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Review: Matthias Duwel's 'Eden' reveals worlds within worlds

August 23, 2012|By David Pagel
  • Matthias Duwel, "Snowglobe," 2012, oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches.
Matthias Duwel, "Snowglobe," 2012, oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches. (From the artist and Martha…)

Matthias Düwel packs loads of visual information into “Eden,” his L.A. solo debut at Martha Otero, which is itself packed with 24 oils, watercolors and drawings.

Despite the sinuous ribbons of bright color writhing around in Düwel’s modestly scaled paintings, none feels crowded. The same goes for his works on paper. In black-and-white or super-saturated color, they, too, leave viewers plenty of room to maneuver, sometimes swooping smoothly through open spaces and at others zipping every which way with stop-and-start suddenness, like a fly navigating a picnic.

The claustrophobic clamminess of horror vacui art is nowhere to be found in Düwel’s abstract images. The more time you spend with them the more their myriad nooks and crannies open up to reveal worlds within worlds: passages of realistic depiction nestled amid gestural strokes and elaborate geometric patterns set among atmospheric expanses of dreamy blurriness.

What digital technology has done to libraries and record collections, Düwel’s compact pieces do for handmade paintings and drawings: compress inconceivably vast volumes into very small spaces.

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 Martha Otero, 820 N. Fairfax Ave., (323) 951-1068, through Aug. 29. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.marthaotero.com

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