Sharon Feder, ”Station No 7”



April 11 - May 16, 2015 at George Billis Gallery, Culver City

by Simone Kussatz



Denver-born artist Sharon Feder has the ability to metamorphose the banal into the extraordinary. The objects in her paintings give the impression to be more than, say, rail tracks, telephone poles, power lines or buildings to provide shelter or work space. They are like skeletons, providing evidence of the core structure of the energy of the people who designed and relied on them. Feder regards all of this at something of a distance, as objects representing our cultural heritage and civilization. Her paintings, mostly created by applying color on top of a red and brown-toned underpainting via brush and palette knife, also depict nature’s interaction with the made environment, such as the sun reflecting off buildings, causing different atmospheres, in contrast with how human beings create energies through our pure being, or what Hegel refers to as “Dasein.” One can’t miss Norman Lundin’s influence, under whom Feder studied at University of Washington in Seattle, on her exploration of light and shadows and the search for resulting geometric forms.




Mernet Larsen, “Explanation,” 2007, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 41 x 52”.



Through April 11, 2015 at Various Small Fires, Hollywood

by Michael Shaw



Mernet Larsen's blocky figures — which often look as if they've been brought to life using an old-school 3-D modeling program and then painted — loom large over each other and their environments. They are typically engaged in banal moments of intense contemplation: a handshake, lying in bed, sitting around a shared table at home or at work. If there's drama to be found, it's via the image more than the event.




Charles Gaines, “Librettos:  Manuel de Falla / Stokely Carmichael” installation view, 2015, currently at Art + Practice.



Art + Practice's inaugural exhibition is presented in conjunction with a companion show at the Hammer Museum features Charles Gaines. Gaines' older work of “Gridwork" (from 1974-1998), on exhibit at the Hammer is a stunning survey. "Librettos: Manuel de Falla / Stokely Carmichael,” a new installation at Art + Practice, encircles the walls like a freize. This multi-panel work juxtaposes the score of a 1904 opera with a 1967 speech by Black Panther member Stokely Carmichael. Gaines is interested in how new meaning can be created through the layering of disparate elements. Similarly, the work at the Hammer juxtaposes complex numbering and archiving systems with photographic and drawn imagery. In much of Gaines' work visual forms (trees, dancers, portraits) are transposed and recorded as numbers logged into graph paper. This mapping is both a visual and intellectual pursuit and the resulting works are complex documents that record how things change over time. Gaines' work has never been a quick read, but has always been and remains worth the time and effort (Art + Practice, South Los Angeles; and the Hammer Museum, West Los Angeles).

Jody Zellen


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, “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.



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.




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.



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.




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.



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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