Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Art Review

September 12, 1997|DAVID PAGEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Landmasses: You don't have to be familiar with Andy Warhol's oxidation paintings or Helen Frankenthaler's stained canvases to get a kick out of Ingrid Calame's gigantic painting on paper at Post Gallery. But knowing these references takes nothing away from the young artist's first solo show in Los Angeles. Quirky and captivating, her compact installation devours its sources and packs more punch per square inch than most images of any size.

Measuring 20 by 14 feet and covering almost all of one brick wall and more than half of the small gallery's floor, Calame's graphic abstraction makes the claustrophobic space seem as if it's much larger than it actually is. This unexpected effect is even weirder because there's nothing atmospheric or expansive in her potent picture.

Consisting of hundreds of strange silhouettes whose razor-sharp contours have been traced from stains and discolorations Calame found in the street, "Spalunk . . . " looks like a map of an imaginary land that's an indescribable mix of oceans, continents, bays, peninsulas, isthmuses and atolls.

Some landmasses resemble elongated Scandinavian countries. Another echoes the shape of the United Kingdom, after it has been squashed like an empty beer can. Even Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" makes an appearance, although more comic and playful than the original.

Carefully painted in a single, noxious shade of reddish-brown enamel, Calame's shiny, industrial-strength blobs create space by luring your imagination into action. Whiplash scale-shifts add to their impact.

Using every component to its maximum intensity, even the title of Calame's piece bespeaks weighty solidity and spunky animation. There's more here than meets the eye, although that alone is enough to keep viewers busy for quite some time.

* Post, 1904 E. 7th Place, (213) 488-3379, through Oct. 4. Sundays-Tuesdays.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|