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THE ART GALLERIES

Wilshire Center

October 31, 1986|COLIN GARDNER

One of the most consistently challenging New York sculptors to emerge in the aftermath of Minimalism, Roni Horn makes art that has been largely concerned with innate properties of such materials as lead, gold, rubber and wood. Associations with Minimalism are misleading because Horn eschews its closed, self-contained striving for "the ideal" in favor of a more open dialogue with both audience and environment.

This is particularly evident in Horn's recent drawings, deceptively complex pieces that extend the experiential characteristics of her sculpture to the more confined context of the gallery wall. Combining pastel and such powdered pigments as titanium, carbon and graphite, Horn makes a series of amorphous, pillar-like forms that both reflect and absorb light. As collaged forms overlap, tilt, or drift off into seeming autonomy, they are more about the real and implied space between masses rather than any self-contained "purity" of the forms themselves.

Also on display are a series of "Totenmask" drawings by veteran Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer. Dating from 1978, the works consist of bookplates featuring death masks of such historical luminaries as Lincoln, Coleridge and Mirabeau. By superimposing Expressionistic calligraphies on mechanical reproduction, history and death, Rainer seems to be attempting some sort of Artaud-like striving for spiritual transcendence via the mystical performance of art. (Burnett Miller, 964 N. La Brea Ave., to Nov. 29.)

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