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Valley Life | art review

Texture and Color

At beauty salon, those attributes apply to artist's silk-screens on view too.


Fred Hauptman's big, textural artworks, tinged with a soft-edged irony and a love of color, offer another reason for Valley art-seekers to head into one of the area's more unlikely art spaces.

Bigoudi International in Woodland Hills is a beauty salon, but it also boasts art generally worth checking out on its walls.

The setting--in which viewers take in art amid the beautifying business at hand--verges on the surreal, but that adds to the odd appeal.

Hauptman's works are multi-paneled, modular silk-screen images based on consistent and recurring patterns. Texture and color are the operative things here, rather than a typical figure-to-ground relationship.

If that sounds akin to the Minimalism ethos, it is, in a sense. But Hauptman's work veers away from cerebral abstraction and toward familiar imagery, coming up just shy of decorative imagery. It's light and summery, and just a tad loony.

Some semblance of a pop art sensibility can be seen in works like "Pool," with its rippling surface of blue, green and white, a splashy evocation.

"Drink" is a tapestry of frothy matter, not as specific in its depiction as other works, but clearly "about" liquid.

Hauptman seizes on patterns in nature and also in unexpected corners of culture. "White Noise," for instance, consists of 18 panels of what looks like television "snow," each panel injected with different hues. With its concentration of tiny dots, it appears to be a cross between the optical "noise" of wee-hour TV and a scrubby relation of pointillism.

In the back of the space, Hauptman shows silk-screen works that more directly address social and ecological issues, and are less effective for their heavy-handedness. The three panels in "Love American Style" depict the vicious cycle of modern TV romance, from "The Dating Game" to "The Newlywed Game" to--you guessed it--"Divorce Court." "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" shows a TV weatherman calmly delivering a five-day forecast full of localized calamities.

At its best, Hauptman's work here basks in, and manipulates, the splendors of visual perception without pretension. Even the nature-oriented pieces come equipped with ulterior motives. "Hedges," with its tufted green texture, depicts nature as a controlled, manicured thing, and "Clouds" presents a series of vaguely animal-shaped clouds in repeating patterns, more like a dream of the sky than an accurate portrayal thereof.

It's another pleasant but rewarding exhibition in this space, one that unleashes its charms slowly and upon reflection.


Bigoudi International Gallery, 21720 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 887-3627. Gallery/hair salon. Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. "2000 Space Oddities," works by Fred Hauptman. Ends Oct. 7.

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