen Redman, “Maternal Echo,” 1964, oil pastel 43 x 30”, is currently on view at the Women’s Museum.

 

 

“A mother speaks to her children through generations.” This quote by Terry Tempest Williams, printed on the first page of Helen Redman’s catalog to her exhibition “Through a Mother’s Eye," distills the essence of Redman’s work as an artist. Redman’s art is boldly expressed through the lens of herself in relationship to motherhood and grandmother-hood. Rather than hiding her gender as many female artists of her generation have done, Redman faces it all head-on. Both her identity and life challenges as a woman and mother take central stage in her paintings and drawings in this retrospective exhibition. For Redman, her role as an artist is inextricably linked to her family as she documents the stages of pregnancy, birth, grief from the death of a child and the growth of her children and grandchildren at various points into their adulthood. Redman began her “Lifeline" series in the early 1960’s. Her expressionistic style of drawing and painting has remained consistent throughout the years. Her use of color, form, shape and patterns provide us with visual clues about how Redman was feeling and thinking as each work was created. Using a range of media — pen and ink, oil pastel, acrylic and oil paint and mixed media, on surfaces ranging from paper, canvas, to wood — Redman’s figurative works also tackle the female experience through stages of menopause and aging. Though Redman’s work has discernible connections to Frieda Kahlo and Alice Neel, hers is more insistently intimate and personal, a life-chronicle through which we, as women, see something of ourselves (Women’s Museum of California, San Diego).

 

Cathy Breslaw

 

 

Luke Haynes, “[The American Context #16] Christina’s World,” 2014, quilt, is currently on view at the Craft and Folk Museum.

 

 

Credit for “Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters” must be given to The AIDS Memorial Project which started in 1987 in San Francisco — it helped popularize textile-based art across a wide spectrum of Americans, including a number of men who took up needle, thread, and fabric to make quilted banners commemorating those who had died of AIDS. Photographs and objects were often incorporated into these quilts, and likewise the eight men comprising this group are not just following the piecing techniques of yore, they are sewing in their own stories and concerns. They also employ updated technologies and cultural references.

 

Luke Haynes uses traditional piecing techniques to provide the background for his appropriations of famous paintings. In “[The American Context #16] Christina’s World" we see a woman from the back, stretched out and holding herself up with her arms against a traditional "rail fence" background pattern. The figure is appropriated from Andrew Wyeth’s familiar “Christina’s World” — except she’s wearing what looks like a red hoodie with sweatpants and polkadot socks. Another, “[American Context #14] Madame X" references John Singer Sargent’s famous society portrait of “Madame X” — Haynes’ woman similarly posed in proud profile, shoulders facing forward. Except here she wears a white dress and holds a hula hoop.

 

In a series called “Bedroom Buddies,” Aaron McIntosh uses digitally painted cotton to make bed-sized quilts, which feature covers of gay men's magazines.  And some images are literally out of this world, as in Jimmy McBride's crazy swirl of the “Crab Nebula” in one — a burning ring of colors with blue and spills of white in the middle. It’s handmade, with segments of solid color, plus hand and machine quilting to hold the layers together. Other artists in this exhibition, vibrant with humor and personality, are Joe Cunningham, Joel Otterson, Dan Olfe, Shawn Quinlan, and Ben Venom (Craft and Folk Art Museum, Miracle Mile).

 

Scarlet Cheng

 

 

Richard Shelton, “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue,” 2011, is currently on view at Temporary Space LA.

 

 

The recently opened Temporary Space LA presents itself as an alternative platform devoted to showcasing the work of mid- and late-career and artists. The idea is also to show in a given location only temporarily. To that end this first pop up will only be in its present location until November. Its debut exhibition surveys the work of Richard Shelton; next will be Margaret Nielsen; and its last in this location features Scott Grieger. The goal is to create an immersive experience by presenting not only the artist's work, but also an app that allows viewers to see details of the works up close up as well as a clickable time line that shows the works in the context of the artist's trajectory. There is also a well-developed online component in recognition of the modern, digitally savvy viewer.

 

On view in the space is a large selection of Shelton's drawings and paintings that span his 50-year career as a realist painter, illustrating the breadth of oeuvre. Shelton's paintings have a pop sensibility that is tempered by his ironic wit. The works are often made in response to the world at large, in that they depict images of angst as well as of contemplation. Shelton is as comfortable depicting the nude as the clothed body. Often his works converse with other works of art, for example "Who's Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue" (2011) pokes fun at Barnett Newman's similarly titled Abstract Expressionist painting. Whether working on single or multi-panel compositions, Shelton consistently draws inspiration (or outrage) from contemporary culture as well as the media, and in this survey we can discern his evolving and evocative point of view and interpretation of the world (Temporary Space LA, Miracle Mile).

 

Jody Zellen

 

 

Anthony Caro, “Capital,” 1960, steel, painted, 96 7/16 x 95 1/16 x 51 15/16”, is currently on view at Gagosian.

 

 

Anthony Caro’s abstract sculpture made use of recycled industrial building materials — rebars, girders, metal plates. He reassembled them, then painted them in bright, playground-cheerful colors. They end up feeling very fresh. The works in this show have been painted according to the Pantone colors designated by Caro’s studio, which has continued to operate since the artist’s death in 2013 at age 88. The show brings together some 14 works from the 1960s, the decade when the artist launched his signature style, and we can sense the giddy exuberance of his discovery and exploration. When sculptor David Smith tragically died in a car crash in 1965, Caro obtained 37 tons of steel from Smith’s studio. In the current show, “Purling” (1969), a series of curled steel pieces welded together that reference a type of knitting stitch, is progeny from that motherlode.

 

Caro riveted and welded metal components together in unexpected ways. The components are rectilinear and curved; thick and thin; made to stand vertically, horizontally and at an angle. The constant is how Caro imbued them with dynamic balance as they sit directly on the floor. This lack of plinth was a hallmark of his work, from the glowing bright orange "Capital" (1960), where a large steel square is held aloft by a rectangular piece and a counterweight, to the “Month of May” (1963), with its multicolored bent metal pipes positioned vertically against heavy metal panels. The upstairs gallery offers several of his seldom seen “Table Pieces,” begun in 1966. All are meant to be perched on the edge of a table or plinth. They are carefully balanced in shape and weight to sit on the edge, outfitted in very beautiful colors or, in one instance, the high polish chrome of “Table Piece XXXIII” (1967) (Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills).

 

SC

 

 

Enrique Martínez Celaya, “The Treasure of the Patient,” 2015, metal, wire, bronze and 5 birds, 84 x 48 x 61”, is currently on view at L.A. Louver.

 

 

In Enrique Martínez Celaya’s work “The Invisible (or the Power of Forbearance)," a bronze sculpture of a young boy is standing in a water basin as tears are falling from his eyes merging with the bath of tears below him, leaving a gentle and moist sound behind, like water echoing of cave walls. In the dark room, where the sculpture stands, we see both him- and ourselves reflected in the mirrors surrounding it, as if it’s not merely the sadness of the boy we’re looking at, but also our own. But why is he crying? Are his tears about loss, loneliness, his unfulfilled hopes and dreams, or is the boy a symbol for human desire, causing suffering and pain? The bronze boy can be seen once again at the end of the exhibition in “Lone Star,” stretching over the two floors of the gallery. The piece titled “The Treasure of the Patient," based in the gallery’s open-air Skyroom, displays him caged in with holes in his chest from which real birds fly in and out, as if freedom is his cure, perhaps his freedom of desire. In between are a number of other works by the Cuban artist, who was brought up in Spain, which all seem to be part of his personal narrative. In “The Sigh”, a large-scale oil and wax painting, a crooked tree along a fence stands against a background of a fiery sky. Its crown goes up in flames, suggesting another dark side of the human psyche, that of fear eating away at the soul (L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice).

 

Simone Kussatz

 

 

Jay Mark Johnson, “Cape of Good Hope #112, Cape Town, South Africa,” 2014, Durst Lambda print, film, aluminum, 40 x 120”, is currently on view at William Turner.

 

 

Last year, photographer Jay Mark Johnson went to Kenya's Maasai Mara river gorge to document the wildebeest migration through his slit camera, which emphasizes time over space. The results of his images were quite surprising and deviated immensely from what usual digital photography captures. Instead of seeing masses of wildebeest as we know them from National Geographic magazine or TV, his camera only captures the movement of the animals as they come down the hill one by one, which make them appear as tiny fine lines. Another series titled “Wavelength” consists of large format color photographs depicting the rhythmic movements of ocean waves around the world (in Florida, California, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Great Britain, Australia and South Africa), similarly offering some neat and unexpected effects through his space time approach to photography. Once the waves appear like strands of hair, manila ropes, or water rushing from a waterfall, at other times like creases and folds in a carpet, or the African continent displayed multiple times melting like Salvador Dali’s watch. Some of them attract through their rather pastel and monochromatic aesthetics, others through their vibrancy and warmth, such as “Fort de Soto Waves #36” and “Waikola Sunset #36,” which show a range of stripes of various widths in blue, orange, ocher, grey and bright pinks (William Turner Gallery, Santa Monica).

 

SK

 

 

Neil Raitt, “Graceful Mountain (Fade),” 2015, oil on canvas, 55 1/8 x 39 3/8”, is currently on view at Anat Egbi.

 

 

Neil Raitt, a Brit just a couple years out of the Royal College of Art, falls into the intermittently present category of cynical endgame painting. Yet some of his works succeed either in spite of themselves, or because occasionally, by pushing an image far enough, contrived as it may be, it still produces results. The show's title, "Happy Painting," says it all when it comes to the tone. The conceit is to use Bob Ross's palette-heavy painting strategies to craft mountains, cabins and waves, yet to paint them over and over and over again in a repeating pattern that reaches nearly eight feet in height. Go in close and you'll recognize the Bob Ross — or, if you prefer, cheap motel art — cabin-in-a-landscape motifs, right down to the muddy yellows, greens and purples. But back up, and you begin to become mesmerized by these singularly unwanted and unloved icons repeating nearly infinitely, or so it seems. This all leads to something akin to a postmodern awakening … or perhaps just an experience, a drugless, image-induced trip via the elevation of the banal towards the sublime. Perhaps that's more than enough. That said, if we look to David Foster Wallace as our guide, you'll realize that he too had once been committed to the postmodern — in the sense of the ironic, the capturing of our disconnectedness, our detachment, the split, dysfunctioning aspects of modern society — as exemplified in "The Broom of the System," before coming to his senses, a few to several years later, and going on to write "Infinite Jest." Raitt is clearly in his "Broom of the System” phase. For our sake, not to mention his, let's hope he too comes to his senses (Anat Egbi, Culver City).

 

Michael Shaw

 

 

Mineo Mizuno, “FMR series 003,” 2015, porcelain, 8 x 19 1/2 x 8”, is currently on view at Samuel Freeman.

 

 

Ceramic artist Mineo Mizuno, educated at Chouinard Art School in the mid-1960s, is a master craftsman known for his refined aesthetic. This stunning exhibition includes a suite of six video works accompanied by the presentation of a new body of porcelain sculptures/vases. Looping single-channel films featuring places like the East River in New York, as well as locations in California and Japan, Mizuno observes the flow of water over long durations from a fixed position. This footage, as edited, becomes a meditation on the passage of time. The sound of trickling water fills the space and influences the way we see the suite of bright white porcelain vases, each on its own wooden-log shaped base. The allusion to water permeates these vessels, whose textured surface and subtle intricacies evoke the impermanence of nature (Samuel Freeman, Culver City).

 

JZ

 

 

Tam Van Tran, “Rushing Waterfall,” 2015, acrylic and marker on canvas, 79 x 92 1/4 x 1 1/2”, is currently on view at Susanne Vielmetter. Photo:  Robert Wiedemeyer.

 

 

Tam Van Tran presents both paintings and sculptures in his current exhibition. Large-scale paintings pop off the walls with their dizzying array of abstract shapes and textures. His boldest and most gestural works to date, the cacophony of clashing colors somehow harmonize on the painting's surface. They are quite a contrast to the small delicate ceramic vessels presented in carefully composed formations that are derived in part from military and funerary shapes, as well as characters from the English, Vietnamese and Sanskrit alphabets. These fragile vases may seem at first to have little to do with the hyperactive paintings. Both are rooted in the formal qualities of shape, color and surface. Also on view are colorful abstractions by Austrian painter Markus Bacher that, according to the artist, are guided by emotions and the subconscious mind. These multi-part gestural paintings evoke expansive, yet imagined landscapes (Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City).

 

JZ

 

 

Eric Beltz, “Leaves of Three,” 2012, graphite on Bristol, 11 x 10”, is currently on view at Koplin Del Rio.

 

 

Eric Beltz is a Santa Barbara-based artist who creates highly detailed graphite drawings that combine pattern, fantastical figures and settings with poetic fragments. Beltz has a deft hand and an ironic wit, a combination that commands attention. Entitled "Dreveriem," a word he invented for a series of poems that explore the fusion of dream and reverie. The decorative and illustrative iconography of these works produce visual narratives derived from and interweaving the artist's own experiences with mythological references. Some of the drawings are made up of abstract quilt-like patterns while others are figurative and representational, reflecting the scope of Beltz's endeavors. A group exhibition entitled “Hypnagogia" beautifully complements Beltz' solo show. The works by gallery artists Josh Dorman, Mikel Glass, Alex Gross, F. Scott Hess and Jerry Meyer offer varying interpretations of the transitional state of consciousness that occurs as one drifts off to sleep (Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City).

 

JZ

 

 

Ford Beckman, “Pop Target,” 2014, paper construction, hand painted, high gloss industrial finish, 40 x 32”, is currently on view at Maloney.

 

 

"The Last Pop Targets” juxtaposes a series by the late Ford Beckman (1952-2014) that features high gloss concentric circles alongside the more sinister clown images that wallpaper one wall. The clown and the target are curious opposites, one a symbol of humor, the other a symbol of danger or violence. The dripping surfaces and highly saturated colors of the targets align them with both pop, abstract expressionist and appropriationist strategies. Together they form a compelling presentation and a fitting closure to Beckman’s body of work (Maloney Gallery, Culver City).

 

JZ

 

 

Installation view of “2015 Realities and Concept” at Santa Monica Art Studios, 2015, is currently on view at Santa Monica Art Studios.

 

 

What is reality? Aristotle, Plato, Wittgenstein and other ancient and modern thinkers tried to answer that question and made a distinction between thought corresponding to reality, thoughts of things that are imaginable but not real, and that which cannot even be rationally conceived. Therefore, reality is more than what’s purely visible to the eyes; it is rather an idea, perceived uniquely through our diverse mental filters. This is what the 35 participants of the MOPLA group show appear to be visually expressing to support the theme “2015 Realities and Concept.” The exhibition, curated by Meredith Marlay, includes works by Jeremy Kidd, Sabine Pearlman, Luigia Martelloni and others. In contrast to Kidd, whose photograph of a mainly blue landscape interspersed with tall white poles emphasizes the abstract character of its formal composition, Pearlman’s and Martelloni’s works are more straightforward. Pearlman’s photos, taken in Switzerland, make the invisible visible by displaying cross sections of ammunition to expose the inside of bullets. Martelloni’s series of 83 black-and-white photos present images of trees she has taken over a span of 30 years in different parts of the world. These are printed on various sizes of translucent paper. Some of them are hung a bit closer, others a bit further from the wall, with a few overlapping. The result is that the viewer can sometimes look through one transparency onto another and experience a sense of space and cool airiness (Santa Monica Art Studios Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica).

 

SK

 

 

Tom LaDuke, “Chain,” 2015, acrylic and glitter on canvas over panel, 31 x 27”, is currently on view at Kohn.

 

 

In "Candles and Lasers,” Tom LaDuke has upped his painterly factor significantly, pushing into gaudiness in the process. On paper, you have to give him credit for coming nearly full circle: his earlier bodies of work, from about a decade ago, were austere and tended to be monochrome. He’s now thrown a veritable kitchen sink of paint gestures, the most recent being the addition of glitter, into his arsenal. That's not to say LaDuke doesn't maintain a strong semblance of order, even elegance — such as it is — because he does (note the two restrained, contemporary classical sculptures typical of his oeuvre, for further underscoring of that). He continues to employ an overall structure of hazy, atmospheric airbrushed backgrounds and middle grounds of landscapes and spaces capes; but now he has carved, slathered and smeared patches of thick paint in an orchestration of calculated defacements. “Chain," a 13-foot-wide painting combines Richter-like landscape patches, stalactites of blue-and-white paint smears, and an amorphous glistening multicolored blob near its center — it is the tour de force here. The piece is a panoply of visual information that keeps its order despite itself. Elsewhere though, you can't help but wonder whether LaDuke's inclination towards an over-the-topness, such as it is, only begins to make the work look a bit too much like a lot of calculatedly painterly painting that's already out there (Kohn Gallery, Hollywood).

 

MS

 

 

Yuval Pudik, “Tears No. 79 (Golden Tears, Dave & Sugar,” 2015, graphite and spray paint on paper, 26 1/2 x 21”, is currently on view at Gavlak.

 

 

Yuval Pudik's transition into abstraction is not only a good one, it's also catapulted him out of his overly anal graphite drawings phase and into a rebirth of sorts. Working with homoerotic magazine ads as a starting point, Pudik spray paints red over magazine cutouts, leaving only triangles of pictorial information. From this he created a series of red, black and white abstractions, featuring three rows or columns of sharply angled triangle patterns. The series is titled “Tears," and aside from its formidable cultural references — Israeli checkpoints, nautical flags indicating 'man overboard' and the pink triangle of homosexual identification under the Nazis — it's a surprisingly effective balance of formal rigorousness without taking itself too seriously. Despite the contradiction, there's a whimsy in the repetitiveness, along with an openness to imperfection (note the rippling of the paper under the weight of the overbearing graphite sections, which make up the 'black' triangles), and Pudik appears to get this—take the title, "Tears No. 63 (Patsy Cline, I Cried All the Way to the Altar)," for one. "Cities & Years #1" and “#2" feature floating orbits of carefully drawn camera lenses; it's another gesture of poetic whimsy via a tightly wound process. The poetically titled "Mother's Only Son: Ambidextrous," meanwhile, a large, tightly rendered diptych of bird wings attached to stiff, formal apparatuses, exemplifies the type of work that Pudik gratefully appears to be leaving behind (Gavlak Los Angeles, Hollywood).

 

MS

 

 

Daido Moriyama, “Stray Dog,” 1971, gelatin silver print, 17 x 19 7/8”, is currently on view at UCR/California Museum.

 

 

“The Provoke Era” is an exhibition of Japanese black and white photographs from the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Included are works by noted photographers Masahisa Fukase, Eikoh Hosoe, Daido Moriyama, and Shomei Tomatsu, all of whom were pivotal figures in the Tokyo avant-garde in the 1960s and 70s. The works are often high contrast, grainy, and out of focus black and white images of fleeting shadows, silhouetted figures and urban scenes that feel as if they were scenes in a film noir. These artists offered a departure from the documentary tradition using photography as a means to explore taboo as well as abstract subjects (UCR/California Museum of Photography, Riverside).

 

JZ

 

 

Guerrilla Girls, “How to enjoy the battle of the sexes” (detail), 1996, is currently on view at Pomona College.

 

 

One poster in the exhibition “Guerrilla Girls: Art in Action” proclaims, “Women in America Earn Only 2/3 of What Men Do. Women Artists Earn Only 1/3 of What Men Artists Do.” Another poster, featuring a naked woman wearing a gorilla mask, reads, “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum? Less than 4% of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women, but 76% of the nudes are female.” A third poster cites astonishing statistics favoring male artists as exhibitors in New York museums. These are a few of several pieces in this show chronicling the Guerrilla Girls art collective, begun in New York City in 1985, and promoting a satirical, in-your-face perspective on the male-female disparity in the art world. This movement's signature is the gorilla mask, which protestors wear in public and is seen in this show’s posters. The collective’s creed is that Guerrilla Girls — women of all ages — take the names of dead women artists.

 

With its non-discriminatory spirit, the movement also includes artists of color. In one poster, a mock help wanted ad states, “Female African-American, Latina, Asian or Lesbian artists wanted for large summer group show in out of the way location. No honorarium. No sales.” Other posters poke fun at the belittled status of female artists. “The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist” lists the benefits as: “Working without the pressure of success; Knowing your career might pick up after you’re eighty; Seeing your ideas live on in the work of others; Getting your picture in the art magazines wearing a gorilla suit” and several more. While a stark reminder of the still, if thirty years later less diminished status of female artists, this exhibition’s humor and levity honor female creative power on a deeper level, defiant in the face of discrimination (Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont).

 

LG

 

 

 

The exhibition “Play: In Three Acts,” curated by David Familian, reinforces the importance of play — that essential educational tool of childhood — as a vehicle for discovery in adult life. Artists Joe McKay, David Rokeby and Nina Weisman each create an interactive micro-environment imbedded with its own internal rules and logic. No two experiences of this exhibition will be identical, with gallery goers each “painting” their own soundscapes through a unique series of movements and gestures.

 

Former dancer Weisman explores what cognitive scientists and neurologists label “physical thinking,” the ways in which movements can shape our logical thought processes, in her installation “Body Envelope “(2012 to present). We enter into a web of dangling tentacle-like sensors, and as we shift our bodies through the space the sensors activate sound clips, creating a mash-up ranging from the buzz of machinery to music that feels distant and nostalgic, as though it’s emanating from another room. McKay’s “Light Wave” (2013) is a thrilling ping-pong-like game in which opponents bang soft hammers to light up a row of antique lights. Rokeby's “Dark Matter” (2010) is an almost pitch-black room. Moving through the space activates infrared sensitive video cameras, triggering a soundscape of noises such as smashing ice and bursting flames.

 

While interactive sound-based exhibitions can sometimes feel cumbersome, resulting in artwork that’s overly weighed down by its technical nature, one can move through “Play: In Three Acts” in a way that feels organic. Blurring the lines between participants and creators, the exhibition inspires surprising interactivity that reconnecting you with your inner child (UC Irvine, Beall Center, Orange County).

 

Lizzy Hill

 

 

Carol Pierce, “Distant Lighting,” oil on canvas, 36 x 36”, is currently on view at Sue Greenwood.

 

 

Suzy Barnard’s pale blue and green abstract paintings suggest tranquil vistas, fields or scenes of the sea meeting the sky. Her multiple applications of paint shine through, evoking Gerhard Richter, known for using large squeegees to apply paint. Barnard’s “Chartreuse Shift,” a 16 x 84 inch horizontal landscape, combines large ships with sky, ocean and even a few small boats. This seems to have sprung from the artist’s meditative vision, enhanced by her labor intensive method of applying paint. Marina Moevs’ representational paintings of bodies of water, rocks, tress and atmospheric conditions, the latter in her three “Fog” pieces, put her application of paint with her fingers on display, resulting in a soft striated effect. These paintings evoke light shimmering on water and cloud formations that are so dense, they become mirrors of the environment. “River IV” combines idealism with surrealism, as the body of water flanked by trees and rocks seems to envelope the house and sky in the distance. Carol Pierce’s paintings reflect the elements, fire, water, air and earth, with an emphasis on fire. “Desert Fire #4 has dramatic orange flames inhabiting most of the sky, with a sliver of blue in the background. The sky of “Late Summer Storm” takes up most of the composition. Yet in this piece, the sky is a deep, navy blue, with a sliver of lightning running through it. She explains, “The locations are ambivalent and less specific to a place than they are to the magic of sky, like the electrically charged energy of the air just before the storm” (Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Orange County).

 

LG