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Review: Kaz Oshiro plays with perceptions in 'Still Life'

April 19, 2013|By David Pagel
  • Kaz Oshiro, "Untitled Still Life (Blue/Green)," 2013, acrylic on canvas.
Kaz Oshiro, "Untitled Still Life (Blue/Green)," 2013, acrylic… (Honor Fraser )

Over the last 10 years, Kaz Oshiro has used the materials of painting (paint, canvas and stretcher bars) to make sculptures that resemble ordinary things (crates, cabinets and cardboard boxes).

At Honor Fraser Gallery, he continues to play with perceptions and mess with expectations. Titled “Still Life,” his gently subversive exhibition throws a kink into the mix of what we think of as business as usual.

What appear to be three file cabinets stand against the walls in two galleries. Like innocuous pieces of office furniture, Oshiro’s witty sculptures are easily overlooked, partly because such cabinets are common to offices everywhere but mostly because the nine works around them appear to have been installed by gorillas.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Spring arts preview

Imagine a monochrome painting that has been wedged, forcefully, into the corner of a room so that it hangs almost painfully on two adjoining walls. Or picture a 12-foot-tall painting that has been crammed onto a 10-foot-tall wall, its top and bottom edges bending to extend along the ceiling and floor.

That’s what Oshiro’s wall works resemble. But the forcefulness is illusory. Each of these supple pieces is not a painting that has been manhandled but a sculpture that invites careful thinking about the differences between what we see and what we believe. Like a magician, Oshiro focuses our attention on those moments when knowledge and experience tug in different directions.

Honor Fraser Gallery, 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., (310) 837-0191, through May 25. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.honorfraser.com

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