James Turrell, installation view, is currently on view at Kayne Griffin Corcoran.


In 2013, a trio of majestic exhibitions held at a trio of major institutions — LACMA, MFA Houston and the Guggenheim in New York — focused on the remarkable career of James Turrell through immersive illuminated installations. Turrell is one of the leading pioneers of the Southern California Light and Space art movement, and each of these exhibitions examined different epochs of his career, from his earliest experiments and projections to his latest architecturally scaled achievements, the latest being the magnificent “Aten Reign,” which filled the Guggenheim’s rotunda with slowly shifting hues of colored light. “Sooner Than Later, Roden Crater” was the previous exhibition presented here, concurrent with the LACMA show, both of which surveyed Turrell’s decades-long transformation of an extinct volcano located in the Northern Arizona desert.


But don't make the mistake of underestimating James Turrell’s three new elliptical glass works, with the colorfully suggestive titles "Stewart Island (New Zealand)," "Cape Hope (S. Africa)" and "Cockle Creek (Tasmania).” As opposed to earlier installations inset into 'shallow space,' which are literally, though not necessarily perceptually, static, these new works shift colors very gradually, nearly imperceptibly so. Benches encourage a prolonged viewing experience of the colored light's crawling clockwork through (or is it across?) the glass. The vertical “Cockle Creek (Tasmania)” offers an illusion of infinite depth, a Jacob's ladder leading to an ethereal paradise of shifting fields of color. For a moment, bathed in light, time stands still. An accompanying series of prints, meanwhile, provide far more than pictorial documentation of "Aten Reign." The photographs, horizontal and vertical views of the Guggenheim's elliptical atrium in various moodily lit phases from a center floor level view, make for complex 2-D artifacts, either singly or in triptychs, that easily transcend mere documentation to become works unto themselves (Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Miracle Mile).


Molly Enholm/Michael Shaw




Chris Natrop, "Post Sparkle Apocalypse," acid cut stainless steel, crystals, wood, watercolor on cut paper, mylar tape, 4-channel audio/video projection, 2014, is currently on view at the Craft and Folk Art Museum.



"Paperworks" is an astonishing survey of creations by artists who use paper not as a surface on which to draw or paint images, but as the medium from which art is constituted. Although some of the exhibited works retain the historic flatness of paper, most employ it as a sculptural vehicle, creating three dimensional objects and installations that belie their originating substance. Howard Fox, LACMA Curator Emeritus of Contemporary Art, has assembled an impressive — and impressively diverse — group of artists for "Paperworks": Enrique Castrejon, Lecia Dole-Recio, Francesca Gabbiani, Tm Gratkowski, Margaret Griffith, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, Soo Kim, Chris Natrop, Rebecca Niederlander, Chris Oatey, Echiko Ohira, Minoru Ohira, Phranc, Susan Sironi and Tam Van Tran. Viewers enter the exhibition space by walking through two large sculptural works that are suspended from the ceiling. The first is a group of Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia's banner-like hangings comprised of brilliantly colored woven strips that recall Mexican papel picado. Beside these are Margaret Griffith's immense curving cutouts that echo wrought iron doors and garden gates in biomorphic effervescence. Arrayed around these two show-stealers are quieter works, such as Echiko Ohira's red and tea-stained papers curled into nest-like spirals, fragile containers for meditative moments. Between the spectacular and the hushed lie an abundance of other aesthetic devices, such as the obsessively beautiful cut books of Susan Sironi or the humorous paper reproductions of common objects, such as shoes, pants or a child's shirt, that fool the eye even as they tickle the imagination. Fox's careful curation underscores the expanse of creative possibilities with even this most quotidian of materials (Craft and Folk Art Museum, Miracle Mile).


Betty Ann Brown




George Legrady “Day & Night Transylvania Hunt,” lenticular photographic print mounted on honeycomb aluminum, 60  95", is currently on view at Edward Cella.



George Legrady is one of a very few artists using the lenticular process in a manner that goes beyond the kitschy and obvious dualities that the process offers. Lenticular photographs often combine two or more images that are combined in such a way as to change or move when they are looked at from different angles. In "Day & Night" Legrady juxtaposes images culled from his personal archive of family photos from the 1930s and 1940s that depict young children and women frolicking in a village outside of Budapest (where Legrady was born), as well as those that document a cookout and wild boar hunt in Transylvania. Legrady layers these historic images with those he shot of the natural landscape — the full moon, foliage, trees, etc. The mostly black and white toned works explore the myriad ways images can tell stories, and how through layering and the illusion of movement (or animation) they can present multiple points of view as well as time periods simultaneously. Legrady is interested in how the implicit nostalgia in the imagery can trigger memories that move from the personal to the universal. Legrady, who is the Chair of UC Santa Barbara's Media Arts and Technology program, is a pioneer in the field of interactive art and new media installations. A two-channel video, presented on flat screen monitors, introduces the exhibition and in effectively serves as its table of contents. In this work, titled "Anamorphic Fluid," the viewer’s movements are captured by a sensor, which triggers instances of the images used in the lenticular photographs to cascade across the screens like tumbling shards of glass. The relationships among the images ebb and flow as viewers pass by the work (Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Culver City).


Jody Zellen




Tom Krumpak, “Floating in Desire,” 2015, acrylic on camas, 48 x 72", is currently on view at Lora Schlesinger.



In Tom Krumpak's poetically entitled "Bamboo tall blue sky, a painted abstract picture inside a wooden room" is an exploration of shape, color and form. To make his densely layered, multi-colored paintings, Krumpak traces patterns found in places that range from his paint palette to his clothing. He also takes bits and pieces from tracings of objects, texts, architectural renderings and historical photographs. These elements are filled with bright color, which are then combined into large compositions often atop a single colored ground. For example in "Cavalier," blue-toned branch-like forms vertically dissect the bright red background. Scattered within the composition are brightly colored blobs and splats that are juxtaposed with what appears to be painted silhouettes of toy soldiers that cascade at all angles throughout the work. Likewise, in "SO" expressionistically shaped black brush strokes are combined with rounded dabs of color that intertwine with green and brown toned plant-like shoots that dance atop the white background. The elements undulate over and under each other, making the painting dance. Krumpak's works are energetic and visually satisfying collages of disparate painted forms (Lora Schlesinger Gallery, Santa Monica).






Ansel Adams, “Baseball,” 1943, gelatin silver print, is currently on view at Skirball Cultural Center. Courtesy of Photographic Traveling Exhibitions.



Pressured by Americans shocked and traumatized by the loss of 2,403 lives and 8 battleships from the December 7th, 1941 attack by Japanese aircraft on the U. S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to prevent citizens of Japanese descent from potentially entering the fray as home based terrorists by issuing an order to incarcerate over 100,000 of them. Manzanar, California, the most infamous of ten wartime camps, and the people who were confined there are the subject of "Manzanar:  The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams,” featuring 50 black and white images by the iconic photographer. Focused on the daily lives of the imprisoned men, women and children, images like Adams' “Manzanar, Street Scene, Spring,” reveal the starkness of the isolated camp, framed by majestic snow-clad mountains. The reception to Adams’ book, “Born Free and Equal,” a visual essay commemorating the resilience of those interred, received a mixed response and volumes were reportedly burned by “patriots” accusing him of being “unAmerican.” Other contributions to the exhibition, including photographs by Dorthea Lange and Toyo Miyake, along with letters, posters, magazine articles and artifacts from the camp, enhance and broaden the scope of this examination of a painful period of history with implications for issues we very much face today (Skirball Cultural Center, West Los Angeles).


Diane Calder




Avery Singer, “Heidiland,” 2014, acrylic on canvas, 195 1/2 x 155 cm, is currently on view at the Hammer Museum. Photo: Joerg Lohse



Avery Singer is a young New York-based painter who was recently included in the 2015 New Museum Triennial. Singer's works are paintings that take their point of departure from open source 3D modeling and animation programs such as SketchUp and Blender. These programs allow her to create digital mock ups for paintings that combine appropriated as well as imagined fragments from multiple sources into fanciful personas and worlds that are rendered in believable three dimensional spaces. Her mostly monochrome palette — tones of gray — references historical photographic images, yet what is depicted in her paintings is pure invention. Her subjects appear like surreal puppets or Claymation figurines that inhabit a world shaped by a close reading of art history and theory. Singer, like many of her contemporaries, draws from the internet as well as from the real world, collaging these experiences into fictions that are rendered with impeccable precision yet in a way that purposely defies reality (Hammer Museum, West Los Angeles).






Ron English, “Zelephant,” 2015, oil on canvas, 48 x 52”, is currently on view at Corey Helford.



Ron English is well known for questioning the motives and delivery of advertising agencies. From his early street work to his photo realistic paintings, English revels in mashing together symbols and striking color palettes that both attract and repel. This includes obese cartoon characters from sugar cereals like “Fat Tony” (Tony the Tiger) and a baby Hulk sculpture entitled “Temper Tot” that epitomizes a spoiled child. Combining elements of high and lowbrow, English celebrates a new series entitled “Neo-Nature: We are the New They" that utilizes many well known characters and introduces a few new ones.


The quasi-evolutionary theme throughout the exhibit pokes fun at the unusual context of which we live and is heightened through English’s extreme visualizations. A full-grown elephant entitled “Zelephant” wears a zebras print pattern against an electric red color field. The “Giraffasaurus” poses in front of cartoon panels that doubt our human condition and the world we have made for ourselves. Humans have been modifying animals for decades and English’s mash ups make use of this as a metaphor to cast our supposed advances in a ridiculous light. These characteristics are reinforced in an installation of a Bigfoot family that appears to be walking in the woods, while the father Bigfoot sports a camera around his neck. The supposed natural landscape, which includes us, has been dramatically altered by modern developments — just not necessarily for the better (Corey Helford Gallery, Downtown).


G. James Daichendt




Martin Kersels, “Droner,” 2015, wood, steel, bearings, cello strings and victrola motor, y70 x 48 x 30”, is currently on view at Redling.



Martin Kersels had a long career in Los Angeles, but currently resides in New Haven, CT, where he is the director of Graduate Studies in Sculpture at Yale University. Humor has always played a part in Kersels' work, and he often used his own body as both the subject and object of these investigations. In this exhibition, titled "Seen and Heard," he creates a suite of evocative sculptures and works on paper that incorporate found photographs and objects. Using discarded materials and things left behind, Kersels gives them new life. The highlights of the show are the three viewer-operated sound machines. You twirl an old-fashioned crank that brings the sculptures to life. Subtle sounds like a drone or a snore emerge from the inner working of the mechanism, a nod to old-fashioned whirligigs or automatons. Kersels' objects are purposely off-kilter wooden constructions that have musical instrument and furniture associations, at once recognizable and formally abstract. An accompanying series of altered photographs and record albums are also a delight. Found planks of wood with perfectly rounded holes sit atop discarded album covers revealing only the eyes in the image below. The same strategy is applied to old photographic images where Kersels overlays them with thin pieces of wood. This creates a veil over all but the eyes of the original. The title "Seen and Heard" is a playful pun that further illuminates the conceptual power of the exhibition (Redling Fine Art, Hollywood).






Serena Potter, “Face Lift,” is currently on view at Q Art Salon.



"Fleshed Out" is as much an academic treatise as it is an exhibition. Yet this unusual approach to an art show, with all of its works by art teachers, in no way diminishes its aesthetic value. As curator Evan Senn notes, “The work of these artists … operates as a metaphor for the teaching process itself.” This group show features ten art teachers from throughout the state of California who work in figurative and representational styles and with a variety of mediums. The themes of the individual works vary, but the glue holding them together is the artists’ deference to technique, composition, symbolism and emotion.


Serena Potter’s “Face Lift,” a close-up of an elderly woman, apparently staring in the mirror lifting her face with her hands, addresses the pathos that some people feel about aging. “Circus Circus” by Pamela Wilson is a meticulously painted portrait of a frightened woman, enmeshed within a surrealistic deep-sea scenario — which is perhaps her personal nightmare. Leslie Batty’s “At the Ball” depicts a woman in an elegant ball gown, walking down a long staircase. With her neck, face and left arm blanked out and blending into the background, this painting straddles naturalism and surrealism. Robin Johnson’s “Troy” and “Rudy” address intimate moments among downtrodden people living in mobile homes. Caleb Henderson’s “Forgotten All” depicts a naked man flying above a nearly barren landscape. Along with the surreal aspects of this drawing, it has deep emotion, sensation and humanity. Most works have been labored over emphasizing a studied technique, but many are also filled with emotion and humanity (Q Art Salon, Orange County).


Liz Goldner




Leonard Correa, “Too Close to Home,” 2015, is currently on view at CSUF Grand Central Art Center.



Aide Šehović in collaboration with Leonard Correa addresses the trauma that people in war-torn countries and those in crime-related professions experience. Šehović is a Bosnian refugee and filmmaker, while Correa is a Santa Ana forensic investigator/photographer accustomed to shooting crime scenes, as well as being a photographic artist. “Unfinished Conversation: Reconstructing the Invisible” thus speaks to its central issue from personal perspectives. Šehović’s contribution is a heartbreaking film of her parents, reminiscing about their beloved Bosnian home that they were brutally expelled from in the 1990s, never to see again. By photographing only her parents’ hands and forearms above a coffee table in their current American home and displaying their responses with subtitles, she conveys a heart-rending story that few Americans have experienced. As her father draws a map of their former home, with furnishings and appliances, her mother says, “The apartment was what I dreamed of.” Her father responds, “Three armed men came to the door.” Her mother explains, “We lost everything … Things become a part of you.” Her father says, “We are happy that we survived,” and “You can endure more than you think.”


Correa’s ten photographs of crime scenes that he has investigated are more conceptual, as they are cleansed of any traces of the crimes he witnessed. These images of tree-lined streets, apartment buildings and alleys are ominous. They display no sign of human life, and could be scenes from a futuristic film. But looking in the vitrine, we see that the artist’s writes: “Car pulls up with a rifle (old WWII) and just shoots up at the crowd. Two detectives are watching everything from across the street. Girl shot, a burrito with a hole in it, the bullet went through a burrito straight into her mouth.” This installation goes straight to the gut (Grand Central Art Center, Orange County).






“Intersections,” installation view, 2015, is currently on view at Jamie Brooks.



In “Intersections” Arno Kortschot, Connie Goldman and Gary Petersen each perceive dimensionality in reduced spatial formats. Kortschot works in the round, creating free-standing zinc sculptures and colored paint that, over time, develop patinas that lend a distinctiveness to the sculptural forms. Hailing from the Netherlands, Kortschot makes sculptures that resemble models for modern architecture. Folded metal forms, which are also straight, bent, curved and undulating, seem to span large distances, even though they are small in size. The lines are clean, devoid of any figuration, classic in form and economically rendered. Goldman’s sculptures emphasize the geometric and are frontal. With paint on panel she creates wall sculptures that suggest form and space in flat, tight configurations. In contrast to Kortschot’s forms, Goldman’s art is more compressed. Placed on a wall, painted in beautiful and subdued tones, her art suggests three-dimensionality through combining a sense of stability, a breaking up of form, and a coming together despite her intentionally leaving gaps in resolution. It is Goldman’s rendering of conflict and tension that grips the viewer as space and form duel it out and achieve resolution through the viewers’ eyes. Petersen paints geometric arrangements of lines in ice cream colors that seem to move forward and back in space on a flat surface. Not through placement of form, as in Kortschot’s or Goldman’s sculptures, Peterson achieves spatial and formal tension through bright to subdued colors and linear relationships. Playfully conceived, the paintings are illusions through pure abstraction of well thought out lines, shapes, space, and juxtaposition of bouncy, colors — something of a modern-day Mondrian (Jamie Brooks Gallery, Orange County).


Roberta Carasso




Bhavna Meta, “Gush” (detail), 2015, paper, thread and wire, 60” tall, is currently on view at the Oceanside Museum.



Bhavna Meta’s exhibition “Gush" comfortably transports us to a dazzling, richly hued and joyful array of visual delights that take you to another space and time. The genesis of this show was a set of 24 community workshops Mehta organized in north San Diego County where participants were asked to create patterns of all kinds and Mehta taught them skills in hand produced paper cutting with various tools provided. A large body of art created by the participants is on rotating view with a small video screen in the exhibition space. Through her experiences with participants and their creations, Mehta developed the story she wanted to tell in this exhibition. “Gush,” a "free flow and an effusive display," perfectly describes the multitude of bright, multi-colored cut-out patterned strands of varying lengths pouring out of gray, geometrically formed cylinders hanging from the walls in various places within the room.


Also featured are four large rectangular works that appear as windows that are then framed with brightly colored Indian patterns that capture within them in 3-D space, scenes of black cut-out figures doing various tasks and taking on differing perspectives and actions. These more representational forms of people and activities leave a lot up to the imagination to discern and describe. Reminiscent of Matisse’s “Jazz” paper cutouts, Mehta’s exhibition is definitely a labor of love — as we can only imagine how long it took to create the multitude of paper-cut pieces included in this show (Oceanside Museum of Art, San Diego County).


Cathy Breslaw