Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

ART REVIEW : Self-Indulgence Saved by Brittle Clarity

October 13, 1994|SUSAN KANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Jack Pierson makes no grandiose claims for his art. It is literally self-effacing--full of smudged marks, half-erased texts and fragile images that seem to be hiding. Yet it's also relentless, insinuating itself into your consciousness in the manner of only the most passive-aggressive of personalities.

In new pencil drawings at Regen Projects, Pierson's stock repertory of images and tropes appears: faded roses and twinkling stars, bruised egos and failed love affairs, regrets and passions so ordinary they are tawdry. Without the irony, or the torpid self-parody that marks the work of many of his contemporaries, Pierson makes a spectacle of intimacy. His art enacts--among other melodramas--the artist's struggle to maintain a romantic temperament in an age that is contentedly degenerate.

What saves Pierson from the limbo of self-indulgence is his brittle clarity. A tiny clump of palm trees and the words "Everything you wanted," for example, propose a Hollywood-style fantasy of fulfillment. Yet the partially rubbed-out accusation "Didn't I give you . . . "--hovering in the background like an unwanted lover--transforms the drawing into a lucid narrative about the inevitable corruption of romance.

The most recent piece in the show is a huge still-life that depicts the biography of actress Jean Seberg (who played St. Joan, married a French intellectual, and committed suicide) propped up against a vase of red roses. Although seeming from a distance to be a color photograph, the image is, in fact, a painting on canvas, produced with a computer program. From a distance, the allegorical tableau is slightly blurred; up close, it vanishes entirely, lost in a field of multicolored dots. How appropriate for Pierson--to recast an aesthetic innovation into a slow-motion dissolve into infinite, undisturbed bliss.

* Regen Projects, 629 N. Almont, (310) 276-5424, through Oct. 29. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|