Mimi Lauter's enormous, richly colored pastel drawings are cave paintings of the soul, their densely scratched imagery reading as wild landscapes merged with viscera. Across the room, organic mandalas fusing Eastern and Western motifs unfold within intricately crafted, jewel-toned "tramp frames" painted by Zach Harris.
Three installations that employ video stand out. A viewer sits among Koki Tanaka's suspended mirror-disks to watch and hear two marimba players improvise on their instruments, the slowly spinning reflections magically pushing and pulling perception in and out of infectious musical rhythms. Dan Finsel's eccentric, erotic obsession with an awful sculptural collaboration between New York artist Keith Edmier and late TV icon Farrah Fawcett, shown to lots of publicity at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2002, is weirdly touching — the Pygmalion story as told by Ridley Scott.
Cayetano Ferrer built a vaguely pre-Columbian temple facade as a frame for viewing a flashy floor-collage, pieced together from vibrant Las Vegas casino carpet fragments. The temple's low-relief surface is animated by garish video projections. The seductive vulgarity of authoritarian power is at once puckish and perturbing.
So it is in a very different work by the Propeller Group (Phunam Thuc Ha, Matt Lucero and Tuan Andrew Nguyen). In a creepy one-minute television commercial, slick production values try to rebrand failed communist ideology, selling it to a new century. Using capitalism's most powerful medium to achieve this contradictory project ends up illuminating — and irradiating — both.