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Review: Daniel Aksten's 'Support, Edge, Variation' gentle, jittery

May 18, 2012|By David Pagel
  • Daniel Aksten, "Phanorama (Line, radius)," 2012.
Daniel Aksten, "Phanorama (Line, radius)," 2012. (From Daniel Aksten and CB1…)

At CB1 Gallery, all but one of Daniel Aksten’s 10 new paintings in “Support, Edge, Variation” call to mind Minimalism. Their sharp edges, solid colors, geometric compositions and spray-painted surfaces appear to embrace the same rigorous regimentation of that keep-it-simple style from the 1960s.

The oddball, “Phanorama (Line, radius),” suggests that Aksten is too promiscuous a painter to be a Minimalist. At 5-by-5 feet, it’s the largest work in the show. It’s also the most pictorial, with solid bands, overlapping shapes and spindly linear elements evoking a tabletop still life.

Just a touch of its goofy, cartoon playfulness suffuses Aksten’s other oils on aluminum, whose compositions are simpler and whose palettes are almost always limited to two or three colors, one of which is black, white or silver.

Aksten’s idiosyncratic grids and out-of-step stripe paintings do not play out the possibilities of a single format so much as they set up structures whose elements slip out of place, as if sneaking off to pair up with other elements. Both gentle and jittery, these little movements reveal subtle shifts in color, which keep you coming back for more.

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CB1 Gallery, 207 W. 5th St., L.A. (213) 806-7889, through June 10. Closed Monday-Tuesday. www.cb1gallery.com

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